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Cutting the Cord: Week 8

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 7:

SHALLOW FORMATS

*15-18 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations included:

Eli Manning, Andre Ellington, Jordan Matthews Jesse James

The passing game for the Giants continues to be a shell of itself without viable targets. Adrian Peterson will dominate touches for the Cardinals backfield. Deonte Thompson was not even with the Bills to start the season and led the team in receiving yards in Week 7. Vance McDonald continues his uptick as Jesse James logged his second dud performance in a row.

On to Week 8...

Marcus Mariota

Why: Mariota is on bye in Week 8 and in addition to adding nothing on the ground the past two weeks the schedule gets much tougher over the next month. Mariota combined for a single passing touchdown against soft passing defenses Indianapolis and Cleveland the past two weeks. The next trio of opponents starting in Week 9 are all in the top-8 in pass efficiency (Baltimore, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh). Find another streamer in shallow formats and reassess Mariota for Week 12 (Indianapolis) if his mobility looks improved.

Adrian Peterson (Shop)

Why: The Cardinals offense is about to turn into a shell of itself with the departure of Carson Palmer for likely the rest of the season. Adrian Peterson enjoyed an ideal game script against a weak opponent in Week 6, but the more likely future situation is more like Week 7 when Arizona was throttled by the Rams. After a Week 8 bye, Peterson has one more week in the (potential) sun against the 49ers, but Seattle, Houston, Jacksonville, and the Rams starting in Week 10 pose a problem for Peterson's upside.

Donte Moncrief

Why: Shop before dropping, but finding a decent return will be tough. Moncrief is averaging less than 40 yards per game this season with a single touchdown. The Colts were blanked by the Jaguars in Week 7, allowing 10 sacks. Jacoby Brissett has been functional at times, but three touchdowns in six starts is a flimsy floor which only T.Y. Hilton can (marginally) survive. Moncrief has only one game with more than three receptions this season and Andrew Luck has no projected return date.

Tyrell Williams

Why: Mike Williams' (albeit slow) debut and progression thus far into the Chargers passing game still is another mouth to feed in the passing game. With Hunter Henry's rise and Keenan Allen's presence has limited Tyrell Williams to a single game of more than 55 yards this season. Monitor Williams from the waiver wire for now as only an injury to Keenan Allen makes Williams appealing to roster in shallow leagues.

Martellus Bennett

Why: Bennett was a marginal hold in shallow leagues even with Aaron Rodgers under center. Bennett logged his worst game of the season with Brett Hundley running the offense in Week 7 and Bennett has yet to find the end zone this season. While touchdown regression is bound to hit Bennett's stat line, his floor is too low to consider even as a committee option during bye weeks. Also, Bennett's bye week is up in Week 8 and does not warrant holding on the off-chance the slump is broken.

MEDIUM DEPTH

*18-25 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Jamaal Williams, Shane Vereen, Leonte Carroo

Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery are clearly ahead of Jamaal Williams. Shane Vereen is the No.3 (with limited upside) in the Giants backfield. Even with DeVante Parker out, it has been Kenny Stills stepping up, not Leonte Carroo.

On to Week 8...

Brett Hundley

Why: The debut of Hundley as the starter was not pretty has Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams became shadows and the run game was the lone promising piece of the Green Bay offensive puzzle. Hundley's schedule is brutal through Week 12 with a bye week followed by Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh - all top-half pass efficiency defenses with two in the top-5.

Eddie Lacy

Why: The floor and ceiling are so low on a weekly basis. C.J. Prosise is not even fully back into the mix of the running back rotation and Lacy has struggled to get more than 11 carries in a game. Week 7 was a golden opportunity against the Giants, who are not going to run away with a lead from any opponents and marked the easiest run game opponent for Seattle in the next three weeks.

Eric Decker

Why: The best three weeks of the Titans' pass efficiency schedule is over and Decker has 23 PPR points over the stretch to show for it. Decker has looked like a shell of his former self and Marcus Mariota is physically limited to extend plays himself. Add to the equation Corey Davis' looming return and market share of the targets in the coming weeks and a rough string of three AFC Central matchups out of Tennessee's Week 8 bye and Decker is a cut or shop candidate.

Coby Fleener

Why: Fleener has yet to fit into the Saints offense through a season and a half. Fleener has only 19 targets on the season and six of them came in Week 1. With Alvin Kamara fully incorporated into the passing game and Willie Snead IV on the verge of returning, Fleener is not even on the spot start radar during bye weeks, yet is owned in 68% of MFL leagues.

DEEP FORMATS

*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Brian Hoyer, Robert Turbin, Antonio Gates

Turbin is out for the season. Hunter Henry has taken over as the TE1 for the Chargers. C.J. Beathard looked functional for the 49ers in his first start after Hoyer was benched.

On to Week 8...

Branden Oliver

Why: Oliver is still on his way back to the field, but Austin Ekeler was the clear No.2 option to Melvin Gordon III in Week 7 and looked good in the role. Without a handcuff-level label, Oliver is waiver wire fodder to monitor from afar considering Oliver is owned in more leagues than Ekeler post-Week 7.

Charles Sims

Why: Sims' strategic use as a pass-centric back limits his appeal even in deeper leagues. Doug Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers are preferred early-down options and Sims has to contend with the host of passing game targets in Tampa Bay from at least three receivers and two tight ends higher in the pecking order. Move on for a better upside shot later in the season. T.J. Yeldon, Mike Tolbert, Austin Ekeler, and Malcolm Brown all have lower ownership than Sims by myfantasyleague.com data.

Tavon Austin

Why: The former top-10 pick is being used more as a rotational running back by the Rams than wide receiver these days. With seven receptions on the season and 25 carries, Austin strangely has more marginal point-per-carry value than anything else in deep leagues. Outside of looking to 2018 and taking a stash on Austin finding a new situation (Rams would save $3 million in salary if cutting Austin in the offseason), Austin has little reason to be on rosters for the rest of 2017.

Seth DeValve

Why: While a functional player, DeValve's upside is squeezed by the week with David Njoku making more plays. DeValve has not topped 30 receiving yards in a game since Week 2 and the Browns are a limited passing game with quarterback questions (and rotation) weekly. Outside of a start-2TE format, DeValve should be churned for a running back with situational upside.