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 9:
*15-18 roster spots*
Why: Dalton is likely to lose A.J. Green for multiple games and potentially for the rest of the season. Dalton has been a different fantasy player without A.J. Green in his career, posting 0.63 fewer touchdowns per game in the 11 games without Green in the lineup over his career. Week 10 is the last remaining strong matchup for Dalton as well with New Orleans up before a cold stretch to close the season.
Why: Barber is quizzically on rosters in 89% of MFL leagues. While Barber has been the Tampa Bay starter all season, he has yet to see 20 touches in a game or post 100+ total yards in all but one game. Barber rarely sees goal line opportunities (26th among running backs in carries inside five-yard-line) and has only eight receptions over eight games. Barber has no business being on shallow rosters due to low weekly upside despite Ronald Jones being of minimal impact thus far.
Why: Nelson is rostered in 95% of MFL leagues despite being ice cold over the past three games (5-36-0 combined) on 10 targets, even with Amari Cooper gone to Dallas for the Raiders' Week 9 disaster against the 49ers. Nelson has struggled to separate throughout the season and the Raiders have a brutal wide receiver schedule starting in Week 11. Nelson will be a non-factor for teams pushing for the playoffs.
Why: James has been forgettable since his Week 2 monster game, aligning with Vance McDonald's season debut. James has more than three targets just once since Week 2 and has not sniffed the end zone. With so many weapons in Pittsburgh, James being rostered in 50% of MFL leagues is far too high.
*18-22 roster spots*
Why: Washington's offensive line has been ravaged by injuries and Smith has been tepid independent of his protection. Smith has one touchdown or fewer in 5-of-8 games and lacks any meaningful upside as even a quarterback-by-committee option in moderate depth leagues. Add Paul Richardson Jr's trip to IR and Smith has little prospect for an uptick down the stretch despite being rostered in 78% of MFL leagues.
Why: Kerryon Johnson has taken over on the interior work for the Lions backfield and Blount has seen a mere 10 touches over the past two games as a result. Theo Riddick is back in the lineup as well to siphon any possible receiving work from the goal line-dependent Blount. The Lions' running back schedule also turns ice cold over the next month with four straight touch matchups. Blount has no business being on a roster in 56% of MFL leagues.
Why: Anderson has one good game this season (3-123-2 in Week 5), failing to surpass even 11 PPR points in any other week. With the Jets wide receiver group getting back to health with Quincy Enunwa returning and Jermaine Kearse in the mix, Anderson is a spotty start outside of injuries to clarify the depth chart and still, the Jets questionable offense remains as a limiting factor.
Why: Dickson flashed in Week 2, his 2018 season debut. However, his 54 yards was on low snap volume, which maintains in Week 9, firmly behind Nick Vannett. With Seattle being a low-volume passing offense and Dickson relying on a sporadic big play, he is off the radar outside of deep premium formats.
*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*
Why: With Mostert heading to injured reserve, he does not warrant a spot even in deep leagues. Mostert is unlikely to be in San Francisco's plans in 2019 with Jerick McKinnon returning of note and Mostert being a bounce-around-the-league type talent to this point.
Why: Elijah McGuire returned to the Jets rotation to a heavy snap count, pushing Cannon to the No.3 role on a stunted offense. Cannon has a thin frame and questionable workload projection anyway and McGuire's return is reason enough to move on in deeper formats. Cannon is currently rostered in 23% of MFL leagues.
Why: Benjamin is back from injury, but has seen a mere two touches in two games since his return. The Chargers have a strong top-3 on the wide receiver depth chart and the diminutive receiver has lost enough of his juice from his prime to question his utility going forward.
Why: The Houston tight end is back after missing two games, but rookies Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas have surged in snaps since. Griffin already was a tepid hold even in 2TE formats with 10 receptions in six games, underwhelming despite strong snaps to open the season.