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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Fantasy Chop Shop - Week 3
Paul Sandy
September 19, 2007

About this time of year most fantasy owners take a look at their roster and begin to feel like a mosquito at a nudist beach . . . so many possibilities, but where to begin?

The questions start cycling through your mind. Should you make a trade? Is it too early to cut the guy you drafted in the eighth 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).

Fantasy Chop Shop will run every other Wednesday for the rest of the year.

CHOP

Cut ‘em

Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts
The Colts aren’t using their rookie wideout as much as many thought they would prior to the season. Instead, the Indy brass is easing Gonzalez into things and using Dallas Clark in the slot. Cut Gonzalez for now, but keep your eye on him.

Devery Henderson, WR, Saints
Henderson makes his money on the long ball. Unfortunately, the pass protection has been so poor that Drew Brees hasn’t had time to connect with him down the field. Through two games, Henderson has just three receptions for 34 yards and has only been targeted nine times. To make matters worse he may lose his job to David Patten because of a couple mental lapses and dropped balls. If there are better options on your waiver wire, don’t be afraid to part ways with Henderson.

Muhsin Muhammad, WR, Bears
I’ve always liked Muhammad and I think there may be some production left in him. However, the stats don’t lie. He hasn’t had more than three receptions in a game in his last seven outings. If there’s reason for hope, it’s a soft upcoming schedule. Still, based on his slump, it’s an appropriate time to cut Muhammad if there’s something better out there.

D.J. Hackett, WR, Seahawks
High ankle sprains like the one Hackett suffered often take a long time to heal. Mike Holmgren isn’t talking about his timeline, but don’t expect much of a contribution from him until after Seattle’s Week 8 bye. If you have a deep enough roster or an IR system, stash him away. Otherwise don’t commit a precious roster spot to a guy who may not take the field for weeks.

Bo Scaife, TE, Titans
He was a popular sleeper pick because he played with Vince Young at Texas. This isn’t the Big 12 Conference though and Scaife isn’t a big enough part of the offense to merit a roster spot at this point. You can do better on your waiver wire.

L.J. Smith, TE, Eagles
Smith has been a non-factor this season. Until he proves he’s fully recovered from sports hernia surgery, he shouldn’t be on your roster unless you’re in a 14+ team league. McNabb’s erratic QB play is further proof that Smith’s value is minimal.

Mike Bell, RB, Broncos
He’s no longer second in line for Denver so Bell’s value is nil at this point.

Anthony Thomas, RB, Bills
So much for the rumored committee backfield in Buffalo. The A-Train has just three carries for -1 yard this season.

Chad Pennington, QB, Jets
Pennington is injured. No surprise there. However, he’s also about two games away from losing his job to QB of the future, Kellen Clemens. Scour the wire for a better QB2.

Steve McNair, QB, Ravens
He’s a shadow of his former self. Too few rushing yards. Too many injuries.

Troy Williamson, WR, Vikings
A decent preseason opened some eyes, but alas, he still sucks. On the bright side for Williamson, his QB is even worse.

Drew Bennett, WR, Rams
Rumors of Isaac Bruce’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. The ageless one is the Rams top wideout through two weeks of play. Dump Bennett because he won’t get enough looks.

Keary Colbert, WR, Panthers
This guy kills more drives than anyone I have ever seen.

Matt Jones, WR, Jaguars
He’s one in a long line of Jacksonville wideouts who have failed to live up to expectations. Now, according to head coach Jack del Rio, Jones is loafing. Good riddance.

Joe Horn, WR, Falcons
Big name. Small stats. He has minimal value in what might be the NFL’s worst offense.

SHOP

Buy ‘em

Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys
For whatever reason, most fantasy owners don’t seem to trust Barber as a regular starter. If he’s not being used by the owner in your league, make a strong push to trade for him. Barber’s workload should only get bigger as he continues to out-produce Julius Jones. He could be a top five fantasy RB if he gets 80% of the touches.

Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots
Maroney has been a disappointment thus far because he’s splitting time with Sammy Morris and because the passing game has been the focal point of the offense. However, there’s reason for optimism. Several players proved last year that you can put up big fantasy numbers in a committee backfield — as long as you’re getting plenty of touches. Maroney should see his opportunities spike in the next four weeks with games against the soft run defenses of the Bills, Bengals, Browns and Cowboys. See if you can get him on your squad before this favorable stretch of schedule.  

Thomas Jones, RB, Jets
Chalk Jones’ sluggish start up to a preseason calf injury and a brutal opening schedule. If the Jones owner in your league doesn’t have the patience to stick with the Jets starter, make the move to get him. New York’s offense could start clicking if Kellen Clemens takes the starting job.

Santana Moss, WR, Redskins
Jason Campbell has one of the strongest arms in the NFL. Santana Moss is one of the fastest WRs in the NFL. You do the math. When these two get on the same page, it’ll be bombs away. Moss is just a couple years removed from a 1,400+ yard season. There’s still lots of potential here but his value is low, making him a good trade candidate. He could explode as soon as this week against the Giants and is the perfect stopgap for owners who lost Andre Johnson.

Lee Evans, WR, Bills
Perhaps no player has frustrated opponents more than Evans this year. Based on some e-mails I’ve received from readers, many people are considering dropping him outright. His value is low. Too low. Evans had the misfortune of opening with games against the Broncos and Steelers. Things open up in Week 4 when he’ll begin benefiting from games against the likes of the Jets, Cowboys and Bengals. Then, in the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 15 and 16), Evans gets the Browns and Giants. If you can get him on the cheap and use him as your third wideout, it’ll pay dividends (eventually).

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
After a huge game in the opener, Big Ben came back down to earth a bit. With his value at a reasonable level once again, now is a good time to swing a trade. Pittsburgh’s favorable schedule should open the door for big points from Roethlisberger all season. He’d be a great acquisition for an owner whose QB play has suffered so far.

Sell ‘em

Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants
Derrick Ward looks like he belongs in the NFL. He put up 125 all-purpose yards on a good Packers defense in Week 2 and is averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Jacobs will get his starting job back when he returns from his knee injury, but that may be a token title. Ward has proven to be much too versatile to leave on the sidelines. Expect the two backs to split carries. It might behoove you to deal Jacob’s before this comes to fruition.

LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders
To this point, Jordan is likely considered one of the biggest steals of your draft/auction. You probably didn’t envision him as a starter when you made the selection. Now you’re wondering what to do with him. It may be difficult to part with Jordan, but the fact is he benefited from a weak opening schedule. Denver is a poor tackling defense and Detroit is just plain poor. Plus with Dominic Rhodes coming back in a couple weeks, Jordan may lose touches. Now’s the time to test the market.

Braylon Edwards, WR, Browns
Edwards is coming off a 146-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Bengals. He is a prime sell-high candidate because there’s a good chance he has just turned in what will be his best performance of 2007. The Browns have a tough upcoming schedule with games against the Raiders, Ravens and Patriots. Plus there’s the looming QB change on the horizon. A switch to rookie Brady Quinn, which seems inevitable, will likely cause a dip in Edwards’ numbers (at least until Quinn adjusts to the speed of the game). If you are deep at WR, consider dealing Edwards to get stronger at another position.

Other Features

Game Predictions
Projected Player Stats
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Tunnel Vision
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