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The Do Not Cut List: Introduction and Overview

Knowing how to maximize your probability of hitting on the right players is crucial to success in your league. Most articles focus on who you should pick up, and while this is of utmost importance, it too often neglects an equally important question: who should you drop? 

The purpose of this article is ensuring you don’t drop the wrong player — a plight that can lead you down the pathway of destruction and despair. 

Why It Matters

I was sitting on the tarmac in Monrovia, Liberia, staring at my phone. The Jacksonville Jaguars traded for Carlos Hyde. I needed Nick Chubb, I knew he was available in one of my leagues. I quickly smashed the green add button next to his name, and began contemplating who I should drop. A few seconds past and I asked myself, am I sure I want Chubb, is Duke Johnson the play? No…no, I wanted Chubb. Ok, who should I drop? I hesitated, slowly looking over my roster. It was a real Sophie’s choice.

Finally I decided and hit the submit button…to my horror, I was too late. In all my anguish and hesitation I was beaten to the punch. Someone else had snagged him. “Dammit!” I said it pretty loud apparently, because the flight attendant looked at me. “I should have just dropped my kicker!” I did not sleep at all on that flight — visions of Chubb haunted my sleep.   

That is not the beginning to this story though. During fantasy draft season Chubb had an average draft position in the 11th Round, as running back 49, and was owned in any league of reasonable size. As the season wore on Chubb was dropped in the majority of leagues as he was stuck behind Hyde and Johnson on the Cleveland Browns depth chart. But Hyde was traded on that fateful day, which created a path to stardom for Chubb.  He was the clear waiver wire add for Week 7 as his ownership was at only 43%. Over half of the fantasy players that spent a mid-round pick on Chubb had cut bait, and the manager who picked him off the wire benefited from an elite contributor. 

In short, each year players emerge from the waiver wire who were drafted, then cut, and then picked up. This was no outlier. But is there any way to avoid being “that person” who drops an eventual league winner or contributor?

This weekly article will walk you through which players to hold on to and which you can feel safe dropping. The use of the many RotoViz Tools will give us a much clearer picture of who is a cut candidate, and who we should hold on to.

General Tips

Some of these may seem obvious, but trust me, I play in way too many leagues where managers do not take advantage of these simple waiver wire hacks:

Before executing an add/drop be sure to:

  • see if you can slide someone into an IR spot
  • drop your kicker/DST if there is not an obvious player to cut. You can stream the position by executing an add on Saturday night or Sunday morning. This may feel like kicking the can down the road, but most league mates don’t check the wire as much as you do during the week, and it provides the advantage of gaining more information throughout the week on which players have a less likely ability to contribute. This simple move would have landed me Chubb, as I mentioned earlier. 
  • not use a waiver wire claim on an insignificant move. Take streamers for example, when it comes to a kicker or a grouping of tight ends that provide similar value, wait until waivers pass before making your move. This ensures you have a higher waiver priority when it matters most!

Specifics

Beyond the small advantages that can be gained by the aforementioned hacks, there are indicators that can help us determine whether or not we should hold on to a player longer. Although much subjectivity exists, but it is not all just a guessing game.

Before I recommend dropping a player there are some key factors to consider:

  • Does the player have a realistic path to top-tier production?
  • How has the player been utilized in the offense?
  • How difficult has the players strength of schedule against been?
  • Can this player exploit any future matchups?
  • Will this player be picked up by an opponent?

I have good news, the answer to many of these questions is the same: we have an app for that! By using the RotoViz tools, I will walk you through the list of “droppable” players and tell you which players you can feel comfortable dropping, and which should remain on your squad. Will I get them all right, of course not, but using data to drive our decisions gives us a better chance at maximizing our rosters than emotion.  

Image Credit: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Nick Chubb.

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