The NFL really seemed like a battlefield on Sunday and among the casualties are two big names whose immediate absence will certainly change the fantasy landscape next week and beyond. How long we won't know until mid-week. But it's here where we kick off our Week 6 Scouting Notebook.
Antonio Gates(notes) and DeSean Jackson(notes) were the hottest players around. Gates is in a boot now with ankle and foot injuries. Jackson was KO'ed by a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit. Perhaps the penalty should be 15 yards and you are out as long as your victim is out.
I give up on the Chargers. What happened to all that talk about making Ryan Mathews(notes) a featured back and wanting to run the ball? Without Gates, what better time to unleash your rookie beast. And why is Mike Tolbert(notes) the goal-line back? Mathews isn't big enough at 6-foot-0, 218 pounds?
The Eagles fared much better without Jackson, whose concussion was described as "severe." Jeremy Maclin(notes) is a real playmaker. But for which Eagles QB? I've always believed in the old NFL maxim that if you have two QBs, you have none. Andy Reid says that Michael Vick(notes) is definitely his starter, which means that Kevin Kolb(notes) should officially have his job back by Tuesday given Reid's track record of flip-flopping this year. With the bye coming up in Week 8, Reid has an excuse to start Kolb again next week in Tennessee.
The Cowboys are the yards from scrimmage kings. They entered the week averaging 121 more yards per game than opponents and outgained the Vikings by 130. The formula is one point of differential for every 15 yards from scrimmage. But give up a kickoff return and throw a couple of picks and you lose no matter what.
Brett Favre(notes) has become the biggest NFL drama queen ever. The constant back and forth with retiring. The phony baloney "maybe I can't play this week" over his elbow tendonitis. Crawling around on all fours like he was just clobbered by Clubber Lang on a run of the mill hit. It's like he wants to be a hero more than he just wants to play. Very weird.
I always wondered why so many gravitate towards James Jones(notes) when Jordy Nelson(notes) seems ahead him in the Packers pecking order. Of course, I went out and got exactly zero Nelson shares last week. A mistake I will look to correct on Tuesday.
Brandon Jackson(notes) is so much better than John Kuhn(notes), whose weak work on the goal line almost cost Green Bay the game in regulation. Jackson has done all you can do the past two weeks to gain more action. But now rookie James Starks(notes) is eligible to return from the PUP list and I would not be surprised if he got significant action in the near future, either.
Brandon Marshall(notes) couldn't get both feet down (booth review overturned it right before halftime) and has trouble scoring TDs with just one touchdown every 14 catches for his career and one in 37 catches in '10.
Rams WR Danario Alexander(notes)? He has mismatch size at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds. But he's coming off a major knee injury that reportedly is not fully healed. I'm not one of those "exercise caution" guys. Deep leagues have crumbs right now and Alexander is set up pretty well, so take a shot. Caution should be exercised in determining whether to start him. I need to see more.
Steven Jackson is a man who runs hard and plays in pain and deserves to win. He will to finish his Rams career given that he's now in a division where no other team is set at QB.
Tom Brady(notes) really got hot once Danny Woodhead(notes) was featured. I still like BenJarvis Green-Ellis, too, for his goal-line and closer duties. But Woodhead is a big part of this offense, which will have to grind against everyone because none of their receivers other than tight end Aaron Hernandez(notes) can get downfield. Deion Branch(notes)? Yes, roster him but, no, don't start him next week in San Diego.
The Chiefs have 228 yards rushing and throw a bomb on 3rd-and-2 up by three with two minutes and change left. Todd Haley is part of the new breed of coaches from that Bill Belichick tree who really want to put their signature on wins. But there's a fine line between clever and stupid.
Hakeem Nicks(notes) is going to have to go through some growing pains now that he's a No. 1 receiver. One Sunday all of a sudden there's a corner in your face with a safety over the top. Nicks will be okay eventually. But we need him now.
Forgetting last week's outburst in Carolina, Matt Forte(notes) is a terrible runner at over 3.8 yards per carry for his career and never hitting 4.0 for a season. In 2009, other Bears halfbacks averaged 5.6 yards per carry. There's not a big enough sample to say for sure, I know, but maybe there should be.
I reflexively want to say that the Tim Tebow(notes) solution to the Broncos running woes (him in the wildcat) messed with Kyle Orton's(notes) rhythm. But the Jets, for all the big plays and penalties they've given up this year, are always plastered on to the opposing receiver and thus force great throws and great catches on most pass plays. Let's give it another week. But either way, Tebow is terrible news for Orton owners.
They have pageants for the ugliest dogs. If they had them for football games, Raiders-Niners would take home the crown.
Michael Salfino writes for the Wall Street Journal and is a regular contributor to Yahoo! Sports.