Evan Silva

Position Battles

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Getting Separation

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Going Deep

Giants No. 2 Running Back
Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Danny Ware vs. Andre Brown

Giants have not released a depth chart

Perhaps no player has been as dominant as Bradshaw in the preseason's first two weeks. He already has four catches, a touchdown, and 89 rushing yards on 11 carries. The Panthers' run defense will be miserable minus NT Maake Kemoeatu and possibly MLB Jon Beason (I can't wait to recommend LeSean McCoy against Carolina as a sleeper Week 1 flex play), but it wasn't just the front seven Bradshaw made look bad in the opener. The 5'9/198-pound third-year back literally de-cleated Panthers CB Chris Gamble (6'1/200) on his 19-yard touchdown run. Ware has been solid in the passing game, but struggled on the ground with just 55 yards on 20 carries. Brown is out for the season with a torn Achilles' tendon. Bradshaw is a candidate for a 1,000+ all-purpose yard campaign.

Jaguars No. 2 Wide Receiver
Mike Walker vs. Troy Williamson

Jaguars have no updated depth chart

Yes, that Troy Williamson is leading the league in preseason receiving yardage in a landslide. Most impressively, the former drop-prone bust is doing it efficiently. Starting both of the Jags' preseason games at split end, Williamson has turned 10 targets into seven catches for 221 yards, including bombs of 61 yards and a 76-yard score on the first offensive snap of Saturday's exhibition. Meanwhile, Walker has missed 16 days with an ankle injury. Williamson has simply played too well to not stay in the starting lineup when Walker returns. It's time to seriously consider Williamson as a late-round flier pick. Somebody has to catch the passes in Jacksonville. Walker and Torry Holt haven't shown much.

Panthers No. 2 Wide Receiver
Muhsin Muhammad vs. Dwayne Jarrett

Panthers Current Depth Chart

We already talked about Jarrett's big opportunity with Steve Smith (shoulder) shelved for the preseason and Muhsin Muhammad unlikely to play much in meaningless games at age 35. But Jarrett showed no ability to separate in Carolina's opener against the Giants, then went catch-less Saturday night at Miami. He's sitting on one catch for three yards in extensive playing time, while being outplayed by Lions castoff Kenneth Moore, and undrafted free agents Jason Chery and Larry Beavers. Barring an exceptional breakthrough from Jarrett in the last two exhibitions, Moose's job is very safe.

Already Locked Up

Ravens No. 1 Running Back
Willis McGahee vs. Ray Rice vs. LeRon McClain

Ravens Current Depth Chart

Rice started the preseason opener and looked every bit the every-down back coordinator Cam Cameron envisions. He averaged a rock-solid 4.4 yards per carry and caught three passes for 38 yards. McGahee has turned it up a notch in practice and didn't hurt himself with 33 yards on five touches in last week's shutout of Washington, but is safely No. 2. Interestingly, McClain only lead blocked. McGahee got the carry inside the Skins' five-yard line on the Ravens' first drive. He didn't execute, but it's possible that McClain isn't guaranteed goal-line work. That could open the door to even more production for Rice, who was an effective short-yardage back at Rutgers. The first-team gig is wrapped tight, but Monday night's Ravens-Jets matchup is worth watching closely for an idea of Rice's touchdown-scoring upside.

49ers No. 1 Wide Receiver
Isaac Bruce vs. Josh Morgan vs. Michael Crabtree

49ers still haven't released a depth chart

By way of shameless contract demands, Crabtree's agent has effectively haggled his client out of this race. Morgan has run as the 49ers' split end for the duration of camp, with Bruce opposite at flanker. Morgan, the 49ers' top deep threat, will be counted on heavily early this year. Crabtree won't be ready for an impact until midseason at the earliest, Brandon Jones (fractured shoulder) is out until at least Week 4, slot receiver Jason Hill appears to be regressing, and Bruce is going on 37. Sure to be a target hound, Morgan could emerge as an every-week WR3 play. His current ADP is the 14th round in 12-team leagues, behind guys like Hakeem Nicks, Michael Jenkins, and Crabtree himself. Imagine that.

Cowboys No. 2 Wide Receiver
Patrick Crayton vs. Miles Austin vs. Sam Hurd

Cowboys Current Depth Chart

The competition has turned to Austin versus Hurd for the third receiver spot. Crayton is in the driver's seat to start opposite Roy Williams. Austin played ahead of Hurd in the exhibition opener, but had a drop and finished without a catch. He also went reception-less on Friday night, failing to execute on two targets. Meantime, Hurd is sitting on 86 preseason receiving yards. Austin is blowing his opportunity for a huge role in an explosive offense during his contract year. Crayton is a worthwhile mid- to late-round pick in PPR leagues. He has remarkable hands and is extremely underrated in the red zone.

Vikings No. 1 Quarterback
Brett Favre

Vikings' depth chart hasn't been updated post-Favre signing

Sage Rosenfels had taken the clear lead over Tarvaris Jackson coming out of the first week of the preseason. Wednesday, the competition was over. Still, the Vikings' quarterback situation should be kept in mind in-season. The offense has explosive potential and Favre's partially torn rotator cuff is susceptible to re-aggravation. Rosenfels could be worth a waiver add at some point. Minnesota should find a trade partner for Jackson after his 202-yard, two-touchdown effort on Friday. St. Louis, Washington, Green Bay, and Jacksonville appear to be possible landing spots.

Editor's Note: For the most up-to-date player rankings, profiles, projections, cheatsheets, and much, much more that will allow you to dominate your fantasy football league, check out the 2009 Rotoworld Football Draft Guide.

Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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