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 8:
*15-18 roster spots*
Why: QB19 in Roster Rate, Lawrence has zero games of multiple passing touchdowns since Week 1. His ratio since Week 1? 5-to-6 for those six games. Without 1.01 NFL Draft pedigree, Lawrence would be on a drove of waiver wires. The Bills, Colts, and 49ers up next make streaming Lawrence prohibitive. Cut Lawrence loose in 1QB redraft formats.
Antonio Gibson (Trade)
Why: Will be managed even being off injury report in recent weeks is an upside-limiting equation. J.D. McKissic will be involved more in negative game script situations (common for Washington), plus Jaret Patterson *should* get a few more looks in the second half of the season as the team looks towards 2022 roster decisions.
Why: Seattle is in full committee mode and Collins is not involved in the passing game. The upside is limited for shallow formats. Churn the Collins roster spots for more optimal injury-away backs on other NFL depth charts even if not flex-viable now. Collins also has Week 9 bye and Packers and Cardinals following that.
Why: Jameis Winston is out for the season and Michael Thomas looms in the coming weeks for a possible return. Mark Ingram II aids the run game to lean on with their defense. Invest in a strong passing game with a better quarterback. Callaway is the ideal inclusion for a two-for-one redraft trade.
*18-22 roster spots*
Why: Garoppolo has been dreadful this season outside of one of the outlier rushing performances at the position over the first two months. Garoppolo had the rushing stat line of 5-4-2. Yes, two rushing touchdowns for a quality fantasy game. The Cardinals and Rams next will be significant tests for Garoppolo, who has a single game of multiple passing touchdowns.
Why: Held for the big upside of emerging as the Chiefs WR2 for weeks now, Gordon has shown no progression for meaningful snaps or targets through a month on the active roster. Injury-away running backs, and this is a robust week to explore new opportunities and depth chart shuffling, pressure Gordon's roster spot validity for the Week 9 waiver wire.
Why: Even with a drove of missed games by A.J. Brown and Julio Jones this season, Firkser is yet to hit 35 yards in a game and has a total stat line of 3-28-0 on four targets over the past three games. Firkser has been one of the big disappointments from the streaming and breakout tight end bucket for 2021.
Why: Hooper had his best game since Week 3 this week. The result? 6.6 PPR points and 26 yards. Still in the top-24 of MFL Roster Rate, Hooper has strong competition for targets on his own positional depth chart, plus Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry temper Hooper's upside, all on a run-first Cleveland offense at heart.
*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*
Why: Drifting behind newly-added Ameer Abdullah on Carolina depth chart now. Christian McCaffrey is back in the coming weeks. Even if Chuba Hubbard were out in future weeks, Freeman would lose enough touches, especially in the passing game, to Abdullah to have limited lineup appeal.
Why: Anthony McFarland Jr is back and the McFarland-Benny Sell-Ballage rotation is ambiguous enough to fade Ballage for roster spots (and all of them in formats of fewer than 25 roster spots, redraft or dynasty).
Why: Invisible in Week 8 despite Julio Jones out for Marcus Johnson, Chester Rogers, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine in the WR2/3/4 roles. Reynolds has one notable game even with Jones and A.J. Brown missing games this season. Reynolds has fallen sharply from the assumed clear WR3 perch.
Why: Danny Amendola is back healthy and Nico Collins is emerging to siphon Conley's snaps over the past three weeks. Conley as an older veteran needs to be 'squint for flex viability' or churned for developmental potential. Also, injury-away options in Superflex and/or 2TE - which incorporate a sturdy market share of deeper dynasty formats - is a strong priority of just another wide receiver, in this case, Chris Conley.