Adam Levitan

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Week 15 Live Blog

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Welcome to semifinal week.

A Rotoworld staffer is charting 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.

1PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Robert Griffin III could have done more damage to his knee by playing today. Therefore, he's not even active. Kirk Cousins will start and Rex Grossman is the backup.
* Michael Bush (ribs) is active as insurance behind recent workhorse Matt Forte.
* Roddy White (knee) is active and starting despite not practicing all week.
* Danny Amendola (foot) is a go as well. A lot of risk here as he's been susceptible to aggravation.
* Cecil Shorts (concussion) returns as a solid WR3.

FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Following an Eli Manning interception, the Falcons scored on a 16-yard drive. Not surprising. The surprise is that the drive consisted of four Michael Turner carries for 16 yards and a touchdown.
* Trent Richardson has been taking a lot of heat lately for his 3.51 YPC and laundry list of nagging injuries. It doesn't really matter because he's an absolute workhorse than plays well in the passing game and gets the goal-line work. He got pushed into the end zone from six yards out by his linemen for his 10th rushing touchdown of the season early on. It's the most rushing TDs by a rookie in Browns history.
* Really bad time for Lawrence Tynes to catch a case of the yips. He somehow yanked a 30-yarder wide today and missed a 36-yarder last week. Strange.
* Tony Gonzalez is amazing because he no longer gets open but still dominates. It's truly uncanny. He has defenders draped all over him but always seems to come up with the ball in the end zone. Strongest hands in the history of the league? He now has eight touchdowns, the most he's scored since his final year in Kansas City (2008).
* Through the first quarter, we've seen nothing new out of the Ravens under new OC Jim Caldwell. No hurry-up, no Ray Rice emphasis, no first downs. Ugly.
* Early candidate for play of the day: Knowshon Moreno just literally leaped over Ed Reed, who was nearly standing straight up. Unreal display of athleticism -- especially for a guy just one year removed from an ACL tear,
* With about 12 minutes left in the second quarter, Eric Decker was ruled down at the 3-inch line. The Broncos went with a split-I formation that included Knowshon Moreno, but the carry went to FB Jacob Hester. Bad beat for Moreno owners.
* Joe Haden isn't shadowing Pierre Garcon. Sheldon Brown did get beat by Leonard Hankerson for a long TD.
* I have no idea why the Colts gave Mewelde Moore a goal-line carry instead of Vick Ballard. But it won't happen again. Moore lost a fumble.
* Demaryius Thomas has been close to two long touchdowns. On the first one, he was wide open but Peyton Manning overthrew him. On the second one, Cary Williams tipped away a perfect throw.
* There's nothing physically wrong with Julio Jones. The Falcons have come out with a run-heavy gameplan and have had short fields thanks to Eli's picks. Unlucky so far.
* Mike Williams was nursing his wrist after making a tackle on a Josh Freeman interception. UPDATE: Williams returned in the third quarter.

SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* A predictably rough day for Torrey Smith just got worse. He went up high for a catch over shadow corner Champ Bailey, but came down hard on his hip and then the back of his head slammed into the turf. Smith was taken to the locker room for testing. UPDATE: Smith is done for the day with a concussion. He'll get owners a 1/14/0 line.
* Yeah, that Julio Jones guy is just fine. 40-yard TD catch and he makes it look easy. Unstoppable.
* Matt Forte is not having a good game. Missing holes, dancing way too much. Uncharacteristic performance.
* This Vick Ballard kid is impressive. Runs really, really hard and has a 100-yard day despite a brutal matchup. He's got a bright future and Donald Brown will be a free agent after the 2013 season.
* With Daniel Thomas nursing an undisclosed injury, Reggie Bush has been a workhorse. The bad news is that he's reverted back to a non-factor in the passing game again.
* Gotta say, Kirk Cousins looks really impressive. More mobile than I thought. Throws well on run. Comfortable in pocket, doesn't stare down receivers as he goes through his reads.
* The Giants got absolutely ripped by the Falcons. That meant little time of possession, red-zone chances or overall touches for David Wilson. Kregg Lumpkin was the two-minute drill back. For what it's worth, Wilson and Hakeem Nicks are strangely playing in garbage time.
* Tough day for Arian Foster. He had a 27-yard TD fourth quarter run called back by holding on G Wade Smith.
* Alfred Morris easily could have had three touchdowns today instead of two. The one Evan Royster stole was only because Morris was gassed. Remember this Morris season next time you say "it's not worth messing with a Shanahan running back."
* I'll have to watch the tape to see exactly what happened to Doug Martin, but it looks like the Saints just stacked the box and dared Josh Freeman to beat them. He responded with four interceptions, a fumble and no touchdowns.

4PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Brandon LaFell (toe) is active, but isn't a real fantasy option at less than 100 percent.
* Ronnie Brown (hamstring) is inactive. We're expecting a massive workload for Ryan Mathews.
* Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) is inactive. Tony Scheffler is the slot receiver, but this still helps him in the target category.
* Dez Bryant (finger) is active. He's the definition of high-risk, high-reward. Aggravation, decoy concerns are very reasonable. Still, I'm starting him where I have him.

OBSERVATIONS
* Sidney Rice's foot certainly looks healthy early as he hauls in a sideline completion to convert a third down.
* Dez Bryant is playing with his middle finger taped to his fractured index finger on his left hand. Dez's dominant hand is the left one.
* On a third-and-3 play, the Cardinals put two defensive backs on Calvin Johnson at the line of scrimmage. They are determined not to let Megatron beat them -- especially with the rest of the Lions' receiving corps so decimated.
* The Bills are focused on Marshawn Lynch. So on these zone-read plays, they're letting Russell Wilson get the edge. The QB has two rushing touchdowns already.
* DeAngelo Williams has yet another problem: Mike Tolbert, touchdown vulture.
* Richard Sherman is shadowing Stevie Johnson all over the field.
* Breaking news from Buffalo: When CJ Spiller gets the ball, good things happen for the Bills. He's simply too fast for defenses. Too bad it's probably too late for owners.
* Calvin Johnson has now been tackled inside the 2-yard line SIX times this year.
* Cue the Ryan Mathews haters, the numbers of which are growing by the day. He has a shoulder injury and is done for the day Yikes.
* The Raiders are getting a look at Terrelle Pryor. He's getting snaps in place of Carson Palmer. Interesting.
* Dez Bryant has the look of a decoy so far. He's playing nearly every snap, but has seen one target as Tony Romo peppers Miles Austin.
* No, Danario Alexander is not hurt. The Chargers offense is just putting in an inept performance for the ages. We knew that DX was going to start seeing more and more attention from defenses.



Adam Levitan is in his sixth 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.
Email :Adam Levitan



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