Rashard Mendenhall is having a bad season. Even when he's not injured, he's not getting the production you probably paid for with a late first or early second round pick.
So when is it time to cut the cord on some of your starters and look elsewhere? That's a hard decision to make because usually you're so invested in high draft picks, and it also tells the other owners in your league "Look at me, I'm an idiot who was stupid enough to draft this guy."
But that's what you have to do if you want to put your team in the best possible spot to win your league. Here's five guys who you should probably bench at the very least, drop at the very most, or trade, if you think you can get any value for them.
Rashard Mendenhall: Trade Immediately or Bench
Mendenhall had 324 carries last season, more than any other back in the league. And it seems like all those carries are taking a toll on his body. Rashard didn't see any playing time last week against the Titans due to a tweaked hammy, but even before then he was not showing the same explosiveness and power he had last year, averaging just 2.8 and 2.1 yards per carry in his last two contests. With Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer performing at least capably, it doesn't seem like Mendenhall is going to give you nearly the production you would expect out of him this year. If you can get someone to buy low on him, get what you can. Once a running back's body turns the corner, it rarely comes back into it's prime.
Chris Johnson: Trade Him Immediately
It feels like there's a correlation between an NFL player missing training camp and then having a severe lack of production. And Chris Johnson is this year's poster child for that. In the first five weeks, Johnson shas had one good game. and he's only found the end zone once. And you probably drafted him no lower than 6th overall. In the next few weeks the Titans play the Texans (who shut down Darren McFadden), the Colts (who he should have a decent game against), the Bengals (who have a solid run defense). So you're left with two good games in the first nine weeks of the season. It's best to cut your losses and see if another owner think Johnson is the 2,000 yard rusher he was two years ago.
Chad Ochocinco: Drop
Chad Ochocinco sucks. There's no other way to describe his play this year in one of the most potent offenses in the league. You'd think anyone in that lineup would at least be good for 5 catches and 80 yards a game, but Ochocinco is lucky to get 2 and 20. After the first couple of weeks, we were cutting him some slack. Without the regular offseason workouts, it would take a while for Ocho and Tom Brady to get on the same page. But it's been over a month now and Ocho's just not doing anything. Tom's so locked into Wes Welker and his two tight ends (Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski) that it looks less and less likely for Ocho to get in on the fantasy bonanza. He may have a big game here or there, but consistent production looks like a thing of Ochocinco's past now.
Mike Williams: Bench Until He Shows Signs of Life
The Tampa Bay wide receiver hasn't done much to garner his 3rd/4th round draft slot with only one TD in the first five weeks, he's not getting open in space and he's opting for more short passes instead of long balls. If you're in a PPR league, he might give you a little consistent production, but I'd rather have the guy who could go for 3 catches, 100 yards and a score, instead of 5 catches for 40 yards and a whole lot of nothing. If you're very thin at WR, then keep him in your lineup, but frankly, I think almost anyone in our week 6 waiver wire has more upside than Mike Williams right now.
Dallas Clark: Drop
Dallas Clark needs Peyton Manning. And Curtis Painter is not Peyton Manning. The once lofty piles of points Clark used to put up seem to be a thing of the past now. He's found the end zone only once this year and hasn't had more than 46 yards or four receptions in a game. With tight end being so deep this year, it's probably time to look to the waiver wire or your back-up to find a new starter. If Manning comes back next year, then Clark will find fantasy prominence again, but until then, he's not going to help your team in 2011.