Over four years ago, I wrote the first version of Dynasty Roster Cloggers, highlighting some players with name value who might not actually be bringing anything to your dynasty roster. Over that time, I’ve continued the theme as part of the Dynasty Stock Market series, and it is now time for the 2016 version.
As the fantasy football regular season quickly winds down, making just the right choices for the immediate and long-term direction of your dynasty team is imperative.
For those of you who may be new to the series, let’s back up and once again define roster clogger. From the original article four years ago…
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“No matter if you are undefeated and cruising towards the title game or winless and already scouting the top college prospects, all owners should share one rule when building a roster – there shall be no roster cloggers. A roster clogger is my term for players stuck on the end of your bench who are not actually deserving of a roster spot. These players offer little to no upside and will likely never be a starting option for your fantasy team. While these players occasionally post a big statistical game, their production is not steady enough to rely on a weekly basis. Also, your leaguemates are well aware of these players’ subpar performances, so they have little or no trade value.
With all of this, why do we keep these players around? One cause could be the status on their own team. In many leagues, every starting NFL quarterback or tight end is on a roster – this should not always be the case. There are many backup quarterbacks who offer far more upside in the long term. Another reason is name value. Many veteran players have been solid fantasy options in the past and dynasty owners are basing roster decisions on data and memories from years gone by.
Sometimes, clearing off the roster cloggers can be a tough decision. I know many owners who fear giving up value and worry that if they drop a player, another owner could quickly snag that player. To that I say “so what?” If I deem a player not worthy of my roster and decide he is not even worth shopping in a possible trade, that should be a player I want clogging up my competitor’s roster. Finally, sometimes these players tempt us with the occasional nice game I mentioned before. Why waste a roster spot on a player that I won’t start and can’t trade? I shouldn’t. In fact, I would rather take a shot on a deep dynasty prospect who could eventually become a starting caliber player for my team.
Identifying the roster cloggers depends on the current status of your team as I mentioned before, but is also greatly affected by the type of league you’re involved in. While I could make an educated guess if I knew the rules and other dynamics of specific leagues, I can really only speak from the point of view I know best. Most of my leagues are PPR leagues that allow 26 roster spots and very flexible starting lineups. The players mentioned below are based on those league settings, but could change if you are playing under different rules. One example would be a two quarterback league. These leagues obviously place greater value on that position and would create a change in the definition of roster cloggers. Another important factor that affects roster cloggers is the number of roster spots you have. If your dynasty league only allows 18 players rostered, the end of bench management is greatly affected.”
Now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s start cleaning out those dynasty rosters!
Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ
2015 was a bit of a magical season for the veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, as he was totally in sync with receiver Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker and providing fantasy owners with yet another reason to prefer the late round quarterback strategy. After missing most of the off-season due to a contract dispute, things have been different for Fitz this season. He has just one QB1 (top 12) finish on the season and that was back in week two. Outside of a 2QB league, there’s no way you can consider starting him in a given week, even in a so-called nice matchup. Add in the fact that Fitzpatrick was already benched and is only still playing due to an ACL injury for Geno Smith and it is fair to say Fitzpatrick should be on dynasty waiver wires.
Tony Romo, DAL
This one is tough, as Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has been one of my favorite players for the past several years. After missing most of the 2015 season with multiple clavicle injuries, Romo has yet to see the field this year due to a back injury suffered in the pre-season. While Romo has been out, the team has been led by rookie Dak Prescott and with Romo nearing a return, there is somewhat of a debate as to who should be the starter for Dallas going forward. I’m not sure how this is even a question. Not only has Prescott been a solid fantasy quarterback, more importantly for Dallas, he’s helped put them in playoff contention and looks like the starter of the future for this team.
As great as Romo has been for many years, he’s barely played the past two seasons and is already is already 36 years old. Even if he regains the starting job, he should not be in consideration to be a fantasy starter going forward. As desperate as some teams are for quarterback help, I could see him catching on with another team during the off-season, but his days as a fantasy QB1 are behind him.
Shaun Draughn, SF
When 49ers starting back Carlos Hyde went down with an injury in 2015, journeyman Shaun Draughn eventually got a shot and filled in admirably. His role and the team’s choice to keep him around made him a popular deep sleeper for dynasty owners who had previously ignored the running back position. Once again, Hyde has dealt with some injuries, but Draughn hasn’t looked like the same player he did a year ago. He also has more competition as Mike Davis has been given a larger role and DuJuan Harris has reportedly earned a larger role. Draughn is of no use to dynasty owners anymore.
Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR
When he was drafted in 2015, Cameron Artis-Payne looked like the heir apparent to Jonathan Stewart in Carolina, especially considering Stewart’s lengthy injury history. Stewart made it through the 2015 season reasonably healthy and enjoyed one of his best seasons yet and when Artis-Payne did get a shot at playing time, he disappointed. Stewart had already missed multiple games this season and it was veteran Fozzy Whittaker, not Artis-Payne who got the first crack at the starting role.
Justin Forsett, DET
Veteran running back Justin Forsett enjoyed a couple of storybook seasons in Baltimore the past two years, emerging as the lead back and totaling over 1,500 yards in 2014 after a five-year career as a backup runner for a variety of teams. His time in Baltimore came to a close though after the Ravens added Javorius Allen, Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West in the past two years. Forsett has already been released twice by the Ravens this season and after the second time, was scooped up by the Lions, but hasn’t played much of a role, even with Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington dealing with injuries and missing time. Some dynasty owners seem to be hanging onto the memories of 2014, but at 31 years old, Forsett is no longer a fantasy asset.
This might be a bit of a reach considering an injury to rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott could make one or both veterans Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden viable, but Elliott has been even better than advertised and he hardly ever leaves the field. So far, it has been Morris who has spelled the former Ohio State star, totaling just 136 yards through seven games. McFadden is due back soon from an off-season arm injury. As I said, if Elliott were to miss time, either of these vets could be useful, but unless I own Zeke, I’m going to take a shot on another player with more opportunity and upside.
Andre Ellington, ARZ
Though he was once the starting back for Arizona, Andre Ellington now plays a minor role for the Cardinals, playing behind the electric David Johnson. Few primary backups around the league get less opportunity than Ellington. Like the Cowboys vets, an injury to Johnson would result in an opportunity for his backup, but even Ellington has had injury issues. He’s simply not reliable for Arizona or fantasy owners.
Brandon Coleman, NO
At 6’6” and 225 pounds, Saints wide receiver Brandon Coleman has always been a popular sleeper candidate for dynasty owners, but he has never lived up to the hype he once had as an NFL prospect while playing for Rutgers. Now, Coleman is buried behind a trio of young receivers, Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and Michael Thomas and even getting on the field is a challenge. Coleman could eventually turn into a quality NFL player, perhaps when he lands with a new team, but I’m not willing to wait it out unless I have excess roster spots available.
Robert Woods, BUF
Like others on this list, Bills wide receiver has seen some increased opportunity due to injury, in this case to his teammate Sammy Watkins, but has failed to produce when given the chance. Woods does have one top 20 finish this season, but his career numbers show he’s not able to produce at a higher level even when Watkins sits. Woods is a fine player to stash at the end of your bench if you still believe, but he has no trade value and can’t really be safely used in a fantasy starting lineup.
Cody Latimer, DEN
Many dynasty owners made wide receiver Cody Latimer their first round rookie pick back in 2014 after Denver selected him with an early pick in the NFL Draft. From a class that included many of the top receivers in the game today, Latimer is a landmine that stings when looking back at that draft class. After being “redshirted” in his rookie season, many expected Latimer to take a big step forward last season after the departure of both Wes Welker and Julius Thomas, but he couldn’t even overtake average talents like Bennie Fowler and Jordan Norwood. The story is the same this year as Latimer has just three catches on the season. Seeing some other once-hyped players finally come into their own this season might give dynasty owners the inspiration to hang on to the former Indiana star, but he has given us no reason at all to predict a turnaround.
Terrance Williams, DAL
One of the biggest needs on the Dallas Cowboys roster is a second wide receiver to complement Dez Bryant, yet the team continues to stick with Terrance Williams. Williams has been an annual disappointment and he’s on that track again this year, with a top weekly finish of WR23. Even when Bryant was out with an injury, Williams failed to make an impact. Once again, I expect the Cowboys to sign or draft Williams’ replacement over the next off-season, though I’ve felt the same way the past two years.
Danny Amendola, NE
Playing alongside future Hall of Famer Tom Brady has helped veteran receiver Danny Amendola become one of the league’s most efficient wideouts in the league. Unfortunately, Amendola is seeing limited targets behind Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, James White and others, which makes him very touchdown dependent. In the two games he’s found the end zone this season, Amendola finished as a starting level (top 36) receiver, but in the other games, he’s well outside the top 60 weekly scorers. Fantasy owners simply can’t start him in hopes of a touchdown and he has no trade value at all.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, PIT
Markus Wheaton, PIT
Even with running back Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers have become a pass first team and wide receiver Antonio Brown remains one of the best in the game. Entering the season, there were many options for which player might step up and play second fiddle to Brown after tight end Heath Miller retired and playmaker Martavis Bryant was suspended for the season. Second year receivers Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers have both been very impressive at times this year, but another pair of wideouts have struggled, namely Darrius Heyward-Bey and Markus Wheaton. It’s hard to know what to expect from Bryant in the future, but these two wideouts aren’t getting the job done and it’s time for dynasty owners to move on.
Ted Ginn, CAR
With Kelvin Benjamin out for the season in 2015, veteran Ted Ginn took over a major role in the Panthers offense and quarterback Cam Newton looked to him early and often. Ginn scored nearly as many receiving touchdowns last season as he had in his previous eight seasons combined. It was a nice ride while it lasted. With Benjamin back and the team hoping second-year man Devin Funchess can further develop, Ginn is not seeing nearly the looks he did a season ago, catching just 19 passes for 244 yards and most notably, no touchdowns.
Jordan Cameron, MIA
Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron hasn’t eclipsed 50 yards in a game for over a year and now is dealing with a very serious concussion. It has even been rumored that Cameron will end his career due to concussions. Whether this happens or not, Cameron doesn’t belong on a dynasty roster. Cameron continues to live off his breakout 2013 season, but he hasn’t come close to matching those numbers since.
Jared Cook, GB
After years of playing with poor quarterbacks in Tennessee and St. Louis, this looked like the year he could finally live up to the lofty expectations after he signed in Green Bay. Once again, Cook is proving to be a bust. Cook lasted four games before being sidelined with an ankle injury, but in those games, he averaged less than two receptions for less than 20 yards. With the recent emergence of both Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery in the Packers offense, there is even less room for Cook to produce, even when healthy.
The New York Giants have had a knack for finding and developing players at the tight end position over the past few seasons, including Jake Ballard, Martellus Bennett and Larry Donnell. Over the past two seasons, they’ve gone with a committee of Donnell and Will Tye, and while both have been serviceable, neither has stood out as a fantasy relevant option as they are both averaging around seven fantasy points on the year and scoring one combined touchdown.