Since the completion of week three of the NFL preseason, nearly 1,200 players have been given the bad news that they have failed to make their team’s final roster. It is a tough day for all involved in the league and can make for a frenzied day for NFL fans and fantasy football players.
While many of the 1,184 players being cut are names the typical NFL fan may not be familiar with, in the world of deep dynasty fantasy leagues, many of these moves can create waves. Let’s cover a few of the notable moves of the past few days and the impact they could have.
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San Francisco 49ers
Embattled quarterback Colin Kaepernick was rumored earlier in the week to but among the 49ers cuts, but instead the team opted to hang onto the veteran and instead release rookie quarterback Jeff Driskel. Another rookie failing to make the 49ers final 53 was running back Kelvin Taylor. Both rookies are former Florida Gators and both could end up on the practice squad for San Fran. The team also let rookie receiver Devon Cajuste hit the wire. He’s another player who could be stashed on the practice squad should he clear waivers.
The 49ers also waived/injured receiver DeAndre Smelter. This designation means he will revert to the Niners injured reserve list as long as he clears waivers. He was a player who many projected for a breakout season, but never really got on track once camp started.
The surprise move from the Bears involved rookie receiver Daniel Braverman, who was a pleasant surprise through training camp and preseason. Considering Chicago’s weak receiver depth chart, it might not pay off for them to try and slip the former Western Michigan star through the waiver process.
The Bears also said good bye to a trio of veterans, including tight ends Rob Housler and Tony Moeaki, leaving themselves with almost no depth behind Zach Miller, who should be on the field a ton all season. Chicago also parted with running back Jacquizz Rodgers, leaving Ka’Deem Carey and rookie Jordan Howard as the backups to Jeremy Langford.
The Bengals rosters moves should not move the needle much at all for fantasy players, though dumping receiver and special teams player Brandon Tate was a bit surprising considering the current pass catcher depth chart for Cincinnati.
The Bills have some major questions at wide receiver after star Sammy Watkins. With that said, former early draft pick Greg Little and Dezmin Lewis, who was earning some off-season buzz a couple months ago, both got their walking papers. The beneficiary here might be tight end Charles Clay, who should see all the targets he can handle.
The Broncos were a team looking to make a move, but just as in fantasy football, it can be difficult to work out a trade when all other teams know you’ll be cutting the player anyway. Denver could not find a trading partner and therefore simply released quarterback Mark Sanchez and running back Ronnie Hillman. Sanchez was once expected to be the team’s starter, replacing the retired Peyton Manning, but he was a total flop, being outplayed by Trevor Siemian. The good news for Sanchez is he was quickly scooped up by the Dallas Cowboys, who were in search of a veteran backup for rookie Dak Prescott.
The team gave Hillman way too many chances a year ago, often playing him ahead of CJ Anderson. They won’t make the same mistake twice. After re-signing Anderson and drafting Devontae Booker, Hillman is searching for a new team. Both of these players are worth holding onto in deep leagues.
The Browns are strapped for talent on both sides of the ball and had no moves impacting dynasty leagues, unless you were still holding out hope for wideout Josh Boyce.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers dumped a pair of young players who have spent some time on dynasty rosters the past few months. Kenny Bell missed his entire rookie season last year and many pegged him as the favorite to be the team’s third receiver, but he failed to impress and is now looking for work. Rookie runner Peyton Barber, a Matt Waldman favorite, also failed to make the final 53, though he could be a practice squad stash if things go well.
There were no real moves of note out of Arizona, though the team did feel confident enough to part with a pair of backup quarterbacks, Matt Barkley and Jake Coker. My guess is Coker moves to the practice squad while Barkley may have trouble finding a job in the league.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers added former Titans backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger earlier this off-season, but he couldn’t move ahead of Kellen Clemens, which is a bad sign for Mett’s future. With so many teams looking for quarterback depth, he will likely find some work, but he’s no longer a fantasy factor. The Chargers also let a pair of young backup running backs walk, namely Gus Johnson and Dreamius Smith. In the wake of the Branden Oliver injury, this is great news for rookie Kenneth Farrow, who should be added in deep dynasty leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs
After the Chiefs added quarterback Nick Foles late in training camp, they had what few NFL teams ever have…too many quarterbacks. In a push to get down to 53 players, they released both Aaron Murray and rookie Kevin Hogan. Neither should be rostered in any dynasty format. There was an expectation that the Chiefs could trade or cut Knile Davis, but he made the final roster.
When a team that is desperate for help at a position cuts a player at that same position, it is very telling. That’s just what happened with the Colts, who let former Patriots running back Stevan Ridley go just days after signing him. The team will go with Robert Turbin and rookie Josh Ferguson, who was expected to be cut as well, as their top backups.
With so much attention to the Dallas quarterback situation recently, little attention has been given to the fringe players at the end of the roster and now I know why. They let rookie tight end Rico Gathers go and made no other notable moves, beyond the addition of Sanchez.
The Dolphins also made few dynasty relevant transactions, parting ways for a third time with running back Daniel Thomas, who dynasty owners gave up on years ago. They also waived rookie tight end Thomas Duarte. A player of note who made the Dolphins final roster is speedster Jakeem Grant, who could be a force on special teams.
The Eagles move that came as somewhat of a surprise is now around a week old as they released former Giants receiver Rueben Randle, who has yet to find any work. They also gave up, for now, on rookie running back/wide receiver hybrid Byron Marshall. These are both players I’ve liked in the past but am now moving off my dynasty rosters.
It looked as if rookie Brandon Wilds was on his way to earning the third running back job behind Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, but a late preseason injury instead pushed him off the roster. The Falcons also cut receiver Corey Washington and kicker Shayne Graham.
New York Giants
Wide receiver Geremy Davis actually got a little bit of sleeper hype at points this off-season, but now he’s looking for work as the Giants have let him go. Also of note, New York has finally given up on running back Andre Williams, who should not be on dynasty rosters. Rookies Matt LaCosse and Marshaun Coprich also were unsuccessful in their first attempts to make the team.
Believe it or not, Arrelious Benn is still in the NFL. Well, he was. The Jaguars have released for the former first round dynasty rookie pick.
New York Jets
It’s probably more notable to see who the Jets kept, rather than cut, namely four quarterbacks. Yes, both Geno Smith and Bryce Petty remain with the team, along with starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Christian Hackenberg. Petty could end up on the injured reserve list and Hackenberg is destined to be a game day inactive.
The Jets did release former Patriots preseason stars, Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld, along with former second round pick Jace Amaro. While Amaro has been a huge bust, I’d hold him in deep dynasty leagues in hopes a new team can help turn things around.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers made one of the most surprising moves of the day, releasing former All-Pro guard Josh Sitton. He will certainly find work quickly and it’s hard to see how the Packers offensive line would be better as a result of this move. The team also let go of running back John Crockett, who had performed well in preseason action.
A pair of Panthers receivers were no strangers to the dynasty community, both receiving more hype and attention than they deserved, and both are now no longer members of the Panthers. Of course, I’m referring to Stephen Hill and rookie Keyarris Garrett. I’d still hang onto Garrett if I have at least 30 roster spots, but Hill should be banished to the waiver wire.
New England Patriots
It’s becoming an off-season tradition! Someone projects Tyler Gaffney to have an important role in the New England backfield and he someone finds a way to disappoint us. In the past, that his been injury related, but this time, it is more about his performance, though he is still expected to land on the team’s injured reserve list yet again. The Pats kept undrafted rookie DJ Foster, who should be on the dynasty radar, over Gaffney. The team also finally gave up on receiver Aaron Dobson, who never lived up to his second round draft status. Along with Keshawn Martin, whom the Pats traded for last season.
The Raiders had no notable player cuts, but rookie running back Jalen Richard making the squad did catch my attention. Playing behind Latavius Murray and DeAndre Washington, Richard is a player to watch.
Los Angeles Rams
Under the Hard Knocks microscope, football fans might be a little more familiar with some of the names of the players being released by the Rams. Among them are a quartet of young receivers, including Duke Williams, Paul McRoberts, Marquez North and Austin Hill. None of these players are currently worthy of a dynasty roster spot, even if they earn a practice squad role.
The Ravens had a surprising move, waiving veteran running back and former starter Justin Forsett. This sent dynasty players rushing to their waiver wire in search of Terrance West, who is presumed to be the team’s week one starter. Early reports from a Ravens beat writer warns us that Forsett could be back with the team soon, assuming another team like the Colts don’t grab him.
The Redskins have had a rough off-season at the running back position. After letting veteran Alfred Morris walk in free agency, they were unable to acquire another runner, other than late round draft pick Keith Marshall, who was recently placed on the injured reserve list. Little known back Mack Brown had a huge game in Washington’s preseason finale and some began to pencil him in the depth chart. Instead, he failed to make the final roster. The Skins will go with Matt Jones and Chris Thompson, along with surprising rookie Rob Kelley. With Jones banged up, Kelley could see some early season work.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints had an abundance of running backs and it was veteran Travaris Cadet who came up short as he was released. The team kept CJ Spiller, Tim Hightower and rookie Daniel Lasco to play behind Mark Ingram.
The Seahawks parted with a pair of young receivers in Kasen Williams and Kenny Lawler, both of whom had impressive collegiate careers, but have failed to impress in their short time in the league. There’s no reason to hang onto Lawler in dynasty leagues.
I was a big fan of rookie receiver Demarcus Ayers in the pre-draft process and I thought the Steelers were a perfect landing spot for the slot receiver and special teams stud. For now, the Steelers have decided he is not the perfect fit for them, releasing the former Houston Cougar. Look for him to land a practice squad gig with Pittsburgh.
The Texans added wideout Will Fuller through the NFL Draft and also have high expectations for second-year man Jaelen Strong. This all led to the team parting ways with veteran Cecil Shorts, who could catch on elsewhere, but is no longer worthy of dynasty consideration.
The Titans have been making moves all off-season, moving down in the NFL Draft to acquire additional picks, trading for running back DeMarco Murray and surprisingly drafting former Heisman winner Derrick Henry. The team continues to make notable moves, dumping busts Justin Hunter and Bishop Sankey. Hunter should also hit the dynasty waiver wire, but a new team might be just what Sankey needs to find some success in the NFL. The team also waived running back David Cobb and Dexter McCluster.
German wide receiver Moritz Boehringer was one of the big stories of the NFL Draft, but he seemed lost once training camp began. He has the traits that many like to see in a wide receiver, but clearly has a ways to go. He’ll be moved to the practice squad unless he gets a better offer.