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Cutting the Cord: Week 4

Breaking down the key players to drop or trade to optimize fantasy football rosters

Much of fantasy football in-season owner strategy centers around which players to pick up from the waiver wire or to target in the trade market. However, roster spots are a premium resource. Cutting a player - or adding them to a trade - opens a roster spot for a key waiver wire addition or flexibility to keep a currently injured player through a missed game or two. Here are the key players to cut or trade after Week 3:

SHALLOW FORMATS

*15-18 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations included:

Cut Jeremy Hill, Paul Perkins, Breshad Perriman, Austin Hooper

All were minimal contributors in Week 3 as Joe Mixon took over in Cincinnati, Baltimore's passing game is one of the worst in the NFL, and Paul Perkins continues his dismal showing as one of the lowest-level 'starters' around the NFL in recent memory.

On to Week 4...

Joe Flacco

Why: The Baltimore Ravens passing game is jarringly bad this season. The loss of Steve Smith has left a Grand Canyon-sized whole in the depth chart and they are quickly becoming one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Flacco will struggle to be even a middle-of-the-road bye week or injury option for typical fantasy rosters.

Darren Sproles

Why: A tough break for Sproles with a torn ACL and broken arm in Week 3. His NFL future is in doubt in his mid-30s and the 2017 season is over for the change-of-pace dynamo.

C.J. Anderson (SHOP)

Why: Jamaal Charles looks better by the week and Anderson's workload is under seige. Seek a rising back (Joe Mixon type) and a second piece, or at a minimum, acquire Jamaal Charles as insurance for Anderson.

Thomas Rawls

Why: Chris Carson (56%) is the clear preferred back for Seattle inside and C.J. Prosise is rising in his role as a passing down option, plus seeing time as a split-out receiver. Rawls saw a single snap in Week 3 and is on the Eddie Lacy track of being irrelevant in Seattle without at least an injury to unlock opportunity.

Jeremy Maclin

Why: Even the de-facto top receiver in Baltimore is a marginal own for shallow leagues. Maclin has yet to see more than five targets in a game this season and has only marginally survived in the WR50 range of PPR PPG due to two scores on seven receptions, an unsustainable rate for long.

Julius Thomas

Why: Thomas has been in decline in PPR PPG for four straight seasons and he looks like a shell of his former self physically. With DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and Kenny Stills all basically doubling up Thomas' targets on the season, the upside is bleak outside of a rogue touchdown or two along the way. 

MEDIUM DEPTH

*18-25 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Cut Kenyan Drake, Damien Williams, Devontae Booker

The Dolphins are a mess and there is little clarity behind Jay Ajayi who would benefit the most if the starter were out. Jamaal Charles continues to regain his pre-injury form and Booker is, at best, the RB3 when he returns.

On to Week 4...

Mike Glennon

Why: The Bears offense struggles beyond their running backs with No.3/4 NFL receivers mascarading as front-line starters for the injury-depleted depth chart. Outside of superflex environments, seek a higher upside backup than Glennon like Jacoby Brissett or Case Keenum in the short term.

Jacquizz Rodgers

Why: Rodgers' time as the 'starter' in Tampa Bay is nearly over with Doug Martin soon to return. Plus, Rodgers has been a significant disappointment thus far without a catch and 24 rushes in two games. Without passing game upside, Rodgers is a flex option at best and the clock is ticking before he is a roster clogger on fantasy benches.

Robert Turbin

Why: The Colts run game has struggled overall, plus Marlon Mack (when back) offers more upside than the veteran placeholder Turbin.

Kerwynn Williams

Why: After a surge of buzz to be the de facto lead back post-David Johnson's injury, Williams saw a single snap in Week 3 with Chris Johnson back on the team and Andre Ellington leading the running back group in snaps. Williams needs another injury, at least, to get back on the map.

Kendall Wright

Why: The Bears passing game has been a thorough disappointment. Wright is a volume play, but even with 6-7 targets per game offers nothing more than bye week fill-in upside on any mildly contending team.

Chris Conley

Why: Despite strong snap counts through three weeks, Conley is a minimal part of the Chiefs passing game design. With three targets per game is fifth on the team, behind even Albert Wilson. Churn Conley for a one-injury-away running back instead.

Zach Miller

Why: Adam Shaheen and Dion Sims have formed a three-headed committee for Chicago and Miller has failed to take advantage of the weakness at wide receiver for the team through three games.

DEEP FORMATS

*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Cut Chester Rogers, Jonathan Williams, Andre Holmes

Rogers may be worth adding back in the deepest of leagues with Kamar Aiken sustaining a concussion in Week 3. Holmes was only relevant due to an end zone catch off a deflection this week. Holmes is firmly behind Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones.

On to Week 4...

Alfred Blue

Why: D'Onta Foreman continues to gain market share behind Lamar Miller in Houston. Blue is still on the path to returning to action but would need an injury (or two) in order to get back on the ownership map.

Braxton Miller

Why: Despite little competition for targets beyond DeAndre Hopkins, Miller has failed to carve much of a role and recently added Bruce Ellington surged past Miller in snap rate in Week 3.

Charone Peake

Why: With few remaining supporters, Peake has a much steeper mountain to climb for significant snaps as Jermaine Kearse, Jeremy Kerley, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins have been added to the passing game of late. Even if rising to the WR3 role, Peake is a long-shot to even be a marginal flip candidate in the trade market.

Will Tye

Why: Austin Seferian-Jenkins is back for the Jets and the wide receivers showed promise to stifle any upside for Tye in the near term. Outside of the deepest tight end premium formats, Tye is worth cutting loose and observing from the waiver wire.

Tyler Higbee

Why: Even the tepid expectations of being a short-term placeholder as Gerald Everett develops in 2017, Higbee has underperformed those standards. Higbee has seven targets and 21 yards in three games and, like Will Tye, the upside is minimal for holding the roster spot for Higbee going forward.