One of the hardest things in fantasy football can be knowing when to finally let a player go. Hold on to a player for too long, and you could miss out on the next breakout player. But, if you let a player go too soon, you’ll be kicking yourself as he racks up points in your opponent’s lineup. Timing is key. It’s not an exact science, and sometimes there is really no way of knowing when to add or drop a player. If you know for sure a player is worth adding, it’s probably too late by then.
In this weekly article, I’ll be taking a look at players who you should cut your losses with. That way, you have the roster space to pick up potential breakout players recommended by other writers here at TFA. Of course, this varies from league to league. Players stashed on benches in 14 team leagues likely have no place on a roster in an 8 team league. Context is important, but I’m going to look at overall ownership rates as my benchmark. Given that we haven’t yet had our first full week of football, this piece seems to be a little out of place. It will surely evolve over time, as we know more and more as the season progresses. For now, prior to Week , I’m going to use it to take a look at players that were drafted in a majority of leagues, that probably are best left on the waivers.
Owned in 45.6% of ESPN Leagues
To be fair, West’s ownership being this high is likely due to the cut/re-sign of Justin Forsett. For a day or so, it looked like West might be the early down guy for the Ravens. However, West is on his 3rd team since entering the league in 2014, and that’s not a great sign. He is only 25, but he has yet to really show he can have a consistent place in an NFL offense. If Forsett hadn’t resigned, West would still be limited to only two downs, as pass catcher Buck Allen still remains. This is all without taking rookie Kenneth Dixon into consideration, who many believe will have a significant role when he returns after the first few weeks of the season. Again, this might be a skewed ownership rate, but it is still too high for a player who hasn’t even flashed in his two seasons since entering the league and has no guarantee of a role.
Owned in 25.3% of ESPN Leagues
The fantasy community loves chasing upside. Often times, this means drafting rookies, regardless of how difficult the transition into the league can be. Treadwell is an example of a player who really shouldn’t be owned in the vast majority of leagues under 14 teams. I know, 25 percent ownership isn’t that high. But it seems quite crazy for me to roster a player who is no better than the 3rd option, on a low-volume passing offense, that also just lost its quarterback. You can say what you want about Treadwell’s talent, but he’s simply not in an offense that will afford him any sort of fantasy-relevant role. The third receiver in an offense can have a valuable role, but not in Minnesota. This offense runs through Adrian Peterson, and will lean on him even heavier without Teddy Bridgewater. Treadwell’s inability to pass Charles Johnson on the depth chart also doesn’t bode well. Overall, Laquon Treadwell just hasn’t found himself in a fantasy-relevant position, and shouldn’t be owned outside the deepest of leagues.
Owned in 80.8% of ESPN Leagues
I understand this pick. Witten is safe. He’s going to catch a lot of check downs, and very rarely will he give you less than 4 points in standard leagues, or 7-8 in PPR leagues. But that’s where it ends with Witten. He hasn’t gone over 900 yards since 2012, and caught only 3 touchdowns last year, once of which came in week 17. There’s nothing wrong with safe players. Sometimes having a player with a floor you can count on is reassuring. But the fact that Witten is owned in over 80% of ESPN leagues is crazy. That’s more than twice as many owners as breakout candidates Clive Walford, and Dwayne Allen. It’s also more than Martellus Bennett, who could see usage similar to the pre-conviction Aaron Hernandez days. Overall, Witten isn’t a bad pick, but owners are better off leaving him on the waivers and attempting to aim a little higher at the tight end position.
So, while this article might have been a bit premature given that we haven’t even seen a full week of action yet, it will evolve to help owners drop dead weight players at appropriate times, and open up roster space to get a chance at the next big thing. Check back following Week 1 to see who might not be worth holding on to.