With Sunday's games in the books, here's a brief list of the most significant depth chart changes affecting fantasy leagues:
SAN FRANCISCO QB - RISING: Shaun Hill. FALLING: J.T. O'Sullivan. New coach Mike Singletary finally put O'Sullivan out of his misery Sunday, benching him after an interception returned for a touchdown in the second quarter. The 49ers have given up more sacks than any other team in the league, and O'Sullivan, who turned the ball over twice Sunday, leads the league in turnovers. San Francisco turned the game over to Shaun Hill, who played in only his fifth game in seven years in the NFL. Hill has a QB rating over 100 during his brief career, and he threw a touchdown pass to Jason Hill Sunday. He'll get an extra week to prepare for his first start of the season, Nov. 10 in Arizona.
ARIZONA WR - RISING: Anquan Boldin. FALLING: Steve Breaston. First of all, a healthy Boldin was in no danger of losing his starting job to Breaston. Second of all, Breaston will do just fine in the pass-happy Arizona offense, regardless of Boldin's status. That said, welcome back Anquan! Boldin missed two games with a head injury suffered in a brutal Week 4 hit, but with two touchdowns Sunday, it was almost as if he never left. He caught nine passes for 63 yards and added a 30-yard run for good measure. Breaston, who caught nine passes of his own Sunday, was an excellent fill-in while Boldin was out. However, now that the Cardinals are back to full strength, he'll go back to being a good third receiver, rather than a featured one.
DALLAS TE - RISING: Martellus Bennett. FALLING: Jason Witten. Witten leads all tight ends in receiving yards, so a lot of fantasy leagues are riding on the upcoming CT scan on his ribs. Although preliminary X-rays on the ribs showed no fractures, the Cowboys are playing it safe with Witten. Bennett caught three passes for 21 yards Sunday, and he caught a touchdown against the Rams on October 19, so as a one-game fill-in, you can do a lot worse. Tony Curtis will also see a bit more action if Witten misses any time.
NEW ENGLAND RB - RISING: Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. FALLING: Sammy Morris, Lamont Jordan, and Laurence Maroney. The Patriots running back corps went through so much turmoil in the last week that they ended up giving the job to the completely unknown Green-Ellis, and then old standby Faulk took it from him. Maroney was placed on the IR last Monday, effectively giving Sammy Morris the job for the rest of the season. Morris went on to suffer a knee injury that night, knocking him out of action until mid-November. Jordan has the bona fides to take over the job, but a calf injury has kept him out of action for three weeks now. The Patriots decided to give Sunday's start to Green-Ellis, who was on the practice squad as recently as two weeks ago. Green-Ellis did reach the end zone, but with just nine carries for 16 yards, he doesn't look like the answer either. Enter Kevin Faulk, who is in his tenth season with the Patriots. Faulk had 60 yards rushing and 47 yards receiving Sunday, and may have earned a Week 9 start with the effort. It's dangerous to be a New England running back these days, so watch out.
PHILADELPHIA WR - RISING: Kevin Curtis. FALLING: Reggie Brown. Curtis' long-awaited return from a sports hernia surgery happened to come at a time when Brown himself was injured. Curtis was understandably a bit rusty, but three catches for 45 yards isn't bad. Brown has missed the last two games with a groin injury and has only played in three games all year. With the emergence of DeSean Jackson and the healthy return of Curtis, the Eagles may take their time bringing Brown back.
BUFFALO WR - RISING: James Hardy. FALLING: Josh Reed. Reed suffered a strained Achilles in the second quarter Sunday, giving the big rookie Hardy a chance to shine. Hardy and Reed finished with identical stats - two catches for 19 yards - so Hardy statistically showed no improvement over Reed. However, Reed has been a bit of an afterthought in the Buffalo offense this year and hasn't scored a touchdown since 2006, so Hardy may see more opportunities soon even if Reed is healthy.
SEATTLE RB - RISING: Maurice Morris. FALLING: Julius Jones. Despite an easy victory over San Francisco, none of the top three Seahawk running backs did much on the ground. Morris, Jones, and T.J. Duckett combined for just 26 yards on 25 carries. In fact, the best Seattle running back on Sunday was easily Leonard Weaver, who rushed for 13 yards and turned two short passes into long touchdowns. While one can't expect Weaver to repeat those numbers again any time soon, Morris has slowly been working his way back into the top dog role in Seattle. Jones started Sunday but only had six carries, and he has declined in the number of carries he's received every game since Week 2. Meanwhile, Morris had 11 attempts, a season high. Seattle already wanted to have them share duties this year, but it's looking more and more like Morris will be the starter soon.
Article first appeared 10/27/08