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Much of fantasy football in-season team 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 (and finite) resource. Cutting a player - or adding them to a trade - opens a roster spot for a key waiver wire addition or the 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:
*Roster Rate references data collected from myfantasyleague.com leagues*
*15-18 roster spots*
QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Why: Week 1 was a reminder that the preseason means little, and Pickett was on the bust track after 2023, not a Year 2 breakout profile. Pickett lost Diontae Johnson with a hamstring, Pat Freiermuth sustained a chest injury in-game, and Pickett gets the Browns (who roughed up the Bengals) in Week 2. In shallower formats, Pickett is unlikely a team's primary (lone) quarterback and the roster should shift to running back after Week 1's positional shake-up.
RB Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
Why: RB15 in Roster Rate, Akers' route share of less than 10% was an alarming number coming out of Week 1. Paired with only a 60/40 edge in running back carries over Kyren Williams and being bearish on Akers is an easy mindset post-Week 1. The Rams are also a historically poor HLO (high-leverage opportunities) score team where even a stronger market share is a tough projection to meaningful fantasy outcomes.
WR Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs
Why: Moore is in the mid-40s of wide receiver Roster Rate. After logging a bust-worthy Year 1 last season, Moore was invisible in Week 1. Moore had 0.10 targets per route run despite playing in the slot (48%) more than any other Chiefs wide receiver against Detroit. Rashee Rice, one game into his career, already has a better shot to turn into a fantasy starter than Moore.
TE David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
Why: TE10 in Roster Rate, Njoku had only a 67% route share, 0.13 targets per route run, and 1.00 yards per route run in Week 1. The Browns also got quality play from Elijah Moore beyond Amari Cooper. The Browns defense and run game will keep their passing volume on the lower side, and Njoku is more of a best ball play than a head-to-head starter.
*18-22 roster spots*
QB Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
Why: Atlanta clearly wants to manage Ridder as a passer and lean on their two talented running backs. In four games of decent sample size, Ridder has just one with more than 10 rushing yards. If passing volume and rushing will be limiting factors, it is tough to project meaningful fantasy upside for Ridder.
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