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The Fantasy Chop Shop - Week 5
Paul Sandy
October 1, 2008
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The Fantasy Chop Shop strips apart the latest NFL player news and trends, and provides 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, sell or hold a player). The Fantasy Chop Shop will run every other Wednesday for the rest of the year.

CHOP

Cut ‘em

Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals
I’m not suggesting he should be dropped in all leagues. However, the reality is Palmer has been a below-average QB for some time. Now an elbow injury has his future in question. If you’re in a league with 10 teams or less . . . or if you have a top QB to start instead of Palmer . . . don’t let him be an albatross around your neck and prevent you from making free agent moves that could help your team.

Vince Young, QB, Titans
Young has no value unless Kerry Collins gets hurt. Even then his value would be minimal.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers
Move him to IR if you’re in a dynasty or keeper league. Otherwise you should drop Mendenhall, who’s done for the year.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
Unless you’re holding him as a handcuff to Larry Johnson, Charles can be dumped. LJ is happy again and the team will keep feeding him the rock.

Ray Rice, RB, Ravens
Rice is buried on the depth chart behind Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain. If you play in a re-draft league in which roster space is at a premium, he’s droppable. 

James Hardy, WR, Bills
The idea of lining up a giant at the receiver position seems ingenious. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out for the Bills and rookie James Hardy yet. With the waiver wire rich with WR talent, cut ties with Hardy but keep your eye on him.

Greg Lewis, WR, Eagles
The return of Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis will suck the value right out of Lewis.

Hank Baskett, WR, Eagles
Ditto for Baskett.

Mark Clayton, WR, Ravens
He scored his only TD of the year on an end-around. Until Joe Flacco starts looking his way more, he’s not worth owning.

Stephen Gostkowski, K, Patriots
Gostkowski’s value bottomed out the minute Tom Brady’s knee ligaments ripped. You can probably find a better kicker on your waiver wire.

SHOP

Buy ‘em

David Garrard, QB, Jaguars
Garrard could be a serviceable Plan B for owners who have been crippled by a QB injury or an ill-fated draft pick. Jacksonville’s receiving corps is starting to get healthy with Jerry Porter and Reggie Williams close to full speed. Plus, after this week’s game against the Steelers, Jacksonville’s schedule features patsies like the Broncos, Browns, Bengals, Lions . . . followed by a tough game against the Titans . . . then two more favorable matchups against the Vikings and Texans. Trade for Garrard, who should be dirt cheap. Then use him as part of a QB platoon.

Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins
Portis has been a steady performer over the first four games of the season, but his price tag is affordable. He’s only had one 100-yard game so far and hasn’t fully hit his stride. But with Jason Campbell showing enough progress to keep defenses honest, Portis should start seeing more daylight. After Washington faces Philly this week, I see huge games on the horizon for Portis with matchups against the Rams, Browns and Lions.

Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
The rookie won’t come cheaply, but he could be worth the premium you’ll have to pay. Johnson continues to post quality fantasy performances because he’s so versatile. Make your case to the Johnson owner by focusing on the next two weeks—a game against Baltimore followed by a bye week. Hammer away on the idea that Johnson has minimal value over the next two games. If you can secure his rights, the rest of the season looks like a cake walk with games against the Chiefs and Colts . . . followed by a stretch of three decent defenses . . . and then the Jets, Lions, Browns, Texans and the Steelers to close it out.

Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
With games against the Steelers, Titans and Jaguars in the rearview mirror, the Texans are through the most difficult part of their schedule. QB Matt Schaub finally performed to expectations last week and had a couple near misses with Johnson. Look for the combo to start clicking soon. Upcoming games against the Colts, Dolphins, Lions, Bengals and Vikings look tantalizing. Johnson should quickly climb the ranks of fantasy receivers. Get him while the getting is good.

Marques Colston, WR, Saints
Owners that are 4-0 or 3-1 at this point should consider trying to swing a deal for Colston. New Orleans’ top receiving threat is due back in 3-4 weeks. While I generally recommend that owners avoid carrying dead weight on their roster, if your team has a winning record, you can probably get away with stashing Colston for a few weeks. The reward once Colston returns will be an agreeable schedule that includes games against the Falcons (twice), Chiefs, Packers, and Lions (in Week 16).

Joey Galloway, WR, Buccaneers
Galloway is another injured WR, who’s worth acquiring and mothballing until he gets back to full speed. Tampa has a creampuff schedule particularly toward the end of the season. After their bye in Week 10, the Bucs face the Vikings, Lions, Saints, Panthers, Falcons and Chargers. Galloway may play as soon as this week, so now is the time go get him—before his value starts to rise. You might be able to acquire him for the price of a WR3 or even a WR4, yet he might perform like a WR2 if Tampa continues to air it out.

Sell ‘em

Rudi Johnson, RB, Lions
Johnson was named the starter for Detroit so he has some value on the open market. But be careful not to confuse him with the player who was a workhorse in Cincinnati. Johnson had a nice performance against the 49ers back in Week 3. However, lost in the boxscore was the fact that the 49ers were up 21-3 at halftime. San Francisco’s defense wasn’t exactly geared to stop the run when Johnson made his mark. Also worth noting: Detroit’s schedule is about to get much tougher with games against the Bears, Vikings, Texans, Redskins, Bears, Jaguars, Panthers, Buccaneers, Titans and Vikings. Aside from the Texans, there’s not a favorable game in the bunch. Inevitably, the team will fall out of playoff contention and go back to rookie Kevin Smith. Move Johnson before it’s too late.

Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
Turner might have some big games left in him but the bottom line is he’s struggled against superior defenses. Over the next four weeks, the Falcons schedule is Packers, Bears, Bye and Eagles. Things lighten up after that, but if you’re eyeing the postseason, games versus Tampa and Minnesota in Weeks 15 and 16 could hurt your chances of winning the championship.

Randy Moss, WR, Patriots
The Patriots have a favorable schedule coming up. I just think Moss has the type of personality that will have him mail in the rest of the season. Get what you can for him.

Hold ‘em

Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks
Your patience with Hasselbeck may finally pay off this week when Seattle gets its two top receivers back from lengthy injuries. Hasselbeck may not put up top 10 fantasy numbers this season, but he’s a decent backup and has some favorable matchups during the postseason.

Roy Williams, WR, Lions
Williams’ value is at an all-time low, so now isn’t the best time to deal him. You’re better off keeping him on your bench for now and hoping he turns around his season or, better yet, the Lions deal him. Before GM Matt Millen was fired, the rumor was he was considering trading Williams to Dallas.

Other Features
Game Predictions & Player Projections
Free Agent Forecast
Early Injury Report
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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