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The Week 9 Do Not Cut List

We are staring at the middle of the season and we are rapidly approaching bye-pocalypse, roster construction matters now more than ever. Look at your team and determine what you need: do you need to win every game to get in the playoffs, or can you sacrifice a week in order to keep players on bye weeks and submit sub-optimal lineups? 

Roster Construction

If you are 6-2 or better, do not drop good players on bye weeks for replacement-level players. It is better to risk a single week in order to keep those players. Before cutting and adding players, remember a few key factors:

  • Target players with favorable playoff matchups
  • You can roster two defense/special teams to play matchups
  • Prioritize rostering your running backs handcuff

If you are 4-4 or worse and need to win to stay in the hunt, you may have to cut decent players for some weekly fill-ins with upside. Before doing so remember a few key factors:

  • Do not hold kickers on their bye weeks
  • Do not hold D/STs on their bye weeks
  • Look for waiver wire players who do not have bye weeks when your starters do
  • Roster handcuff RBs on other people’s teams.

Things to Remember

Other things to remember before we get started:

  • No quarterbacks are on this list because the position is deep and there are likely many streamable options, or if you are in a Superflex league you likely don’t have many options available. 
  • Do feel free to drop kickers to make your waiver wire moves — they are also streamable (look for my article to see which ones you should target)
  • Use your IR spots if available.

Upside Hold

Rashaad Penny

Chris Carson isn’t going anywhere — the dude is amazing. As long as Carson is healthy, Penny won’t see much more than the eight touches he got this week. But Carson has never played all 16 games in a season in the NFL and has not played a full season of games since 2015. Furthermore, Penny is rumored to be on the trade block, and a new environment could boost his opportunity. Penny is an efficient runner with positive fantasy points over expectation (FPOE). 

Ronald Jones II

Everyone is sick of me talking about Jones. I am too, so I will keep it short. Should anything happen to Peyton Barber, or should coach Bruce Arians realize the gap in talent between these two backs, Jones will see a huge boost. The style of offense and the lack of quality in the Bucs offense limits the true upside, but given the workload, Jones would be a high-end RB2. The rest-of-season schedule for the Bucs is favorable for RBs. Jones has the potential to be a difference-maker down the stretch.

Carolina Wide Receivers

Sunday was not kind to Kyle Allen. In fact, it was a brutal day. Allen finished with zero fantasy points, a 51% completion rate, and threw three picks. The WRs for the Panthers therefore also struggled — D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel combined for nine receptions for 84 yards. While Allen’s QB play had been positive to this point in the year, the absence of Cam Newton has led to the Panthers leaning heavily on Christian McCaffrey.

Without Newton at QB, McCaffrey has seen 48% of the Panthers’ total opportunities

In 2018, when Newton was starting at QB, McCaffrey’s share of total team opportunities was only 36%, and in the two games with Newton this season, it was 41%.

When Newton returns from injury, both Moore and Samuel will see an increase in opportunity and productivity. 

Image Credit: Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Rashaad Penny.

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