Sink or Swim: L.J., Bush and Fast Willie
Well, that's where I come into the picture as your "pessimistic" voice of reason. You should never cut the bait too soon for anyone on your fantasy team who is deemed with the tag line of "upside." However, when you see a guy visibly on the decline and roster space is scarce, sometimes you've just gotta pull the trigger to save yourself the ongoing agony. I'm tossing three names on the hot seat that you should monitor closely and consider moving in a trade ASAP or send them packing if they don't produce soon.
Let's get after it, shall we?
The trio we are looking at today is a crop of running backs that you probably weren't too sure of to begin with. However, as the draft progressed and they fell another round, you talked yourself into nabbing them as a value pick. OK, am I the only that did this? Regardless, let's give a warm welcome to Larry Johnson, Reggie Bush and the artist formerly known as "Fast" Willie Parker.
Larry Johnson, Chiefs: The whispers of LJ.'s demise simply won't go away. It's starting to sound like a dull roar when mentioning that Johnson is just not a No. 1 running back anymore. Can we really argue? I agree there was some resistance to fully write L.J. off heading into this season. He supposedly had a chip on his shoulder, a new offense and something to prove. But isn't that what we always hear as an aging RB gives one last gasp effort before fading into the sunset?
The thing about L.J. is that we shouldn't get too carried away, because he was facing the Baltimore run defense last weekend. And so, I certainly can't advise that you send Johnson to the waivers, but if he can't produce against Oakland this weekend, press panic. Following the Raiders game, L.J. is looking at four straight games against the NFC East. Good luck with that. The advice for now is to just leave him on your bench, hoping he can hang around and keep Jamaal Charles in the background. Take into consideration that L.J. closes the season with the Broncos, Bills, Browns and Bengals. If he's half the 2005 L.J. version, that might just be good enough.
Reggie Bush, Saints: At some point we should stop considering Bush as a feature RB. It's just not gonna happen. Last week against a horrible Lions team, Bush looked anything but the super talent the hype has led us to believe. If he wasn't Reggie Bush, you'd swear that he was on the cusp of being cut. That's how bad it was last weekend. And it's not gonna get much better moving forward.
The Saints are simply a spread-it-around kind of team. And Bush is just not gonna get enough touches to be a major fantasy factor. I really don't know why we are even having this conversation -- we all should've realized this by now. Sure, Bush still has name value in most leagues and he's gonna have those few "breakout" games that tease us a little. That said, you can't simply cut him yet. You could sit tight and be depressed later, or how about getting over it already and making an offer to anyone in your league who still believes?
Willie Parker, Steelers: You saw the artist formerly known as "Fast Willie" on Opening Kickoff, right? It was a disaster. And whether it's a combination of the Steelers line or just Parker fading before our eyes, it's just not an ideal situation. He's doesn't necessarily have anybody breathing heavily down his neck, unless you really believe in Mewelde Moore. That's not saying the change doesn't happen in time, but for now this is Parker's job to flounder away, which is exactly what will happen.
The Steelers' schedule eases up with the Bengals and Lions upcoming, so cross your fingers Parker can put together a nice stretch of games. This will no doubt hike his value up a little. However, if he can't produce anything of note during this stretch than sink him on the spot. I'd be more tempted to cut the dead weight right now, but it's still only one week into the season.