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Cutting the Cord: Week 14

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 13:

SHALLOW FORMATS

*15-18 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations included:

Thomas Rawls, Austin Hooper

Seattle has had chances to turn to Rawls this season with little continuity at running back. However, Mike Davis seized the lead role once back in the lineup Week 13. Hooper has been on the committee track for fantasy owners all season. With valuable roster spots in shallow leagues, Hooper should be churned for higher leverage running backs who could turn into a must-start the following week. 

On to Week 14...

Andy Dalton

Why: The schedule turns difficult for Dalton to close the season and streamers will have better options on their roster or on the waiver wire than Dalton against Chicago this week or Minnesota in Week 15.

Danny Woodhead

Why: Alex Collins has seized the lead role in Baltimore and Woodhead has yet to gain much market share since returning from his prolonged absence with injury. Woodhead is decent depth in deeper leagues but offers minimal starting potential in the final weeks for shallow league owners.

Corey Davis

Why: The top-drafted rookie has yet to make a splash beyond sporadic plays. The Titans face a tough closing stretch for wide receivers, specifically Arizona and San Francisco the next two weeks. Plus, Rishard Matthews could be returning in Week 14 to siphon targets from Davis as the de facto No.1 receiver.

MEDIUM DEPTH

*18-25 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Terrance West, Martellus Bennett

Pinning hopes on West is based on a changing landscape in the offseason in Baltimore or elsewhere. Bennett could be retired or at a minimum exhibiting more signs of physical decline by the start of next season. 

On to Week 14...

Jacoby Brissett

Why: Brissett will go back to reserve status in the offseason and Buffalo, Denver, and Baltimore is a tough stretch to close the season for any contenders rolling with a committee in critical playoff matchups.

Jalen Richard

Why: The lone appeal for Richard is the potential for a shifting depth chart in Oakland in the offseason. However, Richard profiles as an RB2/3 on an NFL depth chart and minimal appeal as a stash running back into the offseason.

Torrey Smith

Why: Smtih has been losing steam among the Eagles passing game targets with a meager 98 receiving yards over the past six weeks despite 21 targets. As the fourth (or lower) option in the pecking order, Smith is a long shot to return any value to close 2017.

DEEP FORMATS

*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Paxton Lynch, ArDarius Stewart

Lynch has yet to show functionality with his playing time and Denver has a high draft pick to get their cornerstone quarterback in the offseason plus Chad Kelly is a wildcard on their roster. Stewart, despite an open depth chart to start the season, has made no headway towards solid snaps. The Jets are also candidates to address all skill positions in the offseason.

On to Week 14...

Shane Vereen

Why: Vereen is a pass-centric upcoming free agent who has low potential to early anything more than a constricted RB2 role (more likely lower) on a depth chart for 2018. 

Mike Tolbert

Why: Tolbert's greatest appeal was as LeSean McCoy's primary backup. However, Tolbert is working through a hamstring injury and now Travaris Cadet will be a strong committee member and sapping any passing down work from Tolbert if McCoy does miss time to close the season. Beyond 2017, Tolbert offers minimal utility even in deep leagues.

Russell Shepard

Why: A career role player, Shepard has an expanded role with Kelvin Benjamin gone from Carolina and Greg Olsen injured, but offers minimal upside beyond 2017. Expect Carolina to fortify the receiver position beyond Devin Funchess plus Curtis Samuel's role has been low as a rookie this season.

Jermaine Gresham

Why: The rise of Ricky Seals-Jones in recent weeks has crushed the tepid upside of Gresham to the tune of seven targets and 40 yards over the past three games. Troy Niklas is also seeing time as an ancillary tight end on a stunted passing game overall.