With Sunday's games in the books, here's a brief list of the most significant depth chart changes affecting fantasy leagues:
DALLAS QB - RISING: Brad Johnson. FALLING: Tony Romo. With the news out of Big D last Monday that Romo had a broken pinkie on his throwing hand and would miss a month, fantasy leaguers went rushing to pick up the veteran Johnson. Romo healed fast and was actually available to play Sunday, and considering how bad Johnson was in a loss to the Rams, he probably should have. Johnson could get another start or two, but his performance against St. Louis might cause the Cowboys to bring back Romo before he's 100 percent.
NEW ORLEANS RB - RISING: Deuce McAllister. FALLING: Reggie Bush. Bush has been a better fantasy performer than McAllister this year, but the two running backs had been more or less splitting carries over the last three games. However, Bush is going to have his knee scoped Monday and could miss three or four weeks. Though McAllister will no longer have to share the load with Bush, Pierre Thomas and Aaron Stecker are still around to get the ball in short yardage situations.
ST. LOUIS RB - RISING: Travis Minor and Antonio Pittman. FALLING: Steven Jackson. Jackson was outstanding Sunday, finishing with 160 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, he suffered a thigh injury late in the game and will have an MRI Monday. Jackson is downplaying the injury, so hopefully it will ultimately have no effect on the fantasy landscape, but if Jackson were to miss any time, Minor might be the one to step into Jackson's shoes. Pittman has been out a month, but he's nearly ready to return. It could be perfect timing for him.
NEW ORLEANS WR - RISING: Marques Colston. FALLING: David Patten. Sunday wasn't one of Colston's better days in the NFL - he dropped two passes and didn't catch any in a 30-7 loss to Carolina - but just being back on the field was victory enough. Colston suffered a torn ligament in his thumb during the opener, and Patten was expected to be the Saint most likely to benefit from his absence. Instead, Patten was passed up by Lance Moore, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem and has now missed three straight games with a strained groin. Now that Colston is back, Patten's fantasy value drops down to zero.
CINCINNATI RB - RISING: Cedric Benson. FALLING: Chris Perry. After a Week 6 loss to the Jets, Cincinnati had finally seen enough of Perry, who only gained 14 yards on 11 carries. They gave the ball to Benson, who was signed just three weeks ago, and although he gained just 52 yards on 14 carries, he had his moments. Perry did not get a single touch Sunday, so the job is Benson's until further notice.
DALLAS WR - RISING: Roy Williams. FALLING: Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin, and Sam Hurd. Despite decent depth at wide receiver and looking like a mess elsewhere, the Cowboys acquired Williams from the Lions for three draft picks, knocking Crayton and Austin down a peg in the pecking order. Austin had been an emerging fantasy player as a deep threat with three touchdowns on the year, and Crayton had been adequate playing opposite Terrell Owens. Dallas made room for Williams by placing Hurd on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
DETROIT WR - RISING: Shaun McDonald and Mike Furrey. With Williams gone to Dallas, someone will have to step up in Detroit, and although McDonald was the starter alongside Calvin Johnson, it's Furrey who showed nice chemistry with quarterback Dan Orlovsky Sunday. Furrey caught six passes for 89 yards while McDonald was shut out. In fact, only two other completions even went to wide receivers the whole game.
NEW ORLEANS TE - RISING: Jeremy Shockey. FALLING: Mark Campbell and Billy Miller. Shockey is already talking about skipping next week's game in London, but he caught five passes for 50 yards in his return from a three-game absence due to a sports hernia. Campbell and Miller filled in nicely while Shockey was sidelined, but even in the pass-happy New Orleans offense, three tight ends are probably one too many.
SEATTLE QB - RISING: Seneca Wallace. FALLING: Charlie Frye. Frye was so bad last week that the Seahawks had no choice but to go to Wallace against the Bucs on Sunday. The results for Wallace were similar: 12-for-23 for just 73 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Matt Hasselbeck can't get back soon enough.
KANSAS CITY RB - RISING: Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles. FALLING: Larry Johnson. Johnson missed Sunday's game due to violating team rules, but he seems to be in a bit of legal trouble as well and could face discipline from the league. Smith ran for just 20 yards on 10 carries and appears to be ahead of Charles right now, but if Johnson is out for any longer, the Chiefs may have no choice but to give Charles a shot.
KANSAS CITY QB - RISING: Tyler Thigpen. FALLING: Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard. Speaking of the Chiefs, this week's game of musical quarterbacks saw three different players attempt 10 or more passes - and only one was standing by game's end. Croyle, who was returning to the starting lineup after missing the last four games with a shoulder injury, sprained his knee, effectively ending his season. Huard, as usual, was mediocre in relief, but he left the game with a hand injury in the fourth quarter. Thigpen finished up the loss and ran for a touchdown, but he's probably not the long term answer behind center. Still, he's the only healthy quarterback on the roster with any experience.
OAKLAND WR - RISING: Chaz Schilens. FALLING: Ronald Curry. Anyone who took a chance on Curry this year probably dropped him long ago. This week, the Raiders followed suit by demoting Curry to second string, and promoting the unheralded Schilens. The rookie had just three catches before joining the starting lineup, adding two Sunday, but he should become more involved with the offense as he gets more comfortable with the new role.
Article first appeared 10/20/08