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). Fantasy Chop Shop will run every other Wednesday for the rest of the year.
Marc Bulger, QB, Rams
The second-worst starting QB in the NFL?
Edgerrin James, RB, Seahawks
Return to glory? Return to gory is more like it.
Bernard Scott, RB, Bengals
Cedric Benson has been surprisingly productive and won’t give up carries easily.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
He was a healthy scratch from Kansas City’s lineup last week. He should be a healthy scratch from your roster this week.
Earnest Graham, RB, Buccaneers
Zero value unless either Derrick Ward or Cadillac Williams gets hurt.
Jerrious Norwood, RB, Falcons
Yearly promise that he’ll see more touches has become a summer ritual . . . but so has the reality that he never actually does. To top it off he may have suffered a concussion in Week 2.
Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots
Time to face the facts: Maroney has only really had four good fantasy games in his career. The only tough decision here is whether we label him a “has been” or a “never was”.
Mike Goodson, RB, Panthers
Looks like Jonathan Stewart’s achilles will be okay after all. Goodson has limited value outside of dynasty leagues.
Sammy Morris, RB, Patriots
The one-time TD fiend is no longer a factor.
Antonio Bryant, WR, Buccaneers
Bryant has a bruise on his knee. He says he can’t even run, which as luck would have it is rather important for an NFL receiver. There’s no timetable for his return. He’s dumpable in leagues with shallow rosters.
Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts
I’ve never been a fan of hanging onto injured players. If your league has an IR, stick him on there obviously. Otherwise don’t let Gonzalez prevent you from grabbing one of the up-and-coming wideouts on the waiver wire.
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins
Give him the game against the Lions. If he doesn’t deliver, kick him to the curb.
Chris Chambers, WR, Chargers
Chambers actually received 12 targets last week against the Ravens but I’d still dump him. He only caught two of those passes — a testament to his poor route running and diminishing skills.
Chris Henry, WR, Bengals
Hard to make an impact with one catch per game.
Troy Williamson, WR, Jaguars
Williamson’s knee gave out before he had a chance to lose his job because of dropped passes.
Donnie Avery, WR, Rams
This sleeper hasn’t woken up. Dump him now or give him one more week max to show up.
Dominik Hixon, WR, Giants
Hixon is getting outplayed by Mario Manningham and now he’s injured.
Josh Morgan, WR, 49ers
He may have a couple good games before it’s all said and done but Morgan is much too inconsistent to be on most rosters.
Lance Moore, WR, Saints
I had high hopes for him coming into the season but he looks too banged up right now and New Orleans has other options.
Let’s see . . . two games . . . zero sacks . . . zero interceptions . . . zero forced fumbles . . . zero fantasy relevance.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Brady looked dreadful against the Jets, completing just 48.9 percent of his passes and ending the game with zero touchdowns. He’s a strong buy because his value is at the lowest point it will be this year. These were the same Jets that absolutely made the Matt Schaub and Texans look hapless in Week 1. Plus Brady was without his most reliable possession receiver Wes Welker. Better days are ahead.
Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals
Wells, who’s averaging over five yards per carry, looks like a better running back than Tim Hightower. He’s had some fumbling issues in the early goings, but I’d still look for Wells to assert himself as the feature back by Week 5. Arizona has a cakewalk schedule so buy now while the price is still low.
Steve Smith, WR, Carolina
Smith has yet to score in 2009, which is likely causing a great deal of angst for whoever owns him in your league. Now is the time to make a low-ball offer to see if you can secure him for what should be a relatively favorable stretch of games (DAL, WAS, TAM, BUF, ARZ and NOS). If you can swing a trade this week, it could pay immediate dividends. Smith has excelled in four career primetime games, averaging seven receptions and 104.8 yards per game with three touchdowns.
Mario Manningham, WR, Giants
Manningham is the exact opposite of a “buy low” opportunity. His value is high after his breakout performance last week. But is it as high as it will be next week? I don’t think so. I see his value continuing to climb. He could easily be a top 15 WR this season. If you can convince the Manningham owner in your league that they’re selling high while not really offering much in return, go for it. It’s a bit of reverse psychology. Let them feel like they’re taking you to the cleaners when you’re really robbing them blind.
Cadillac Williams, RB, Buccaneers
Williams opened some eyes on opening week and followed it up with another touchdown in Week 2. But before you get too excited, understand that his schedule is about to get considerably tougher with the Giants, Redskins and Eagles on tap next. Plus, you can’t forget Williams’ checkered injured past. You likely didn’t draft him as a starter so now is your chance to deal from a position of strength. Based on the lackluster performances of many high-profile RBs so far, you might be surprised what you can get for him.
Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins
What can Brown do for you? He can deliver a big performance like his 136-yard, 2-TD effort on Monday night. Unfortunately, he can also disappear for large stretches of the season. Remember the last six games of 2008? He’s still a low-end RB2 but might carry high-end RB2 value or even RB1. If you’re deep at RB, don’t be afraid to deal him.
Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
Gates ranks second in receiving yardage and continues to have tremendous name value. The thing is, the TE position is quite deep this year. If you drafted Gates and your RB or WR depth has been killing you, don’t be afraid to deal him. You’ll get by just fine with a waiver wire TE like Todd Heap or Brent Celek or a player who’s yet to emerge. As a Gates owner myself, I’ve watched him in action both games. He doesn’t seem as quick and he’s dropped some passes. Plus the emergence of Vincent Jackson and Darren Sproles will bring down his value.
Matt Forte, RB, Bears
I’ve seen lots of optimism around the web about Forte. You won’t find that here. By the end of the year I don’t think he’ll produce anywhere near his average draft position. That’s the bad news. The good news is I don’t think he’s a lost cause. Forte should bounce back and put up a pair of respectable performances against the Seahawks and Lions. After those games, hopefully Forte’s value will be back up and you can try to move him. His schedule over the last seven games of the fantasy season (Weeks 10-16) is brutal.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
With Fred Jackson coming off a 163-yard performance against the Bucs and with Marshawn Lynch set to return in a couple weeks, it might be tempting to sell high on Jackson. My suggestion is to sit tight. Jackson has earned the starting job according to offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. Sure, Lynch will get 10-12 carries per game but Jackson will still be a weekly starter for fantasy purposes. In the long run, he’ll probably be better off if he doesn’t have to touch the ball 25-30 times per game. Don’t be surprised if he leads all RBs in receptions this year.
Greg Jennings, WR, Packers
The Packers offense has been one of the biggest disappointments so far in 2009. WR Greg Jennings didn’t catch a pass against the Bengals in Week 2. Don’t be hasty and unload him. The schedule tilts in Green Bay’s direction over the next eight weeks with favorable matchups against the Rams, Lions, Browns, Bucs and Cowboys.
Kevin Walter, WR, Texans
It’s looking like Walter has a good shot to return from his hamstring injury this week. Hold onto him as he should be a decent WR3 once he gets healthy.