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The Cut List (Week 7) - Time to Let Go?


Even in the most bizarre of NFL seasons, the first six weeks of 2020 have provided us plenty of information with which to evaluate most players' rest-of-year outlooks. We've given our fringe starters the chance to show us something. We've held onto that tight end or wide receiver with breakout potential for more than a month, and he's never come off our bench. We've endured the nightmare that is rostering any Jets player not named Jamison Crowder with the belief that someone among that group of professional football players would eventually do something (sorry folks, we're just going to have to wait till the Trevor Lawrence era).

But now we're gearing up for the second-half playoff run, and we simply can't continue to waste roster spots on players who are never going to crack our starting lineups. It is time to start identifying the guys who have a future with our teams, and who to release in favor of giving someone else a shot.

I'm new to this weekly RotoBaller installment (hi, I'm Chris), but I'm going to try to follow the same formula as my predecessor. We'll highlight a few underperforming players who are rostered in 30% of leagues and discuss why it is time to part ways. I'll also include a player or two each week who you might be thinking about dropping, but who is worthy of your patience or confidence. For simplicity's sake, I'm going to use roster percentages from ESPN.com. Let's get going - it's The Cut List for Week 7.

 

Droppable Players

Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams

44.3% rostered

Malcolm Brown inexplicably leads Sean McVay's backfield in snap-count rate after six weeks, but he's been trending down from a performance standpoint ever since Week 1 and that is now beginning to seep into his playing time. Brown logged at least 54% of the offensive snaps in three of the Rams' first four games, but has come in at 38% and 45%, respectively, in the last two.

Don't let McVay's mystifying refusal to let Cam Akers see the field fool you into believing Brown is the guy you want on a muddled Rams RB depth chart. He's averaging under four yards per touch in his last five games and is now being out-snapped by Darrell Henderson Jr. If I'm stashing a Rams running back on my bench, I'd rather have the upside of Akers over the much larger sample of ineffectiveness from Brown.

Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars

71% rostered

Gardner Minshew hasn't been awful, but he's definitely a difficult guy to trust on a weekly basis. He's committed eight turnovers in five games since a spotless Week 1 outing, and those issues are tough to tolerate in fantasy matchups with a fringe starting/streaming option like Minshew. His completion rate has steadily decreased in each of his last four games, from 71.43% in Week 3 to a suspect 56.82% in Week 6, and he hasn't exactly been facing the toughest defensive matchups in that time frame.

His team is usually losing by multiple scores, which certainly aids his cause from a passing volume perspective. But that's the thing with the Jaguars; we have to account for the fact that they are mostly bad on both sides of the ball, and Minshew hasn't yet developed into the type of QB who can overcome that environment consistently.

Perhaps the most telling development in Jacksonville is this peculiar quote from D.J. Chark after a Week 6 drubbing at the hands of the Lions, courtesy of Jaguars.com:

(On what the Lions' defense was doing to make it difficult game for the Jaguars' wide receivers) "I mean, I felt like we were open. Yeah."

Could be nothing. Could be a number-one wideout getting frustrated with the play of his quarterback. Minshew will have his moments the rest of the way in 2020, but he's also going to frustrate you with inconsistency and turnovers. If you want an AFC South QB you're evidently not going to use every week based on his roster percentage, why not just go get Ryan Tannehill, who is inexplicably available in 33.8% of ESPN leagues?

Matt Breida, Miami Dolphins

29.9% rostered

Matt Breida comes in one-tenth of a percentage point below the 30% threshold, but at this point he's clearly an afterthought behind Myles Gaskin. Gaskin is averaging over 20 touches per game in his last four, while Breida's season-high is 10. The workload gap includes both rushing and receiving work; Breida has reeled off a couple of 20-plus-yard gains on receptions in the last three weeks, but he's simply not seeing enough opportunities in that aspect to believe it will materialize into something more. He's seen just six targets in his last three outings.

Breida has just five red-zone carries in Miami's first six games, and none inside the five-yard-line. Considering his scoring-position involvement hasn't changed with Jordan Howard (team-high eight carries inside the five) inactive for the Dolphins' last two games, we can't even count on a cheap touchdown every now and then.

I can understand if you have Gaskin as a weekly starter and you want to hold onto Breida in case of an injury. Otherwise there is just no viable way for him to carve out a reliable fantasy role in the foreseeable future, and I'm not interested in waiting for that to change.

 

Tough Calls

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

96.9% rostered

I can't believe I'm saying this, but unless I have an IR spot on my roster I am considering outright dropping Zach Ertz. What the Eagles have had to deal with in terms of injuries this year is no one's fault but the football gods, but it has adversely affected Ertz in a way I never would have predicted. And now he's hurt, too.

The Eagles have been without Jalen Reagor since Week 3, without DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert since Week 4, and Alshon Jeffery hasn't played at all. While conventional wisdom suggests this lack of pass-catching options would funnel an obscene amount of work Ertz's way, the counter to that is opposing defenses have been able to make him a focal point of their game plans. Ertz has been targeted 21 times in Philly's last three games, but he's only hauled in nine of those for a ghastly 48 yards. His first catch of the year was a touchdown, and he doesn't have one since.

After leaving in Week 6 with an ankle injury, Ertz is now expected to miss 3-4 weeks. Look, I know he's Zach Ertz. But one of the toughest things about managing a fantasy team is knowing when to acknowledge that a big-name player isn't producing like a big-name player. The way things have been going, you had to be thinking about benching him for a week at the very least anyway. Now with the injury, you might not have the roster depth to justify holding an inactive tight end who's been torpedoing your lineup on a weekly basis. Again, if you have an IR spot available, slot him in there and hope for a late-season resurgence. If not, you're placing an awful lot of faith in a situation that hasn't treated you well in 2020.

 

Hold For Now

N'Keal Harry, New England Patriots

33.1% rostered

I won't attempt to articulate how disgusted I am with the Patriots after their Week 6 loss to a Broncos team that didn't even get into the endzone, nor will I try to find some higher meaning in the fact that N'Keal Harry caught zero passes on two targets in a game in which the Patriots spent nearly the entire time trailing by at least a touchdown.

What I am willing to do is write off the last few weeks of the Patriots' season as... weird. The offense was clicking through three weeks before a string of COVID-related issues shut down their practice facilities, rescheduled their Week 4 game, took their starting quarterback off the field for that Week 4 game, and ultimately forced them into an emergency Week 5 bye. In a sport so reliant on unit cohesion, it's hard to expect a team to function effectively with all that going on. So let's turn the page and look at how things were going for Harry before it happened.

In Weeks 1-3, Cam Newton attempted 91 total passes. Harry was targeted 22 times in that span, good for a 24.2% target share. Per Lineups.com, only five players in the league are seeing a target share above 24% as of this writing: DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, Terry McLaurin, Keenan Allen, and Adam Thielen. I'm not saying Harry is destined to become a weekly WR1, but I'm willing to wait to see if that level of opportunity returns for him.

For good measure, guess who leads the Patriots in red-zone targets? Harry's eight targets inside the 20 are tied for the second-highest total in the league. Don't quit on him just yet. Give the well-coached Patriots a chance to get back into the swing of things now that their COVID troubles are (hopefully) behind them.

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers

65.9% rostered

I don't quite know that you're looking to jettison Robert Tonyan after one questionable performance, but I figured I'd talk you off the ledge just in case you're worried about that performance coinciding with the return of Davante Adams. After obliterating opposing fantasy teams with 13 catches for 173 yards and five touchdowns in Weeks 2-4, Tonyan posted a pedestrian three receptions for 25 yards on four targets in Week 6 with Adams back in the fold. To be honest, four targets is actually kind of a lot for anyone sharing a field with Adams; as we're all aware, Aaron Rodgers loves to force the ball into the hands of his favorite receiver (and he threw to him 10 times on Sunday).

To me, Tonyan's dud in Week 6 was less about Adams coming back and more about the Packers failing to respond to being punched in the mouth by the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay boasts one of the league's better pass defenses, and after jumping out to a surprisingly big second-quarter lead despite beginning the game down 10-0, they were able to force Rodgers to try to beat them through the air. He didn't. Rodgers posted what has got to be a bottom-10 performance in his entire career, completing 45.7% of his throws with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.

I think I speak for everyone when I say I don't expect that to happen again this season, and also that I don't expect the Packers as a team to lose anymore games by four touchdowns. The Packers offense is absolutely surgical when they are able to dictate the pace of the game, which they normally are. And in the weeks they were able to do that before this forgettable rout, Tonyan was heavily featured and extremely effective. He should remain a fine low-end TE1 going forward.

 

Other Options To Consider



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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More