Cutting the Cord: Week 11

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 10:

SHALLOW FORMATS

*15-18 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations included:

Jameis Winston, Tyrell Williams, Julius Thomas

Winston may or not play down the stretch, Mike Williams continues to move up in snaps and opportunity for the Chargers, and Thomas' fantasy outcome rests on scoring a touchdown. Thomas found the end zone in Week 10, but still did not crack nine PPR points. 

On to Week 11...

Jared Goff

Why: Goff performed well his lone projected week as a top-6 fantasy option, but his remaining games have been primarily as a QB2-level performer. The schedule is dicier to close the season (outside of a Week 16 tilt against Tennessee) than the rearview mirror look at the Rams passing efficiency slate. Unless Goff is easily a fantasy team's top rostered quarterback, shed the backup in shallow formats for another shot at a backup running back who could hit the injury lottery.

C.J. Anderson (Shop)

Why: The Broncos are splitting the backfield snaps into a healthy three-way pie with Anderson the de facto starter and Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker seeing significant work. In addition to the tempered opportunity upside, Denver's previously rosy rush efficiency schedule of opponents to-date is turning stingy with only 2-of-6 remaining teams being above-average matchups. 

Terrelle Pryor

Why: The fading Washington receiver is still quizzically owned in 70% of MFL leagues. Even the recently activated Maurice Harris is making more plays than Pryor of late on a depth chart open for perimeter impact. Pryor may find a new home and reset expectations in 2018, but the remainder of 2017 is pinned on multiple injuries around Pryor and target-dependent volume to be remotely viable. Also, the three times this season Pryor was a top-24 projection, he finished outside the top-70 receivers for the week.

Kyle Rudolph

Why: The Minnesota tight end has eclipsed 10 PPR points this season in only the three games in which he has a touchdown. The schedule is not good for the Vikings overall in pass efficiency with three stingy defenses over the next month (Rams, Lions, Panthers) plus for tight end matchups, Minnesota has 3-of-6 games remaining as tough opponents. Like Goff, unless Rudolph is the clear best tight end on a fantasy roster, cut bait in shallow formats.

MEDIUM DEPTH

*18-25 roster spots*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Breshad Perriman, Nick O'Leary

Perriman has underwhelmed on his own this season, independent of a crowded passing game pecking order. With Charles Clay back (and Kelvin Benjamin active) there is minimal utility for O'Leary on rosters outside of deep premium formats for tight end.

On to Week 11...

Jacoby Brissett

Why: The Colts are on bye this week, a good thing as Brissett is recovering from a concussion. However, the matchup play quarterback has a rough finishing schedule and unlikely to be usable outside of premium formats down the stretch. Tennessee in Week 12 is the only remaining optimistic matchup left in the fantasy season with Jacksonville, Buffalo, Denver, and Baltimore the other games for Brissett.

Javorius Allen

Why: Danny Woodhead is slated to return in the coming weeks, which will all but eradicate Allen's receiving upside. Also, Baltimore's schedule is a straight run of top-10 rushing efficiency defenses until Week 16 against Indianapolis. Plus the two times Allen was a Footballguys projection in the top-20 for a week with a strong matchup and situation, he massively disappointed with RB3+ level finishes. 

Eric Decker

Why: Corey Davis is back in the lineup and saw the most snaps of Tennessee wide receivers in Week 10. Rishard Matthews has thoroughly out-produced Decker this season as well. Decker has been one of the bigger disappointments of the fantasy season compared to expectations in his value zone, finishing at least 10 positional spots below his Footballguys projection in 6-of-9 games with an average finish in the WR60-70 range. Decker is a stash for 2018 only and not an optimal one at that.

Ben Watson

Why: The schedule gets tough for Watson with four tough tight end opponents remaining, including three over the next month and in Week 16. With Maxx Williams healthy, Watson also has a tempered snap expectation weekly. Finally, Watson is a low-upside streamer reserved for struggling tight end rosters, which is not likely a contender at this stage of the season. Watson has only one game of 12+ PPR points this season and is averaging less than 7.0 yards-per-catch.

DEEP FORMATS

*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*

Last week the big recommendations were:

Tyler Boyd, Maxx Williams

John Ross is beginning to get snaps and Brandon LaFell is solidly perched as the WR2 in Cincinnati. Ben Watson is a lower level tight end play and Williams is firmly behind him on a limited passing game in Baltimore.

On to Week 11...

Tom Savage

Why: Savage has yet to finish in the top-20 of fantasy quarterbacks any week this season and the rumblings of T.J. Yates getting an opportunity grow louder by the week. Will Fuller V could miss a few weeks with a recent rib injury and the remaining schedule includes Arizona, Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Pittsburgh. Unless a deep quarterback-premium format where all remotely-viable options are rostered, shift gears on Savage as his time under center and upside even with the role is shrinking.

Malcolm Brown

Why: Brown was one of the better handcuffs in fantasy before his recent injury. With Lance Dunbar and Justin Davis moving up a notch on the depth chart and Brown lacking any draft pedigree to assume he is back as the No.2 in 2018, Brown will also have an MCL recovery (and potential surgery) on his plate. Outside of waiting to see if Brown can be an IR stash in the next week or two, Brown is a cut.

Laquon Treadwell

Why: Adam Thielen continues to play at a high level as the WR2 in Minnesota and Treadwell has been of marginal impact with his allotment of ancillary snaps. Even with an injury in front of him, Treadwell has WR4/5 appeal. Even with an average Footballguys projection of WR80, Treadwell has underperformed those expectations with an average finish of WR94. Treadwell has yet to finish in the top-40 any week and his tape continues to show a receiver struggling to separate and having more utility as a blocker than a pass catcher.

Garrett Celek

Why: Celek was a streaming darling in Week 10, producing in his optimal matchup against the Giants. With a Week 11 bye and George Kittle possibly returning as soon as Week 12, Celek is a drop in all but the deepest premium formats. The 49ers have a tough finishing slate of tight end matchups as well, including Chicago, Tennessee, and Jacksonville over the final month of the fantasy week and no optimal streaming opportunities.