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Players to Cut: Week 5 (2020 Fantasy Football)

Oct 6, 2020

We now have four weeks in the books, which means that we have enough games to evaluate players on their 2020 merit. With four games in the books, a quarter of the regular season has already been played, and there have been many different matchups for players to prove their fantasy worth. We are no longer in a situation where a couple of bad performances are the result of a fluky game or a tough schedule. Players are what their stat sheet says they are after four weeks into the regular season.

While we don’t want to make rash judgments and just start cutting players that may have value later in the season, we don’t want to make any excuses for underperforming players, either. Here is a list of players that are rostered in way too many leagues and we need to start asking questions about whether they should be traded, benched, or just outright cut. Some of them are players from past articles I have written that are still rostered in too many leagues, along with some new additions.

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Baker Mayfield (QB – CLE)

Consider what we saw on Sunday. The Browns scored 49 points in a 49-38 victory at the Dallas Cowboys. That’s the most points scored by the Browns since 2007 when they scored 51 points in a Week 2 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. They have not scored more than 45 points on the road since 2004, back in a Week 12 game at Cincinnati when they lost 58-48. Yet for all that scoring and all that offense, Mayfield finished the game with 30 passing attempts, 165 yards passing, and two passing touchdowns.

There is just no upside to rostering this quarterback in fantasy. The Browns have nothing to be ashamed of, they are the best running team in the league, and they have won three of four games as a result. They had 307 yards rushing on the road, good for most rushing yards that they have had in a game since 2009. That said, none of that will help Mayfield put up stellar fantasy numbers. There is no reason that Mayfield is still rostered in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues and 24.0 percent of ESPN leagues. On a record-setting day in Dallas, Mayfield finished with only 15.20 fantasy points. There is not enough of a ceiling to justify rostering him in fantasy right now.

Daniel Jones (QB – NYG)

His rostership numbers are starting to come down, but he is still rostered in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues and 27.8 percent of ESPN leagues. These three statistics will add perspective to how poorly he is playing. First, the Giants have not scored a touchdown since the start of the fourth quarter in Week 2. Second, Jones has not thrown a touchdown since the end of the fourth quarter in Week 1. Third, Daniel Jones has 28.90 fantasy points in his last three games combined. Dak Prescott and Tom Brady had more points than that in Week 3 alone.

There may be some temptation to hold onto him with five games in six weeks against the weak NFC East. The problem is that the Rams gave up 32.24 fantasy points to Josh Allen in Week 3 and 17.64 fantasy points to Prescott in Week 1. It wasn’t like this was an impossible situation in Los Angeles, and Jones still managed only 11.10 fantasy points. I don’t trust this offense, and it’s destined to be the worst offense in the NFL. They cannot buy a touchdown right now, and that makes for a horrible streaming option against any opponent.

Rostership Rates for Quarterbacks Similar to Baker Mayfield and Daniel Jones

Quarterback Total FP FPPG Rank/Game Yahoo Roster % ESPN Roster %
Kirk Cousins (MIN) 60.62 15.16 27 29% 19.6%
Sam Darnold (NYJ) 57.38 14.35 28 9% 3.5%
Baker Mayfield (CLE) 56.66 14.17 29 43% 24.0%
Dwayne Haskins (WAS) 55.56 13.89 30 4% 3.5%
Philip Rivers (IND) 52.56 13.14 31 20% 14.4%
Daniel Jones (NYG) 48.26 12.07 32 34% 28.9%

Jeff Wilson Jr (RB – SF)

Wilson looked like he might be able to help fantasy managers after he had 20.4 fantasy points in Week 3. That caused him to be rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues and 47.8 of ESPN leagues. His Week 3 effort didn’t translate into sustained fantasy production, as he tallied only three rushing attempts for six yards in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also added one target, one reception, and 13 yards receiving. That amounted to 1.9 fantasy points, which was 48th among running backs that played before Monday Night Football.

It seems clear that Jerick McKinnon is going to be the featured back until Raheem Mostert comes back, which could be very soon. Wilson may warrant being picked up later this year if there are injuries to the backs in front of him, but you can’t hold on to a running back with four touches. His floor is too low to risk chasing that solid Week 3 outlier or wasting a roster spot hoping he will have value later in the year.

Jordan Howard (RB – MIA)

Howard only had fantasy value because of his three-straight games with a touchdown. That came to an end in Week 4, and he has no fantasy value without touchdowns. Howard currently has 18 rushing attempts for 14 rushing yards and one reception for negative three yards. The problem is that Myles Gaskin has taken over as the lead back, and other than a few goal-line carries here and there, Howard has no opportunity to score fantasy points. He is currently rostered in 42 percent of Yahoo leagues and 40.1 percent of ESPN leagues. Unless you play in touchdown-only leagues, it is not worth holding onto a player who has seen 10 carries and gained seven yards over the last three weeks.

Sony Michel (RB- NE) 

Michel was coming off his best game of the season, in which he had nine carries for 117 yards against the Las Vegas Raiders. He suffered a quad injury and was put on injured reserve, which means that he won’t be back until Week 8. The problem for Michel is that Damien Harris was very good in his debut with 17 carries for 100 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs. If he keeps that up, Michel won’t have a starting job to come back to when he is eligible to return from injured reserve. I just don’t think Michel was good enough in the first three weeks to be worth holding onto at this point. If you have an IR spot and nobody else to put there, you can always stash him. Otherwise, he isn’t worth holding onto for later in the season. I foresee Harris becoming the featured runner there with Michel spelling him for a few carries a game later in the year.

A.J. Green (WR – CIN)

I think that it’s time to start having a difficult conversation about Green. Whether you would be better off trading him or stashing him on your bench depends on the size of your league. Let’s take his name recognition, his seven Pro Bowls, and his five seasons as a top-15 fantasy receiver out of the conversation. We are talking about a player that has 33 targets, 14 receptions, 119 yards, and no touchdowns in four games. He was the 73rd-ranked fantasy wide receiver headed into this week, and he responded with five targets, one reception, and three yards against the Jaguars. That dropped him to the 81st-ranked fantasy receiver through four games. He also was being treated for a shoulder injury in the second half. No one would even think about holding on to Green or trading for Green if it were not for his past seasons of fantasy success.

There are a lot of questions when it comes to Green. Is this him having rust from missing the 2019 season? Is he going to be fine once he works his way back into shape? Quarterback play isn’t the problem like it was in some past seasons, as Joe Burrow made NFL history on Sunday by becoming the first NFL rookie quarterback to have 300 or more passing yards in three consecutive games. The fact that Burrow is throwing the ball all over the field and Green is doing next to nothing is a huge cause for concern.

Fantasy managers need to ask the question if it worth even rostering Green at this point. A player this unproductive should not be rostered in 84 percent of Yahoo leagues and 89.7 percent of ESPN leagues. Tee Higgins is rostered in only 33 percent of Yahoo leagues and 25.7 percent of ESPN leagues, and he’s by far the more productive Bengal receiver in fantasy. Green looks more like a clone of Andre Johnson with the Indianapolis Colts than he does a receiver that will be fantasy relevant later this year. You can float him in a trade and see if someone will bite due to his name recognition, but I think you can just cut Green at this point.

Anthony Miller (WR – CHI)

Miller has alternated acceptable fantasy games with horrific games. He scored a touchdown and managed 76 yards and 41 yards in Weeks 1 and 3. In Week 2, however, he failed to catch any of his three targets, and in Week 4, he had five targets, three receptions, and 16 yards receiving. The Bears offense sometimes surprises people, but for the most part, it’s an anemic passing offense that is barely able to support Allen Robinson. Darnell Mooney is not seeing enough targets to be fantasy relevant on his own, but he is seeing enough to make Miller unplayable. His extremely low floor does not justify the occasional game with a touchdown. I think there are more consistent fantasy options on the waiver with much higher floors.

Preston Williams (WR – MIA)

The Dolphins are not struggling to pass the ball, but Williams just is not in their offensive game plan enough to have good fantasy value. He had a dream matchup against the struggling Seattle secondary and he finished with three targets, one reception, and 15 yards. He has only 89 yards receiving in four games and the only thing that has salvaged any of his fantasy performances is a touchdown in Week 3.

The problem for Williams is that other pass catchers have emerged in this offense. DeVante Parker is still the lead receiver, and Isaiah Ford is now the second most targeted Dolphin, while Mike Gesicki is lining up in the slot and demanding more targets than Williams. The Dolphins are a decent passing offense, but they’re not efficient enough for the fourth target in the passing offense to be fantasy relevant. That said, Williams may become better in fantasy if someone in front of him suffers an injury or if Tua Tagovailoa becomes the starter. But I don’t believe that Williams is worth holding onto the hope that one of those scenarios comes to fruition.

Austin Hooper (TE – CLE)

Just reread everything I said about Mayfield and apply it to Hooper. The Browns had a historically high-scoring day that they have not seen in the last decade and the result was Hooper finishing with five receptions on seven targets for 34 yards and one touchdown. The Browns are in the midst of their best three-game stretch on offense in the reboot portion of their franchise history, and Hooper has 10 receptions for 81 yards and one touchdown in those three games.

There is no upside to keeping him if those are his numbers during the great times, yet despite me writing about him every week this season, he is still rostered in 53 percent of Yahoo leagues and 43.1 percent of ESPN leagues.

Logan Thomas (TE – WAS)

Thomas started the season with a bang, and he recorded eight targets, four receptions, 37 yards, and one touchdown. His volume hasn’t translated into anything other than a solid Week 1. He has not topped 40 yards receiving or scored a touchdown in three games since then, and he bottomed out with four targets, one reception, and eight yards in Week 4. He is only rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues and 19.8 percent of ESPN leagues, but it is time for him to be universally available on the waiver wire. Washington is in a similar position to the Chicago Bears, they have one wide receiver (Terry McLaurin) that their offense can support in fantasy with not enough left for the other players.

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Derek Lofland is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Derek, check out his archive and follow him @DerekLofland.

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