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2009 Preseason Job Battles-Week 4

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.

Preseason Job Battles
By Kenn Ruby
RotoWire Writer

BEARS WR: Earl Bennett continues to turn heads and could be headed for a big season. Much has been written about how he played with Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt, but he won't win the job solely for that reason. Meanwhile, Devin Hester is the only other receiver on the team with a secure job. Rashied Davis might get cut, leaving Brandon Rideau, Juaquin Iglesias (who caught a TD pass on August 15) and rising Devin Aromashodu to fight for scraps at the No. 3 job.

BRONCOS RB: Heir to the Denver rushing throne, Knowshon Moreno, sprained his MCL in the preseason opener, putting him out of action for at least two weeks. He shouldn't miss any regular-season time, but he got a late start this summer, and he may not be able to get ahead of vets Correll Buckhalter and LaMont Jordan in time for Opening Day.

BROWNS QB: Although coach Eric Mangini dismissed speculation that Brady Quinn has passed Derek Anderson on the depth chart, that Anderson only attempted two passes (one of which was intercepted) in the preseason opener is telling. The two are expected to get an equal number of reps on August 22 against Detroit. If Anderson doesn't impress Mangini against the Lions, Quinn could have the job wrapped up.

BROWNS WR: Mike Furrey is the early leader to start opposite Braylon Edwards, but Josh Cribbs appears to really want the job. Furrey is a bit more steady that the exciting-but-unproven Cribbs, and with rookies Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi also expected to get a lot of reps and Edwards nicked up, the Browns could use a little steadiness this summer.

BUCCANEERS QB: Coach Raheem Morris is almost ready to name his starter. Byron Leftwich may have a slight lead over Luke McCown at the moment, but McCown can still win the job with a strong showing against the Jaguars on August 22.

CARDINALS RB: Chris Wells continues to trail Tim Hightower on the depth chart, and after aggravating an ankle injury he may miss a second straight game this weekend, but he's still expected to ultimately win the job. The speedy LaRod Stephens-Howling will back them up, as the fading Jason Wright is now in danger of getting cut.

CHIEFS WR: Don't worry about Dwayne Bowe's recent demotion to the second team - he's the only sure thing in the Kansas City receiving corps, especially with Tony Gonzalez now in Atlanta. Devard Darling started the preseason opener, but the presence of Mark Bradley, Bobby Engram, Amani Toomer and the newly-acquired Ashley Lelie are making this battle any man's game.

COLTS RB: Rookie Donald Brown looked sharp in the opener, rushing for 58 yards on five carries, but the oft-injured Joseph Addai also had a 14-yard scamper in limited action. Head coach Jim Caldwell intends to rotate the two during the regular season depending on matchups, which means neither will likely end up a fantasy star in 2009.

EAGLES QB: Michael Vick signed with the Eagles last week, but before adding him to your fantasy roster, consider that Vick will be suspended for the first six games of the season and he's behind Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb on the depth chart. It's possible that Vick will pass Kolb and/or get used in strange ways - a McNabb/Vick backfield? - but he's unlikely to have any fantasy impact this season.

GIANTS RB: With Andre Brown (Achilles) out for the year, Ahmad Bradshaw is the clear backup to Brandon Jacobs and should see a significant role even if Jacobs is healthy. Bradshaw had 17 yards receiving and 35 yards rushing (including a touchdown) on August 17 against Carolina.

GIANTS WR: Even RotoWire's resident Giants expert Chris Liss doesn't know who's going to start this year (though he likes Steven Smith). The frontrunners are probably Domenik Hixon and Smith (who missed Monday's game with a knee injury), but Hakeem Nicks, Sinorice Moss, Mario Manningham, David Tyree, and Ramses Barden will all get a shot at the starting job. Even Derek Hagan is making noise in camp.

JAGUARS WR: Troy Williamson may now have the edge over Mike Walker for a starting spot, especially with Walker nursing an ankle injury. Williamson has received more than a few chances throughout his career, and he's never been able to deliver, but he might finally be in a system in which he can succeed.

JETS QB: Though rookie Mark Sanchez outplayed Kellen Clemens in the exhibition opener, Clemens has looked better in practice. The competition is as tight as ever, and it may be September before we know who wins this one.

JETS RB: The Jets denied they were shopping Thomas Jones, but with Leon Washington and Shonn Greene also in New York, something has to give. Jones remains the safe pick, Greene, the upside play, and Washington, the wild card.

LIONS QB: Daunte Culpepper had a modest start in the preseason opener, but Matthew Stafford threw for 114 yards and a touchdown in relief. Stafford, who will start the second game, also threw an interception. He may not be the starter on Opening Day, but he'll start a few games in the Motor City this year.

PANTHERS RB: There's a clear pecking order in Carolina: DeAngelo Williams, then Jonathan Stewart, and then everyone else. However, Stewart has missed a lot of time this month with an Achilles injury, opening the door for Mike Goodson to see significant playing time. The Carolina offense can turn any running back into a star, so keep Goodson's name in mind in case Stewart's injury lingers.

RAIDERS RB: Darren McFadden is starting to put some distance between himself and the other contenders. Justin Fargas and Michael Bush combined for just three carries in the opener, while McFadden impressed with 63 yards on four carries, including a 45-yarder. Head coach Tom Cable is hoping to give McFadden 20 touches a game this year.

RAIDERS WR: Chaz Schilens looked like an interesting sleeper until he broke his foot in practice on August 18. Now any number of candidates can steal his spot with a good camp. Javon Walker, who should he be healthy, will be one of the starters, but now rookie Darius Heyward-Bey will be joining him in the starting lineup. Louis Murphy and Johnnie Lee Higgins are also in the mix.

RAMS WR: The St. Louis receivers are dropping like flies, but at least the Rams got the good news that Donnie Avery (foot) will be back soon. Laurent Robinson is the most impressive healthy receiver right now, and it looks like he'll be the starter this year. Ronald Curry and Tim Carter are next in line, but with Carter suffering a groin injury, it looks like Curry will be the No. 3.

SAINTS WR: Robert Meachem had 77 yards receiving - including 64 on one play - in the preseason opener while Lance Moore (shoulder) continued to watch from the sidelines. Moore should miss at least one more game, and Devery Henderson has failed to impress so far. Meachem may leapfrog both right into the starting lineup.

TITANS WR: Nate Washington could be the first thought in the Tennessee passing offense this year, which is fine with him. A tandem of Justin Gage and Washington could be sneaky good, but they don't have much competition. No. 3 receiver Kenny Britt is dealing with a swollen ankle, further cementing Washington's starting job.

VIKINGS QB: For all the wishy-washiness that Brett Favre brings to the offseason, he's incredibly stable once he actually gets in there - his last missed start was during the first Bush Administration. Tarvaris Jackson could be traded or released in the next few days, meaning Sage Rosenfels has wrapped up the backup job.

Article first appeared 8/20/09