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Cutting the Cord: Week 6

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 5:

SHALLOW FORMATS

*15-18 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations included:

Shop Ben Roethlisberger, Kareem Hunt

Both had their worst fantasy games of the season in Week 5. The Steelers pass efficiency schedule stays brutal in Weeks 6-8, followed by a Week 9 bye. For Hunt, Oakland is a neutral matchup in Week 7, followed by the stingy Denver rush defense in Week 8.

On to Week 6...

Jay Cutler

Why: Cutler and the Dolphins struggled mightily against Tennessee (an ideal matchup) in Week 5. Cutler has yet to throw multiple touchdowns in a game or surpass 230 passing yards. Even during bye weeks, seek other options from the waiver wire in shallow leagues than Cutler, who has average or more difficult matchups each of the next three weeks.

Jacquizz Rodgers

Why: With Doug Martin back there is little function to Rodgers in shallow rosters as handcuffs, if ever rostered, need to be of high RB1 upside to warrant holding the roster spot. Rodgers does not apply as his stint as a starter to open the season was lackluster at best.

Eric Decker

Why: In shallow formats, Decker is not on the starting radar for strong teams. Corey Davis is near his return and Decker has not be viable even in Davis' absence.

Ted Ginn

Why: Ginn has been one of the disappointments in 2017 considering the open opportunity with Brandin Cooks gone and Willie Snead out to start the season. Snead is set to return and Brandon Coleman has been functional as an ancillary option. Ginn is best to monitor from the waiver wire in shallow formats.

Antonio Gates

Why: Hunter Henry has been out-snapping Gates most of the season and the Chargers passing game is not dynamic enough to support so many fantasy pass-catchers anyway. Gates is a 'pray for a touchdown' play, but Hunter Henry is a more optimal option near the goal line at their respective career stages.

MEDIUM DEPTH

*18-25 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Cut Terrance West, Dwayne Washington, Jeremy Kerley, Julius Thomas

West was injured, Washington missed the game as expected, and Kerley and Thomas continue to do little despite decent snap counts.

On to Week 6...

Deshone Kizer

Why: The Browns benched Kizer in a competitive game in the second half for Kevin Hogan. Kizer is among the least efficient quarterbacks in the NFL across the board as a passer. His lone attractive quality is rushing potential, which has oscillated in the 15-45 yard range this season. Kizer has four straight games of sub-50% completion rate after a promising Week 1.

Chris Johnson (all formats)

Why: Johnson was dropped by Arizona with the addition of Adrian Peterson and fantasy owners in all depths should follow in kind.

Paul Perkins

Why: Wayne Gallman's surge in Perkins' absence creates an even more murky committee when Perkins returns. The Giants passing game is running on life support as well to keep any defense honest.

Zay Jones (Shop)

Why: Jones has seen strong snap counts the entire season and looks miscast and overwhelmed as the No.2 and now No.1 receiver in Buffalo. Seek stacking Jones on to another player for a marginal upgrade, otherwise seek higher upside options for the bye week gauntlet.

Tavon Austin

Why: His usage is officially in the Cordarrelle Patterson zone of running back carries, jet sweeps, and created touches when a team is searching for any impact. With the wide receiver corps deep for the Rams, Austin offers little roster appeal.

Dwayne Allen

Why: Even with Rob Gronkowski missing Week 5 Allen was a shadow. Allen is not a strong athlete and the running backs will be a higher priority of the New England passing game than Allen. Like Antonio Gates, Allen is a 'pray for a short-range touchdown' type tight end flyer.

DEEP FORMATS

*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Cut Demarcus Robinson, Mack Brown, Bruce Ellington

Chris Conley got hurt in Week 5, but Albert Wilson is projected to see the No.2 snaps if needed. With Will Fuller back, Ellington will have a tough time carving any reasonable floor each week.

On to Week 6...

Kerwynn Williams

Why: Like Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington having the passing game role locked down and the recent addition of Adrian Peterson compresses Williams' upside.

Peyton Barber

Why: Doug Martin back shifts Barber down another peg in the pecking order, needing multiple injuries to become relevant.

Rashard Higgins

Why: The flash was a mere blip on the radar as Ricardo Louis (and Kasen Williams at times) has been out-performing Higgins and Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman will be back soon enough. With a tempered passing game anyway, Higgins is a roster-clogger even in deeper leagues.

Dontrelle Inman

Why: I am surprised weekly by how many leagues still have Inman rostered. With high competition for targets already, Inman will have Mike Williams added as well in the coming weeks. Inman needs multiple injuries to become relevant.

Jermaine Gresham

Why: Unless dying at the position and spot-starting Gresham, he is an obvious cut. Arizona is deep at wide receiver and Adrian Peterson's addition reduces Gresham's chances of a goal line touchdown when Arizona occasionally ventures to the scoring zone.