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Cutting the Cord: Week 16 - Footballguys

Breaking down the key players to drop or trade to optimize fantasy football rosters

With the 2018 season finishing up, here is a look back the best and worst calls of this weekly feature article Cutting the Cord:

Best Calls

Marcus Mariota: After proclaiming Mariota a cut after his Week 1 injury, Mariota was up and down (mostly down) all season with six games of single-digit fantasy scoring and never surpassing a 40% start rate (MFL data) in any single week. Mariota was a strong call to move on from in shallow and medium depth redraft leagues for early-season waiver options.

Tyrod Taylor was recommended as a cut following Week 2. In the Perfect Timing Award, Week 3 was the Taylor injury and Baker Mayfield taking over, leading a comeback, and not looking back game.

Jamaal Williams did little with his Aaron Jones-less two-week audition as the lead back in Green Bay. Williams was a cut call after Week 3 as Jones turned the backfield into a committee situation quickly (later taking over as the starter). Williams did not produce a game of 10+ PPR points after the recommendation and has been a non-producing handcuff since.

LeSean McCoy as a shallow league cut call after Week 6, considering his 100% MFL roster rate at the time, was one of the bold calls of the column in 2018. McCoy produced only two games of more than 10 PPR points the rest of the season as the Bills offense revolved around high-variance Josh Allen and his rushing more than any dependable rushing attack from McCoy.

Corey Clement was rostered in 89% of MFL leagues when recommended as a Week 9 cut. Clement posted games of two to three PPR points his next two outings, Josh Adams took over as the lead back, Darren Sproles returned from injury, and Clement ended up on injured reserve in the following weeks.

Kelvin Benjamin was a Week 3 cut recommendation after 12 PPR points total over the first two weeks. Benjamin was a quality at any point during this forgettable season, ultimately being waived by Buffalo, and the early call was the correct one.

Jamison Crowder was an early-season cut recommendation citing concerns for the Washington passing game volume and competition for targets. Crowder missed time midseason but also posted just two games of 10+ PPR points during the fantasy regular season.

Terrance Williams made the Week 2 cut list citing the Dallas passing game looking lost. Williams subsequently got hurt in Week 2, but Dallas did mire through the air until Amari Cooper's midseason arrival. Even without the injury, shedding Williams after Week 1 was a prudent move.

Pierre Garcon was a cut recommendation after Week 5 and produced a single relevant (albeit low level) game from Week 6 on (Week 9) before missing the rest of the season with an injury and the 49ers passing game producing little beyond breakout tight end George Kittle all season.

Mike Gesicki was touted with the best early opportunity of the rookie tight ends. However, Gesicki struggled to produce despite minimal depth chart competition in Miami. Gesicki was a strong drop recommendation outside of dynasty formats in the opening month of the season and did not surpass 7.4 PPR points in any single game of the fantasy regular season.

Worst Calls

Jameis Winston was a cut following Week 8 and went on to post 26 and 25 points respectively in Week 12 and 13 once back as the Tampa Bay starter. While a patience play (and more shallow format recommendation) Winston rose back to prominence with the starting role to close the fantasy season.

Chris Carson: Calling for Carson as a cut after Week 1 was aggressive but costly as Seattle was one of the strong rushing teams of the season plus Rashaad Penny did not take over as the clear starter at any point. Carson has five weeks with a start rate of at least 60% since Week 6 and a host of 12+ fantasy point performances.

Marlon Mack: After a rough Week 2 debut, Mack was recommended as a sell-drop (shallow leagues) only to hit his stride midseason with games of 32 and 29 PPR points respectively. Mack faded late in the fantasy regular season (rebounding with 25 PPR points in Week 15) but was a hot pickup if dropped even in shallow formats after the recommendation.

Austin Hooper was a cut recommendation after Week 4 and posted 16 and 22 PPR points respectively the next two weeks and another two games of 15+ points later in the fantasy season. Considering the injury carnage at tight end and Hooper's stable role for the Falcons offense, Hooper was a clear miss this season.

Thanks for reading in 2018 and good luck in your fantasy championship games this week!