With Sunday's games in the books, here's a brief list of the most significant depth chart changes affecting fantasy leagues:
CLEVELAND QB - RISING: Brady Quinn. FALLING: Derek Anderson. After a 37-27 loss to Baltimore in Week 9, the Browns decided they'd finally had enough with Anderson and turned the keys to the franchise over to Quinn. Despite a short week to prepare, Quinn didn't disappoint last Thursday, throwing for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Granted, it was against one of the worst defenses in the league, but it was still a promising debut. The Browns are now 3-6 and are not the playoff contenders they were last year. Quinn will likely be the starter from here on out.
DENVER RB - RISING: Peyton Hillis and P.J. Pope. FALLING: Ryan Torain, Selvin Young, Michael Pittman, and Andre Hall. What a mess. The Denver running back corps has been held together by duct tape all year. Torain was seen as the jewel of the unit, and when he finally returned to action last week, he tore his ACL. Pittman and Hall were already placed on the IR in the week leading up to Thursday's game, leaving the Broncos in the hands of Torain. Young, who clearly wasn't ready to play due to a groin injury, was forced into action and lasted only one play. Now only Hillis and Pope remain standing. Hillis is a fullback that has only received 11 carries all season, and Pope recently came off the practice squad. In other words, the Broncos are scraping the bottom of the barrel.
DETROIT QB - RISING: Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton. FALLING: Dan Orlovsky. The Lions signed Culpepper Tuesday, and by Sunday he was starting. The rust showed, and Stanton was in the game for good by the fourth quarter. Orlovsky has two fractures and a torn ligament in his thumb and probably won't be coming back anytime soon, so Culpepper and Stanton will fight for the job over the next few weeks.
ST. LOUIS RB - RISING: Antonio Pittman and Kenneth Darby. FALLING: Steven Jackson. Jackson missed Sunday's game with a thigh injury, and could miss at least one more. Despite reports during the week that Darby would get the start, coach Jim Haslett changed his mind at the last minute and gave the assignment to Pittman. The Rams lost 47-3, and Pittman had just 28 yards on 13 carries, so perhaps it wasn't the right move. Not that Darby would've made the difference, but he had 32 yards on just four carries. He could be in line for the start in Week 11.
PITTSBURGH RB - RISING: Mewelde Moore. FALLING: Willie Parker. Parker finally came back in Week 9 after missing four games, but the injury he sustained last week was even more serious. A torn labrum could finish his season, finally giving Moore the job all to himself. Moore scored twice on Sunday and now has six touchdowns on the season. Not bad for someone who entered the season as the third-string running back.
OAKLAND QB - RISING: Andrew Walter. FALLING: JaMarcus Russell. Russell was held out of Sunday's game with a knee injury, but considering how bad the Oakland offense looked last week it could have been his pride that was wounded. Walter wasn't a whole lot better Sunday - 14-for-32 for 143 yards, two interceptions, and three fumbles - so it's unlikely that he'll be back behind center next week.
KANSAS CITY RB - RISING: Dantrell Savage and Larry Johnson. FALLING: Jamaal Charles. With Johnson still suspended and Kolby Smith done for the season, Charles hoped to build on his 106-yard performance from a week ago. Instead, he aggravated an ankle injury and only lasted three carries. Savage has been used primarily as a return man this year, but he got a career-high 12 carries Sunday. Like the Broncos, the Chiefs are really reaching at this point to find someone who can help them at the position. Fortunately, Johnson should return to the lineup next week, so Savage's status as the top ball carrier will be short-lived.
BALTIMORE RB - RISING: Willis McGahee. FALLING: Ray Rice and Le'Ron McClain. As someone said on RotoWire's Sunday Live Blog, it's "funny how Ray Rice goes off last week and McGahee is suddenly healthy." While you can't count on McGahee's continued health, it does look like he had a little bit extra motivation Sunday. With 25 carries for 112 yards and two scores, he hasn't been better all season. Meanwhile, Rice and McClain combined for just 36 yards. Most importantly, McGahee's two touchdowns were from inside the five, meaning McClain's fantasy value as a goal-line vulture has taken a significant hit.
Article first appeared 11/10/08