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Depth Chart Watch: This Week's 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 sprained his ankle a week ago and will miss at least a month, so David Nelson (already becoming a bit more active due to the season-ending injury of Roscoe Parrish) and Naaman Roosevelt were expected to fill his shoes somewhat. Nelson was targeted six times Sunday and caught four passes for 62 yards. Roosevelt caught just one pass, but he made it count, going 60 yards for the score. The Bills are mostly going to make sure Fred Jackson and Steve Johnson get their touches, so Nelson and Roosevelt should continue to fight for scraps and occasionally be worthy of putting into fantasy lineups.

BRONCOS QB:
Although the Broncos had a bye Sunday, they made some of the biggest news of the week with the announcement that Tim Tebow will take over as the starting quarterback in week 7. He hasn't shown much as a passer during his time in the NFL, but he remains a threat as a runner, and we may see more out of him now that he's practicing with the first-team offense. Kyle Orton's days in Denver may be numbered, as it would not be a surprise to see him traded to a team needing a strong backup.

BROWNS RB:
Peyton Hillis left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, and his status during the game varied depending on whom you asked. He'll need an MRI on Monday, and considering the whole strep throat fiasco of a few weeks ago, he could be in the doghouse if he doesn't watch out. Montario Hardesty had 11 carries for 35 yards and would start if Hillis can't go.

BROWNS WR:
Greg Little finally appeared in the starting lineup Sunday, and he celebrated with team highs of six catches, 72 yards and 12 targets. Given that Mohamed Massaquoi had a bad game (until a late TD salvaged it, fantasy-wise), it's starting to look like the Browns trust Little over all other wideouts.

BUCCANEERS RB:
With LeGarrette Blount out at least a few weeks with a knee injury, the Bucs asked veteran Earnest Graham to step in, and Graham delivered, running for 109 yards on 17 carries and catching two passes for 22 yards. Graham has already been a decent PPR performer this season, but if he adds rushing yards to the repertoire he becomes all the more valuable. Kregg Lumpkin was Graham's backup Sunday, but he didn't really see enough action to be deemed fantasy-worthy.

COLTS RB:
With Joseph Addai out with a strained hamstring, Donald Brown got yet another chance to show that he could usurp the long-time starter at the position. Although rookie Delone Carter started and got most of the work, Brown looked decent, rushing for 35 yards on five carries (including an 18-yard score) and catching two passes for 16 yards. Carter led the team with 14 carries for 45 yards, but didn't look as good as Brown in his limited action. If Addai misses another game, don't be surprised to see Brown get the start.

COWBOYS RB:
Felix Jones has already been ruled out of next week's game after leaving Sunday's game with a left high-ankle sprain. It's too bad, too, because Jones was supposedly completely over the shoulder injury that had hobbled him all season. Tashard Choice and rookie DeMarco Murray will split carries, and while neither looked too good Sunday, they'll face the soft St. Louis defense in Week 7 and will be more prepared to shoulder the load. Expect Murray to get the start and see more time than Choice.

COWBOYS WR:
Although the Cowboys lost Jones on Sunday, they welcomed back an even bigger weapon when Miles Austin returned and caught seven passes for 74 yards. He's only played in three games this year but has 21 catches for 307 yards and four touchdowns, so Austin should be making his fantasy owners smile a bit more these days. Dez Bryant should also benefit from opposing defenses keying on Austin he caught four passes for 78 yards Sunday. Laurent Robinson played well in Austin's absence, but he'll go back to irrelevancy now that Austin and Bryant are both healthy.

49ERS WR/TE:
With Josh Morgan now out for the year with a fractured ankle and Braylon Edwards still sidelined with a knee injury, Alex Smith leaned heavily on Michael Crabtree on Sunday, throwing to him 15 times. Crabtree had modest numbers (nine catches for 77 yards), but he's obviously the only wideout on the field that either Smith or the Lions cared about. Ted Ginn was targeted five times, catching two balls for 24 yards, but he'll go back to the bench when Edwards returns. It should be noted that tight end Delanie Walker caught his third touchdown of the season Sunday, and even with fellow tight end Vernon Davis a must-start, Walker's knack for getting the ball in the red zone makes him someone to consider during these bye weeks.

FALCONS WR:
Thanks to a sore hamstring, Julio Jones was ruled out for Sunday's game early in the week. Harry Douglas started in his place and led Atlanta with 57 receiving yards despite catching just two passes. Although the Falcons came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Carolina, they did it with a quiet passing game: Roddy White caught just two passes for 21 yards, and tight end Tony Gonzalez had three receptions for 29 yards. Jones shouldn't be out long, and when Atlanta finally has all of its ducks in a row, perhaps the passing game can finally break out.

RAIDERS QB:
Jason Campbell landed awkwardly on his shoulder on a scramble Sunday, and the early prognosis is not good: he has a broken collarbone and will be out for the season. Kyle Boller replaced Campbell behind center and wasn't bad, leading the Raiders to a 24-17 victory over the Browns. But if the Raiders see themselves as contenders, they may need to find a more trustworthy quarterback than Boller, who has been a below-average quarterback throughout his career.

RAMS WR:
Mike Sims-Walker was a surprise inactive Sunday, opening the door for big games from Greg Salas (eight catches for 77 yards) and Danario Alexander (six for 91). Alexander, Salas and Brandon Gibson all shared the team lead with 10 targets. Alexander probably has the most upside of any St. Louis receiver, but with Mark Clayton returning soon from the PUP list, the pecking order still needs some shaking out, especially with tight end Lance Kendricks finally breaking through with a decent game Sunday.

REDSKINS QB:
It was only a matter of time before Rex Grossman went back to being, well, Rex Grossman. After playing well the first couple of games this season, Grossman has fallen apart, culminating in Sunday's four-pick performance and surrendering his job to John Beck. Beck scored on a two-yard run and nearly brought the Skins back from a 20-3 halftime deficit, and though his numbers were nothing spectacular, don't be shocked to see him starting Week 7 and beyond.

REDSKINS RB:
Although Tim Hightower is still officially atop the depth chart and was active Sunday, he was held out of the game with a shoulder injury and Ryan Torain started. Things didn't go nearly as well for Torain this week as they did in his last appearance, as he gained just 22 yards on 10 carries. Still, Roy Helu only got two carries, so it looks like Torain is at least ahead of him. When Hightower returns next week, it will be interesting to see how the carries are divvied up.

REDSKINS TE:
Chris Cooley's knee was bothering him all week, but he gutted it out and played Sunday. However, he broke his finger in the game and will require surgery. Fred Davis led the Redskins with six catches for 95 yards Sunday, so with Cooley temporarily out of the picture, he could be a nice guy to target if he's still available in your league.

STEELERS RB:
All week the question was: "how much is Rashard Mendenhall going to play?" Mendenhall answered emphatically Sunday, coming back from a one-game absence to rumble for 146 yards on 23 carries. Isaac Redman had just four carries Sunday, so it looks like he was unable to take advantage of Mendenhall's absence and will go back to a secondary role.

TEXANS WR:
With Andre Johnson out again Sunday, the Texans felt the need to acquire Derrick Mason from the Jets last week. Despite Mason's short time with the team, he still played and was targeted four times, catching three passes for 27 yards. Meanwhile, Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones remained in the starting lineup. Jones, who may not have had his coach's full confidence going into the game, caught four passes for 76 yards and scored a 32-yarder Sunday, so he should be able to hold off Mason until Johnson returns, which could be as early as this week.

VIKINGS WR:
Bernard Berrian returned from a one-game suspension Sunday, catching five passes for 54 yards and making sure he stays ahead Devin Aromashadu, who was shut out after catching two passes for 81 yards last week. Percy Harvin (seven catches for 78 yards) was fine despite his sore ribs, and Michael Jenkins caught four passes for the second week in a row.