With Sunday's games in the books, here's a brief list of the most significant depth chart changes affecting fantasy leagues:
NEW YORK GIANTS WR - RISING: Domenik Hixon. FALLING: Plaxico Burress. Burress arrived at a police station Monday, where he is expected to be charged after accidentally shooting himself in the right thigh at a Manhattan nightclub over the weekend. He plans to plead not guilty to a weapon possession charge during his Monday afternoon court appearance. A conviction on the charge could result in at least 3 1/2 years in prison. Burress' lawyer said that the minor injury he sustained in the shooting wouldn't be enough to keep him sidelined if he were allowed to play, but fantasy owners should operate under the assumption that Burress likely won't help them this season and anything they get from him down the stretch would be a bonus. Domenik Hixon caught five passes for 71 yards and will take over in Burress' role as a large, downfield target for quarterback Eli Manning.
BUFFALO QB - RISING: J.P. Losman. FALLING: Trent Edwards. A groin injury knocked Edwards out of Sunday's loss to San Francisco, but he hadn't done a whole lot before leaving the game. Losman wasn't much better, completing 11 passes in 17 attempts for 93 yards. Edwards has been hot and cold this year, and with the Bills running out of time to make the playoffs, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him holding a clipboard against the Dolphins next week, especially if he's not 100 percent.
NEW ORLEANS RB - RISING: Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas. FALLING: Deuce McAllister. Bush came back Sunday after a four-game absence, and while he was ineffective in the ground game, he was targeted a whopping 10 times by Drew Brees. Thomas joined him in the starting lineup, leading the Saints in rushing attempts and yards. McAllister, meanwhile, is facing a potential suspension for using banned substances. If Thomas and Bush are healthy, McAllister probably won't get enough playing time to contribute to fantasy rosters down the stretch.
CLEVELAND QB - RISING: Ken Dorsey. FALLING: Derek Anderson. It's been a tough year for Anderson. Coming off an unexpected All-Pro 2007 season, he's been below average all year, finally losing his job to Brady Quinn three weeks ago. Quinn didn't last long before his season was over with a broken finger. Anderson came back into the starting lineup, but an MCL injury suffered on Sunday might have ended his season as well. Dorsey, who started 10 games for the 49ers in 2004-2005, has already been named the starter next week, but don't be surprised to see the Browns sign a free agent to push him for playing time.
GREEN BAY RB - RISING: Brandon Jackson. FALLING: Ryan Grant. For the second time in three games, the unheralded Jackson topped 10 carries and 50 yards rushing. The difference between Sunday and two weeks ago was twofold: 1) Jackson earned the carries by playing well; and 2) Grant left the game with a thumb injury. While Grant thinks the injury was not serious, a swollen thumb isn't the best thing for a running back. Now that the Packers know that Jackson can tote the ball if needed (and he's up to 5.5 YPC this year), he could receive even more carries next week.
BALTIMORE RB - RISING: Le'Ron McClain. FALLING: Willis McGahee. I give up. The Ravens have been winning games behind three running backs this year, but week-to-week it's almost impossible to know who is going to step up. With 86 yards Sunday and 88 yards last week, it looks like McClain has taken over the top spot, especially since McGahee didn't play at all Sunday. Coach John Harbaugh cryptically said that the benching was "strategic" and that McGahee is "going to be a big part of December." Then again, Ray Rice could be the starter next week and it wouldn't shock me.
SEATTLE RB - RISING: Julius Jones. FALLING: Maurice Morris. Jones was back in the starting lineup on Thanksgiving, but there's still nothing about the Seattle running backs that is very interesting. He's started ten games this year and has 674 yards rushing and 4.4 YPC. On the other hand, he has only two touchdowns and isn't much involved in the passing game. Morris has started the other two games, including a 103-yard outburst in Week 12, but with just 288 yards rushing and 91 yards receiving, he's not much of a fantasy option.
Article first appeared 12/1/08