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Depth Chart Watch: 2009 Depth Chart Movers

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 QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bills to victory in his first start in place of the ineffective Trent Edwards. While his numbers were pedestrian – 11-for-22 for 123 yards and a score – a win is a win. With Edwards recovering from a concussion, expect Buffalo to stay with Fitzpatrick as long as they keep winning.

BILLS RB: Marshawn Lynch had just 40 yards on 17 carries Sunday, but he did find the end zone once. Meanwhile, early-season darling Fred Jackson had just two yards on five carries and was tackled in the end zone for a safety. Jackson will continue to be known as one of the more valuable backups in the league, but as long as Lynch is healthy, that’s all Jackson will ever be.

BUCCANEERS QB: There is some speculation that Josh Freeman could finally get his first start in Tampa Bay’s next game. Freeman replaced starter Josh Johnson Sunday, and with the Bucs on a bye this weekend, it makes sense for Freeman to take the reins on November 8.

BUCCANEERS RB: One week after Cadillac Williams had 16 carries to Derrick Ward’s one, the two split the carries fairly evenly Sunday. Ward, who had 13 rushes for 48 yards, got the ball when the game was still close. Williams was just 11-for-29, and with the Bucs going nowhere fast, Ward could be featured after Tampa Bay’s bye this weekend.

CARDINALS RB: Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt proclaimed Monday that Tim Hightower is still the starter, but the stats say otherwise. Beanie Wells led Arizona with 14 carries for 67 yards Sunday and he added 10 more yards on three catches. Hightower, meanwhile, had just six touches and although he scored a touchdown, he also fumbled for the third time in four games. Wells, who has fumbling problems of his own, should be able to improve his weaknesses – ball security and blocking – with more playing time.

EAGLES RB: Brian Westbrook left Monday’s game with a concussion in the first quarter and did not return. Westbrook owners know the drill and probably already have LeSean McCoy on their roster.

49ERS QB: The Shaun Hill experiment appears to be over, as coach Mike Singletary has already named Alex Smith the starter for Week 8. Smith came into Sunday’s game down 21-0 in the second half and threw three TD passes. Singletary will probably stay with Smith for awhile, stating he doesn’t want the job to just be a “flavor-of-the-month-type-thing.”

49ERS RB: Frank Gore finally returned, relegating Glen Coffee to just three yards on two carries. The 49ers are a better offense when Gore is healthy, and if Smith continues playing well, that should open things up for Gore as well. If you haven’t bought him low, the window is closing fast.

49ERS WR: Only a few weeks ago it looked like there was a possibility that Michael Crabtree wouldn’t set foot on a football field this season, yet Sunday, he knocked Josh Morgan out of the starting lineup, possibly for good. Crabtree caught five passes for 56 yards, and is only going to get better and better.

JETS RB: With a broken leg suffered Sunday, Leon Washington’s season – and his threat to Thomas Jones – is over. Jones, who has been one of the biggest fantasy bargains this year, now has to worry about Shonn Greene, who feasted on the atrocious Oakland rush defense to the tune of 144 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Jones had a line of 26-121-1 himself, so he shouldn’t worry that much.

PACKERS TE: Preseason sleeper Jermichael Finley sprained his knee Sunday and will probably miss this weekend’s game against the Vikings. That should give more opportunities to Donald Lee and Spencer Havner. Lee has been the starter all season, so he probably won’t see as much of a change as Havner will. Havner caught a 45-yard touchdown Sunday, but his primary role is usually on special teams.

PATRIOTS RB: With Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris out with injuries, BenJarvus Green-Ellis is starting to get some playing time, including seven carries Sunday. However, with only six total yards, Green-Ellis isn’t going to take away many spans from feature back Laurence Maroney.

REDSKINS TE: Washington TE Chris Cooley suffered a broken ankle in Monday's loss to the Eagles and he's likely to miss several weeks – if not the rest of the season. As a result, look for Fred Davis to see an expanded role. Despite struggling in the blocking game against the Eagles, Davis caught a team-high eight passes for 78 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort.

SAINTS RB: Mike Bell had 12 carries to Pierre Thomas’ eight Sunday, but more importantly Bell outrushed Thomas 80-to-30. With Bell getting more carries and being used on the goal-line, Thomas’ value appears to be tied to Bell’s health more than anything else. Reggie Bush, for what it’s worth, is being employed in the Wildcat and scored from 10 yards out Sunday. He had just six touches.

TEXANS WR: All-world receiver Andre Johnson suffered a lung contusion Sunday, and while he dodged a serious injury, he’s a bit iffy for Sunday's game against Buffalo. If Johnson is out, Kevin Walter becomes the top dog and Andre Davis and Jacoby Jones will both see more action.

Article first appeared 10/27/09