Fantasy Reaction: NFL Roster Cuts
NFL cut day is an incredible spectacle with over 1,100 NFL players being released in the span of a few hours. Here’s what you need to know about what happened when the NFL teams reduced their rosters from 90 players to 53 on a Saturday afternoon. This list will not be all inclusive, just the highlights and moves relevant to fantasy football rosters as we try to find meaning in the chaos.
Cuts: Brice Butler (WR), Greg Little (WR)
Reaction: With the WR corps trimmed down, the Cardinals are left with J.J. Nelson, Chad Williams and Christian Kirk to fill in alongside Larry Fitzgerald. For now, Christian Kirk is tabbed for starting duties, but he is a rookie, so there’s room for Williams or Nelson to carve out a role in this offense.
Cuts: Breshad Perriman (WR)
Reaction: The “homeless predator” is now jobless as well. With the former 1st round pick’s welcome officially worn out, the Ravens will turn to an all-new cast of characters at the WR position. Michael Crabtree headlines this new group that also contains the oft-injured John Brown and Willie Snead.
Cuts: Corey Coleman (WR)
Reaction: Continuing the theme of first-round rookie WRs being shown the door, Corey Coleman was removed from his second NFL roster in less than a month. Just a few weeks was all it took for the Bills to decide they would be better off with Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones and Andre Holmes at WR.
Cuts: Ryan Nall (RB)
Reaction: Rookie RB Ryan Nall isn’t exactly a household name, but the 6’2 231 lbs RB out of Oregon State fit the profile to be the backup should anything happen to Jordan Howard. As it stands the Bears will move forward with Howard and a pair of pass catching RBs in Tarik Cohen and Benny Cunningham as the only backs on the roster.
Cuts: Dan Bailey (K)
Reaction: Go make sure you didn’t draft Dan Bailey in the last round of your drafts as your set-it-and-forget-it Kicker. You need to make other plans.
Cuts: Dwayne Washington (RB), Zach Zenner (RB)
Reaction: Ok, so Zenner wasn’t technically cut, he was placed on IR. But the important thing here is the name that you don’t see on the cutting room floor: Ameer Abdullah. Many expected Abdullah to be a victim in the roster cuts but as it stands the Lions and new defensive-minded HC Matt Patricia will have a full stable of specialist RBs to frustrate owners consisting of LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah and Kerryon Johnson…. at least until Johnson wins the job outright.
Cuts: Kendall Wright (WR)
Reaction: With veteran slot man Wright out of the way, Laquon Treadwell will get another chance to prove he was worth the Vikings first-round selection in 2016. He will have to do so with whatever is left over in the passing game after starters Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen get their targets.
New Orleans Saints
Cuts: Jonathan Williams (RB)
Reaction: This is one of the more surprising cuts on the list. Williams had been having a strong preseason with the Saints and figured to be a perfect replacement and compliment to Alvin Kamara while Mark Ingram serves his 4-game suspension. If Sean Payton is true to his word that they will continue to be smart in managing Kamara’s workload in Ingram’s absence, fantasy owners may find value in rookie RB, Boston Scott.
New York Jets
Cuts: Thomas Rawls (RB), Charcandrick West (RB), Chad Hansen (WR), ArDarius Stewart (WR)
Reaction: In addition to the cuts, the Jets also traded QB, Teddy Bridgewater. If anything, this provides clarity for a team that had a lot of mediocre talent crowding their depth chart. For now, the Jets will move forward with Sam Darnold at QB, Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell at RB, with Robby Anderson, Terrelle Pryor and Quincy Enunwa at WR (Jermaine Kearse is recovering from a preseason surgery).
Cuts: Martavis Bryant (WR)
Reaction: Buried beneath the miles of media coverage of the Khalil Mack trade, the Raiders parted ways with speedster Martavis Bryant. Just a few months after acquiring him from the Steelers for a 3rd round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Raiders received word that Bryant is facing another drug-related suspension. That was enough for Oakland to move forward with Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts in their 3-WR sets this season, perhaps providing a bit more safety to the target share for Cooper and Nelson.
San Francisco 49ers
Cuts: Jeremy McNichols (RB), Joe Williams (RB)
Reaction: The big story here is the loss of Jerick McKinnon for the season with a torn ACL, which may cause the Niners to rethink their 53-man roster decisions. However, they do still have veteran runner Alfred Morris on the roster with a Shanahan favorite in Matt Breida to fill the void left by McKinnon. Both should be hot names on the waiver wire and in late drafts.
Cuts: Amara Darboh (WR)
Reaction: I, for one, had bought into the sophomore breakout for Amara Darboh. The path was clear for him to take a step forward in this offense with Baldwin dealing with a knee injury, Brandon Marshall in his twilight years and Tyler Lockett who, to this point in his career, has only really succeeded in the return game, when healthy. Alas, it was not to be for Darboh, leaving Lockett and Marshall with some serious sleeper potential in a Russell Wilson-led offense.