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Depth Chart Watch: Fallout From Week 9

Andrew Fiorentino

Managing hockey editor, talent wrangler, football columnist, FSWA's 2015 fantasy hockey writer of the year. Twitter: @akfiorentino

Thanks to a death in the family and election madness, Depth Chart Watch comes to you a bit later than usual today, but no worries – I’m still here (at least until Sweden approves my visa application). Let’s get straight into it.


QUARTERBACK

Cleveland Browns

Cody Kessler regained his starting role from Josh McCown in Week 9 and had a nice game, going 19-for-27 for 203 yards and a touchdown. He got sent for an X-ray on his leg after the game, but is reportedly alright and set to play Thursday against Baltimore.

Kansas City Chiefs

With Alex Smith (head) out Sunday, Nick Foles delivered a rather Smith-esque line: 20-for-33 for 187 yards and a touchdown. However, Smith’s expected to return for Week 10.

New York Jets

Ryan Fitzpatrick sprained his MCL in Sunday’s loss, leading to Bryce Petty getting in for a few snaps. The Jets are calling Fitz day-to-day right now, and the current word is that he’d need to miss “significant” practice time to be ruled out of this Sunday’s game against the Rams.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Can you believe Ben Roethlisberger (knee) came back so soon after surgery – and scored a rushing touchdown? Man.


RUNNING BACK

Atlanta Falcons

With no Tevin Coleman (hamstring), Devonta Freeman cleared 100 total yards in the Thursday game, while Terron Ward gained 30 yards on eight rushes working behind him. There’s word that Coleman could be back this week, but he hasn’t returned to practice yet.

Buffalo Bills

LeSean McCoy showed his hamstring’s health by building up to a big workload – a season-high 21 carries – in Sunday’s game against Seattle. He picked up 85 yards and added another 35 through the air, so the veteran’s fantasy owners have to be feeling good moving forward.

Chicago Bears

Following Jordan Howard’s enormous performance against Minnesota before the bye, he can be expected to carry the load when the league gets back in action for Week 10.

Denver Broncos

An ineffective effort by Devontae Booker on Sunday – 10 carries for 22 yards – is supposed to lead to a bigger share of the work this week for Kapri Bibbs, who ripped off a 69-yard touchdown reception. Bibbs thus merits enthusiastic pickups across the fantasy universe.

Green Bay Packers

Apparently over his sickle-cell issue, Ty Montgomery drew the start at running back for Green Bay again on Sunday. His workload was limited, but he turned seven carries into an impressive 53 yards, adding another 38 through the air. Don Jackson had only four carries for 16 yards. James Starks (knee) is back at practice, but it’s unclear when he might return or how the backfield touches might break out once he's ready.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Chris Ivory delivered a stunning, out-of-nowhere performance in Kansas City on Sunday, running 18 times for 107 yards. Although he lost a fumble, it was still enough for the Jags to marginalize T.J. Yeldon – he also fumbled to go with seven carries for 33 yards. However, Yeldon picked up five catches for 32 yards and a touchdown, so both backs ended up with surprisingly credible fantasy lines.

Kansas City Chiefs

Thanks to Spencer Ware’s concussion, Charcandrick West led the Chiefs’ backfield Sunday, but he was something less than electric: 13 carries for 39 yards and three catches for another 35. Ware reportedly has a good chance to return for this weekend’s matchup against Carolina, while Jamaal Charles (knee) remains uncertain to play again this season – and at age 29, this might be the end of his career, too.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikes had a three-way RB split going Sunday, with Matt Asiata getting the most carries (nine), but Ronnie Hillman posting the best rushing average (4.3, or 30 yards on seven carries – plus a 32-yard reception). And then there was Jerick McKinnon, who rushed for eight yards on seven carries. This was McKinnon’s first game back coming off an ankle ailment, though, so he may not have been at full speed. Look for him to gain some more touches and be more effective against Washington this week.

New York Giants

We finally saw Paul Perkins get a decent amount of work Sunday, as he tied Rashad Jennings in carries – 11 each. Neither was efficient, but Perkins was ever-so-slightly better, outgaining Jennings 32-26 on the ground and 15-13 through the air, with both catching all three of their targets. Remarkable symmetry, really. Perkins has been deserving of an increased role, so look for a similar carry split against the Bengals this week – though it should be noted that he still only played 22 snaps to Jennings’ 37.

Philadelphia Eagles

It continues to amaze me how I keep getting (relatively) paid off for starting Ryan Mathews in fantasy even though he has such a tiny role. The guy has only taken eight snaps each of the last two weeks, but he’s scored touchdowns both times despite not exceeding 15 total yards. Darren Sproles does most of the work in Philly these days, but he actually hasn’t been a whole lot more valuable than Mathews – he generally posts strong rushing averages, but never gets a 20-plus-carry load and hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3 (his only one of the year).

San Francisco 49ers

DuJuan Harris carried the load for the Niners on Sunday, and other than losing a fumble (which Mike Davis did as well despite toting the ball just twice), he did well – 59 yards on 10 carries plus five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, although you do have to factor in the softness of the opposing defense. Meanwhile, Carlos Hyde (shoulder) is practicing, but still not taking contact.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The lack of Doug Martin (hamstring) and Jacquizz Rodgers (foot) led to Peyton Barber drawing the majority of the workload Thursday, but he didn’t do much – just 55 total yards on 15 touches (four receptions). Antone Smith ran more efficiently behind him (five rushes for 25 yards), but he lost a fumble. It looks like Martin and Rodgers will remain out this week, so Barber’s probably going to start again in Week 10.

Washington Redskins

Matt Jones (knee) has been doing some work in practice this week, so there’s a chance he could return and bring new complications to the backfield situation in the nation’s capital. Rob Kelley was enticingly good in his absence, while Chris Thompson will continue to play his third-down role.


WIDE RECEIVER

Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald (ankle) didn’t practice Tuesday, throwing some doubt on his status for this week. If he can’t go, that’d be a big boon for J.J. Nelson and Michael Floyd. Nelson’s already a highly intriguing fantasy asset now that John Brown is out for the year.

Baltimore Ravens

Steve Smith (ankle) did indeed return Sunday, catching four of his seven targets for 47 yards as well as a two-point conversion. But it was Mike Wallace who stole the show with his 95-yard touchdown grab in the first quarter; he ended up with 124 yards on four catches (six targets). Those two should split the vast majority of the targets moving forward, with little dropping down to the likes of Breshad Perriman (four targets Sunday) or Kamar Aiken (two).

Buffalo Bills

Robert Woods (foot) got into the action Monday and had a surprisingly huge game against Seattle, catching 10 passes on 13 targets for 162 yards. Marquise Goodwin was the only other wideout with a decent number of targets, as he caught four of five for 43 yards.

Dallas Cowboys

Dez Bryant was held to just a single catch for 19 yards on four targets thanks to facing Joe Haden on Sunday, but he wasn’t hurt or anything – it was just the Haden effect. Cole Beasley, meanwhile, caught all six of his looks for 56 yards and a touchdown. Terrance Williams: still useless.

Jacksonville Jaguar

Allen Hurns left Sunday’s game with a concussion, while Allen Robinson had his best game of the year (for what it’s worth) – seven catches on 11 targets for 76 yards and a score. Marqise Lee’s role has been growing in fits and starts, and he caught four of eight targets for 84 yards of his own. Hurns’ status heading into Week 10 remains unclear.

Kansas City Chiefs

Jeremy Maclin (groin) could reportedly miss this week’s game after being forced out of Sunday’s with a groin injury. The combination of Chris Conley, Tyreek Hill and Albert Wilson didn’t do much in his place, but Hill especially has a boatload of upside if there are targets to be had for him.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Sammie Coates’ (hand) Week 9 return to action went quite poorly, as he failed to catch any of his five targets – keeping the door open for Eli Rogers, who led the team in receiving with six catches on 10 targets (second only to Antonio Brown’s 11) for 103 yards. There’s a good bit of variance to be expected here because when Coates makes plays, they’re big ones, but Rogers could be winning his way into a featured role after seeing his usage fade for much of the season’s first half.

San Francisco 49ers

Quinton Patton saw his biggest target load of the year Sunday, and he paid off those nine looks with six catches for 106 yards – the best day of his career. But as with Harris, we must include the Saints caveat. Colin Kaepernick just isn’t going to keep putting up the numbers we saw in this game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans picked up a concussion in Thursday’s game, but seems to be making some progress, as he’s running routes in practice, although he still hasn’t cleared the protocol. If he’s forced to miss time, things get ugly really fast at wideout in Tampa, with Adam Humphries and Russell Shepard (hip) your top alternatives.


TIGHT END

Indianapolis Colts

Dwayne Allen’s return to the field from an ankle injury didn’t hurt Jack Doyle, who led the Colts in targets (nine) and caught five balls for 61 yards against the Packers on Sunday. Considering Doyle beat Allen out in snaps, 50-44, and was much more heavily utilized, I give him good odds of being the Colts’ top tight end moving forward. He’s been better than Allen by basically every metric.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins’ leading receiver in Week 9? Well, that would be Dominique Jones, a guy who had four total targets all season coming into Sunday’s action. He doubled that total against the Jets, reeling in three of four targets for 42 yards and a touchdown. The opportunity came Jones’ way because Dion Sims (concussion) sat out for the second straight game. Meanwhile, MarQueis Gray saw an equal number of targets, but gained only 10 yards on two catches.

San Diego Chargers

With Hunter Henry (knee) out again, Antonio Gates ended up tying for the team lead in targets (nine) and heading the list with 75 yards on five receptions in Week 9. Henry’s status for this week remains highly questionable.

Washington Redskins

Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis continued coexisting effectively Sunday, with Reed netting 99 yards and a touchdown on nine catches while Davis caught five balls for 93 yards. It looks like ol’ Vern is surprisingly playable moving forward.