Cutting the Cord: Week 3 - Footballguys

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 2:

SHALLOW FORMATS

*15-18 roster spots*

Tyrod Taylor

Why: Taylor has been strong as a rusher (103 yards plus a touchdown) through two games, but has been lackluster as a passer, barely completing half his passes where the league average is pushing 65% early this season as a whole. With the Browns winless after two games where better quarterback play easily gets them two wins with the Steelers and Saints on the ropes, Baker Mayfield is becoming a more viable option by the week for a should-be-contending team.

Marlon Mack

Why: Mack's return to the Colts lineup in Week 2 was rough. He was out-snapped by Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines, plus averaged less than 3.3 yards-per-touch, struggling to beat linebackers in space and break tackles. With roster spots valuable in shallow formats, only clear starters or high-upside primary backup running backs make the cut for bench spots. As a result, Mack's murky status with the Colts qualifies for the waiver wire.

Kelvin Benjamin

Why: Buffalo is an anemic offense where impactful fantasy performances will be few and far between this season. Benjamin has 29 yards in two games on 10 targets. Both the meager volume (80 targets/season pace) and efficiency will keep Benjamin's upside so low he is not worth a roster spot in typical redraft leagues.

Mike Gesicki

Why: A.J. Derby, not Gesicki, is the starting tight end for Miami by snaps through two games. The Dolphins also have a crowded wide receiver group already dominating the tepid target volume available. Gesicki has a single reception through two games and is a long-term hold instead of a near-term upside bet.

MEDIUM DEPTH

*18-22 roster spots*

Dak Prescott

Why: Dallas has arguably the worst collection of passing game weapons in the NFL. Prescott has added some rushing production through two games, but not enough to prevent him from being firmly outside the top-20 quarterbacks both weeks. Add a matchup against Seattle in Week 3 and it is time to move on in shallow leagues.

LeGarrette Blount

Why: Blount is third on his own depth chart in terms of fantasy production and Detroit is struggling to find a run game identity. Also, Kerryon Johnson is the two-way threat of the backfield with Blount lucky to scratch together a goal-line touchdown in his best future week. Even an injury to Johnson would still result in a shaky fantasy projection for Blount with Theo Riddick siphoning all pass game opportunities.

Danny Amendola

Why: Amendola is the fourth-highest scoring Dolphins receiver in fantasy through two games. In addition to only 10 total targets, Amendola has averaged a mere 7.3 yards-per-reception. DeVante Parker back healthy adds another competitor for targets as well. Amendola should be nowhere near fantasy lineups even during the bye week gauntlet approaching.

Cameron Brate

Why: With O.J. Howard dominating snaps and targets, Brate has seen less than half the snaps of Howard through two games and is nothing more than a handcuff who has yet to catch a pass this season, yet is still owned in more than half of myfantasyleague.com leagues.

DEEP FORMATS

*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*

Sam Bradford

Why: For two straight weeks the Arizona passing game has looked like one of, if not the worst passing game in the NFL. Larry Fitzgerald is now dinged up and Bradford has struggled with a shoddy offensive line and no deep presence in the offense. The clock is ticking for Josh Rosen to start as Arizona falls woefully out of the competitive race.

Jonathan Williams

Why: Mike Gillislee has the edge over Williams as the No.2 option to Alvin Kamara in the near term. Plus, Mark Ingram II is two weeks from his return to make Gillislee and Williams both irrelevant for a roster spot.

J.J. Nelson

Why: The diminutive Arizona wide receiver is buried on the depth chart, seeing a third of the snaps compared to any of Chad Williams, Christian Kirk, and Larry Fitzgerald. Plus, Nelson was already considered more of a situational deep threat than a complete receiver. Nelson has yet to catch a pass this season.

Ryan Griffin

Why: Griffin has dominated snaps for Houston's tight ends (115 in two games compared to 52 for Jordan Akins and 38 for Jordan Thomas), however, Griffin has been a complete passing game afterthought. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V siphon upside from the tight end position already, but rookie Jordan Akins already has four receptions and looks far more explosive than the older veteran Griffin.