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Depth Chart Watch: Garrard Secures Starting Spot

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.

CARDINALS QB: For the second week in a row, Max Hall started and was replaced by Derek Anderson. The difference Sunday was that Hall didn’t come out of the game with an injury; instead he threw two pick-sixes and put the Cardinals in a 21-14 hole in the second quarter. Anderson nearly led the Cardinals back for the victory – they even scored late in the game to take a 35-31 lead – but the Bucs eventually pulled it out. Anderson has not been very good this year, but Hall has really been bad over the last few weeks. A starter for week 9 has not been named, but it could be Anderson’s job again.

CARDINALS RB: Although Beanie Wells has been the Cardinals’ lead back in recent weeks, Sunday’s game was actually his first start of the season – and his career. Wells rushed for just 50 yards on 16 attempts and suffered a bruised back, but he also scored on a one-yarder. Former starter Tim Hightower received just one carry while LaRod Stephens-Howling, who ran for 41 yards (including a 30-yard TD), had four carries.

CARDINALS WR: Steve Breaston returned in fine fashion Sunday after sitting out the last three games, catching eight passes for 147 yards. The Cardinals finally have Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, and Breaston healthy for the first time since Week 1 – Breaston will start opposite Fitzgerald.

CHARGERS WR: The Chargers could sure use Vincent Jackson right about now. Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, and Craig Davis were all inactive Sunday, meaning the Bolts had to roll with Patrick Crayton and a bunch of unknowns such as Seyi Ajirotutu, Gary Banks, and Richard Goodman. That the Chargers were able to put up 33 points on a tough Tennessee defense seems a miracle, but Philip Rivers has proven he can throw to anyone. Ajirotutu, for what it’s worth, was targeted four times, bringing down three receptions for 48 yards.

COLTS RB: We neglected to mention the Indianapolis running back situation last week in this space, but things are no clearer now. What we do know: 1) Joseph Addai is doubtful for Monday’s game against Houston with a shoulder injury. 2) Donald Brown, who hasn’t played since Week 3 due to a hamstring injury, is questionable for the game but should play. 3) Mike Hart, who has played well the last couple of games, is easily the healthiest of the trio. Brown and Hart will likely split carries Monday, but who will become the feature back in Addai’s absence is anyone’s guess.

COWBOYS QB: Dallas’ lost season got even worse last Monday when Tony Romo suffered a fractured left clavicle. Romo is scheduled to miss 6-to-8 weeks, but considering that the Cowboys are now 1-6, they will not rush him back. The Cowboys have a good veteran backup in Jon Kitna, who threw for 379 yards on Sunday, but the bad news is Kitna was picked off four times (though three of them probably were not his fault) by a weak Jacksonville defense. Still, Kitna should continue to put up decent numbers with the weapons he has.

DOLPHINS WR: Although you may not have known it, Brian Hartline – and not Davone Bess - has been starting this season for Miami. That is, until Sunday, when Bess officially got the start. This should not creat any shockwaves in fantasy circles since Bess has clearly been a more valuable player than Hartline all year. Bess caught seven passes for 53 yards on Sunday.

49ERS QB: The new 49ers quarterback is…Troy Smith? Yes, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner got the start across the pond Sunday with Alex Smith on the shelf with a left shoulder sprain. Alex should be out at least a couple more weeks, and with Troy leading the Niners to the victory, he will hold onto the role for now (and potentially the rest of the way). One thing for sure is that David Carr is not the answer.

49ERS TE: One place to mine for fantasy gold the last couple seasons has been the tight end position in San Francisco; but unfortunately for his owners, Vernon Davis aggravated an ankle injury Sunday and left the game after recording just one catch. Enter Delanie Walker, who was targeted seven times and came up with five catches for 85 yards, including two big catches on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter. If San Francisco decides to keep Davis on the bench until his ankle fully heals, Walker could be a sneaky play.

JAGUARS QB: After one game atop the depth chart, Todd Bouman went back to his customary role as emergency quarterback Sunday. David Garrard and Trent Edwards were healthy enough to return, with the former starting and playing the best game of his career. Garrard was nearly flawless, throwing four touchdown passes and adding another on the ground. It has not been a great year for him, Garrard, but Sunday’s performance will go a long way toward cementing his role for the rest of the season.

PACKERS WR: Donald Driver aggravated his thigh injury Sunday and failed to catch a pass for the second game in a row. While his back-to-back donuts can be partially attributed to the thigh, Driver’s 35 years might be catching up to him. It had been nearly a decade since the last time he was shut out. If Driver needs a game off to rest (which would not be a surprise with the Packers on bye in Week 10), either James Jones or Jordy Nelson would replace in in the starting lineup.

PANTHERS RB: DeAngelo Williams didn’t make the trip to St. Louis due to a foot injury, so Sunday was supposed to be a big day for his talented backfield mate, Jonathan Stewart. Instead, the Panthers got behind early and Stewart couldn’t get on track, rushing for just 30 yards on 14 attempts. When Williams returns – and it should be soon – Stewart will go back to being his caddy.

REDSKINS RB: Ryan Torain strained his hamstring Sunday, opening the door for rookie Keiland Williams to see significant action in the fourth quarter of a close game. Williams scored the first rushing touchdown of his career to give the Redskins a 19-14 lead, but the Skins ultimately lost. Washington has a bye this week, but with Clinton Portis also still sidelined, Williams might be a speculative add for fantasy owners looking to roll the dice.

TITANS QB: Vince Young left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, but it is unknown at this point if he will miss any time. Kerry Collins, who replaced Young the last time VY was banged up, was back in action Sunday against San Diego. Collins led the Titans down the field late in the game, but their comeback fell short.

TITANS WR: One week after having the game of his life, a first-quarter hamstring injury knocked Kenny Britt out of Sunday’s game before he could even record a catch. Lavelle Hawkins and Damian Williams were serviceable in Britt’s stead, while fellow starter Nate Washington took advantage of Britt’s absence to gain 117 yards, 71 of them coming on a scoring strike. The Titans are off this week, but head coach Jeff Fisher said Britt will miss an “extended period of time.” Expect the Titans to work either Hawkins or Williams into the starting lineup for Week 10.

VIKINGS QB: In the interest of being completely thorough, we should probably mention that Brett Favre left Sunday’s game when he took a shot to the chin and was replaced by Tarvaris Jackson. However, Favre feels like he should be able to play in Week 9. Given the extent of his injuries, one has to wonder when Favre is finally going to sit, but nothing has kept him on the bench yet. Jackson looked ready to play Sunday, throwing a TD pass on his very first attempt.