RotoWire Partners

Depth Chart Watch: Fallout From Week 2

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.


A high-ankle sprain for Matt Forte could sideline the talented back for a few weeks, but the Bears were prepared for the eventuality by signing the talented Michael Bush in the offseason. Bush has a lot of practice backing up injured starters (he did, after all, play behind Darren McFadden in Oakland), so he should step in and do well in Forte's absence. Armando Allen and Kahlil Bell will get a few carries backing up Bush.


Armon Binns started Sunday and was productive (five catches for 66 yards), but both Brandon Tate and Andrew Hawkins scored long touchdowns and appear to be important part of the offense. With A.J. Green on the other side of the field, whoever is playing wideout for the Bengals will have the benefit of single coverage, and so far Binns, Tate and Hawkins are making defenses pay.


Fred Jackson hopes to miss just three or four weeks with a sprained knee, but with the way C.J. Spiller has played the first two weeks of the season, Jackson may be fighting for scraps when he returns. Spiller had 123 yards rushing, 47 yards receiving and two touchdowns Sunday and is averaging a ridiculous 10 yards/carry so far. He's the fantasy MVP so far, especially when you factor in his ADP.


Slot man David Nelson tore his ACL last week and is out for the year, so Ruvell Martin and T.J. Graham moved up a notch on the depth chart as a result. Donald Jones was expected to be the main beneficiary, as he might be more adequately used in the slot than outside, but he only got one target Sunday. Tight end Scott Chandler, on the other hand, is a nice big target in the middle of the field, so he might suck up some of Nelson's targets as a result. Chandler caught two passes including a 10-yard score for 53 yards Sunday.


John Skelton's injury that he suffered in the opener was fortunately just a low-ankle sprain, but it was bad enough to keep him on the bench Sunday. Kevin Kolb started and led the Cardinals to a surprising victory over New England despite the fact that his numbers (15-of-27 for 140 yards) were pedestrian. Skelton might miss another game or two, but if Kolb keeps winning, the quarterback competition seemingly settled in training camp might make a comeback.


The Chargers made a change from last week's starting lineup, replacing Ronnie Brown with Curtis Brinkley. Brinkley couldn't get much going against the Titans, running for just 43 yards on 18 carries. Jackie Battle was much better, gaining 69 yards on 14 carries, including two short touchdowns. Let someone else overpay for Brinkley this week though - With Ryan Mathews (clavicle) due back next week and none of the San Diego RB shenanigans will matter much anymore.


Antonio Gates was a late scratch with sore ribs, giving Randy McMichael a rare start at tight end. McMichael caught three passes, but it was third stringer Dante Rosario who made the most of Gates' absence, exploding for three touchdowns on his four catches. Gates should be back in Week 3, but if the oft-injured tight end goes down again, Rosario might be a sneaky pickup.


The Chiefs have played in two blowouts and Shaun Draughn has seen significant action in both. Sunday he had five carries for 56 yards, which is more than starter Jamaal Charles could say Charles finished with just three yards on six attempts. Meanwhile, co-starter Peyton Hillis finished with 11 carries for 66 yards. A committee appears to be forming in Kansas City, and Charles might not be the head of it.


Brian Hartline took over for Legedu Naanee in the starting lineup and justified the change with his performance Sunday. He was targeted a team-high 12 times and finished with nine catches for a career-high 111 yards. Meanwhile Naanee was shut out on one target. The Dolphins running game was humming Sunday, which set things up for Hartline nicely. Don't expect this every week.


Jeremy Maclin was a game-time decision with a hip pointer, and although he gave it the old college try and even reached the end zone on a 23-yarder in the third quarter, it was his only catch of the game. He was eventually carted off the field after aggravating the injury. DeSean Jackson and tight end Brent Celek picked up the slack, combining for 15 catches for 271 yards, but Maclin seems less likely to play next week than he did this week. Jason Avant, who caught two passes Sunday, is next in line, but Riley Cooper, who missed the game with a collarbone injury, figures to get into the thick of the things when he's able to play.


When Ahmad Bradshaw left Sunday's game with a neck injury in the first half, David Wilson probably felt like that player in Hoosiers who assumed he was coming into the game when his teammate fouled out. Not so, as last week's fumble kept Wilson in Tom Coughin's doghouse for at least another week. Andre Brown instead received the benefit of the extra carries, finishing with 71 yards on 13 rushes, including a two-yard touchdown. Bradshaw will have an MRI on his neck Monday, and Wilson has only a few days to impress his coach, as the Giants play Thursday against Carolina. If Bradshaw can't go against the Panthers, expect Brown to get the call, though Wilson still remains the Giants back with the most upside.


Blaine Gabbert left Sunday's game with a strain in the back of his leg, but it could have been his pride that was hurting too. He completed just seven passes in 19 attempts for 53 yards before Chad Henne took over in the game. Gabbert's Week 3 status is unknown at this time, but if he can't go, at least there's a veteran waiting in the wings.


Although the MRI on Rashad Jennings' knee (the same one he hurt last year) didn't reveal significant damage, he could be out for a while. No matter, as Maurice Jones-Drew was planning on taking over Jennings' starting job as soon as he was up to speed after his long holdout. MJD had respectable numbers Sunday 12 carries for 60 yards and three catches including a five-yard touchdown for seven yards, so the Jaguars probably won't miss Jennings too much.


A groin injury kept Greg Jennings out of Thursday's game with the Bears, but no one really picked up the slack. James Jones started and was targeted five times, but finished with negative yards. Randall Cobb looked like he was ready to explode onto the stage after his strong opener, but he finished with a quiet one catch for 20 yards. Jordy Nelson played well as the top man in the offense, but with just six catches for 84 yards, he wasn't exactly a star. Jennings probably was a game-time decision Thursday, so with the long break between games, it looks like he'll be back for Week 3 as the Packers return to their status quo.


After DeAngelo Williams' embarrassingly poor performance in Week 1, the Panthers welcomed back Jonathan Stewart, who missed the opener with an ankle injury, and as expected, the two split the carries. Williams was a bit more productive on the ground, finishing with 14 carries for 69 yards and a three-yard score, but Stewart wasn't much behind (11 carries for 51 yards), adding a 17-yard touchdown reception as well. The Carolina rushing offense was unstoppable against New Orleans on Sunday, finishing with 219 yards on 41 carries, but Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert both poached short TDs from the Williams and Stewart, which could become a recurring theme this season.


Perhaps more shocking than New England's 20-18 loss to Arizona was the fact that Julian Edelman replaced Wes Welker in the starting lineup. Although Edelman started and was on the field for more snaps, Welker received 11 targets to Edelman's six and both caught five passes. Welker should continue to see the ball a lot, regardless of his lineup designation, but he hasn't been the reception machine this season that we've seen during the rest of his New England tenure.


Although Aaron Hernandez doesn't quite have the same value as teammate Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots are the only team in the league in which the second tight end is a fantasy starter. That's not going to be the case for the next several weeks, as Hernandez left Sunday's game with a nasty ankle injury. While the Patriots seemingly have 20 tight ends they can plug in, expect them to instead play more three-wideout sets, leaving Gronkowski as the sole breadwinner at tight end.


After missing the opener Monday night, Denarius Moore returned to the starting lineup in Week 2 and finished tied with co-starter Darrius Heyward-Bey with a team-high eight targets. Moore only pulled down three catches, but it looks like he'll be a key part of the Oakland passing game, which is good, because Jacoby Ford has Lisfranc surgery on his foot and was placed on the IR. Rod Streater, who filled in for Moore in the opener, is third in the pecking order.


On the week that Daryl Richardson passed Isaiah Pead on the depth chart he appeared to pass starter Steven Jackson as well. Jackson was benched Sunday when he received an unsportsmanlike conduct for spiking the ball, though the Rams also relayed that Jackson's groin wasn't feeling too good either. Regardless, it wasn't your usual benching. Richardson ran 15 times for 83 yards, so he may have earned a few more touches in Week 3, especially if Jackson's groin (and brain) continue to act up.


With Pierre Garcon inactive Sunday, Aldrick Robinson got an unlikely start opposite Josh Morgan, but both were overshadowed by Leonard Hankerson, who caught a big 68-yard touchdown. Meanwhile, a boneheaded play by Morgan late in the game may have cost Washington the victory, so when Garcon returns, don't be surprised to see Morgan lose his starting job, not Robinson.


With Devery Henderson out after suffering a concussion in the opener, the Saints signed Greg Camarillo to fill the hole on the active roster. Camarillo didn't get any targets, but Joseph Morgan and Courtney Roby did. Of course, that duo combined for just two catches for 14 yards, and with all of the other mouths to feed in the New Orleans offense, neither is expected to provide much more production than they provided Sunday, even with Adrian Arrington done for the year with a knee injury.


Golden Tate returned to the starting lineup Sunday, taking over for Braylon Edwards, who missed a chance to haul in the game-winner on Opening Day. Tate was targeted four times, catching three for 38 yards. Guess who didn't see the ball even once Sunday?


All this talk about all the great candidates for the starting job at running back in Pittsburgh, maybe we should be talking about how ineffective the running game has been through two games. The Steelers wanted to give Jonathan Dwyer an expanded role Sunday, and he did get as many carries (12) as starter Isaac Redman, but neither back cleared 30 yards, and their various injuries could still be bothering them. Through two games, Dwyer and Redman have combined for 44 carries for 116 yards (2.6 YPC). Rashard Mendenhall is already fully practicing, so he may be back soon if the Steelers can't get their running game on track.


Although regular starters Nate Washington and Kenny Britt both played Sunday, both were limited by injuries and ceded the starting jobs to Damian Williams and Kendall Wright, respectively. The replacement starters were targeted 14 times (though they caught only six), while Washington and Britt were targeted twice apiece. Wright was the only one of the quartet to find the end zone. Expect Washington and Britt to reclaim their starting jobs soon.