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: QB22 in Roster Rate, the Steelers offense is one of the more painful watches in the NFL. Roethlisberger is years removed from offering anything on the ground and Diontae Johnson is on the mend and JuJu Smith-Schuster is now on the injury watch list exiting in Week 3. The upside of a revival of the "good times" for the Steelers offense is waning by the week for formats where there are other NFL starters on the waiver wire weekly for a bye week or injury replacement.
Why: Coleman might be viewed as the de facto starter for the Jets by some, but there is no utilization support for the moniker. First off, the Jets are a struggling (at best) offense where comeback mode is a commonplace offensive situation. If anything the lone fantasy viable option would be the primary pass-catcher of the depth chart (which is Ty Johnson by the way). Thomas has a Route% of 6% and 12% the first two weeks of the season and is largely irrelevant on the depth chart, compared to Johnson's 45% for the season and Michael Carter's 30%.
Why: WR70 in Roster Rate, Davis is the clear WR4 for the Bills and closer to WR5 (Isaiah McKenzie) than WR3 (Cole Beasley). Davis could benefit from an injury to Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, or Beasley, but a stash wide receiver is a luxury not applicable to shallow format rosters. Davis has a 40% route rate and 5% target share, tiny numbers to be WR70 in Roster Rate and ahead of clear WR3 options (or higher) like Terrace Marshall Jr, Van Jefferson, and Hunter Renfrow.
Why: TE16 in Roster Rate, Henry is not even the highest target share of tight ends on his own depth chart. Jonnu Smith has had an equal or higher target share each week this season. Henry has yet to see more than six targets in a game or surpass 45 yards. Henry is more of a streamer type than considered an auto-keep player in shallower redraft.
*18-22 roster spots*
Why: Up until Week 3, Booker was viewed as the Saquon Barkley injury-away option. Booker was a surprise inactive for Week 3 and rookie Gary Brightwell replaced him. Also, consider the upside for this backfield in general. Even if Booker has a Barkley-less week in the future, what is the upside of being the starter for the Giants? Be skeptical of even a top-24 weekly projection with a non-Barkley talent of the baseline level like Booker or Brightwell. Booker, post-Week 3, is also on the wrong side of this projection if Barkley misses time in a future week.
Why: Snell is the primary backup to Najee Harris as it stands today. However, Snell is more of a run-centric profile than a receiving-centric option on a Pittsburgh offense with line issues and a tepid-at-best overall outlook. Instead of Snell's upside of getting 10-15 'keep the defense honest' carries in a game without Najee Harris, take a shot in deeper leagues on Kalen Ballage - or the PPR answer is Anthony McFarland Jr once he returns. Exhibit A is Week 3 where Najee Harris had a 33% target share, making his rushing volume or scoring a touchdown nothing but a bonus to already having a high-level fantasy output. The value in the Steelers backfield is not in carries but which back will see the most passing game work beyond Harris, which is not Benny Snell.
Why: St.Brown has not taken advantage of a thin (being kind) wide receiver depth chart in the opening weeks for Detroit. His 6-43-0 stat line on a meager 10 targets and this without a quality profile as competition (Quintez Cephus is the closest thing to a quality profile but a later Day 3 pick with middling college production). T.J. Hockenson is the WR1 on the team and both running backs (D'Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams) and two wide receivers (Kalif Raymond, Quintez Cephus) all have a higher target market share than St.Brown.
Why: With a single target over the past two games and just seven this season, Trautman has turned from a trendy breakout candidate to a roster albatross in a matter of weeks. Trautman is unstartable and this is with the Saints not having a single fantasy-relevant wide receiver or tight end elsewhere on the current active roster. Juwan Johnson, who has played 24% of snaps this season, has a higher target share than Trautman as a point of reference. The only format Trautman is still an easy decision to roster is 2-TE as even backup-caliber options with pedigree or possible upside warrant consideration as well.
*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*
Why: In two consecutive weeks, Chris Evans' role, especially as a receiving option, is rising in the Cincinnati backfield. Perine is on the wrong side of a future split if Joe Mixon misses time. Evans is trending towards the PPR option and making Perine a touchdown-only type play, seeing more carries but few routes and targets.
Why: Pringle is the clear WR4 for the Chiefs where even the WR2 has a questionable outlook (Mecole Hardman) with two of three games of less than 10% target market share. Now, Josh Gordon was added to the depth chart as an added wrinkle who could surpass Pringle in short order. Even if Gordon is not a factor, Pringle still needs to be the unquestioned WR2 (Hardman and Demarcus Robinson out of the way) to be a consideration for lineups.
Why: Odell Beckham Jr's return aligned with the first complete game Jarvis Landry missed for Cleveland this season. As a result, Higgins sat firmly as the WR3 in Week 3 behind Beckham and Donovan Peoples-Jones. This is an offense where they have a stronger-than-average running back and tight end contingent. The WR3 is not on the weekly radar here. The targets have not followed for Higgins either with a 6% share for the season and no game greater than 10%.
Why: Evan Engram returned to the Giants lineup with strong snap and route numbers in Week 3. Rudolph's result in the two weeks without Engram? Seven targets and 33 total yards. Rudolph is not even one of the more interesting injury-away options now that Engram is back in the lineup.