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Gridiron 11

Gridiron 11: Players To Cut

News that Matthew Stafford is likely out for the season with a separated shoulder is actually good news for his fantasy owners. Stafford is chock-full of potential but injury-prone, so at least now you can let him go with a clear conscience. Stafford would've led this list of the 11 players who it's safe to cut bait on.

For more insights, follow SI's fantasy expert David Sabino on Twitter at SI_DavidSabino.

1<a href=Chad Henne, QB, Dolphins" title="Chad Henne, QB, Dolphins"/>
In a surprise move, head coach Tony Sparano has decided to go with Chad Pennington to lead Miami's attack. However if the Dolphins are to advance at all in the playoffs they'll have to win games like last Sunday in Baltimore where Henne was completely overmatched, throwing three interceptions to Ed Reed & Co. He had just one touchdown and five picks in the past three games.
2<a href=Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers" title="Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers"/>
Two straight weeks while filling in for the injured DeAngelo Williams, Stewart had a chance to prove to his loyal owners that they were right in keeping him on their rosters all season despite his paltry 3.0 yards-per-carry average and mere 26.0 yards per game average. In those games he rushed for a total of 60 yards on 19 carries and one catch for 18 yards. Now he's probably going to miss time after being knocked out with a concussion against the Saints while the Panthers' best offensive lineman, tackle Jeff Otah, landed on injured reserve.
3<a href=Sam Bradford, QB, Rams" title="Sam Bradford, QB, Rams"/>
One of these days Bradford will be a front-line, top-five fantasy quarterback but that won't likely happen until 2012, 2013 or beyond. For now, he was a serviceable bye-week replacement whose team is playing a last-place schedule. With a receiving corps ravaged by injuries and a team designed to grind out the clock it's time to cut Bradford loose. However, keep an eye on his progress for next season's draft.
4<a href=Devin Hester, WR, Bears" title="Devin Hester, WR, Bears"/>
The team's leading receiver the past two seasons has been deemed by his coaches more valuable as a return man than as a receiver, sliding into the slot as Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox become the top targets for Jay Cutler. The Bears offense has been anemic anyhow, and Hester hasn't been much of an asset outside of his returns, so even if he were getting a full load of snaps, he would be a candidate to be cut. Now that he's just a bit player, he's a perfect man to jettison, unless of course you're in a league where return yards are a premium.
5<a href=Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets" title="Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets"/>
Someone was bound to lose looks once Santonio Holmes rose to a prominent role in the New York attack and with Braylon Edwards resurrecting his fantasy career, the loser has been Cotchery. Last week in Detroit, Cotchery managed just two catches for 29 yards, the seventh time in eight games this season that he was held below five catches or 50 yards. The last thing a fantasy owner needs is an unproductive receiver, especially with producers such as Jacoby Ford, Davone Bess and Mario Manningham readily available.
6Brett Favre, QB, <a href=Vikings" title="Brett Favre, QB, Vikings"/>
Brett Favre, QB, Vikings
Call me crazy but I don't like exciting fantasy games. I like to win by a large margin every week. Having Favre as your quarterback is like playing Russian Roulette because you never know which Favre you'll get. In fact, with his penchant for throwing late interceptions, Favre is one of the players most likely to grab defeat out of the jaws of victory, losing points on each late-game pick in your close games. Even in his prime I didn't trust him to be my fantasy playoff quarterback. You certainly shouldn't trust him now.
7<a href=Brent Celek, TE, Eagles" title="Brent Celek, TE, Eagles"/>
Based on his progress the last two seasons and success with Kevin Kolb at QB, the sky looked like the limit for Celek, who was poised to step into the ranks of the elite tight ends. Not so much. Entering Week 10, Celek was ranked 24th in standard PPR leagues, placing behind such luminaries as Ben Watson, the much-maligned Greg Olson and Jermichael Finley, who is on I.R. and hasn't scored a fantasy point since Week 4.
8<a href=Owen Daniels, TE, Texans" title="Owen Daniels, TE, Texans"/>
Ever further down on the tight end totem pole than Celek is Daniels, who at least has the excuse of being injured for most of the season. In Daniels' absence (and often even in his presence) Joel Dreesen has become a reliable option for Matt Schaub, outscoring the starter 44 to 36 in PPR leagues. Neither is more than a matchup choice anymore and any big-game potential one has is cancelled out when both are active.
9<a href=Josh Cribbs, WR, Browns" title="Josh Cribbs, WR, Browns"/>
One of the more exciting players in the league and a hot preseason pickup, Cribbs has proven to be simply a return man and gadget-type player, running the wildcat as quarterback and occasionally getting a pass in the flow of things. If you must have a Brown on your team and weren't wise enough to add Peyton Hillis early enough, take a look at Mohammed Massaquoi and leave Cribbs for someone else.
10Ladell Betts, RB, <a href=Saints" title="Ladell Betts, RB, Saints"/>
Ladell Betts, RB, Saints
It was a good run for Betts, who filled in for Reggie Bush ? wait a minute, it wasn't even that good a run. The former Redskin managed to gain 254 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage in six games but with no breakout performances to his credit, he'll quickly be forgotten in fantasy, much as he was in Washington. Bush's return, Julius Jones' rise from the dead and Chris Ivory's return to health drains any value Betts might have carried. Scrap. Heap.
11Legedu Naanee, WR, <a href=Chargers" title="Legedu Naanee, WR, Chargers"/>
Legedu Naanee, WR, Chargers
The ex-Boise State star had been knocked out of the Chargers lineup at a most inopportune time. With Vincent Jackson holding out before serving a suspension, Malcom Floyd out with a hamstring pull, Buster Davis down with broken ribs and Antonio Gates out with multiple maladies to his lower extremities, Naanee would've been Philip Rivers' best target, but alas a hamstring pull of his own knocked him out of the last month and he's been virtually invisible on the stats sheet since Week 3 in Seattle.

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