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Cutting the Cord: Week 9

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 8:

SHALLOW FORMATS

*15-18 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations included:

Marcus Mariota, Donte Moncrief, Tyrell Williams, Martellus Bennett

Nothing has changed for Mariota now onto a tough stretch of schedule after a Week 8 bye. Moncrief continues on his 'lost year' track. Williams is a tough hold with Mike Williams progressing up in snaps and Keenan Allen entrenched ahead of Tyrell Williams on the depth chart. Bennett has discussed retirement following the season and the cloudy Packers passing game remains with Brett Hundley under center.

On to Week 9...

Andy Dalton

Why: While the schedule gets better in Week 10, Dalton is firmly on the committee track and in shallow leagues, there is little reason to keep two quarterbacks when one is not a stud. Jacksonville is the worst pass efficiency matchup for quarterbacks and Dalton has four touchdowns over the past two games, pointing to some regression downward added to the matchup.

Frank Gore

Why: The veteran's upside is being sapped by the rise of Marlon Mack's snaps of late and the schedule grows stingy for the rest of the season in rush efficiency outside of Jacksonville in Week 13, and even Jacksonville limited Gore to a rough stat line in Week 7. Gore could also be on the move with trade rumors.

Martavis Bryant

Why: There is an uphill climb for Bryant to produce anything of value down the stretch. If staying in Pittsburgh, Juju Smith-Schuster is cementing his status as the No.2 option. If Bryant is traded, his boom-bust profile would be more pronounced with the learning curve to incorporate into a new offense midseason.

Eric Ebron

Why: In addition to having no optimal tight end matchups remaining on the schedule, Ebron's upside and snaps have been sapped by Darren Fells. Ebron offers little incentive to roster outside of deep leagues.

MEDIUM DEPTH

*18-25 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Eddie Lacy, Coby Fleener

Another week and invisible performances from Lacy and Fleener. Josh Hill dominated Fleener in snaps for the No.1 spot for Saints tight ends.

On to Week 9...

Jacoby Brissett

Why: Brissett survived Week 8 with a neutral matchup (Cincinnati) by tossing moderate yardage and a couple touchdowns. Houston, Pittsburgh, and a bye week tarnish the next three weeks of Brissett's schedule. Unless the quarterback pool is dry and Brissett will be in lineups over the next two weeks, seek greener pastures with the roster spot.

Mike Gillislee

Why: The Patriots are rolling a four-headed backfield with Rex Burkhead back and Gillislee is a single-role option where Dion Lewis and Burkhead offer two-way flexibility New England loves. Gillislee is a 'pray for a touchdown' option and the Patriots have only one optimistic matchup in rush efficiency left on their fantasy schedule.

Taylor Gabriel,

Why: The Falcons passing game is knee-deep in a post-2016 regression and outside of multiple injuries, Gabriel offers minimal incentive to hold. Schedule-wise, the two Tampa Bay matchups are the lone reason for some optimism in moderate depth leagues if Julio Jones or Mohamed Sanu were out those weeks.

Zach Miller

Why: Miller's medical status is still up in the air, but likely his 2017 season is over. Even if Miller is able to return, his appeal as a fantasy starting consideration was minimal with Dion Sims and Adam Shaheen seeing meaningful snaps and the Bears being one of the most conservative offenses in the NFL.

DEEP FORMATS

*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Branden Oliver, Charles Sims, Seth DeValve

All are low upside options, but if one is to be kept, Branden Oliver would be the surviving roster spot. Austin Ekeler is out-snapping Oliver, but the pecking order is unclear if Melvin Gordon III (who is dinged up already) should miss time.

On to Week 9...

C.J. Beathard

Why: The 49ers acquired Jimmy Garoppolo and Beathard did not show well as the de facto starter.

Zach Zenner

Why: With Dwayne Washington back healthy, Zenner moves down a peg on a crowded depth. Plus Detroit struggles to run the ball in general. Also, the Lions schedule is not great over the second half of the season with only two juicy matchups.

Jeremy Kerley

Why: The Jets only have a couple friendly wide receiver matchups remaining and Kerley has yet to see more than five targets in a game as Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are prominent figures in the passing game.

Ryan Griffin

Why: Despite the thriving Houston passing game with Deshaun Watson, much of the production is gobbled up by DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V. Griffin, even with minimal competition at tight end after the injury to C.J. Fiedorowicz, has yet to be anything more than a mid-level TE2. The schedule turns tough closer to the fantasy playoffs as well.