Roster cut-down

It’s almost time for the toughest cuts of all. I’m not talking about the NFL, where teams have to go from 83 players to 53 in a couple of weeks. Players will go from a possible six-figure job to no job at all. Practice squad spots will be more hotly contested than ever.

I’m talking about roster cut-down time in the zealots leagues. We have to do it a few days after the last preseason game. Going from 60 players to 53 shouldn’t be so difficult. What makes the issue tough is the preponderance of RBBC.

A couple of weeks ago, you wouldn’t want anything to do with Mike Bell. I picked him up during his rookie year with the Broncos and had a few weeks of decent production. Two years later he was cut by Denver and most people thought his NFL career was over. After a brief stop in Houston, he’s with the Saints. Injuries to Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas have given Bell an opportunity. Now he’s not just the third RB. He might get significant carries and play an Aaron Stecker-like role.

It’s the same on a lot of teams. Javon Ringer could get some significant touches for the Titans. Mewelde Moore was an RB2 for a few weeks last year with the Steelers and looks to be their third-down back at least. Danny Ware’s getting a lot of touches for the Giants. With Jonathan Stewart’s balky Achilles, expect Mike Goodson to be on the field a lot for the Panthers. Brandon Jackson just got hurt for the Packers, so DeShawn Wynn or Kregg Lumpkin could be valuable. In the end, more than 100 running backs have potential value. It makes me think twice about cutting Lorenzo Booker, or even Ryan Torain, who isn’t even on a roster.

Such roster quandaries make me long for the simplicity of my local keeper league. With a roster maximum of four running backs and four wide receivers, the waiver wire will be loaded. It’s not a bad thought to tank opening weekend just to get that juicy top waiver slot. I drafted Brandon Marshall in the second round. Now that roster spot may be worthless. I picked up Eddie Royal with my next pick, but if Marshall is out, will Royal be as productive with the likes of Jabar Gaffney or Brandon Stokley starting on the opposite side? Suddenly my embarrassment of riches has become a potential embarrassment.

Smaller rosters seem better because your options for replacement players are potentially vast. Larger rosters are good if you can pay attention to the up-and-comers before anyone else. My league laughed at me for trading away Kirk Morrison. Morrison got hurt and now Ricky Brown, who I picked up yesterday, is the starter at MLB for the Raiders. There is no letting up with an ongoing auction setting for free agents. Once rosters get cut down, at least we get a break in that waivers are orderly and start at the same time each week.

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