Roster Cloggers: 2014

Ryan McDowell

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Two years ago, I described a Roster Clogger as a player stuck on the end of your fantasy bench who does not deserve a roster spot. These players are undeserving of that roster spot for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to age, lack of upside and lack of usage as a fantasy starter.

It is obvious that age can limit value past a certain point. It is rare that I would consider a young player a Roster Clogger, only because they have that illusion of potential. Sometimes that illusion becomes a reality and that young player blossoms into a weekly starter and valuable fantasy asset. Often times though, we later learn that young player was just clogging our roster as well.

A player could be identified as a Roster Clogger if they are not “startable” for an average fantasy team. This qualification can be tricky. If you have built a powerhouse team, you may have some very good players who you never consider starting. This does not make them a Roster Clogger, though you may want to consider trading them away, especially if they are past their peak dynasty value. Instead, consider an average dynasty team. If you would never consider starting a player in a game you want to win, they could be a Roster Clogger. They could also be a prospect, like Christine Michael or Eric Ebron. These players have drawn very few, if any, fantasy starts this season, but have the age and upside in their corner.

One thing to consider when tabbing a player as a Roster Clogger is value. What can be confusing for dynasty owners is the different types of value. Some players have roster value, but may not have trade value. Last week, we saw Arizona running back Kerwynn Williams have a big game, giving himself roster value, meaning is most deep dynasty leagues, he is now worthy of a roster spot. He still lacks trade value though. I doubt you could even flip him for a future third round pick. So, when you determine a player only has roster value, and not trade value, this makes them more expendable to your team. This also means when you release the player, another team will scoop them up, but it doesn’t mean you missed out on value. There is a good chance the team that added your player, and all other teams in the league would have been unwilling to part with anything to acquire the player in question.

Imagine yourself grocery shopping at the local supermarket on a busy Saturday. You enter with your shopping list and you’re focused on finding those items and exiting as quickly as possible. You near the cookie aisle, but you’re not interested in buying any cookies, even if they are on sale. But today, there’s a special promotion. They are giving away samples of Double Stuff Oreos. Guess what? You’re taking home that free sample, even though you had no intentions in adding that to your cart and were unwilling to give up anything to acquire the sweet treat.

History of Roster Cloggers

This is the third annual Roster Cloggers article I’ve written as part of the Dynasty Stock Market and it was very interesting to look back at the 2012 and 2013 versions. My initial fear as the page loaded was that I had recommended dropping a player that later became a valuable dynasty asset, and that did happen, but just once. What was more surprising was that we as a dynasty community once valued these players, not only enough to roster them, but so much that I had to suggest owners should finally pull the plug on owning them.

Here are the players I tabbed as Roster Cloggers in 2012:

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Matt Cassel
Mark Sanchez
Isaac Redman
Knowshon Moreno
Laurent Robinson
Robert Meachem
Marcedes Lewis
Anthony Fasano

Obviously, Knowshon Moreno represents my major gaffe as he had a huge 2013 season for the Broncos and was off to a good start in Miami this season before getting hurt and landing on the injured reserve list. Other than that, this list is filled with players that have not been startable fantasy assets since the article was written. Mark Sanchez looks to be turning things around, but it would have still been unwise to carry him on your roster all of this time.

Here are the players from last year’s version:

Brandon Weeden
Matt Schaub
Christian Ponder
Carson Palmer
Rashard Mendenhall
Willis McGahee
Miles Austin
Davone Bess
Jacoby Jones
TJ Graham
Jon Baldwin
Dexter McCluster
Brandon Pettigrew
Brent Celek
Brandon Myers

I nearly battled 1.000 here, with Carson Palmer the only one that could be argued. Like Moreno above, he was performing well this season before succumbing to a season ending injury. As I said above, the biggest surprise about this list is that some of these players were on a roster just one season ago.

Before I reveal the 2014 version of the Roster Cloggers, there is some good news…I had a difficult time finding players that qualified as Roster Cloggers. The definition does have some flexibility based on the number of roster spots in your league, as well as league scoring and other settings. My choices are based on full PPR leagues with rosters somewhere between 22 and 27 players. The fact that I could only find a few players to suggest you drop means we are doing a better overall job of ignoring name value when that’s all a player has going for him.

Quarterback

I actually didn’t find any quarterbacks who I would consider to be a Clogger. I think the way I evaluate the position has changed somewhat over the past year and I now give more credit to older quarterbacks who are still preforming at a high level, such as Palmer I mentioned earlier.

I also created a different label recently, Perishable Players, which has affected the list I might have built. I now consider some players in this category, meaning they should automatically be cut once the off-season begins and are even below the Roster Cloggers. Kyle Orton and Josh McCown would be examples of this

I also fear some of the young quarterbacks that are being rostered in many leagues will soon prove to be Roster Cloggers. Players like Brock Osweiler, Jimmy Garroppolo and Logan Thomas are already being rostered as if they are the certain heir apparent, and they may be. Or they may just be clogging our rosters and keeping us from discovering other hidden gems on the waiver wire. For now, I’ll leave this position free from cloggers.

Running Back

Donald Brown, SD

I was surprised to see Chargers’ running back Donald Brown was still rostered in so many leagues. Brown has not done much in his first year with the Chargers. He was unable to take advantage of injuries to fellow backs Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews as he too dealt with recurring injuries. Brown has had two weeks this year where he scored as a low-end RB2, but that has been the highlight of his year. There is uncertainty in the future of the Chargers’ backfield with Mathews entering free agency and Woodhead dealing with a severe injury. Even with that said, I don’t expect Brown to be given a chance to start for San Diego.

Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK

This one stings a bit as it was only three years ago when Maurice Jones-Drew was a first round startup pick. If you made MJD your top pick, it might hurt to give up on him, but the Jaguars already have and it won’t be long before the Raiders do the same. Jones-Drew is a shell of his former self. Even though the Raiders gave him every chance to start at running back, he’s been unsuccessful. His best finish this season in any week was RB36 and he only has two weekly finishes inside the top 50 backs.

Shonn Greene, TEN

I’m really not sure why Titans’ running back Shonn Greene is still on a roster, be it in a dynasty league or in the NFL. Greene actually began the season ahead of rookie Bishop Sankey (who could make this list in a year or two), but failed to really produce anything for the Titans or fantasy owners. With injuries to deal with and turning 30 years old before the 2015 season begins, Greene has no dynasty value.

DeAngelo Williams, CAR

This is another one that hurts, as DeAngelo Williams is one of the most talented runners in the league, but his age and injuries have finally caught up to him. He’ll be 32 years old before the 2015 season begins and while his contract may keep him in Carolina another season, he is clearly not the best back on the team. Williams has not even finished as a RB3 in any week this season.

Bernard Pierce, BAL

I mentioned earlier that I am careful about listing younger players as Roster Cloggers, but here’s an exception. Finishing his third season, Pierce is just 24 years old, but has been given every chance to survive. With the off-field issues of Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce was basically handed the starting job for the Baltimore Ravens and he was still unable to establish any consistent dynasty value. Pierce has time to turn things around, but I doubt that happens anytime soon.

Wide Receiver

Wes Welker, DEN

Yet another huge name that would give me pause when opting to drop from my roster, Wes Welker has not looked like the same player this season. Given his role in the Broncos’ offense, this probably should not come as a surprise. While he was the WR21 a year ago, nearly 30% of his fantasy production came from a career high number of touchdowns. With the regression in his touchdown total (he has two this year), his dynasty value has plummeted. His best weekly finish this year is WR23.

Hakeem Nicks, IND

Here’s another relatively young player making the list. This was supposed to be the year Hakeem Nicks turned things around. He moved from the inconsistent Giants’ offense to the high powered Colts’ offense led by Andrew Luck. It hasn’t really mattered though as Nicks has scored well less than half of his 2013 fantasy points with only three games to play. He was once valued in that elite tier of receivers, with some even considering him the top overall dynasty wide receiver, but his fantasy production has dropped nearly 75% in just three seasons. He’s only on a one-year deal and with the emergence of rookie Donte Moncrief, it is obvious he will not be welcome back to Indianapolis.

Tight End

Much like the quarterback position, I found no players who I’m completely ready to give up on, though I do have some of the same concerns that some young players we are counting on may never pan out. Tight ends like Luke Willson, Levine Toilolo and even some of this year’s rookie class may never pan out.

There’s my 2014 list of Roster Cloggers and like I said, your list could be very different based on the unique features of your league. Share some of your Cloggers in the comments below.

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ryan mcdowell