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Depth Chart Watch: Cutler Sent to Hibernation

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.


It seems like it was bound to happen sooner or later. Someone finally got to Jay Cutler and gave him a concussion. Jason Campbell, who was never able to have any sustained success in Washington and Oakland, may now be entrusted with the keys to what is arguably the best team in the NFC. Campbell completed 11 passes in 19 attempts for just 94 yards in Sunday night's loss to Houston.


Although Fred Jackson had a strong performance against New England (16 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns), he was knocked out of the game late with a head injury. Given that the Bills play Thursday this week and have a very good backup in C.J. Spiller, expect Buffalo to play it safe with Jackson. Spiller was sensational earlier this year when Jackson was out, and any week he has the job all to himself is a week that you'll want to play him.


Both Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal returned to action Sunday, but Danario Alexander moved into the starting lineup regardless and quickly scored on an 80-yard strike. Alexander, who finished with five catches for 134 yards, seems to have a nice rapport with Philip Rivers, and Meachem's numbers likely will suffer as a result. Don't expect Meachem to rejoin the starting lineup as long as Alexander is healthy and playing well. Given Alexander's history, it's not likely that Meachem will have to wait long.


Donald Brown (knee) returned Thursday and shared the ball equally with Vick Ballard as both had 14 touches. Ballard had 59 yards on his touches, which included two receptions, while Brown finished with 14 carries for 42 yards. They'll probably continue to split things evenly in the near future, but Brown holds a higher spot on the depth chart when both are healthy.


When all's said and done, Michael Vick's career will be one of the most fascinating in NFL history. Another chapter may have been written Sunday, as Vick was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Unlike teammate Jeremy Maclin, who left the game with what was thought to be a concussion, Vick was unable to return. Eagles fans who have clamored for backup Nick Foles all season finally got their wish. Foles wasn't bad, throwing for 219 yards and a score in less than three quarters, but he also turned the ball over twice. Whoever gets the Week 11 start, be it Foles or Vick, a tasty match-up with Washington awaits.


Alex Smith was having a strong game Sunday before he left the game with a concussion. Colin Kaepernick, who has seen a lot of action throughout the year in San Francisco's "WildKap" offense, took over and passed for 117 yards and ran for 66 more. With Chicago looming in Week 11, it might not be the time to roll the dice on Kaepernick, but he's certainly capable of racking up a lot of rushing yards.


Ahmad Bradshaw has seemingly been hurt every week this season, and Sunday was no exception. He entered the game battling an ongoing foot injury, and after Sunday he had X-rays on an undisclosed part of the body. Although his overall numbers were decent - 10 carries for 57 yards and three catches for 14 yards - he was outplayed once again by Andre Brown, who finished with 65 yards on just seven rushes, one of which was a two-yard touchdown. The Giants are off in Week 11, so Bradshaw should have some time to heal, but Brown has proven this year to be a very strong backup who should be given more opportunities to handle the ball.


Blaine Gabbert aggravated his shoulder in Thursday's loss to Indianapolis, but it's likely that he left the game due to his performance rather than the injury. Chad Henne led a touchdown drive and played well in relief, but Gabbert is expected to return to action in Week 11 against Houston.


Brandon LaFell was back after missing one game with a concussion, and while his eight targets are nice, he caught just four passes for 29 yards and couldn't even take coverage away from Steve Smith, who caught only one pass, and Louis Murphy (last week's starter) who was shut out. The Carolina passing game is a real mess, but at least tight end Greg Olsen is playing well - he caught nine passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns.


Marcel Reece got the call with Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson both out with ankle injuries, and though he finished with 104 yards (48 on the ground and 56 in the air), the Raiders lost by five touchdowns and may go in a different direction next week. Jeremy Stewart - fresh off the practice squad - actually saw more action than Taiwan Jones, though most of Stewart's carries came when the game was way out of hand. Although some expected Jones to see far more than the two carries he got Sunday, perhaps there is a reason why he's the fourth running back on a bad team.


The good news: Brandon Myers played Sunday despite a sore shoulder. The bad news: he suffered a concussion Sunday. Myers has been one of the year's biggest surprises among tight ends, so losing him could be a big blow to the smart fantasy player who waited to pick his tight end. David Ausberry, who caught two passes Sunday, is likely next in line should Myers be unable to go in Week 11.


Danny Amendola is back and is immediately the most valuable wideout on the Rams again. He was targeted 12 teams - twice as much as second-most-popular receiver, Brandon Gibson - and caught 11 passes for 102 yards. I know someone - we'll call him "Kenn R." - who dropped him when he got hurt. If your league had a similar experience, it might not be too late to pick him back up.


With Darren Sproles out again, Pierre Thomas remained in the starting lineup, but he may have been surpassed by both Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory. While Thomas had just 10 yards rushing on five carries, Ingram had a respectable 67 yards on 16 carries and Ivory ran for 72 yards - most coming on a 56-yard highlight-reel touchdown - on seven carries. Thomas' upside appears to be limited, though one can't expect Ivory to repeat his performance on a regular basis. If Ingram can get 16 carries a week, he looks like the New Orleans running back to own.


Antonio Brown has already been ruled out for Monday night's game against Kansas City, and he could miss a few more games with his ankle injury. Emmanuel Sanders, who was recently fined $15,000 grand for faking an injury, figures to get into the starting lineup, though Jerricho Cotchery should see added looks as well.


Owen Daniels missed Sunday's game with a sore hip, and Garrett Graham, who caught three passes for 15 yards, started in his place. Daniels was a game-time decision, which seems to indicate he'll only miss the one game, so don't rush out to pick up Graham - the three catches very well could end up being his season high.


Jake Locker's return after missing more than a month with a shoulder injury was a strange one. He completed just nine passes in 21 attempts, but it didn't matter as Tennessee gave Miami a surprising 37-3 beatdown. Guess they don't need Matt Hasselbeck anymore.


The Vikings did fine without Percy Harvin (ankle) Sunday, but that was mostly because Adrian Peterson rambled for 171 yards. Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins were in the starting lineup, but combined for just 40 yards on five catches on seven targets. Jarius Wright and tight end Kyle Rudolph fared a little better, as both reached the end zone. The Vikings are off in Week 11, and by the time Week 12 rolls around, things should be back to normal and Harvin will be starting again.