Five weeks of NFL action are in the books, and that means that we’ve lost some patience with certain aspects of our fantasy football rosters. Whether it’s your starting quarterback who continues to disappoint (Russell Wilson), an injury to a budding stud (Rashaad Penny), or a change to the passing game that seems to have broken a weapon (Pat Freiermuth), there are plenty of players who are struggling to live up to expectations. It’s time to shuffle them off of your roster for the new hotness, the new player who will struggle to live up to expectations. While Waleed Ismail has you covered for who to add to your roster, I’m here to talk about who may need to make their way off of your squad.
Every team’s situation is different, so if you see a player on this list, don’t run out and cut them immediately. This is to help you create a short list of players who probably should head back to the waiver wire, given how unhelpful they’re likely to be in the short term. To make the list, a player must be on rosters in at least 50% of leagues, because I don’t need to tell you to cut Greg Dortch (sorry Greg!). Please note that the Carolina Panthers fired Matt Rhule as I was writing this, so I kindly removed D.J. Moore from this list. But, he’s on the hot seat if he doesn’t turn this around.
Russell Wilson, Denver (92% rostered)
Russell Wilson finished week five with some of the emptiest 274 passing yards that you’ll ever see, which also marks the fourth time this season that he’s failed to hit 300 passing yards (after 340 in week one). Wilson and the Broncos’ offense also doesn’t seem to be a hard-luck story. They look awful, something I don’t have to tell you, as they’re always on national television, it seems (and we get three more national games from them this year!). Wilson and the Broncos just don’t have a direction, and they don’t seem too keen on finding one. They meander around the field, letting Russ play like he’s hitting the wrong button on the controller in Madden. Through five games, Wilson is on pace for 14 touchdowns and 10 picks, which speaks to the team’s inability to get on the same page. On top of all of this, there’s a whole injured lat muscle situation to deal with. If you have a second quarterback that you trust, just clear that roster spot and move on from Wilson.
Matthew Stafford, L.A. Rms (86% rostered)
Heading into the season, we debated whether or not Matthew Stafford’s elbow issues would limit him this year. What we failed to account for was the Rams selling off all their picks to win a title last year coming to bite Matthew Stafford in his posterior. The offensive line is a mess, allowing Stafford the fifth-lowest time to pass in the NFL (1.8 seconds), ahead of Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Cooper Rush. This is how Stafford and the line avoid looking bad in pass-blocking metrics, sitting middle-of-the-pack in both ESPN’s pass-block win rate and Pro Football Reference’s pressure rate statistics. Unfortunately, this turns Stafford into a pop gun quarterback, as his peers are two guys in their late 30s or early 40s, a backup, and one of the “just get the ball to my weapons” quarterbacks in the league. While Cooper Kupp is an absolute delight to watch play football, you can’t build the whole offense around him and Tyler Higbee and expect it to function. You can move on from Stafford, who currently ranks as QB27 on the season, behind Baker Mayfield, Justin Fields, Matt Ryan, and Jimmy Garoppolo (who didn’t play in week one).
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (69% rostered)
We don’t know when Tua will return, and we don’t know his effectiveness level when he does return. If you’re in a bind, you can set Tua back to the waiver wire in order to get someone actually useful on your roster, instead.
Allen Robinson, L.A. Rams (80% rostered)
While Robinson is getting enough volume to do… well, something, this season, he’s a victim of the Rams’ terrible pass game focusing on dinking and dunking. Robinson has just 12 receptions for 107 yards in five games, and a lot of this comes from the fact that according to playerprofiler.com, only 78% of his targets have been catchable. He can’t really work with that, and neither can you. The Rams could have a bounce back against the Carolina Panthers next week, but then it’s the bye week, the Niners, and the Buccaneers. So, unless you need him in week six, you’re not going to start him until week ten, at the earliest. You can move on from someone who you probably won’t start, during bye weeks, until November 13.
Elijah Moore, N.Y. Jets (72% rostered)
Elijah Moore is the forgotten man in New York now that Zach Wilson is under center. He has 8 targets in the last two games, and he’s turned that into 4 catches for 64 yards. That 2/32 line might be acceptable for Kyle Pitts, but not for Elijah Moore. The Jets get good pass defenses in Green Bay, Denver and Buffalo, and New England (twice!) in the next six weeks headed in and out of their bye week. You can justify moving on from Elijah Moore to get someone who will help you in the short term, then try to pick him up after he plays New England the second time.
Rashaad Penny, Seattle (88% rostered)
Rashaad Penny broke his ankle and will miss the remainder of the season.
Cam Akers, L.A. Rams (86% rostered)
Cam Akers is the least efficient running back in the NFL, and he’s played fewer than 40% of snaps in each of the last two games, averaging 10.5 carries for 23 yards per game. I don’t know what else to tell you, here.
Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis (71% rostered)
Nyheim Hines suffered a terrible concussion at the beginning of the Broncos-Colts Thursday Night Football tilt. Chances are, given the paradigm shift surrounding concussions, they take him slowly. With Jonathan Taylor set to return and Deon Jackson looking decent enough in Hines’s stead on Thursday Night Football, Hines could likely take his time getting back (and return to a roster squeeze).
There are no recommended tight end drops this week. It’s that bad out there, hang onto your Pat Freiermuths (2 targets, 2 catches, 12 yards) and Tyler Conklins (1 target, 0 catches). That is, unless you want to get Taysom Hill on your roster. Then drop whatever Blobby Bum Tight End you have there.