All 32 NFL teams have cut their rosters down to 53 players, so it’s time to examine some of the moves that will have the greatest impact on fantasy football.
Cincinnati Bengals: The release of Rudi Johnson guarantees a starting role for Chris Perry, who now has value as a No. 3 fantasy back or flex starter. Based on Perry’s proneness to injuries at the NFL level, however, it’s important to add Kenny Watson as a handcuff.
Detroit Lions: Brian Calhoun and Artose Pinner were given their walking papers over the weekend, and published reports indicate the team has signed Rudi Johnson and released Tatum Bell. Rookie Kevin Smith remains the starter and has the most fantasy value, but he will almost certainly lose at least some of the workload to Johnson once the veteran is over his hamstring issues.
Houston Texans: The team released Marcel Shipp and Darius Walker, but the major news came when Chris Brown (back) was placed on injured reserve. That leaves Ahman Green as the favorite to start, but I’d rather have Steve Slaton or Chris Taylor. Based on his brittle past, Green is no lock to remain atop the depth chart.
Indianapolis Colts: The release of Kenton Keith means Dominic Rhodes is the top handcuff for Joseph Addai. Rookie Mike Hart is third on the depth chart.
New England Patriots: Jabar Gaffney is the unquestioned starter opposite Randy Moss after the release of Chad Jackson, who becomes yet another bust wideout from the University of Florida. Gaffney should be seen as a fantasy reserve in most formats.
New York Giants: The team added veteran John Carney, which indicates Lawrence Tynes (knee) is likely to miss Thursday’s season opener against Washington.
San Francisco 49ers: The team released Ashley Lelie, so Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson, Josh Morgan and Arnaz Battle are the top wideouts for OC Mike Martz. Morgan and Johnson are the favorites to start opposite Bruce, but none of these receivers warrants more than a reserve role on fantasy teams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Carnell “Cadillac” Williams (knee) is on the physically-unable-to-perform list and will miss at least the first six weeks of the season. Earnest Graham is now the unquestioned starter and a more viable No. 2 fantasy back, while veteran Warrick Dunn will serve as his handcuff.