Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Fantasy Chop Shop. This new Huddle exclusive 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 initially but may move to a weekly format if the response and feedback are positive.
Bryant Johnson, WR, Cardinals
When Larry Fitzgerald went down with a hamstring injury, it looked like Johnson might post some decent stats in his absence. That was BC (Before Chicago). Since the humiliating Monday night loss to the Bears, the Arizona franchise has gone into a tailspin. Johnson couldn’t even manage 10 yards against the Packers, who own the worst pass defense in the NFL. With the Cards on bye this week and Fitzgerald likely to return in Week 10, this is the time to cut Johnson.
Troy Williamson, WR, Vikings
Williamson, a former first-round draft pick, just hasn’t shown enough this season. His specialty is speed and deep routes, which doesn’t jibe with Brad Johnson’s weak arm. Williamson hasn’t exceeded 50 yards receiving in several weeks and hasn’t scored all season. If there are decent options on your waiver wire, consider dumping him now and taking your shot on a more consistent player or roll the dice on a wideout who has better upside.
Dominic Rhodes, RB, Colts
In his last two games, Rhodes has rushed for 0 yard and 26 yards. Over the same stretch, against the same defenses, rookie Joseph Addai has 93 and 85 yards. Although head coach Tony Dungy has indicated Rhodes will continue to have a role in the offense, it’s clear that Addai is the more explosive player. Look for Addai to start earning the majority of carries. Rhodes will likely become an 8-10 touch change-of-pace back and may get the goal line carries. Unless you play in a TD-only league, it’s probably safe to cut Rhodes.
Chad Pennington, QB, Jets
With the Jets on bye this week, it’s a good time to cut ties with Pennington. The New York QB has a 3:6 TD-to-INT ratio over the last four weeks. Things won’t get any easier either. Coming off the bye, Pennington will face the Patriots and Bears. Take this opportunity to dump him and acquire a QB who has more upside, such as Tony Romo, Damon Huard, Jon Kitna, or even Joey Harrington.
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts
It’s still a RBBC in Indy, but maybe not for long. Addai is averaging 5.1 ypc versus 3.1 for Dominic Rhodes. Because Addai has just one touchdown this season, you might be able to get him on the cheap. If he gets the majority of carries in the second half of the season, he could run roughshod over defenses particularly in the fantasy playoffs when he’ll face the Bengals (Week 15) and Texans (Week 16).
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
I recommended grabbing Williams in the Free Agent Forecast earlier this week. However, I’ll reiterate my belief that the rookie will be getting the majority of the carries before the season is over. Make a trade for him now if you weren’t able to nab him on the waiver wire. His value is negligible today, especially with the Panthers on bye. DeShaun Foster hasn’t been all bad, but he’s clearly not a workhorse that head coach John Fox can rely on to pick up tough yards when the team has the lead. Williams looked explosive in the two games in which he saw significant action, averaging 5.7 ypc against Minnesota and 7.8 ypc against New Orleans—both solid defenses.
Chris Chambers, WR, Dolphins
Chambers has been a victim of poor QB play this season. Neither Duante Culpepper nor Joey Harrington has been able to get him the ball. But it’s not for a lack of trying. Chambers has been targeted or has rushed the ball 71 times this year, among the best in the league for wideouts. His value hit rock bottom two weeks ago though when Harrington attempted a ridiculous 62 passes—and completed just two to Chambers. The Dolphins have reportedly used their bye week to explore new ways to get Chambers involved, including moving him into the slot on occasion. It was a similar move last year that helped contribute to Chambers explosion last year highlighted by six TDs over a four game stretch. Chambers’ schedule isn’t great in the coming weeks but it’s not a deal breaker either. Games against the Lions (Thanksgiving) and Jets (Week 16) could be huge.
Antonio Bryant, WR, 49ers
Bryant opened the season with two 100-yard games and a TD. Then he came crashing back to earth and hasn’t done much since. I chalk it up to the tough pass defenses he and QB Alex Smith have been up against (PHI, KC, OAK, SDG, and CHI). San Francisco’s schedule will loosen up a bit in the coming weeks, so now is an opportune time to upgrade your WR3 or WR4 by swinging a trade for Bryant. The Niners will play Minnesota, a team that was picked apart by Tom Brady. Then they have matchups against the likes of Detroit, Seattle, and St. Louis. And if you are already looking ahead to the playoffs games against Green Bay (Week 14), Seattle (Week 15), and Arizona (Week 16) will sweeten the deal.
Greg Jennings, WR, Packers
Jennings is battling a sprained ankle right now and hasn’t done much for a couple weeks. Impatient owners may have soured on the rookie, but he’ll be back. Make a trade for him now if your team is a lock for the playoffs. Jennings should feast on San Francisco (Week 14) and Detroit (Week 15).
Shaun Alexander, RB, Seahawks
Alexander’s foot isn’t healing like his doctors had hoped. His contribution for the regular season of your fantasy league, which generally runs to Week 13 or 14, will probably be minimal. There’s no guarantee Alexander will even suit up this season and even if he does, the Seahawks offensive line hasn’t been able to open holes. Now is the time to get what you can for him.
Reuben Droughns, RB, Browns
Droughns had a nice game against the Jets, but everyone has a nice game against the Jets, don’t they? His value is as high as it’s going to be at any point this season. Look for the team to start giving carries to its younger RBs in the remaining weeks.
Mike Bell, RB, Broncos
Bell gutted the Colts for 136 yards and two touchdowns and his value is quite high right now—especially considering the uncertainty surrounding Tatum Bell’s injured feet. If you have Bell stashed away on your roster and you have clear-cut alternatives to start ahead of him, try to make a deal to fill a bigger need. You don’t want the headache of trying to figure out who will get the carries for the Broncos when Tatum Bell returns. And Mike Bell’s performance against a soft Indy run defense could’ve just been a flash in the pan.
Terry Glenn, WR, Cowboys
The change at QB from Drew Bledsoe to Tony Romo has shifted the dynamic of the offense. Bledsoe spread the ball evenly among Terry Glenn and Terrell Owens. Through the first six weeks of the season, Glenn had 43 looks to 47 for Owens. Since Week 7, when Romo took over, Owens has been involved in 26 plays compared with 14 for Glenn. In addition, TE Jason Witten has become a bigger part of the offense lately and has received 15 looks over the last two weeks. Glenn may have a good game here and there, but the downward trend makes now the right time to deal him.
Ben Watson, TE, Patriots
The Patriots receivers and tight ends will break your heart. Tom Brady spreads the ball around as effectively as any quarterback in the NFL. Watson posted a season-high 95 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings. He may have one or two similar games before the season is over, but you can also count on a few 2-catch 23-yard stinkers, as well. If you have a more consistent TE on your roster, think about including Watson as part of a package deal to shore up one of your weak spots.