The purpose of Fantasy Chop Shop is to 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.
Matt Leinart, Cardinals
Leinart looks confused right now and isn’t playing with any confidence. With Kurt Warner cutting into his minutes and threatening to take the starting job, now is an opportune time to cut ties with Leinart and explore waiver wire options.
Reggie Brown, Eagles
So much for that third-year wide receiver theory. Brown has been the invisible man in Philly this season. With the Eagles on bye this week, it’s a good time to consider dumping Brown if there are decent free agents available in your league.
Marc Bulger, Rams
Obviously think long and hard before dumping Bulger outright. Chances are you invested a mid-round pick on him and were planning on him being your starter all season. If the situation is right though, I wouldn’t feel too bad about kicking him to the curb. There are the two things you need to ask yourself. First, do you have or can you find a decent enough replacement (like Matt Schaub or Brett Favre). Second, if you dump Bulger is there a player on the waiver wire who has enough value or upside to merit such a bold move (like Dwayne Bowe or Greg Jennings). If the answer to both questions is “yes”, by all means cut him.
Jeff Wilkins, Rams
Wilkins is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history and one of the highest scoring fantasy players over the last 15 years. But there’s no sense in being loyal to a guy who’s not getting enough opportunities. Swap him for a guy like Kris Brown or Mason Crosby.
Drew Bennett, Rams
Sense a trend here? The Rams are awful and Bennett hasn’t done enough to merit a roster spot.
Alex Smith, 49ers
Smith separated his shoulder on Sunday and will miss at least the next couple weeks. His value was negligible when healthy and is even lower now. Dump him.
Jerricho Cotchery, Jets
Cotchery has been among the most consistent yardage producing wideouts in all of fantasy football. Oddly though, he hasn’t scored a touchdown yet while teammate Laveranues Coles has reached paydirt four times. The lack of scoring has kept Cotchery’s value in check so you shouldn’t have to give up an arm and a leg to get him. I like his chances of exploding over the next few games against some pretty average pass defenses (NYG, PHI and CIN). Also working in Cotchery’s favor is that the Jets may make a QB switch to Kellen Clemens at some point. Cotchery had receptions for 50 and 44 yards with Clemens under center.
Sammy Morris, Patriots
Usually the idea is to buy players when their value is low, but Morris might be too good to pass up. He’s coming off an impressive 117-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Bengals. Yet most owners believe that because starting job is Laurence Maroney’s, Morris has limited value. Know this: Morris will get enough touches to be a regular fantasy contributor even when Maroney returns. Given how explosive the Patriots offense is it’s not unreasonable to expect Morris to finish the season with 12+ TDs and 1,100 all-purpose yards — regardless of Maroney’s health status.
Brett Favre, Packers
Most owners drafted Favre as a backup, so there’s a good chance he’s wasting away on someone’s bench in your league. If you’ve been burned by Bulger or McNabb, try to swing a deal for Favre, who’s averaging 300+ passing yards per game. Relatively speaking, owners are more inclined to deal a QB than a RB or WR, so start with a low offer and work up from there.
Marshawn Lynch, Bills
Lynch has put up modest numbers so far this season despite reasonably stiff competition. He has three touchdowns in four games but has yet to put up a 100-yard game. There’s a lot to like about Lynch right now. He’s a true workhorse and hardly rests. Also consider that Lynch, and the entire Bills offense really, could benefit from the emergence of Troy Edwards at QB.
LenDale White, Titans
If one of your starting RBs is injured, think about making a play for White. He still can be had relatively cheap because he hasn’t produced a big yardage afternoon. The Titans offense will continue to improve this season, and so too will White. Look for him to put up close to 100 yards and a touchdown this week against the Falcons.
Drew Brees, Saints
Perhaps the ultimate “buy low” candidate, Brees will be asked to pass even more with Deuce McAllister out for the year. Look for the Saints offense to come off the bye week firing. Don’t be surprised if their offense starts to resemble that of the Packers — essentially abandoning the running game in favor of short passes to Reggie Bush, Marques Colston and Eric Johnson.
Correll Buckhalter, Eagles
I didn’t like the sound of the report from the Eagles game this week regarding Brian Westbrook. Apparently his abdominal muscle tear is so significant that his rib is poking through. Sounds painful. It also sounds like something that could keep him out longer than the Philly brass is letting on. Test the market and see how little you need to give up for Buckhalter.
Steve Smith, Panthers
With Delhomme’s future uncertain and Smith coming off a stinker last week with David Carr under center, Smith’s owners aren’t feeling too confident in their #1 WR. His value has plummeted. If you can get him cheap enough, it might not be a bad move. After all, Andre Johnson was a Pro Bowl WR with Carr throwing him the ball.
Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks
Hasselbeck might seem like a better “sell” candidate, but his upcoming schedule is a cake walk. If he has a tough outing against the Steelers, make a play to get him. He should mow down he Saints, Rams, Browns, 49ers, Bears and Rams in succession.
Chester Taylor, Vikings
Taylor’s value spiked a bit when rumors started circulating about a potential trade that would send him to Tampa. Mid-season player trades are extremely rare and the chances of this deal being consummated are slim. If you aren’t counting on Taylor, play the odds and deal him while the rumor is still lukewarm. When the smoke clears, chances are Taylor will remain in Minnesota and will continue to lose carries to Adrian Peterson.
Rudi Johnson, Bengals
I didn’t like the way Johnson was running before his hamstring injury. He appeared at times to be shying away from contact. The timetable on his return is a little murky. If you can convince someone in your league that he’s due back soon and will produce at the same level that he did over the last few years, make a deal.
Daunte Culpepper, Raiders
If you can find an owner who’s clinging to the hope that Culpepper with re-gain his 30-point per game form, then sell, sell, sell. Culpepper was the product of a perfect storm in Minnesota. He may put up a decent game here and there, but will eventually lose the starting job to JaMarcus Russell.
Michael Turner, Chargers
Turner’s value was predicated on the Chargers being one of the best offenses in the NFL. Unless you’re in a keeper league, dangle Turner out there to the Tomlinson owner and see if you can get a bite.
Laveranues Coles, Jets
Coles has scored four touchdowns in four games. It’s a level of production that won’t continue. In his best season, Coles had seven scores. He’s just not built to be a big-time TD scorer. Now is the time to test the market to see what you can get for him. Coles has yet to exceed 70 yards receiving in a game this season, so when the TDs disappear, his value could take a major hit.