Adam Levitan

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Week 8 Live Blog

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Welcome to Week 8, where a rash of big-name injuries have owners scrambling.

A Rotoworld staffer is watching every game today, keeping an eye on 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!

* Jordy Nelson (hamstring) is inactive. James Jones, Randall Cobb and Donald Driver will be the Packers' top-three wideouts. Driver is worth a look as a WR3/4.
* Trent Richardson (ribs) is active and starting. I'd be hard-pressed to sit him despite the risk of in-game aggravation and the Chargers' stout run defense. He's just too good.
* Donald Brown (knee) is active, but he'll come off the bench behind Vick Ballard. Expect a heavy rotation.
* Danny Amendola (clavicle) is inactive. He'll target Week 10 for his return.
* Brandon Lloyd (knee), Rob Gronkowski (hip) and Wes Welker (ankle) are all ready to go, as expected.
* Both Isaac Redman (ankle) and Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) are out. Jonathan Dwyer will start in a rain-soaked Pittsburgh.

* Early on, the Panthers are showing that expected "new look" in the running game. Jonathan Stewart started and ran between the tackles out of the I-formation on the first drive. He's getting the chance to carry the load, and the Panthers are fielding trade offers for DeAngelo Williams ahead of Tuesday's deadline.
* The Redskins are sticking with a two-tight end formation as their base. Both Logan Paulsen and Chris Cooley were in for their first play. In one-tight end sets, Paulsen is the man.
* The weather is already affecting things in Cleveland. The Chargers just passed on a 46-yard field goal and got stuffed on a fourth-and-one. Jackie Battle, not Ryan Mathews, was the one that got stoned. Perhaps Norv will turn to his best back -- obviously Mathews -- in that spot next time.
* So far, Brandon Lloyd is winning his battle with Janoris Jenkins. The rookie is really aggressive and Lloyd has the moves to take advantage of that. Lloyd's long-awaited breakout game could finally be here.
* Ryan Tannehill is down with a left quad/knee injury and is questionable to return. I'm not sure Matt Moore is much of a downgrade.
Trent Richardson looks REALLY good early on. He's running with power, shedding tacklers and getting all the early-down work. Guy is just too talented to bench anytime he starts.
Julio Jones hasn't gone off yet, mostly because he's seeing a ton of attention from defenses weekly. On the Falcons' first touchdown, they faked a WR screen to Jones and the entire Eagles' defense bit. That left Drew Davis (subbing for Harry Douglas) wide open for the score.
Matthew Stafford really likes Ryan Broyles. With Calvin Johnson drawing defenders in the red zone, Broyles found himself open and posted a 2/25/1 line in the first quarter.
* The Colts must have liked what they saw in Vick Ballard last week. He got all the running back snaps on the first drive. Donald Brown was nowhere to be seen.
* Oh no. Ryan Mathews made a strong cut upfield near the sideline, but took a hit from the blindside and the ball came right out. The Browns pounced on it. Mathews walked off the field hanging his head. Remember that it was fumbles that caused coach Norv Turner to reduce Mathews' role earlier this season. UPDATE: Ryan Mathews has not been benched. The Chargers' D forced a 3-and-out, and then Mathews was in there for the next series. Owners can safely breathe a sigh of relief.
This is the reason we were so high on Julio Jones coming into the season. He just ran right past Nnamdi Asomugha for a 63-yard touchdown. Amazing talent, unstoppable when he gets one-on-one -- no matter who is in coverage.
* I'm pretty high on Titus Young in the wake of the Burleson injury. Playing every down, defense all over Calvin, unique speed. Today is not a fluke.
* Patriots RB snaps through three drives: Stevan Ridley 12, Danny Woodhead 8, Shane Vereen 7. Vereen got the goal-line plunge. UPDATE: On a later goal-line play, it was Ridley that converted. No rhyme or reason here.
* Kenny Britt has been called for two offensive pass interference penalties -- one on a long 43-yard gain and one on a 22-yard touchdown. Both look like reasonable calls, but still really sickening for owners.

* Antonio Gates and Calvin Johnson are both active, healthy and playing nearly every snap. Owners simply need to stay the course. Gates is dealing with bad weather and a questionable decision-making from Philip Rivers. Johnson continues to see double- and triple-teams. Matthew Stafford is looking elsewhere for now. 
* Ryan Mathews lost some two-minute drill snaps to Ronnie Brown at the end of the first half, but he started the second half. Again, doesn't look like the first-half fumble will be held against Mathews.
* Philip Rivers and Robert Meachem owners are going to be sick. He was wide open for a 51-yard touchdown without a defender within 10 yards and dropped it. One of the worst drops I've ever seen.
* Jonathan Stewart hasn't been good today, but he's certainly been the feature back -- just as the Panthers promised. With four minutes left in the third quarter, Stewart has 18 touches and DeAngelo Williams has seven. Against softer defenses than Chicago's Stewart will explode.
* DeSean Jackson went down a little awkwardly at the end of a 32-yard reception. It looked like a left calf or Achilles' injury and he ended up going to the locker room. Riley Cooper has come on. UPDATE: Jackson got X-rays on his left ankle and returned to the field -- even though the Eagles are down 30-10 in the fourth quarter.
* Even with Jordy Nelson out, Donald Driver has seen just two targets. One did go for a touchdown.
* It's worth noting that Delone Carter is operating as the Colts' clear short-yardage/goal-line back today. Three-headed backfield monster for Colts.
* We're watching a possible Mikel Leshoure injury closely. He hasn't played much in the second half, leaving Joique Bell as the feature back and Kevin Smith as the change-of-pace option.
* Cecil Shorts is a playmaker for the Jaguars. He's supposed to lose his starting job when Laurent Robinson (concussions) returns, but the Jags are so desperate for playmakers. Reducing Shorts' snaps would be a mistake.
* Calvin Johnson with a bad drop in the end zone deep in the fourth quarter. Not his day.
* So much for James Starks taking some reps away from an unimpressive Alex Green. With two minutes left, Green has 12 carries (for a pathetic 51 yards) and Starks has one carry.

* Editor's Note: Interested in seeing how your guys played. Check out the day's box scores here.

* Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) is expected to play. UPDATE: Bradshaw is indeed active. With a good game today, owners should be trying to sell high. This foot issue isn't going away.
* Also, in the Sunday Night Football Game: Jimmy Graham (ankle) has made the trip to Denver and remains a true game-time decision. Considering his talent level, I'd add backup David Thomas and wait on Graham. He's worth it.
* Felix Jones (knee, neck) is active and starting. If I own him, I'm excited about starting him despite injury history. Big play waiting to happen.

* Note that there are only two 4pm games once again this week. In Weeks 9 and 10, there are three late games.
* Dez Bryant is matched up with Corey Webster. Webster's play has been down this year, but he seems to be in Dez's head early. They're jawing.
* Tony Romo and Dez Bryant just can't seem to get on same page. Romo throws pick, goes to Dez, looks like Dez ran a bad route -- again. Sound familiar?
* Note the rare first-quarter carry for David Wilson. It's another sign that the Giants are trying to take it easy with Ahmad Bradshaw's foot.
* Looks like Brady Quinn might have a concussion. Matt Cassel has come on. Notice any difference? I didn't think so.
* The Chiefs appear to realize that they were running Jamaal Charles into the ground. With Peyton Hillis' ankle now healthy, Charles is getting more snaps off. In the long term, it's a good thing for Charles' owners. He wasn't going to last the season at 30+ touches per game.
* Darren McFadden is not hurt. In fact, he's running hard -- there just aren't any holes. It's a season-long problem. He did have a long screen pass called back by penalty.
* Yes, Jamaal Charles' lack of usage is strange. Perhaps the Chiefs have one eye on their Thursday game in Week 9. I did not see any injury at all to Charles.
* Felix Jones is going to hear about that fumble. Fourth quarter, Cowboys with a two-point deficit and he's carrying the ball so loose that it comes out when he runs into his own man. Yikes. Make no mistake that this is DeMarco Murray's job once healthy.

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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