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Pennsylvania Pain

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Last week's live chat was a bust because the site that hosts the session crashed and tragically left thousands of Rotoworld readers with no way to kill two hours at work on a Thursday afternoon. I'm told that things are now running smoothly, so as always today's chat will begin at 3:00 p.m. ET. Ask me questions about Brady Quinn and Tiffany Simons or do actual work at your desk, the choice is yours.

    While a technological failure drags down my once-dominant weekly live-chatting stats, here are some notes from around football .

    * Despite leaving Week 3 with a hand injury after being sacked eight times by the Eagles, Ben Roethlisberger is absent from the Steelers' injury report. However, a very tough matchup versus Baltimore makes him far from a great fantasy option Monday night. Through two games the Ravens have limited Carson Palmer and Derek Anderson to a putrid 26.6 quarterback rating and 180 combined yards.

    Toss in Willie Parker's sprained knee and Roethlisberger may again struggle to remain upright, making him a poor QB1 option. Parker was quickly ruled out for Monday night and reports out of Pittsburgh indicate that he'll likely also sit out Week 5 against the Jaguars. He'd then get a third straight week off thanks to the Steelers' bye, before a potential return against the Bengals on October 19.

    Rashard Mendenhall will start in Parker's place and coach Mike Tomlin indicated Wednesday that he'll give the rookie most of the workload rather than go with a committee approach. Mewelde Moore will still take third downs and Carey Davis may steal short-yardage chances, but Mendenhall should see 15-18 touches per game. Of course, against the Ravens and Jaguars his value will still be limited.

    * NFL.com reports that Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb may not practice at all this week, which would likely make them both game-time decisions Sunday against the Bears. McNabb suffered a deep chest contusion in Week 3, missing the opening series of the second half, but returned to finish the game and seems more likely than Westbrook to suit up.

    Westbrook sat out the second half Sunday and initially expressed concern that he had the dreaded high-ankle sprain, but said Wednesday that he's "optimistic" about playing this week and was spotted walking without an obvious limp. If he's unavailable the Eagles may get pass happy rather than trust Correll Buckhalter with a Westbrook-like workload against a tough defense, giving McNabb a boost.

    * Steven Jackson was limited in practice Wednesday with a sore groin, which is perhaps a bigger concern that usual because he missed time last season with a torn groin. When asked about Jackson's status for Week 4 coach Scott Linehan didn't seem very concerned, so barring a setback he's a safe play despite falling to mid-level RB1 status thanks to a tough matchup against the Bills.

    Meanwhile, one day after benching Marc Bulger and installing 38-year-old Trent Green as the starter, the Rams slid rookie Donnie Avery into the starting lineup and inexplicably cut starting cornerback Fakhir Brown. Lack of polish and an ugly quarterback situation keep Avery from having much short-term value, but the first receiver drafted this year is an intriguing speedster and may be force fed targets.

    * Amid reports that police have been called to Plaxico Buress' home twice during the past three months for domestic disputes, the Giants handed him a one-game suspension Wednesday for insubordination. Buress reportedly failed to show up for a team meeting Monday and didn't answer his phone Tuesday, so he'll lose a pair of paychecks while sitting out Week 5 following the Giants' bye.

    Two-Minute Drill: Coach Romeo Crennel is sticking with Derek Anderson for one more game, but as discussed yesterday in this space he'll be on a short leash with Brady Quinn waiting in the wings . Ryan Grant is absent from the Packers' injury report, setting him up for his first full workload of the season . Matt Millen was mercifully fired Wednesday after going 31-84 in his laughably bad tenure as Lions general manager . Earlier this week coach Mike Shanahan called Michael Pittman "our workhorse" despite giving him just 20 touches through three games, further confusing fantasy nation . Dwayne Bowe leads the league in targets, so his numbers will rise once he starts converting more than 44 percent of them into catches . On a related note, coach Herm Edwards finally came to his senses Wednesday, naming Damon Huard the Week 4 starter over Tyler Thigpen . For the second straight week Crennel has talked about wanting to increase Jerome Harrison's role, but so far he has a grand total of three touches . Roy Williams said Wednesday that he's "fed up" and the Lions "are cursed" before wondering if they're "going to trade me in the middle of the season like Chris Chambers."

    Red Zone:LaDainian Tomlinson (toe) and Antonio Gates (hip) skipped practice Wednesday, but there's no indication that either will miss Week 4 . Coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that Kevin Curtis (hernia) could return in a limited role as soon as Sunday . Justin Fargas (groin) missed practice Wednesday, making it likely that Michael Bush will once again split time with Darren McFadden . Jerry Porter (hamstring) practiced fully Wednesday and could make his Jaguars debut in a limited role this week . Lance Moore and Devery Henderson are slated to start Sunday if David Patten (groin) can't play, but Robert Meachem will also see extended action . Brodie Croyle (shoulder) resumed throwing Wednesday and is still aiming for a Week 7 return . Joey Galloway (foot) wasn't able to practice Wednesday, making it unlikely that he'll return this week . Roscoe Parrish will miss 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury, costing the Bills an outstanding return man and potentially giving James Hardy more snaps offensively . Donte' Stallworth (quadriceps) increased his participation in practice this week and is expected to make his Browns debut Sunday.