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Depth Chart Watch: Jets Ready to Bail on Sanchez?

Howard Bender

Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. For more from him, you can find his personal musings on his blog or follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy. For questions, thoughts or comments you can email him at

Patriots WR - While Danny Amendola has the No. 1 receiver spot all but locked up, the battle for the No. 2 spot remains with Kenbrell Thompkins having a slight edge over rookie Aaron Dobson. Thompkins has had a strong showing in camp and impressed coaches during the team's first preseason game, running strong routes and catching four passes for 23 yards. When the Patriots spread the field, Dobson might see some time, but Josh Boyce should also see plenty of action. For drafting purposes, Amendola and Thompkins would be the way to go.

Jets QB -
Despite leaving Friday's preseason game with an ankle injury, Geno Smith was back on the field and taking the majority of first-team reps during Sunday's practice. That's not to say that Smith has already beaten out Mark Sanchez for the starting job, but the handwriting has been on the wall for some time, and the Jets would probably like to move on with Smith if they think he can handle the job in his rookie season. The two will continue to compete at practice and split first-team game reps again this week, but expect the Jets to announce a Week 1 starter by the end of next week.

Jets RB -
Cue the angelic chorus, folks. Chris Ivory finally returned to team practice after sitting out all this time with a hamstring injury. He participated in individual drills Sunday and then took the field for team drills during Monday's practice for the first time this offseason. He is expected to be the No. 1 running back this season with some touches going to Bilal Powell and even Mike Goodson once he gets past the weapons and drugs charges he is facing from a traffic stop. Ivory has had his difficulties staying on the field regularly throughout his career but should get the majority of touches between the tackles when he suits up. Powell will be the guy to look for in the passing game.

Jets WR -
While Santonio Holmes attempts to make it back from a serious foot injury that knocked him out last season, Stephen Hill should line up in his place with Jeremy Kerley playing opposite him. Meanwhile, the Jets brought back Braylon Edwards to put into the mix, but at 30-years-old and nearly as many drops as receptions in his career, it's difficult to put much faith in him.

Ravens WR -
The Ravens have Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones as their top two but are still searching for a reliable third wideout. They just brought in veteran Brandon Stokley to join the competition with Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson and David Reed, but Thompson and Doss are both dealing with injuries that are hindering the work they get in practice.

Ravens TE -
This position has been tough for the Ravens this summer as Dennis Pitta is out for the year and now Ed Dickson is suffering from a torn hamstring, and his status is already in question for Week 1. The Ravens already have Visanthe Shiancoe in camp but also just signed Dallas Clark to add to the mix. The team probably prefers Dickson, if healthy, and likely is ambivalent between Clark and Shiancoe. It will just be a matter of who outplays whom over the next week or so.

Colts WR -
With Reggie Wayne locked in as the No. 1 receiver, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton continue to compete for the job opposite him. DHB banged up his knee early last week but was still suited up for the Colts' game Sunday. Unfortunately, he did not see a whole lot of action and failed to catch a pass. Meanwhile, Hilton, who built a strong rapport with Andrew Luck last season, came down with three grabs for 61 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown catch. We have a sneaking suspicion as to which way this job battle will ultimately go.

Jaguars QB -
Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne will continue to battle for the top job this week, with a decision likely to come sometime near the end of next week. Neither really distinguished himself above the other during Friday's preseason action, but we're still leaning toward Gabbert getting the nod to open the season.

Jaguars WR -
Although it's more of a short-term problem, there is still a competition to keep Justin Blackmon's spot warm the first four weeks of the season while he is suspended. Ace Sanders, Mike Brown, Jordan Shipley and Mohamed Massaquoi will all receive consideration during practice, but it seems that Brown and Sanders may have the inside track.

Broncos RB -
Neither Ronnie Hillman nor Montee Ball showed much during the team's first preseason game, so the depth chart remains the same with Hillman being considered the lead back at the moment. Last week, we noted that the ultimate decision could come down to the better pass blocker/catcher, so Hillman maintains his edge while Ball would be considered the goal-line back. But obviously you can't rule out Knowshon Moreno either, so for now, consider the job up for grabs with a tilt toward Hillman. However, that could change at a moment's notice.

Giants RB -
Andre Brown and David Wilson split the work evenly during the team's first preseason game, and there's little reason to think the Giants won't go with a committee backfield once the season starts, especially if neither has separated himself from the other during training camp. The anticipated split is Brown with the goal-line carries and work between the tackles with Wilson as the third-down back and primary receiver out of the backfield.

Eagles WR -
The receiving corps has thinned out some more since the last week's article as Arrelious Benn joins Jeremy Maclin on the sidelines for the season with an ACL tear. That leaves the job for the second wide receiver down to Riley Cooper, Jason Avant and Damaris Johnson, which is pretty slim pickin's if you ask ... well, anyone. Cooper is still dealing with the fallout from his racial slurs, Johnson is extremely undersized (5-foot-8, 170) and Avant has certainly lost a step or three over the years. It wouldn't be all that surprising to see the Eagles look outside the organization to find some help/depth.

Packers RB -
Although he is dealing with a minor hamstring issue that kept him out of Friday's preseason game, Eddie Lacy is reportedly the front-runner for the starting running back job in Green Bay. Should this injury linger and hinder the amount of work he can put in, then Johnathan Franklin would probably be the next in line with DuJuan Harris, James Starks and Alex Green lining up in that order afterward. Reports on Lacy have been strong this spring/summer, so if this injury is indeed minor, then he should be a solid fantasy option.

Panthers RB -
With Jonathan Stewart landing on the PUP list due to his ankle problems (the left one is good while the right one is still bothersome), DeAngelo Williams has a golden opportunity to steal the job completely. Of course, he'll have to stay healthy himself and also prove that he can run effectively through the tackles. We could be looking at some goal-line work for Mike Tolbert here should Williams disappoint inside the five.

49ers WR -
The search continues for a wide receiver to start opposite Anquan Boldin and, unfortunately, there is no clear front-runner in sight. The hope was that A.J. Jenkins would be ready to step up, but while he's been decent in practice, his drops and lost fumble during the 49ers' preseason game stand out like a turd in a punch bowl. Kyle Williams might have an inside track, but is still working his way back from a torn ACL and has been hampered by a hamstring injury recently, while Chad Hall has impressed during practice but is still green with just two seasons on the practice squad under his belt. The team recently brought in Austin Collie to compete, and he's looked fairly strong but has a nightmarish concussion history, and then there's Quinton Patton who had all sorts of sleeper potential but hasn't caught a pass during camp due to a fractured index finger. Marlon Moore could have some sleeper potential as well but still needs to show more. Oh yeah, and did we forget to mention Mario Manningham who is still on the PUP list, recovering from a torn ACL? This one could come down to the wire, and the 49ers may even carry an extra receiver or two if they can handle the work on special teams as well.

Rams RB -
It looks as if Daryl Richardson will be the lead back to open the season and not just because Isaiah Pead is suspended for the first week but also because of the work he's put in this summer and the results he's seen from his efforts. He doesn't have the speed of Pead, but is a quality north/south runner and can shed a block or two when needed. But don't completely rule out rookie Zac Stacy. While he may sit third on the depth chart, he could be an option near the goal line thanks to his bruising style.