About this time of year, the questions start cycling through the minds of most fantasy owners. Should you make a trade? Is it too early to cut the guy you drafted in the sixth round? Fantasy Chop Shop will strip apart the latest NFL player news and trends, and provide counsel on roster management. Here you’ll find timely advice about when to “chop” (cut a player from your roster) and when to “shop” (buy or sell a player via trade). The Fantasy Chop Shop will run every other Wednesday through Week 13.
Donovan McNabb, QB, Redskins
McNabb has fewer TDs than Josh Freeman, Chad Henne and Ryan Fitzpatrick. He’s droppable if you need to clear a roster space to deal with a bye issue at another position.
Shaun Hill, QB, Lions
Hill broke his arm and is out for several weeks. We thank him in earnest for his fantasy contributions.
Vince Young, QB, Titans
Young is nothing more than a matchup-based QB at this point, and the matchups over the next four weeks don’t look too appealing. Add a gimpy knee into the equation and you can start to see why he is droppable.
David Garrard, QB, Jaguars
Garrard suffered a concussion in Week 6. Given the short week of preparation, he seems unlikely to play.
Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins
The word out of Washington is Portis may very well have played his last game for the Redskins. Time to cut ties with him and pick up a prospect.
Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots
Denver was supposed to be a rebirth for Maroney but so far it’s been an epic miscarriage.
Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys
Barber may still hold some value in deep leagues but if you need a roster spot during the byes, he’s not a guy you absolutely need to hold.
John Kuhn, RB, Packers
It was fun while it lasted.
Fred Taylor, RB, Patriots
With BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead performing well, Taylor’s touches will be scarce.
Steve Slaton, RB, Texans
Derrick Ward is the handcuff for Arian Foster now.
Kevin Walter, WR, Texans
Yeah, he’ll probably resurface for a game or two but he’s too unpredictable. Houston’s bye week is the perfect time to dump Walter.
Nate Washington, WR, Titans
At this point, Kenny Britt is the only Tennessee receiver worth holding.
Legedu Naanee, WR, Chargers
Faded quickly after a fast start.
Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers
See you in 2011.
Kyle Orton, QB, Broncos
Got your eye on the championship prize? Orton could be the QB to help you reach that goal. He faces a favorable run of games to close out the season, including a pinnacle opportunity in Week 16 against the woeful Texans secondary. Before that, Orton should rattle off nice stat lines against the Raiders, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers, Rams, Chiefs, Cardinals and Raiders. All those teams except San Diego have a pass defense that ranks in the bottom two-thirds of the league in fantasy production allowed to QBs. Despite his early season success, Orton can still be acquired at a relatively low price. Even if you’re all set with your current QB, making a play for Orton could set you up nicely for the postseason.
Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, RBs, Chiefs
If your team has a losing record and you’re in “win-now” mode, try acquiring a piece of Kansas City’s backfield. The Chiefs have the easiest schedule coming up from a rushing standpoint: bar none. Get this. Over the next five weeks KC will face the Jaguars, Bills, Raiders, Broncos and Cardinals. Charles should perform like a solid RB1 but could be costly on the open market. Jones might be the craftier pickup considering he will come at a lower price and you can slide him right in as your RB2.
Marques Colston, WR, Saints
Colston is another player I’d target if I had a losing record and was desperate to roll off a couple wins. Why? Throughout his career, Colston has been a streaky player. His touchdowns and big games usually come in bunches. So do his disappearing acts. In 2009, Colston had two three-game stretches in which he put up less than 90 yards and didn’t score. On the positive side, all of the games in which he scored came in groups of two or three. Same deal in 2008. The point is you can get him cheap now but if he catches fire, he’s the type of player who can carry you to three or four straight wins.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
Fitz struggled mightily with Derek Anderson under center and is currently ranked outside of the Top 30 in fantasy points for WRs. Owners who spent an early draft pick on him might be ready to cut their losses. If you can get him for a discount, pull the trigger. With Max Hall under center, there will be some down games but Fitzgerald should slowly climb the fantasy ranks and perform like a solid WR2 or even low-end WR1 for the rest of the year. Arizona’s near-term schedule is a WR’s delight with two upcoming games against the Seahawks.
Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
The TE position seemed deep just a short while ago but Weeks 5-6 took a toll on the position, knocking Jermichael Finley out for the season and claiming numerous others to various bumps and bruises. If your team was impacted by the carnage, consider making a low-ball offer for Jason Witten. The Cowboys TE has been quiet for much of the year but should wake up soon. He faces the Giants this week and again in Week 10. In 2009, Witten posted his best numbers in the two games against the G-Men. Sandwiched in between those divisional matchups, Witten gets the Packers and Jaguars, two teams that have struggled to stop opposing TEs this season.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Brady still has some weapons at his disposal but the loss of Randy Moss will hurt him in the long run. Fantasy owners who draft Brady thinking they were getting a Top 5 fantasy QB need to come to terms with the idea that Tom Terrific is more likely to close out the season ranked somewhere between 9-14 in fantasy scoring for QBs. Brady seems content to throw short and intermediate routes, greatly reducing the opportunity for those 60-yard TD passes that tick off 10-12 fantasy points at a time. Test the waters and see what you can get for Brady.
Jets Passing Offense, QB/WR/TE, Jets
While I think New York’s passing game will be solid in the short term, the future looks bleak as the Jets head to November and December. Beginning in Week 13, the Jets will play four outdoor games against tough opponents in potentially bad weather (@NE, MIA, @PIT and @CHI). Something tells me Southern California native Mark Sanchez may struggle in the cold and wind. New York figures to revert to a ground-heavy attack. There’s no immediate need to unload them, but sometime before the end of the season it might not be a bad idea to sell off Sanchez, Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
McCoy is still living off the goodwill he established in Week 2 when he posted 128 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions. Yes, he’s had some other solid efforts but chances are he’s not going to perform like a RB1 consistently. The bottom line on McCoy is this. He has been blessed with a schedule that’s tilted heavily toward the front half of the season. The Eagles have faced six opponents so far this season. All but one rank in the bottom half of the NFL in rush defense. Beginning in Week 11, Philly will face six straight opponents that rank in the top 12 in run defense. McCoy is a classic sell high candidate.
Michael Vick, QB, Eagles
Wait for the dust to settle in Philly before cutting Vick. He’s an elite fantasy QB if he gets his job back.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
The temptation is strong to sell high on Bowe after his breakout performance in Week 6. But a cushy schedule for the rest of the year could make Bowe a legit WR2 going forward.