Commentary

Cutdown day: fantasy impact

Updated: September 4, 2011, 1:20 PM ET
By Christopher Harris | ESPN.com

While nobody massively important to fantasy squads was cut as the Turk visited NFL locker rooms Saturday, some depth charts need adjusting. Here are the "highlights" of transactions that occurred on the league's busiest roster day:

Rashad Jennings did, in fact, severely injury a knee in the Jaguars' third preseason game, and went on IR Saturday. For the moment, that leaves raw-but-impressive Deji Karim at No. 2 on Jacksonville's depth chart, and as such he's Maurice Jones-Drew's handcuff, though there's obviously a possibility the Jags will sign someone else. Karim was a very good kickoff returner in his rookie year of 2010; Jennings can be dropped.

• The Bears axed Chester Taylor after a week of apparent dithering, which means Marion Barber is obviously the second man in after Matt Forte. Taylor's skills have deteriorated terribly, though some NFL team will likely take a chance on him as a possible third-down back.

Tony Moeaki is reportedly out for the season with a torn ACL. A favored tight end sleeper for some, Moeaki will be replaced by Leonard Pope in the Chiefs' starting lineup. Pope isn't much of a pass-catcher and won't be a fantasy factor at all.

Chris Ivory is on the Saints' PUP list after a slow recovery from Lisfranc (foot) surgery and a sports hernia. He'll be eligible to return to the active roster in Week 7, but with Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles ahead of him, the route to playing time looks difficult.

Justin Gage will search for a new team, as the Titans released him Saturday. The 30-year-old receiver has dealt with leg injuries for multiple seasons and wasn't explosive to begin with. The team also released veteran Kevin Curtis. This is good news for my super-deep sleeper Damian Williams, who should at least get some chances this year.

• The Panthers parted company with Tyrell Sutton, who made a bit of noise during his rookie season, temporarily bypassing Mike Goodson. But Goodson outshined him in '10, and now Sutton was deemed expendable. A decent up-field runner who can catch it, Sutton will certainly sign elsewhere.

• The Browns put Brandon Jackson, a veteran free agent they signed from the Packers, onto injured reserve with a bad toe. Peyton Hillis is all the more secure, and Montario Hardesty is almost certainly his backup, at least for the moment.

• The Rams parted company with former second-round pick (and the first wideout taken in the '08 draft) Donnie Avery, who was trying to return from a torn ACL. In addition, they placed Mark Clayton on the PUP list, meaning he'll miss at least six games trying to return from a torn patellar tendon, and they waived disappointing '10 draftee Mardy Gilyard, who was supposed to be a polished route-runner and dangerous return man coming out of the University of Cincinnati. The starters in St. Louis look to be Mike Sims-Walker and Brandon Gibson on the outside (though Danario Alexander also made the team), with Danny Amendola in the slot. St. Louis also axed RB Keith Toston and developmental TE Fendi Onobun.

Brandon Tate, who was momentarily viewed as a deep-threat solution when the Patriots ditched Randy Moss last season, didn't survive Saturday cuts, as New England released him. The top three Patriots wideouts are Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco, but Taylor Price might now be the deep sleeper name to know.

• The Broncos announced Demaryius Thomas, who tore an Achilles this winter, will avoid their PUP list for now and will begin practicing soon. This is good news for the '10 first-rounder, though he can't be expected to contribute any time soon. But he could be worth a flier in very deep leagues.

• The Chargers cut three receiver candidates -- Laurent Robinson, Seyi Ajirotutu and Kelley Washington. Robinson had a huge final preseason game, which could get him a look elsewhere, but hopefully we fantasy owners have been scared off him for the final time. This is good news for rookie Vincent Brown, who could be heard from occasionally with the Bolts this year.

Keiland Williams, momentarily a sensation as a possible halfback with the Redskins last year, was cut Saturday, something that seemed imminent considering the Skins were playing Williams at fullback this summer. For now, oft-injured Ryan Torain seems safe, while Tim Hightower and Roy Helu are locked in, as well.

• The Colts like their running back depth chart enough to cut Javarris James, who scored six touchdowns last season. Joseph Addai will start; Delone Carter is probably his primary backup; and Donald Brown will see action, too.

• After suffering a terrifying-looking fractured arm during preseason action, Byron Leftwich went on injured reserve for the Steelers, meaning Charlie Batch will be Ben Roethlisberger's backup, with Dennis Dixon serving as third string.

Dan Orlovsky failed to beat out Curtis Painter in Colts camp, so he was cut Saturday. That means Kerry Collins and Painter will occupy the spots behind Peyton Manning, though it's unclear whether Manning will be able to play Week 1.

• The Broncos cut two of their tight end candidates -- Dante Rosario and Dan Gronkowski -- meaning Daniel Fells is locked in as the every-down guy, and another super-deep sleeper of mine, Julius Thomas, should get a chance to make things happen as a receiver.

• The Giants will likely keep looking for a blocking complement for Travis Beckum, as they released Daniel Coats. Remember, Ben Patrick retired on the team earlier in the summer.

• And in the ever-fascinating game of musical chairs at the Cowboys' kicker spot, Shayne Graham and Dave Rayner got the axe, and the team announced that for the moment it considers David Buehler the kickoff specialist, and Dan Bailey the actual field goal kicker. Buehler obviously isn't worth rostering in fantasy leagues.

Christopher Harris is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner. You can ask him questions at www.facebook.com/writerboy.