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 1:
*15-18 roster spots*
Why: The Colts offensive line struggled in Week 1, and Wentz was battered in the pocket. After starting efficiently with a controlled passing game, Wentz took more hits as the game progressed, and the Colts' wide receivers are a collection of WR2/3 types in the NFL, while the tight ends are a baseline bunch at best. Wentz is on the hot list against the Rams in Week 2 for injury and Miami-Baltimore in Weeks 4/5 loom. Wentz's upside is not worth the roster spot in shallower roster sizes.
Why: The Jets' de facto starter (or opener) saw just 17 snaps as Ty Johnson (also disappointing) was the highest snap option in this low-upside committee. Rostering the lead back here does not move the needle for fantasy teams, and moving on quickly is the key with Coleman and even Ty Johnson.
Why: Lindsay is a bigger name and was in the top-50 running backs in Roster Rate for Week 1 on MFL. However, Lindsay was RB3 by snaps on a Houston team likely overachieving in Week 1 against a struggling Jacksonville team. Is Lindsay an injury-away from being a clarified fantasy starter? No. Mark Ingram II is the clear starter now and if David Johnson is out. And expect Johnson to have the more optimal receiving game work if Ingram misses time at a minimum.
Why: Kyle Pitts is basically playing wide receiver, and Gage is a baseline talent where the appeal is the floor of targets expectation with Julio Jones gone this offseason. Gage was invisible in Week 1, and Pitts did not even have a significant role. There will be better weeks for Gage, but the two targets and doughnut stat line are relevant on a Falcons team who played catch-up already in Week 1 to pile up stats.
*18-22 roster spots*
Why: Fitzpatrick's hip injury will keep him out of Week 2 and probably Week 3 at a minimum. This being a season-ending injury at the time of publication is not off the table either. Fitzpatrick was not a strong enough play to hold for long outside of premium formats (Superflex, 2QB) outside of an official IR designation by the time waivers run this week.
Why: Larry Rountree III was on the fewest MFL rosters entering Week 1 but was the clear RB2 for the Chargers. Jackson saw fewer than 15% of the snaps - half of Rountree - and Kelley was inactive. React quickly here and move on from the non-Rountree backups for more clarified opportunities.
Why: Williams' appeal was as a potential WR1 for the Lions despite being one of the least inspiring depth charts in the NFL. The Lions threw the ball 57 times. No receiver collected more than three receptions, and Kalif Raymond was the option to eclipse 25 yards. This offense will drive through its running backs and T.J. Hockenson, and investing a roster spot in the wide receivers, outside of maybe Quintez Cephus or Amon-Ra St.Brown in dynasty circles, marks futility.
Why: Graham was a ghost within the Bears' Week 1 snaps with select red zone reps, but the touchdown maven has ceded to Cole Kmet in the TE1/2 rotation completely as Kmet had more than 3x the snaps of the grizzled veteran. Unless a 2TE format, Graham's roster spot is firmly on the hot seat for this week's waiver run for same-position options like Albert Okwuegbunam and especially Juwan Johnson.
*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*
Why: Outside of Superflex-2QB formats, Dalton is on thin ice. After an expected struggle in Week 1, where Justin Fields siphoned a goal-line touchdown and played other snaps, the Bengals and Browns look like legit defenses to stress Dalton from strong enough games to keep the job for long to get to Detroit in Week 4. Dalton is above baseline even if a backup quarterback for premium formats, but in 1QB, regardless of depth, the moment Dalton loses the job will be the end of his roster spot viability.
Why: Jackson was a distant WR4 in the Rams' snap shares for Week 1, and expect Tutu Atwell and Jacob Harris (TE) to mix in more as the weeks progress. Jackson could have a sparse long reception or two this season, but reserving a roster spot in anything but a deep best ball is not prudent.
Why: Competition for targets with three quality wide receivers plus Christian McCaffrey sours the appeal of any Carolina tight end. Arnold was in a split with Ian Thomas, plus expect Tommy Tremble to boost his 20% snap share as the season progresses.
Why: Westbrook was out-snapped by 4x in favor of K.J. Osborn for the Vikings' WR3 role, and Osborn did not disappoint with the second-most targets, receptions, and yards for Minnesota in Week 1. Westbrook may not even be ahead of Ihmir Smith-Marsette for long among ancillary wide receivers.