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Depth Chart Watch: 2009 Job Battles-Week 9

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.

Depth Chart Movers
By Kenn Ruby
RotoWire Writer

BILLS TE: Derek Schouman was carted off the field in the third quarter Sunday after catching six passes for 62 yards. Although he did not tear any ligaments, heíll probably miss a game or two. Derek Fine and Shawn Nelson will step in for the next few weeks, though Nelson has a mild shoulder injury himself.

BRONCOS RB: Correll Buckhalter may have led the Broncos in rushing yards Sunday, but he got 45 of his 76 yards on one carry and only had nine carries in all. Rookie Knowshon Moreno had 17 carries for 75 yards and also caught two passes. It looks like heís jumped to the top of the depth chart, and he should stay there for a few years as long as he stays healthy.

BUCCANEERS RB: After a fine opening game, Cadillac Williams fell back to earth with just nine yards on seven carries Sunday. Williams still made his mark in the passing game, catching seven passes (including a touchdown) for 56 yards, but Derrick Ward was a bit better on the ground, gaining a pedestrian 32 yards on nine carries. Earnest Graham was still invisible. If youíre still holding onto Graham, you better be in a very deep league.

BUCCANEERS WR: With Antonio Bryant out with a knee injury, Maurice Stovall and Sammie Stroughter were expected to have an increased role in the offense. Stovall had three catches for 80 yards, but Stroughter and Michael Clayton Ė the only other Tampa Bay wide receivers to be targeted Sunday Ė combined for just three catches. Itís not known when Bryant will return.

CHARGERS RB: Already the injuries have begun. LaDainian Tomlinson missed Sundayís game with a sprained ankle, giving Darren Sproles a spot in the starting lineup. Although Baltimore had no problems stopping Sproles on the ground (10 carries for 26 yards), Sproles had seven catches for 124 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown. L.T. may miss another game this week, so ride Sproles as long as heís starting.

CHIEFS QB: After sitting out the opener, Matt Cassel returned Sunday and threw for 241 yards and a touchdown. Brodie Croyle goes back to the bench and Tyler Thigpen goes back to irrelevancy.

CHIEFS WR: Bobby Wade has been a Chief for about one week and already he looks like the go-to guy. Dwayne Bowe is still the top fantasy dog in Kansas City, but with Wade getting targeted nine times Sunday, there may not be enough balls to go around for Mark Bradley and Bobby Engram.

COLTS WR: Itís hard to know what to make of the Colts Monday. The Dolphins kept the ball out of their hands for the most part, and when the Colts did get the ball, they scored quickly. Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, and new acquisition Hank Baskett combined for two catches (though one was a 48-yard score for Garcon), but neither catch came before the fourth quarter. If Mondayís game is any indication, it looks like tight end Dallas Clark is going to be the main beneficiary of Anthony Gonzalezís injury.

COWBOYS RB: The strained quad suffered by Marion Barber is not expected to be serious, but Dallas is still nervously awaiting the results of the MRI. Popular sleeper Felix Jones should see plenty of action this week even if Barber is able to play, and at this point it looks like the Cowboys will play it safe and keep Barber out.

EAGLES QB: Fantasy-wise, Kevin Kolb had a nice game Sunday, throwing for 391 yards and two touchdowns. However, given that Philadelphia lost 48-22, the Eagles probably canít wait to get Donovan McNabb back. Kolb may start once more, but Jeff Garcia and Michael Vick are both on the roster and ready to play if necessary, and with it looking more and more like McNabb wonít play this week, itíll be interesting to see who is behind center Sunday.

EAGLES RB: The injury to Brian Westbrookís ankle is not as serious as the one he suffered last year, but thereís still cause for concern. LeSean McCoy is a nice backup, and astute Westbrook owners probably already have McCoy buried on their rosters.

GIANTS WR: Weíre starting to finally see a few receivers separate themselves from the pack in New York. Part of that is due to the fact that Hakeem Nicks got hurt last week and Domenik Hixon was hurt Sunday, but mostly itís because Steven Smith and Mario Manningham look like world beaters right now. Both caught 10 passes Sunday, including a touchdown apiece. Manningham, who had 150 yards, looks like the deep threat the Giants need, and Smith, with 134 yards, is a possession receiver extraordinaire. Even when Hixon and Nicks are healthy, theyíll likely be behind the new Giants duo.

JAGUARS WR: Troy Williamson is out for the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, so heíll (unfairly, this time around) carry the ďbustĒ label for one more season. Mike Sims-Walker, who caught six passes for 106 yards Sunday, will step in. The Jags donít have many receivers on the roster, so Sims-Walker is a good bet to get targets in the coming weeks.

JETS RB: Leon Washington isnít heading to the Hall of Fame just yet, but the change-of-pace back had just as many carries (14) as starter Thomas Jones Sunday and he outgained Jones 58-54. Exciting things always seem to happen when Washington gets the ball, so the more touches he gets, the more valuable heíll be, provided he holds onto the ball, that is. His fumble on Sunday led to New Englandís first points of the game.

PATRIOTS RB: No one is pulling away, so expect Bill Belichick to continue to frustrate fantasy owners every week. For what itís worth, Fred Taylor led the way with eight carries for 46 yards and Laurence Maroney was 6-for-23. Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris are seeing a little action, but if one running back is going to emerge in New England this year, it should be either Taylor or Maroney.

PATRIOTS WR: Admit it: you hadnít heard of Julian Edelman before Sunday either. With Wes Welker being a late scratch, Edelman was targeted 16 times and caught eight passes for 98 yards. If Welker ever gets a serious injury, Edelman is a must-buy. Unfortunately for Edelman, Welker should be back this week. Also of note, Joey Galloway had 12 targets. When all the Pats are healthy, he should still carve out a nice role in the offense, but the fantasy production might be sporadic.

RAIDERS RB: The Raiders only mustered up 166 total yards Sunday Ė and somehow won. Oaklandís only touchdown came on Darren McFaddenís five-yard run in the fourth quarter. Michael Bush had nine carries to McFaddenís 12, but if McFadden is getting the goal-line carries, itís hard to imagine Bush having much weekly value going forward.

RAVENS RB: Willis McGahee shocked the world with 15 carries for 79 yards while teammate Ray Rice was just 8-for-36. More importantly, McGahee scored two short touchdowns and even caught two passes. Last week it looked like Rice would be the workhorse while McGahee vultured the TDs. However, if McGahee is going to get so many carries every week and heís going to get the ball inside the five, he could be a fantasy force in what looks like a potent Baltimore offense.

SAINTS RB: Pierre Thomas may have been back, but even after starter Mike Bell left the game with a knee injury, the carries went to Reggie Bush. While Thomas never officially lost his starting job when he was hurt, it was clear that Bell was good enough to fill his shoes. Thomas should return the favor this week against the Bills, though thereís a small possibility that Bell will be able to play.

SEAHAWKS QB: Matt Hasselbeck suffered a fractured rib Sunday and was replaced by Seneca Wallace. The Seattle offense is not the first place we think of when we look for stud quarterbacks, so Wallace, who should start against the Bears this Sunday, is not a good fantasy play.

TEXANS WR: This writer touted Jacoby Jones during the preseason in 2007 and Jonesí response to the vote of confidence was just 15 catches in 2007 and three in 2008. With Kevin Walter and Andre Davis both out with injuries Sunday, Jones filled in to the tune of two catches for 73 yards, including a 29-yard score. Walter should return this week, with Davis a possibility as well, so Jonesí days in the starting lineup are numbered.

TITANS WR: Nate Washington is back in the starting lineup after being limited in the opener with a hamstring injury. Kenny Britt returns to the no. 3 receiver role, but heís still a name to keep in the back of your mind in case Washington or Justin Gage get hurt.

TITANS TE: With both Bo Scaife (knee) and Jared Cook (ankle) hurt, Alge Crumpler started and caught four passes for 44 yards. Cook played very well in the preseason, so if he gets to 100 percent while Scaife is still out, expect him to start over Crumpler.

Article first appeared 9/22/09