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 13:
*Roster Rate referencing the percentage of myfantasyleague.com fantasy leagues where the player is rostered*
*15-18 roster spots*
Why: The Patriots passing game is hitting new lows by the week. Newton has thrown 37 passes over the past two weeks and for a decent half from Patrick Mahomes II-like 153 yards. The weapons are middling and Newton needs either a glorious matchup (see: Houston in Week 11) or multiple rushing touchdowns for any chance of a quality fantasy performance. The Rams and Dolphins the next two weeks offer stingy tests for Newton to be viable in fantasy playoff lineups. Pare down the QB2 roster spot in shallow formats to a backup running back or ideal matchup elsewhere. Newton is still QB17 in Roster Rate on MFL.
Why: At RB52 in Roster Rate, Brown is a distant third in the Rams backfield pecking order. Cam Akers continues to take strives forward and Darrell Henderson is also ahead of Brown. The last game Brown had at least 10 touches was his 12-touch outing against Miami in Week 8.
Why: The streaming special midseason has eroded with three straight middling games as the Patriots turn run-centric and run-always with Cam Newton trending downward as well (see above). Meyers was at best in the WR3/4 zone for lineup decisions at his peak, now pivoting to WR4/5/6 - essentially irrelevant for contending teams. The WR aSOS for the Patriots is also one of the most difficult in the NFL with the Rams-Dolphins-Bills to close the season.
Why: WR63 in Roster Rate, Cole is a Week 14-or-bust proposition with a juicy Titans matchup. However, the Ravens and Bears are rough matchups to close the season. If not using Cole in the starting lineup in Week 14, shift the roster spot to a Week 15+ focus.
*18-22 roster spots*
Why: The one-week window with no Jonathan Taylor in Week 12 produced a Nyheim Hines lead role for the Colts and Wilkins saw a mere nine touches. Translation: Wilkins is not an injury away from fantasy starter status with Taylor back. Plus, a stingy Steelers matchup looms in Week 16. This means both Taylor and Hines would need to be out Week 15 (Houston) for Wilkins to offer utility for the fantasy playoffs.
Why: Raheem Mostert is back and Jeff Wilson also has a sturdy role in the 49ers backfield. Coleman has been a committee option even when healthy this year and is multiple injuries away from a predictable fantasy start with the hourglass running low for opportunities to benefit.
Why: Held mostly on name cache at this point, Jeffery has done next to nothing since his Week 10 return. The Eagles offense is in shambles in addition to having a glut of skill-position talent not properly supported by the offensive line or quarterback play. Jeffery has two receptions in four games and the Saints up next. There is no magic bullet to boost Jeffery to the WR1 on the depth chart, ahead of the Eagles' tight ends or a suddenly improved macro view of the Eagles offense to provide optimism this season.
Why: More of a dynasty stash than a redraft hold, Edwards has been an afterthought since returning to the lineup in Week 9 after missing four games. Edwards flashed in Weeks 2-3 but his 3-32-0 stat line over the past five games offers minimal usage confidence of a late-season surge. The Raiders depth chart has Edwards firmly the WR4, and he has not played more than 30% of snaps since his return.
*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*
Why: Homer was inactive for Week 12 and 13, but the biggest reason for dumping him in all but the deepest of leagues is the now-healthy Seattle running back corps. Rashaad Penny could even be back soon, adding to Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, and DeeJay Dallas. Homer is a flimsy dynasty stash into the offseason as well.
Why: Even with Alexander Mattison out in Week 13, Mike Boone did not accrue a touch for the Dalvin Cook-centric Minnesota backfield. Mattison will be back, possibly as early as Week 14 and Boone has no draft pedigree and is a restricted free agent in the offseason. At best, Boone is still behind Cook and Mattison in 2021.
Why: Playing behind Giovani Bernard and Samaje Perine, Williams is still under contract for two more seasons in Cincinnati, assuming he sticks. Even assuming Perine is gone in the offseason, Williams projects behind Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard in 2021 to make for a long-term hold with a (likely) dynasty roster spot turned over by rookie draft time.
Why: Coulter was a trendy pickup in dynasty leagues last week. Instead of a coming-out party for the Day 3 rookie, Coulter was a late inactive and Chad Hansen exploded as the WR3 for Houston. Coulter, even if he surpasses Hansen (not a given), would be the WR3 behind Brandin Cooks and Keke Coutee for the closing games, including tough matchups against the Bears and Colts the next two weeks.