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Depth Chart Watch: This Week's NFL Job Battles

Kenn Ruby

Kenn Ruby

Kenn has been writing and editing for RotoWire since 2003. Though he attended Northwestern with the co-founders of RotoWire, he is not considered a made member of the RotoWire Northwestern mafia, as he can't trace back all of his ancestors to Dan Okrent.

BILLS WR: Donald Jones was spotted on crutches after Sunday's game, and according to coach Chan Gailey, could be out for "a while" with an ankle injury. The Bills already lost Roscoe Parrish a few weeks ago, and though Steve Johnson and David Nelson still remain in the starting lineup, Buffalo might be looking for another receiver. Hey, Terrell Owens is available. How'd that work out for Buffalo last time? In all seriousness, Naaman Roosevelt, who caught five passes for 41 yards Sunday, appears to be next in line.

BRONCOS QB:
Kyle Orton got off to such an awful start Sunday that the Broncos had no choice but to turn to Tim Tebow, who nearly brought Denver back from a 26-10 deficit in the fourth quarter. Tebow threw for one touchdown and scored another on the ground as the Denver faithful appear to finally have the player it wants behind center. Orton has kind of gotten a raw deal, but there's no denying that he was bad Sunday. With the Broncos at 1-4 and sinking fast, there's really no reason not to make the switch. Expect a lot of intrigue in the Mile High City during the week 6 bye.

BUCCANEERS RB:
LeGarrette Blount left Sunday's game with a knee injury, finishing with just 10 carries for 34 yards. The Buccaneers were already getting blown out when he left the game, so they might have been inclined to pull him at any sort of instance of injury. If the injury is serious, be ready to grab Earnest Graham as soon as possible.

CHARGERS RB:
As Ryan Mathews continues his rise in the fantasy rankings (he had 125 rushing yards Sunday), Mike Tolbert left Sunday's game with a concussion and was more or less replaced by Jacob Hester. Mathews has taken touches away from Tolbert for weeks, but Tolbert still had some value in deeper in leagues. Perhaps no more. However, a bye week comes at a good time for Tolbert, and with Mathews a bit dinged up himself (he briefly left Sunday's game with a calf injury and was spotted after the game on crutches), it might be a couple of weeks before we see how everything shakes out.

CHIEFS RB:
The Chiefs have been trying to fill Jamaal Charles' void for a few weeks now, but thanks to a date with the winless Colts, may have found the answer in Jackie Battle, who rumbled for 119 yards on just 19 carries Sunday. The starter Thomas Jones wasn't bad either, as he went 10-for-55, but Dexter McCluster gained just eight yards on four attempts. Don't be surprised to see Battle become the workhorse in coming weeks.

COLTS RB:
When Joseph Addai left Sunday's game with his inevitable hamstring injury, Donald Brown and Delone Carter took over. Brown looked much better, gained 38 yards on just eight carries, but Carter had 12 carries, including a three-yard score. Carter gained just 22 yards on the ground, however, so his hold on his spot on the depth chart could be tenuous. Expect the duo to split carries fairly evenly as long as Addai is out.

DOLPHINS QB:
Chad Henne's certainly done for the year, but his Dolphins career might be over, as well. Given how lackluster that career his been, there might not be a lot of teams lined up to take a chance on him when he returns in 2012. Matt Moore takes over as the new starter, while Sage Rosenfels, who accepted the job offer that David Garrard and Jake Delhomme declined, will back him up.

49ERS WR:
Josh Morgan was nearly in the end zone for a late and meaningless touchdown Sunday when he fractured his ankle on a tough hit. It's not clear how long he'll be out, but with Braylon Edwards also on the shelf and Michael Crabtree usually hurt, the 49ers are pretty thin at wideout. Expect Ted Ginn or Kyle Williams to get the start opposite Crabtree in Week 6.

PACKERS RB:
Even with Ryan Grant back after missing a game with a bruised kidney, it was once again the Aaron Rodgers Show in Green Bay. James Starks was the lead ball carrier for the Packers with 12 carries for 40 yards, while Grant had just seven carries for 18 yards, but the Packers and Rodgers continued their passing ways, making the Green Bay running game an afterthought. As long as both running backs are healthy and Rodgers wants to throw 35 or 40 passes a game, neither running back will be worth much this year.

PATRIOTS TE:
Aaron Hernandez is back as one head of the two-headed monster in New England, getting a team-high nine targets in a 30-21 victory over the Jets. He and Rob Gronkowski combined for nine catches for 87 yards. Another day at the office.

SAINTS RB:
What is going on in New Orleans? The Saints appear to have so many good options at running back that they turn to Jed Collins when they need a score? For the second week in a row, Collins scored on a one-yarder (this time on a pass from Drew Brees) rather than options like Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Darren Sproles. OK, perhaps we're being unfair, as Ingram and Thomas each scored as well, but it still seems strange that with all of New Orleans' weapons Collins gets his number called at all. Meanwhile Sproles, the only one of the quartet to not reach the end zone, surprisingly led the Saints with 11 carries for 51 yards Sunday. Neither Thomas nor Ingram were very effective Sunday, and given Sproles' value in PPR leagues not to mention leagues that count return yards he might just be the most valuable New Orleans running back at the moment.

SEAHAWKS QB:
Tarvaris Jackson left Sunday's game with a strained pectoral and was replaced by Charlie Whitehurst in the third quarter. Whitehurst played well, and the Seahawks outscored the Giants 22-11 the rest of the way, but with a bye coming up, that might be all he gets to play.

SEAHAWKS WR:
Mike Williams missed Sunday's game with a concussion, and with a bye week coming up, that should be all he'll miss, but Doug Baldwin's monster game might be enough to make Williams a reserve once he's healthy. Baldwin caught eight passes for 136 yards and scored a big touchdown late in the game. He now has three games of 80 or more receiving yards this year and is getting more and more active in the offense. Ben Obomanu was no slouch either on Sunday, catching six passes (including an 11-yard TD) for 51 yards. With Sidney Rice now healthy, it's possible that suddenly Seattle now has a bit of depth at the position.

SEAHAWKS TE:
Zach Miller missed some practice last week with knee and ankle injuries, but he gutted it out and started Sunday. Unfortunately, he left the game with a head injury before catching a pass. The tight end does not appear to be a big part of the Seattle offense this year anyway, but with John Carlson already out for the year, the Seahawks might turn next to third stringer Anthony McCoy.

STEELERS RB:
Although Rashard Mendenhall was in uniform Sunday, he was only supposed to be used in case of emergency, which was obviously not necessary. Isaac Redman started and was a popular waiver pick this week, but he had just 49 yards on 15 carries before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury. No matter, since the unheralded Jonathan Dwyer exploded for 107 yards (76 coming on one second-quarter scamper) on just 11 carries. Dwyer may have earned more playing time with the performance, but Mendenhall should be back very soon

TEXANS WR:
Andre Johnson should miss two or three games after having a procedure performed on his hamstring, so Sunday was yet another opportunity for Jacoby Jones to show that he belongs in a starting lineup. Matt Schaub did his part, targeting Jones 11 times. While Jones can't be blamed for everything that went wrong, the fact that he only caught one pass is pretty shocking. He's obviously no Andre Johnson. Meanwhile, Kevin Walter and tight ends Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen took advantage of their extra opportunities. Walter caught five passes for 81 yards, Daniels was seven for 89 and Dreessen was five for 112. Walter and Dreessen each scored as well.

TITANS RB:
Chris Johnson's hamstring tightened up late in Saturday's loss to the Steelers, and with Tennessee trailing big, the Titans didn't want to chance it with their star. With a bye this week, chances are that Johnson will be OK the next time his team takes the field. If not, Javon Ringer, who played the entire fourth quarter Sunday, will start.

TITANS TE:
Did you know that Craig Stevens is the starting tight end for Tennessee now? I didn't. After catching exactly one pass in each of the first four games of the season, he was shut out Sunday when he joined the starting lineup. Jared Cook starting or not is still the only Titans tight end to own, and after catching four passes for 59 yards Sunday, he's showing some signs of life.

VIKINGS WR:
With Bernard Berrian inactive due to disciplinary reasons, Devin Aromashadu saw a little bit more action than usual. Aromashadu was targeted five times and caught two passes for 81 yards. Michael Jenkins was right around his season averages with four catches for 32 yards. Both should see a few more passes thrown their way as long as Berrian stays in the doghouse, but considering how poorly Donovan McNabb has thrown the ball, don't run out and pick them up.