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Moving the Chains: Literally Moving

Derek VanRiper

Derek is the Director of Media for, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also co-hosts RotoWire's shows on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210).

I'm in the process of moving into a new place this weekend. The entire moving process is interesting because it forces you to make decisions about things that have been sitting around your house for the last several months/years without being used or even touched. With your belongings, it's one big game of “What have you done for me lately?”

The intense level of scrutiny that must be passed for something to make it from your old residence to the new one is akin to reviewing federal laws (that would actually be strict scrutiny, and I was able to recall that because of the Mass Media Law textbook that has been collecting dust on my bookshelf for the past five years). My theory is that you will be much more harsh in your judgment of an object that has sentimental value depending on its weight in pounds multiplied by the flights of stairs you'll have to deal with in order to keep it.

You have to come to grips with the fact that your great grandmother's old Remington typewriter is probably getting thrown off the balcony and won't be making it to the truck.

The other side to the moving process that makes it almost fun is the time capsule aspect. In our youth, many of us had a teacher who asked us to put some belongings into a box and seal it until we graduated from high school, got married, had kids, etc. While that capsule is probably buried in your parents' basement, we sort of create our own time capsule by hanging onto various items that we incorrectly think will have future value.

Next time you move, count the number of extra cables and phone chargers you find scattered throughout your possessions. It's staggering.

Part of the reason we're stuck with things that simply cannot help us is fear of getting burned at that moment where the object in question would come in very handy. Hey, if anyone needs the instruction manual for a Palm Centro, I've got that. I've also got a VHS-C playback tape if you're rocking a camcorder from the turn of the millennium.

Look at your roster right now. How many of you out there have been holding onto a player since before the start of the season, only to get nothing useful from him in return? The next 48 hours of my life will be consumed with chucking unwanted stuff into a dumpster or hauling it off to be donated to a thrift store. Let's just say I'm ready to trim the fat from my fantasy rosters as well.

Brett Favre, QB, MIN – Forget about the text messages and hilarious SNL skits popping up about old No. 4. Whether Brad Childress pulls the plug on him in Week 8 or not, Favre is broken. He's currently 28th among quarterbacks in fantasy points per game, a far cry from the top-tier player he was during his first season in Minnesota. To make matters worse, Favre has difficult matchups against the Giants and Bears once the fantasy playoffs begin (Week 14 and Week 15), so there's not as much promise here as you might think with a talented supporting cast around him. Let this also be a reminder that if you've got Peyton Manning or Tom Brady as your quarterback, this is the time of year where it's acceptable to trade away or cut bait on your backup in order to manage your roster more advantageously at other positions since their bye weeks have passed.

Alex Smith, QB, SF – On a per-game basis, Smith ranks 22nd in the NFL among quarterbacks in fantasy points scored per game. He's expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a left (non-throwing) shoulder sprain, meaning that you may not see him back until Week 11. Enter Troy Smith, a backup quarterback who at least has upside (something David Carr lacks) and in a season that has gone terribly wrong in the city by the bay, could be the starter even after the former No. 1 overall pick is healthy enough to play again. You'd be better off dropping Smith immediately and picking up Jon Kitna for the six-to-eight weeks that he's under center in place of Tony Romo.

Jahvid Best, RB, DET – Over his last four games, Best has found the end zone while picking up just 274 yards from scrimmage. It translates to being ranked 38th in fantasy points among running backs during that span, behind the likes of Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Derrick Ward. Perhaps a Week 7 bye can cure his turf toe once and for all, but Best was limited in practice during the week and really hasn't done much since going off against the Eagles in Week 2. It's time to trade him away if you've got a willing taker in your league.

Mike Tolbert, RB, SD – He's riding a four-game scoring streak, but do you really trust him in your lineup for a 10 or even a 12-team league? The Chargers have been falling behind in a lot of games, which has limited the chances of both Tolbert and primary back Ryan Mathews. Go elsewhere for the home-run option at running back, because you're going to be in a very bad way if things on your roster lead to Tolbert maintaining a place in your weekly lineup.

Cadillac Williams, RB, TAM – He's going to lose the bulk of the touches to LeGarrette Blount at some point. Even before that happens, you're living in the past like Uncle Rico if you think that he's going to come through with big performances on a week-to-week basis for you. Even in a bye situation, aren't you more comfortable scrounging for a back on the waiver wire than you are plugging in a run-down Cadillac? Over the last four games, he's picked up just 76 yards on 31 carries. Unless you're in a PPR league (23 receptions in six games), you're holding onto a commodity that was only going to help you a few years ago.

Tashard Choice, RB, DAL – First and foremost, Dallas doesn't even like to run the ball all that much. Second, the limited workload in the running game has been given mostly to Felix Jones. Choice has eight carries for 21 yards this season and three catches for four yards. Sure, there's a lot to like here if both Jones and Marion Barber go down with serious injuries, but you're better off betting against two serious injuries and looking elsewhere for running back depth if there are more involved options getting touches for their respective teams currently on the waiver wire.

Wes Welker, WR, NE – In non PPR leagues, you should carefully consider whether Welker belongs in your starting lineup – or even on your roster at this point. Without having Randy Moss to give opposing secondaries fits, Welker's production has been down in recent weeks to the tune of 11 catches for 78 yards in the Pats' first two games since Moss was traded to Minnesota. For the season, he ranks just 37th in WR fantasy points and most of his damage was done in the first two games of the season when he caught all three of his touchdown passes. At least Welker has name value, which is a good reason to trade him away now for help elsewhere on your roster since cutting him seems too much like a missed opportunity to acquire talent.

Mike Sims-Walker & Mike Thomas, WR, JAC – MSW has been a model of inconsistency for the Jags this season, struggling to be involved in the offensive game plan some weeks and chipping in two donuts (Week 1 v. DEN, Week 4 v. IND) to boot. Three TD receptions have kept some owners holding on and likely mis-timing the market while trying to squeeze value out of him. Over the last five games, Sims-Walker has caught just 11 passes for 134 yards and a pair scores, ranking 42nd in fantasy points scored at receiver during that span.

Thomas was showing signs of being the Jags' top wideout option with three decent games (17 catches for 207 yards in Weeks 4-6) before getting shut down by Brandon Flowers and company in Week 7. At 5-foot-8, Thomas isn't going to be much of a target in the red zone, which has ultimately led to more passes thrown in the direction of tight end Marcedes Lewis. Quarterback play has been an issue as well, with David Garrard averaging just 6.5 YPA this season.

Early Doucet, WR, ARI – Sure, there was breakout potential here if Derek Anderson regained his 2007 form. Instead, Anderson is riding the pine to an undrafted rookie in Max Hall. To make matters worse, Doucet was hurt when Steve Breaston was sidelined by knee surgery, so he could take advantage of the window to grab a starting spot. There is talent here, but Hall's struggles have significantly hurt the value of Larry Fitzgerald for the rest of 2010 and even if you were holding onto Doucet hoping he'd come back and provide value following hernia surgery, you're on a path to disappointment.

Heath Miller, TE, PIT – Twice in the last three seasons, Miller has finished among the league's top-10 tight ends in fantasy points. That won't happen this year, and he's been hurt by the continued productivity of Hines Ward as well as the improvement from second-year receiver Mike Wallace. His early-season struggles were attributed to Ben Roethlisberger's four-game suspension, but Miller's role in the offense didn't blow up with Big Ben's return in Week 6. You could certainly do worse now that tight end has been ravaged by serious injuries, but at this point, I would rather own Detroit's Brandon Pettigrew or even the Pats' Aaron Hernandez if either are available on the wire.