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 10:
*15-18 roster spots*
Why: Two games without Derrick Henry, both of which have been positive game scripts for Tennessee, have produced a total rushing line of 18-42-1 for Peterson. D'Onta Foreman is rising based on the small sample and eye test of Week 10 and Peterson is unlikely to get much (if any) passing game work if the game script turns negative. Peterson is a starting lineup albatross for competing teams and plenty of current backup running backs have strong upside than Peterson if an injury elevates their opportunity.
Courtland Sutton (Trade)
Why: Sutton is being squeezed for targets with Jerry Jeudy back, Tim Patrick relevant, and two notable tight ends (Noah Fant, Albert Okwuegbunam). Denver is a run-centric offense at heart, and Sutton's status as an auto-start assumption should be questioned with his recent 10-146-0 swoon over the past four games combined. Sutton is an ideal trade candidate to consolidate roster spots or upgrade elsewhere to an auto-start player.
Why: Is Jones worth waiting for after his stint on the Injured Reserve? Jones would potentially be back right around the close of the fantasy regular season with minimal trust to insert into lineups. A wait-until-we-see-it approach with a Jones quality game is prudent with all the false starts to optimism and a healthy Jones in 2021 thus far. In moderate roster size leagues, without IR spots, Jones is a tough hold considering the weekly roster pressure from the waiver wire and the unknown upside even if Jones is back healthy in a few weeks.
Dalton Schultz (Trade)
Why: One of the early-season darlings of the position, Schultz's production has tumbled in recent weeks and since Blake Jarwin's injury. Michael Gallup is back to bolster an already-strong wide receiver corps. Schultz's competition for targets (Sean McKeon has also logged enough work as an ancillary tight end to soften Schultz's targets just a touch) shifts him away from auto-start status to likely-start status in the upcoming weeks.
*18-22 roster spots*
Why: Even in Superflex formats, Goff's redraft appeal is a major question mark after sustaining an oblique injury in Week 10 plus a further focus on his lack of weapons in Detroit's passing game. Goff offers minimal rushing upside and it has been five games since Goff logged multiple passing touchdowns. The upcoming schedule also offers a host of matchup issues for the struggling Lions.
Why: The Browns passing game is not a worthwhile investment as a general rule. Cleveland is 25th in touchdown rate through the air and 26th in passing yards per game. They are one of five teams in the NFL averaging fewer than 30 passes per game. Landry himself is languishing this season to the tune of 9.5 yards-per-reception, sporting zero touchdowns, and has eclipsed 40 yards in a game once over the past month since returning from injury. Landry is a roster albatross for shallow-to-moderate redraft league rosters with any plans towards a playoff push.
Why: WR69 in Roster Rate, Cobb has two games of multiple touchdowns this season - the lone fantasy games of even 10 PPR points for the 31-year-old veteran. The wide receiver corps for Green Bay is now back to full strength with Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, and Davante Adams firmly ahead of Cobb in the pecking order for snaps.
Why: The three-headed tight end committee in Indianapolis is in full effect. Jack Doyle and Kylen Granson play enough of a role to hinder Alie-Cox, who has surpassed 30 yards in just 2-of-9 games this season. Until an injury whittles the depth chart to two notable options from the current three, Alie-Cox is a deeper best ball option only.
*25+ roster spots, more dynasty-focused*
Why: Even with Latavius Murray out, Devonta Freeman has lapped Bell in production and appears to have much fresher legs and juice than the 29-year-old Bell. Also working against Bell is his lack of receiving game work with three total targets over five active games. The end result is an older running back with no PPR appeal, RB2 at best on the depth chart (soon to be RB3), and a touchdown-or-bust dart throw lineup play.
Why: A healthy scratch of late, McFarland being behind Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage is not a good look for the Day 3 pick on his rookie contract. All three are fighting for an injury-away status at best with Najee Harris entrenched as the starter in Pittsburgh as well. McFarland has shown little in his minimal NFL opportunities and fading down the depth chart, despite now being healthy, is an ominous sign for his 2022 progression chances.
Why: Taylor had some stash appeal leading up to Week 10 as Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson were both at risk for missing the game (concussion). Harris missed the game, but Stevenson was active and the clear starter. Also, Brandon Bolden was ahead of Taylor in the pecking order. Even with an injury, Taylor was third on the depth chart. Look elsewhere for a quality stash in the closing weeks and in the offseason.
Why: It has been six games of game day active status for Gordon and he has made zero headway towards a fantasy-relevant option. Gordon's best game was a 1-11-0 effort on a single target in his Week 5 debut. With the Chiefs' question marks and lack of progression from any of their non-Tyreek Hill wide receivers, elevating up the ladder would not be a monumental task for Gordon (or another receiver). Point blank, it has not happened. Outside of diabolically deep rosters (40 or more), Gordon is a tough hold whether contending or not.