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 3:
*15-18 roster spots*
Why: Even if a GM has been holding on to Carr until now, the time to shift to other options during the bye week gauntlet has come. Carr has been a check-down machine and has multiple interceptions in two of his opening three games. Plus, the upcoming schedule of the Browns, Chargers, and Seahawks makes for a tough road to rebound.
Why: Williams mired through his two-game lead back audition without Aaron Jones and diminished to seven touches in Green Bay's loss in Washington. Jones plainly looked more explosive as a runner in Week 3 and Ty Montgomery had a stronghold of the hurry-up and passing game work. The upside has been squeezed from Williams with no depth chart clarity to warrant a roster spot in shallow leagues.
Why: Anderson is surprisingly owned in nearly 90% of myfantasyleague.com leagues entering Week 4. Anderson is clearly behind Quincy Enunwa on the Jets pecking order and Terrelle Pryor has more upside as he gains reps returning from an offseason injury. Anderson has 10 targets over three games, less than would warrant a roster spot over a primary backup running back in a shallow format.
Why: James emerged with 5-138-1 in Week 2, but Vance McDonald was not a piece of the puzzle in the game and James has not shown to be a downfield presence outside of that performance in his career. McDonald lapped James in involvement for Week 3 and the Steelers have three strong receivers also vying for targets. James' weekly upside and floor combination is not ideal for a shallow roster.
*18-22 roster spots*
Why: In addition to Mariota not being healthy and playing through a nerve injury which limits him in-game, the Titans offense looks like a lost cause like last year. Mariota has struggled to push the ball downfield and his lone perk to-date is his rushing upside. Mariota is a lagging play with the Eagles, Ravens, and suddenly decent Bills defense over the next three weeks.
Why: Even without Marlon Mack, Wilkins has shown an extremely low ceiling on a rushing starved Colts offense. Mack is the preferred option when healthy and Nyheim Hines has dominated passing game work through three weeks. While in the 1A or 1B depth chart position, Wilkins is tough to justify with a roster spot or lineup consideration.
Why: The Dallas passing game has offered little reason to roster any of the pass catchers. Hurns has 51 yards (nine targets) in three games and has shown nothing similar to his 2015 breakout season in terms of explosiveness. Hurns is unlikely to emerge as Dallas' No.1 option, which is the only role which could be on the flex radar during the bye weeks and be a non-optimal option at that.
Why: Despite being the unquestioned starter for Buffalo, the ceiling is low for Clay, who has eroded physically over the past couple of seasons and yet to see more than three targets in a game for the passing-challenged offense. Even Kelvin Benjamin is a dicey bet as a final wide receiver fantasy starter for lineups and Clay is even lower for tight end lineup decisions.
*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*
Why: Taylor's concussion was timed with his deepening spiral down the proverbial drain, dragging the Browns skill position players with him. Taylor struggled with accuracy and looked to leave the pocket at first notice. Baker Mayfield led the Browns to victory in the second half in Week 3 and is the starter going forward. Even if Taylor ends up back under center, the upside is low enough to let another GM hold the roster spot for the upcoming weeks.
Why: While the RB2 in Tampa Bay on paper, the offense has shown little inclination to stick with the run or offer goal-line opportunities even for their starter Peyton Barber. Ronald Jones is likely to get a shot at some point despite his inactive status to open the season and Shaun Wilson has even garnered some offensive touches. Rodgers is a low-upside veteran with only deep best ball type appeal in a best-case scenario.
Why: Williams has seen more than 120 snaps through three weeks, but has logged a single reception for eight yards on Arizona's anemic offense. The one kernel of optimism would be Josh Rosen's insertion under center starting in Week 4. However, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Ricky Seals-Jones are clearly ahead of Williams in the pecking order.
Why: While Boyle was the Week 1 starter for Baltimore on paper, his snaps have declined each week and Mark Andrews has been the standout performer in his career-opening games. Add Hayden Hurst returning from injury soon and Boyle is facing a stacked depth chart to see even a catch or two in a given game. Only the deepest of start-2TE formats makes Boyle a viable roster spot.