RotoWire Partners

Depth Chart Watch: Chicago Blues

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.

BEARS RB: Matt Forte left Sunday's game early with a sprained MCL in his knee and could be out for up to a month. It's a major blow not only to the Bears' fortunes, but also to the thousands of fantasy football teams that have relied on him all season. Marion Barber, who had been stealing goal-line carries from Forte all season, carried the rock 14 times Sunday and figures to start while Forte is out. Kahlil Bell will get the ball a bit more too, but with Caleb Hanie running the offense, opposing defenses shouldn't have a problem stopping the Chicago rushing attack with Forte out of the game.

BENGALS QB:
Andy Dalton left Sunday's game in the fourth quarter with a hip injury and was replaced by veteran Bruce Gradkowski. The Bengals were trailing, 35-7, at the time, so it may have just been precautionary, but it's worth monitoring in the coming days as the Bengals need the talented rookie to help them in their quest for the playoffs.

BUCCANEERS QB:
Josh Freeman missed Sunday's game with a sore shoulder, though the sore thumb he suffered from a shooting-range incident is far more interesting. With Tampa Bay's playoff hopes all but dashed, it'll be interesting to see if Freeman suffers any team punishment. But in the meantime, we're here to report on Johnson, who led the Bucs in rushing on Sunday with 45 yards on five carries. As a passer, however, he was less than successful, throwing for 229 yards, one interception and one garbage-time touchdown.

CARDINALS QB:
Kevin Kolb wasn't that effective in his return to the starting lineup, but he salvaged his fantasy day with a 52-yard touchdown pass to LaRod Stephens-Howling in overtime. It should be noted that Stephens-Howling did most of the work on the touchdown, but Kolb gets credit for 52 passing yards and a touchdown nonetheless. Overall, he threw for 247 yards as the Cardinals no longer have to rely on John Skelton.

CHIEFS RB:
After looking good in mid-season, Jackie Battle has not helped fantasy owners at all recently, and Sunday was probably his worst game, as he finished with just 15 yards on 11 carries. Since scoring a touchdown on Halloween, he has averaged about 10 carries for 34 yards a game. Thomas Jones wasn't a whole lot better Sunday, but with 16 carries for 36 yards it looks like the trend in Kansas City has been to give him the ball more and Battle less. Dexter McCluster was better than either of them Sunday, as he finished with 61 yards rushing (on nine attempts) and 46 yards receiving on four catches, including a 38-yard score. He doesn't touch the ball enough to be an advisable fantasy play so late in the season, but he seems to be the least of the three evils in the Kansas City backfield.

COLTS QB:
Jim Caldwell gave Curtis Painter the dreaded “vote of confidence” Monday, and by Tuesday he'd named a new starter as the Indianapolis debacle of a season continued. Dan Orlovsky, making his first start since 2008, threw for 353 yards and two scores Sunday, but before you get too excited about those numbers, most of them came during garbage time (he threw for more than 200 yards in the fourth quarter alone). Those numbers count too of course, but you probably can't count on Orlovsky to repeat that performance down the stretch.

DOLPHINS K:
The Dolphins welcomed Dan Carpenter back into the fold Sunday, and he rewarded them with 10 points, including field goals from 33 and 48 yards. Carpenter missed two games with a groin injury. Shayne Graham, we hardly knew ye.

49ERS WR:
Braylon Edwards sat out Sunday's game with knee and shoulder injuries, and he suggested he might need a few more games off to rest for the playoffs. With the 49ers having already clinched a postseason berth (not to mention they haven't really needed Edwards this season much anyway), he may get his wish. San Francisco will cover Edwards' absence with Ted Ginn, who started Sunday, and Kyle Williams, who caught a 56-yard touchdown Sunday.

GIANTS RB:
Playing in his first game since Week 8, Ahmad Bradshaw touched the ball 13 times Sunday and led the Giants in carries with 11. Brandon Jacobs, who had filled in for Bradshaw admirably, outrushed Bradshaw 59 for 38, but just having Bradshaw back in the lineup is the more important thing, as the Giants offense put 35 points on the board. Expect Bradshaw to get more touches next week as his foot continues to heal.

LIONS RB:
Kevin Smith gave it a go Sunday and put up some decent numbers (34 yards on six carries and 46 yards on six catches), but he appeared to aggravate his ankle injury and sat out almost the entire second half. Maurice Morris had to step in again, and Keiland Williams made a small contribution as well, but Detroit's offense definitely looks better when Smith is running. He just can't seem to stay healthy, however.

PACKERS RB:
Not much looks to stop the Green Bay juggernaut, but it did appear to lose starter James Starks to an ankle injury in the second quarter Sunday. As it was a close game, it was a bit concerning that Starks couldn't return. Backup Ryan Grant had just 29 yards on 13 carries against the Giants, and he probably would produce similarly if he returned to the starting lineup.

PANTHERS WR:
Brandon LaFell replaced Legedu Naanee in the starting lineup. Did you notice? Neither receiver has done much this season, as the Carolina offense has been mostly Cam Newton and Steve Smith, with a dash of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. Still, with three catches for 64 yards Sunday, LaFell now has a respectable 11 catches for 161 yards in his last three games. If those kinds of numbers excite you, LaFell is likely available on your waiver wire.

RAMS QB:
The Rams were already having a terrible season before Sunday, but when A.J. Feeley became the starter due to another Sam Bradford injury, the season may have hit its nadir. St. Louis only mustered 157 yards in a 26-0 loss to San Francisco. Feely was sacked four times and turned it over twice, while Bradford looked on due to an ankle injury. While Bradford might be healthy enough to return in Week 14, the Rams may be inclined to keep him out to protect their investment from a porous offensive line.

SEAHAWKS WR:
Sidney Rice was placed on the IR last week after suffering his second concussion of the season, thus ending his disappointing first year with the Seahawks. Ben Obomanu replaced him in the starting lineup Thursday, but with just two catches for 28 yards as the starter, Obomanu wasn't very impressive. Doug Baldwin and Mike Williams were also supposed to pick up the slack in Rice's absence, yet combined for just one catch against the Eagles, as the team was content to just give the ball to Marshawn Lynch all night. The only wideout who seemed to step up his game was Golden Tate, and even he just had modest totals of four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown.

TEXANS QB:
When Matt Leinart went down with a season-ending collarbone injury last week, the Texans brought in a couple of quarterbacks they had looked at the previous week. This time around, Houston decided to go with Jake Delhomme (rather than Jeff Garcia), and they installed him as the backup quarterback to new starter T.J. Yates. Although Yates has reportedly learned the offense quickly, there have been grumblings that the team will want the vet "down the road," which could actually be bad news for the Texans, given Delhomme's lack of recent postseason success. Yates did his part Sunday, throwing for 188 yards and a score in a victory over Atlanta, but he completed just 48 percent of his passes.

TEXANS WR:
Andre Johnson limped off the field Sunday with yet another hamstring injury, and though he claimed after the game that it was "nothing near" what he felt two months ago when he suffered his last hamstring injury, he was rather noncommittal about whether he will miss time. Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones are next in line, but given that this has become a run-first time, especially after the loss of their top two quarterbacks, it's doubtful that either will get a significant bump in value even if Johnson sits out again.

VIKINGS WR:
Michael Jenkins is done for the year with a knee injury, but no matter, as Percy Harvin and Devin Aromashodu both had their best games of the season Sunday. Joe Webb started in Jenkins' place, which was a bit of a surprise considering he's the new backup quarterback with Donovan McNabb now gone. For all intents and purposes, though, Aromashodu is the No. 2 receiver. He hadn't caught more than two passes in any game this season before he caught six for 90 yards Sunday. Harvin was even better, catching eight - including two long touchdowns - for 156 yards. As long as Adrian Peterson is sidelined, expect the Vikings to pass the ball a bit more, making Harvin all the more valuable.