Cut Your Losses: Players to Drop, Week 8

The most injury-laden NFL season in recent memory just kept on rolling in week 7, with top rusher Ronnie Brown going down for the remainder. That’s an adequately depressing way to introduce the week 8 edition of our most depressing weekly column, Cut Your Losses – the players you really need to let go of, especially if you’re clinging to them due to misguided hope or a disturbingly persistent man-crush.

Tatum Bell, RB, DET: This was expected to happen coming out of Detroit’s bye week, and now it’s confirmed: Tatum Bell is no longer sharing carries in the Detroit offense, he’s just your standard backup. His hissy fit didn’t help matters, I’m sure. I held on to him in two leagues until the trade deadline, hoping he’d wind up back in Denver (to fill in for the soon-to-be-suspended Travis Henry), but no dice. His only remaining value stems from Kevin Jones’ oh-so-breakable body.

Nate Burleson, WR, SEA: No need to hang on to him during the Seahawks’ bye week; Deion Branch and D.J. Hackett should both return from their respective injuries in week 9, and Burleson will be the forgotten man in this offense. Remember when he was a #1 WR in Minnesota? Me neither.

Desmond Clark, TE, CHI: He’s still involved in the offense, but rookie Greg Olsen’s clearly the favored target here. Expect that ratio to continue to shift in Olsen’s favor as the season progresses.

Warrick Dunn, RB, ATL: Even at 1-6, Atlanta still might have a shot in the pathetically weak NFC South – if it weren’t for their own gawdawfulness being compounded by injuries. Byron Leftwich is hurt, and they may have to give the ball back to Joey Harrington for a few weeks, and he’s got to be throwing up in his mouth every time he thinks about having to take the field for a team that clearly has zero confidence in him. Crumpler, the captain of the offense, is having major knee issues and might need surgery. In other words, the Falcons are already thinking about 2008, and they’re going to want to get a good look at their talented young running back Jerious Norwood, who’s running the ball better than Dunn anyway. In larger leagues where running backs are at a premium, try and trade Dunn away for whatever you can get; in smaller leagues, it’s time to let him go.

Marvin Harrison, WR, IND: Just kidding. But damn, what a bust so far.

Julius Jones, RB, DAL: Yikes. After week 7, there’s absolutely no doubt about who the more talented rusher is in Dallas. Jones had nine carries for 28 yards; Barber III had 19 for 96. It’s hard to see Jones having much fantasy impact the rest of the way.

Jerry Porter, WR, OAK: Who knows what’s going on in Oakland? Porter’s 59 yards came on one reception, which brings his total to 11 receptions for the season. Last I checked, Porter was still the #1 WR on an NFL team, but someone needs to tell Daunte Culpepper.