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.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
Stafford popped his shoulder again and seems unlikely to help fantasy squads in 2010.
Chad Henne, QB, Dolphins
Though Henne (knee) may return to the field this season, he’s unlikely to return to fantasy relevance.
CJ Spiller, RB, Bills
Another casualty of the hamstring injury. He’s safe to cut outside of dynasty leagues.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
Time to put one of the bigger 2010 busts out of his misery.
Tashard Choice, RB, Cowboys
Yeah, he was one of my sleepers, too. Maybe next year.
Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets
His groin tear apparently isn’t as severe as was originally thought. Still, you can probably find a better option.
Kenny Britt, WR, Titans
Dead weight at this point.
Tony Moeaki, TE, Chiefs
The promising rookie suffered a concussion on Sunday. I’d look for other options because he hasn’t been producing.
Stephen Gostkowski, K, Patriots
Out for the year.
Mike Nugent, K, Bengals
Out for the year.
Jeff Reed, K, Steelers
Out of a job.
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts
Addai is a sneaky buy low candidate. Many fantasy owners have grown weary of his injury issues. If you’re looking like a championship contender, Addai could help in the final weeks when the Colts face the Cowboys, Jaguars and Raiders in three of the last four games. One thing you won’t have to worry about this year is Indianapolis resting its starters. The Colts look like they’ll have something to play for in December.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Bucs
Inflict a little Blount force trauma on your playoff opponents. Blount faces a favorable stretch of games from Week 14-16 with matchups against the Redskins, Lions and Seahawks. He’s proven to be up to the task when facing favorable matchups. Yet the fact that he was contained by the Falcons two weeks ago has many fantasy owners doubting whether he can be a true RB2 for fantasy—thus keeping his price at affordable levels. If your team is a cinch for the playoffs, grab Blount with the intent of unleashing him when it matters most.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins
Marshall’s fantasy value has sunk to a new low. The timing is right to make a lowball offer and see if you can secure his services. I like QB Tyler Thigpen’s chances of being the catalyst that returns Marshall to prominence. In nine of the last 11 games of the 2008 season, Thigpen helped Dwayne Bowe post stat lines with 70+ yards or a touchdown. Marshall provides similar skills and physicality and Thigpen is going to love throwing his way. If your gamble on the Thigpen-Marshall hookup works out, you could be living the high life in Weeks 15-16 when the Dolphins face the Bills and Lions in sunny Miami.
Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens
Boldin’s receiving yardage is on a downward trend, which could enable you to land him at a bargain price. He should richly reward owners in the coming weeks with a slate of favorable matchups beginning this week against the Panthers. During the fantasy playoffs, he’ll face the Texans (Week 14) and Cleveland (Week 16). Houston has the worst pass defense in the NFL. Boldin recorded three touchdowns earlier this year against the Browns.
Matt Schaub, QB, Texans
It took a cushy matchup against the Jaguars for Schaub to break out of a scoring slump that saw him disappoint in two straight games (and three out of four). Take advantage of his temporary spike in value because Houston’s schedule over the next few games is looking pesky. The Texans will face the Jets, Titans, Eagles, Ravens and Titans in order. It’s a good bet that Schaub disappoints in at least three of those games. See if you can find an owner asleep at the wheel and poach someone who will improve your team.
Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers
Wallace has been huge since Ben Roethlisberger returned from injury. He’s posted 246 yards and three touchdowns in his last two games. The guy is a phenomenal talent. So why shop him? Beginning Thanksgiving weekend, the Steelers have a schedule packed with potentially cold weather games. This includes matchups against formidable defensive backfields (Ravens, Bengals, and Jets). For a WR whose game is predicated on deep throws, it’s not an ideal situation. During a similar five-week stretch of outdoor games in cold weather climates last Nov.-Dec., Wallace had just one useful stat line. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh’s offense turns to its running roots — and Wallace’s production turns south.
Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
Gates still has substantial value on the open market because of his monster first half. However, a foot injury along with the return of Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson will limit his targets in the remaining games. If you’ve been able to find a suitable replacement, use Gates as leverage to shore up another position.
Ryan Torain, RB, Redskins
Torain suffered a setback with his hamstring injury on Monday night. His status is unknown. With Clinton Portis slated to return soon, you might be tempted to dump Torain outright. Hold off until his prognosis becomes clearer. Portis doesn’t have a future in Washington beyond this year so Mike Shanahan seems unlikely to give him more than some token touches on third down. If Torain can get healthy, he could again become a factor.
Steve Smith, WR, Giants
Smith’s pectoral injury will keep him out until December. Don’t get impatient and unload him. New York’s offense is too potent. Smith will return to WR2/WR3 status in time for the fantasy postseason.