Adam Levitan

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Week 5 Live Blog

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weclome to Week 5, where spot-start options like James Jones and Domenik Hixon have owners buzzing.

A Rotoworld staffer is watching every game today, keeping an eye on those guys, in-game injuries, depth chart changes and potential breakout players. We'll also be watching to see why a certain player is under- or over-performing. If you have a specific question about something going on in a specific game, ask me on twitter (@adamlevitan) and we will try to get you an answer in this space.

So check back often as we'll be constantly updating this page through the late games. You can also hang out with other fans in the Rotoworld Forums.

Editor's Note: For exclusive projections, early rankings, IDP strategies, chats with Evan Silva, the Running Back Report and tons more, check out the Season Pass!

* James Jones is starting in place of Greg Jennings (groin), as expected. Check out Jones' latest blurb here for my take on the situation.
* Pierre Garcon (foot) won't be on a snap count. Big upside in this projected shootout vs. ATL.
* Rashard Mendenhall (knee) is ready to go. Jonathan Dwyer isn't even active.
* Josh Morgan is starting over Leonard Hankerson at Z. Owners have to get Hankerson out of lineups.

* Ahmad Bradshaw lost a fumble on the Giants' first play from scrimmage. It's notable because of how ruthless Tom Coughlin has been with fumbles and his backfield. We also know there's plenty of competition already with Andre Brown in the mix and David Wilson starting to get his nose out of the doghouse. Bradshaw's leash isn't all that long.
* As expected, the Eagles are focusing on getting Jeremy Maclin more involved this week. He had three targets on the very first drive after seeing three targets in the entire game last week.
* The Chiefs have lost all trust in Matt Cassel. They started the game with four straight runs and even ran on a third-and-long. Jamaal Charles is on pace for yet another monster workload and is looking good.
* Andre Brown may have sustained a concussion in the first quarter when returning a kickoff. He's gone to the locker room with trainers. It would be a little more leash for Ahmad Bradshaw, who hasn't lost any reps since his fumble.
* Rashard Mendenhall (knee) started and is handling the load in Pittsburgh's backfield early. He had a 24-yard scamper in the first quarter called back by an illegal formation penalty. Isaac Redman came in for the next play. UPDATE: Mendy is looking really spry. He's got a 13-yard touchdown on a lateral.
* Expounding a little on Jamaal Charles: He isn't back to his old self, especially laterally with cuts. But I'm not sure there's a back in the league that finds a hole and hits it harder/faster than him. Charles is a really, really special player that the Chiefs are riding into the ground. It's a recipe for a monster season.
* Top Redskins CB Josh Wilson is matched up with Julio Jones and handling himself well.
* Anquan Boldin is seeing a ton of top Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers. Could be a long day. Meanwhile, Stanford Routt is on Torrey Smith.
* Spot-starters rejoice! James Jones just caught a six-yard touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter.
* Cedric Benson appeared to hurt his ankle or foot. His return is questionable, meaning Alex Green could get a bunch of touches as the Packers nurse a 14-0 lead.
* Looks like the light has come on for rookie Reuben Randle today. He's playing a ton of snaps as the No. 3 wideout and has caught Eli's eye in a big way.

* A.J. Green rolled his left ankle but it's minor. He's going to return.
* The Falcons are really trying to get the ball to Julio Jones deep, but it's just not there. He has 12 targets through one second-half drive, but has missed on three bomb opportunities.
* Matt Cassel is going to get benched. After a brutal goal-line fumble and a third-quarter interception, he leads the league with 14 turnovers. The Chiefs have no faith in him to drop back and do something positive.
* Robert Griffin took a big hit up high while scrambling in the red zone. He got some stitches and is now in the locker room, perhaps getting tested for a concussion. Kirk Cousins has come on.
* It's starting to look like a big day for injuries. Jermichael Finley is the latest to go down. He has a shoulder injury and his return is questionable.
* Take notice of Rashard Mendenhall's performance today. Here's a quote from Chris Wesseling, who is on that game for us today: "Mendenhall could be a difference-maker for Steelers. Head and shoulders above Redman; actually looks better than pre-injury last year."
* Matt Cassel was knocked out of the game with a possible concussion. Brady Quinn is on and providing an early spark.
* Dwayne Bowe owners are going to be sick. He just had a 15-yard touchdown called back when the refs flagged Dexter McCluster for a pick.
* Mike Wallace isn't hurt, he's just been really quiet. The Eagles are getting away with playing him really physical and he just missed a floater that could have gone for a TD.

* Brandon Jacobs (knee) will reportedly be inactive. It leaves the goal-line work for Frank Gore.
* Matt Forte (ankle) and Jonathan Stewart (toe) are ready to rock, as expected.
* Aaron Hernandez (ankle) is inactive, as expected. He is looking good for a Week 6 return, however.
* Brandon Bolden (knee) is active. His role is unclear in the Patriots' week-to-week gameplan.
* Rob Gronkowski (hip) is active. You can't sit him even if we know he's operating at less than 100 percent.
* In a stunner, Kenny Britt (ankle) is active. There's a good chance he'll play limited snaps though, so owners need to weigh options carefully.

* Russell Wilson looks much sharper early. The Panthers' defense will do that for you. He just had a perfect 56-yard bomb to Golden Tate called back by a holding penalty.
* Kenny Britt (ankle) did not start, but he's rotating in. Expect him to handle passing downs and red-zone work today.
* Red-zone usage had been a concern for Percy Harvin. Not today. The Vikings called his number on a Wildcat play from four yards out and he converted.
* The Broncos are using Champ Bailey on Brandon Lloyd early on. Not a great sign for Lloyd's prospects today.
* So far, Chris Johnson's Week 4 breakout looks like a fluke. In the first quarter against the Vikings, he rushed six times for eight yards and lost a back-breaking fumble.
* Something is going on with Jerome Simpson. He wasn't listed on the injury report, but the coaches watched him go through warmups before the game. He's now playing sparingly. Perhaps there was a pregame injury.
* UPDATES from the early games: Robert Griffin III has a "mild" concussion and the Bengals fear RB Bernard Scott tore an ACL.
* Not really sure why Kenny Britt (ankle) dressed for this game. He's hardly played.
* First-half carries for the Bills' backfield: CJ Spiller 7 and Fred Jackson 4. Strangely, neither has a catch. Things will get better for this timeshare when they're not facing the 49ers' elite defense.
* First-half carries for the Patriots' backfield: Stevan Ridley 13, Brandon Bolden 7, Danny Woodhead 4, Shane Vereen 1. In maddening fashion, Vereen's one carry was a one-yard TD plunge.
* It's only one game, but the takeaway is that Matt Hasselbeck is absolutely shot. He has no arm strength, is strangely staring down receivers and isn't mobile. Until Jake Locker (shoulder) gets back, this whole offense looks like it's going to struggle.
* Blaine Gabbert has not taken a step forward. He's still uncomfortable in the pocket and looks at the pass rush. Perhaps he just doesn't have "it." The Jags could be in the market for a QB early in the 2013 draft.
* The Panthers' goal-line sequence while down 16-10 with roughly five minutes left in the game: 1st down QB draw Cam Newton. 2nd down dive to DeAngelo Williams. Jonathan Stewart came in and ran an arrow route on third down, but the pass went short to Louis Murphy. Fourth down bootleg for Cam that he simply missed a wide open Ben Hartsock.
* Percy Harvin is slump proof because he's better at making defenders miss than anyone in the NFL. The Vikings know it and get him in space. Unstoppable.
* Stevan Ridley now has fumbles in back-to-back games and that's a concern. Remember that late last season, he got benched for fumbling.

Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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