Adam Levitan

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Week 16 Live Blog

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Welcome to Super Bowl week. Congratulations on making it this far.

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 will play with a bulky brace on his right knee. Still, I'm never sitting him in this matchup.
* Good news for DeAngelo Williams: Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is inactive.
* With Kendall Wright (rib) inactive, Kenny Britt and Nate Washington will see a boost in targets. Damian Williams will be the No. 3 wideout.
* Alex Green (concussion) is inactive. Ryan Grant will start, but I can't trust a player of his talent level that doesn't play in the passing game. DuJuan Harris and John Kuhn will be mixed in also.
* Yes, LeSean McCoy is active. I'd expect a 60-40 split with Bryce Brown.
* Brian Hartline (back) is a go, but he's facing a red-hot shadow corner in Stephon Gilmore.

FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* LeSean McCoy doesn't look limited early. The first play of the game was a quick pitch to him. The second play was a successful screen. Then Bryce Brown was in for plays three and four.
* We have our first bad beat of the day. DeAngelo Williams had a 76-yard touchdown run called back by holding on Steve Smith.
* When the Bengals and Steelers last met, Ike Taylor held AJ Green to one catch. This week, the Steelers' secondary (including Taylor) is so banged up that they're using Cortez Allen on Green. Look out.
* Yes, Stevan Ridley is starting. A week full of hand-wringing over "fumblegate" was for naught.
* Robert Griffin III looks fine when standing and planting in the pocket, but running is a problem. On a zone-read play, he kept it and very gingerly ran for the sideline. Don't expect a lot of rushing yards today.
* Through two drives, the Packers have given Ryan Grant three carries and DuJuan Harris three carries. As usual, John Kuhn is playing on third downs.
* Carson Palmer is hurt and headed to the locker room. He took an illegal shot from Panthers DE Greg Hardy right in his back and hurt his ribs. Matt Leinart has come on. Bad news for the entire Raiders' offense.
* Looking to 2013, I love Jake Locker's skill set. He runs at an elite level, has a monster arm and good weapons. The problem is that he get uncomfortable in the pocket with the slightest bit of pressure. He panics, rushes and makes inaccurate throws. Meanwhile, less-heralded rookie Nick Foles is calm and collected in the face of a rush.
* Chris Johnson sustained a right ankle injury in the first quarter. His return is questionable. Jamie Harper has come on. UPDATE: Johnson returned after missing roughly one series.
* Greg Zuerlein got all the acclaim and love early this season, but he's been the second-best rookie kicker in the NFL this year. Blair Walsh is now an absurd 9-of-9 on field goals of 50+ this season. Mind-boggling.
* I can't wait to start thinking about 2013 drafts. To me, Calvin, Dez, Julio Jones and AJ Green are all worthy of first-round consideration at wideout. Can't remember last time I thought more than one wideout was worth a first-round pick.
* No, Arian Foster is not hurt. He's completely healthy but had eight carries for 12 yards and lost a fumble in the first half. Credit the Vikings. Their defense is flying around and Foster hasn't seen a seam.
* Wait, you mean CJ Spiller is over 100 yards from scrimmage in the first half? No way! No one could have seen that coming, Chan!
* First-half RB snaps for the Patriots, courtesy of Mike Reiss: Danny Woodhead 16, Stevan Ridley 15, Brandon Bolden 7, Shane Vereen 1. The Pats surprisingly fell behind the Jags, leading to Woodhead coming in and giving them his usual spark.

SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Carson Palmer's X-rays showed no rib fracture, but he's still done for the day. Interesting that Leinart, not Terrelle Pryor, is getting the developmental work.
* Randall Cobb rolled his ankle in the third quarter. He walked to the locker room under his own power. With the game essentially over, don't be surprised if he's done for the day.
* Jimmy Graham has been plagued by drops all season long. The only explanation is that the wrist issue is more serious than he's let on. He'll have a ton of bounce-back appeal next year.
* Arian Foster is ill. He left in the third quarter and is questionable to return. Ben Tate has handled the last two possessions. Big, tough pill to swallow for Foster owners.
* More strange happenings in Houston. Not only did the Vikings dominate the Texans all day, but now Toby Gerhart got a goal-line carry instead of Adrian Peterson. No idea why.
* The Colts are going to go back during the offseason and realize who inefficient Donnie Avery has been all year. Let the TY Hilton hype train begin. All aboard.
* Real good sign for Danario Alexander that he was able to get some work done on Antonio Cromartie today. He's the real deal despite the Week 15 dud that sent many of us packing.
* Heath Miller sustained a knee sprain in the fourth quarter and is done for the day.

4PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Ahmad Bradshaw (knee) is active. I think the Giants will try to ride him, but I'm not sure they'll be able to. He can't be close to 100 percent.
* Torrey Smith (concussion) has gotten full clearance and is a go in a very favorable matchup with the Giants' slowish secondary that will be without Kenny Phillips (knee)

OBSERVATIONS
* Joe Haden is not shadowing Demaryius Thomas. The Browns think Sheldon Brown can still play. Thomas showed them he can't.
* Ahmad Bradshaw is playing the majority of snaps ahead of David Wilson, as expected. And if the Giants -- who are down 7-0 -- fall behind bigger, Bradshaw will certainly play more. He's the pass protector.
* Torrey Smith is destroying Corey Webster. He's not even doing it with crisp, smooth moves. Smith is just faster and better.
* One factor lost in all the Dennis Pitta hype this week was that Ed Dickson (knee) is back. Pitta is not playing every snap -- not even on passing downs.
* The Ravens' offense certainly has some new plays under Jim Caldwell. One was a crossing route out of the backfield for Ray Rice that went for a touchdown.
* Owners that spot-started the Lions D/ST last week because they were playing the Cardinals are feeling sick today. The Bears did to Ryan Lindley what the Lions should have and now Brian Hoyer is in.
* Matt Forte actually converted a goal-line carry early on today. But it's not all good news as he left in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Forte's ankles have been an issue all year long -- and Michael Bush is on IR.
* No, Trent Richardson isn't hurt. But the Browns predictably just can't move the ball against the ferocious Denver defense. And now they're down 31-6.



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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