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The Cut List – Who to Drop for Week 5?

Allen Robinson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Now that we're officially 25% into the 2022 NFL season, fantasy managers can begin to be confident that what you see is what you're going to get. Certainly, there will be a few breakouts yet and some injuries, but for the most part, you can begin to feel at least semi-confident in what we know. Due to that, we're seeing, for the first time, some rather big names grace the Cut List with their presence.

As with almost any fantasy football article, the advice you receive is all relative. No Cut List or Waiver Wire article is going to perfectly fit your particular league. We're generally looking at 10 and 12-team leagues here. Just because a player is listed as a "cut", doesn't mean they have to be cut. Everything is relative. While Darnell Mooney was a cut candidate last week, that doesn't mean you have to cut him for any old waiver claim. These players are just cuttable if the right waiver wire opportunity presents itself.

We can't cover every single player that is cut-worthy, so we'll be touching on a few of the bigger ones that have a higher rostership percentage on either ESPN or Yahoo!

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Quarterbacks to Cut for Week 5?

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers – 93.9% Rostered on ESPN & 95% on Yahoo! 

Many of you may be thinking, "Aaron Rodgers? Seriously... The 2020 and 2021 MVP?" Here's the thing, this offense is not the same. That doesn't have to mean worse, it just means different. In 2020, Rodgers had a TD rate of 9.1%; in 2021, it was 7.0%. His career rate is 6.3%. Fantasy managers should have been expecting regression in the TD department without Davante Adams' loss. Losing Adams was expected to impact Rodgers' TD totals, but it's affecting the offense in other ways too.

Through four weeks, the Green Bay Packers are 32nd in plays ran per second according to Football Outsiders. Even in neutral situations, they rank 31st in plays run per second. The Packers have always been an incredibly slow offense with Rodgers. That hasn't changed, but that impacts the offense, but it generally equals fewer plays per game. They ranked 18th in plays per game last season. Fewer plays equal fewer opportunities.

That is another part of the problem. The Packers' offense goes through their two running backs, Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. According to 4for4, the Packers rank 29th in pass percentage in neutral situations. The Packers are 17th in passing yards per game and 18th in pass EPA per play. Through the first four weeks, Rodgers' TD rate is currently at 4.7%.

Rodgers will be QB19 or QB20 based on the outcome of Monday Night Football. This passing offense is going to get better as the season moves along. Rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs will get better, but some things simply are not going to change. The Packers are going to continue to work at a snail's pace. They're going to continue to flow their offense through the running game. Rodgers will need to be incredibly efficient if he's to be a weekly fantasy starter.

Can Rodgers do that? Of course, he can and he will, some weeks. Is he an every-week starter? No, and fantasy managers shouldn't feel too bad if they feel like they need to move on from him. This doesn't mean that Rodgers has to be cut, but if we can acknowledge after four weeks Rodgers is unlikely to be a set-it and forget-it fantasy starter, if you’re in a 10-team, don't be afraid to move on from Rodgers, as difficult as that may be.

 

Running Backs to Cut for Week 5?

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints – 21% Rostered on ESPN & 31% on Yahoo! 

Mark Ingram is likely rostered as a handcuff to Alvin Kamara. So why does he find himself on the Cut List since Kamara has missed the last two weeks? Well, what's the point of rostering a handcuff if they don't do anything? In the last two weeks, Ingram has scored 7.8 and 5.8 half-PPR points. He's rushed for just 48 yards combined without Kamara in the lineup and finished with just 3 targets across the past two weeks.

If Ingram didn't find the end zone in Week 3, the numbers would look even worse. In Week 4, fantasy managers saw Taysom Hill vulture a touchdown and that is going to continue to be a problem anytime Kamara misses time. We often talk about handcuffs and Ingram was seen as one of the better ones entering this season, but that just hasn't proven to be the case.

If you roster Kamara and you're also holding Ingram, go ahead and pick someone else up that offers more upside. If the best Ingram can offer is what he's done the past two weeks without Kamara active, what's the point of holding?

Rex Burkhead, Houston Texans – 25.7% Rostered on ESPN & 23% on Yahoo! 

This has officially become Dameon Pierce's backfield. Rex Burkhead was the primary running back in Week 1. While Pierce received a lot more work in Week 2, Burkhead continued to hold a significant advantage in terms of targets and routes run. If that would've held, with how bad the Houston Texans are, Burkhead could've had some low-level value in full-PPR leagues as a desperation play at running back.

Unfortunately, that hasn't held. In Weeks 3 and 4, Pierce has run more routes and has more targets. If Burkhead has now lost his pass-catching role in the Houston offense, he is useless for fantasy football purposes. This past week, Burkhead played just 17 of the 57 snaps. He didn't receive a single carry and had 5 targets. With Pierce playing as well as he is right now, he's not going to be the beneficiary of many goal-line touches. With little to no scoring value and his role in the passing game beginning to shrink, fantasy managers can officially cut bait on Burkhead.

 

Wide Receivers to Cut for Week 5?

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers – 76.3% Rostered on ESPN & 56% on Yahoo! 

Chase Claypool was on the hot seat last week and the only reason he wasn't an outright cut was that I wanted to see what he would look like with Kenny Pickett under center. It was only a matter of time before Mitchell Trubisky was benched and the rookie got his shot. I believed it was worth holding onto Claypool to see how Pickett's target hierarchy would shake out. Well, we got to see that this past Sunday and it was the nail in the coffin.

In Week 1, Chase Claypool was fourth on his own team in air yard share and third in target share. In Week 2, he was fourth on his own team in air yard share and third in target share. In Week 3, he was third in air yard share and third in target share. Week 4 offered more of the same.

Claypool was clearly fourth for Pickett's attention, which is a death sentence for any fantasy pass-catcher. Trubisky and Pickett will struggle to support two fantasy-relevant pass-catchers and if Claypool is constantly the third or fourth option, fantasy managers don't need to feel obligated to hang onto him.

Julio Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 60.7% Rostered on ESPN & 55% on Yahoo! 

Julio Jones looked pretty good in Week 1, finishing with 3 catches and 59 yards. He suffered a partially torn PCL in that contest and would miss Weeks 2 and 3. Jones has been plagued with injury woes the past few seasons and they have continued to sap his athleticism and on-field performance. Unfortunately, we're seeing more of the same now.

Fantasy managers hoping for a turn-back-the-clock type of season should've vanquished those hopes the minute he got hurt. This injury negatively affected Ezekiel Elliott all season last year. The reality is this offense is going to run through Leonard Fournette, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin, who returned to the field this past weekend. While there were hopes Jones could become a red-zone monster, the Buccaneers already have one of those in Mike Evans.

Julio finished Week 4 with just 2 targets, 1 reception, and 7 yards. He was eighth (!!!) on the team in targets and just isn't someone that is going to give you consistent fantasy points. While the injuries to their pass-catchers likely impacted their play-calling, even an increase in pass attempts is not going to save Julio's fantasy value.

Devin Duvernay, Baltimore Ravens – 19.5% Rostered on ESPN & 63% on Yahoo! 

Devin Duvernay is the perfect example of fantasy managers chasing yesterday's points. He was a big waiver wire addition after Week 1 when he reeled in two touchdowns and then his third touchdown catch in Week 3 increased his rostership even more. Unfortunately, yesterday's points aren't a good predictor of tomorrow. Their utilization, however, is.

Through four weeks, Duvernay has just 13 targets and 173 yards. That's a 17-game pace of 55 targets and 735 yards. That's just not the kind of utilization fantasy managers should be chasing. He does have 3 touchdowns on the season and on 13 targets, that's a TD rate of 23%. Last year, Cooper Kupp had 191 targets and finished with 16 touchdowns, a TD rate of 8.4%. If Duvernay received 191 targets this season, based on his current TD rate, he'd finish with 44 touchdowns.

Duvernay is the definition of fool's gold. Fantasy managers can confidently cut Duvernay knowing his current TD rate is impossible to continue. Mark Andrews is Lamar Jackson's No. 1 target, Rashod Bateman has been his No. 2, and after that, it's been a committee approach. Duvernay has 13, Isaiah Likely has 11, and Demarcus Robinson has 10. That means on any given Sunday, he's either third, fourth, or fifth on Jackon's target hierarchy. Given that we just don't know which one he'll be on any given week, he's just not a worthwhile stash on fantasy benches.

Allen Robinson II, Los Angeles Rams – 85% Rostered on ESPN & 90% on Yahoo!

Yikes. Through four weeks of the season, Allen Robinson is averaging 5 half-PPR points per game. Five. He's scored 33.5% of his fantasy points on a two-yard TD grab. He has weeks of 1.7, 3.3, and 1.7 half-PPR points. He has finished 5th (Week 1), 3rd (Week 2), 2nd (Week 3), and 3rd (Week 4) in targets for the Los Angeles Rams.

His target shares for each week of the 2022 season are 4.9%, 14.3%, 20.0%, and 12.5%. Through four games, he has yet to break 100 receiving yards. He currently sits at 95 total receiving yards, which is a pace of just 404 yards.

It is so ugly. The selling point for Allen Robinson this offseason was largely based on Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford, and what Robert Woods/Odell Beckham Jr. did as the Rams' No. 2 WR. The problem is none of those actually include Robinson and it's very clear he's just not good enough anymore to take advantage of all of those positives.

 

Tight Ends

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins – 52.4% Rostered on ESPN & 26% on Yahoo! 

What are we doing here people? The first four weeks of the season Mike Gesicki has given fantasy managers absolutely zero reasons to continue rostering him. He’s has been absolutely dreadful. It's hard to put into words just how bad he's been. He has target shares of 3.2% (Week 1), 8.2% (Week 2), 5.5% (Week 3), and 11.1% (Week 4). It's led to 10 total targets.

In Week 4, Gesicki played just 28 snaps out of the 64 total, just under 44%. According to PFF, his route run participation is at 59%. That's just not going to cut it and there's really nothing to indicate that's going to change.

Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are handling 56% of the targets in Miami, which means everyone else is fighting for scraps. That includes Mike Gesicki. I know tight end is ugly out there, but there's more upside on the waiver wire than what Gesicki is currently providing.

Hunter Henry, New England Patriots – 46.9% Rostered on ESPN & 35% on Yahoo! 

Mike Gesicki, Hunter Henry, and Cole Kmet made the Cut List last week too and normally I hate using the same players, especially in back-to-back weeks, but these three tight ends simply cannot have their rostership as high as it is. It's just unacceptable.

Henry has 9 total targets through four weeks. His target shares for each week look like this: 10%, 2.9%, 3%, and 20%. In Week 4, fellow tight end, Jonnu Smith, whom Henry had been splitting snaps, routes, and targets with missed the entire second half of the season. The Patriots' target leader and No. 1 receiver was also missing, Jakobi Meyers. This should've, in theory, helped Henry out.

It resulted in 4 targets, 2 receptions, and 13 yards. Through four weeks, Henry has not scored more than 3 half-PPR points. I would really like to not have to include Henry next week, but if his rostership stays above 35%, I'll be forced to.

Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears – 41.5% Rostered on ESPN & 36% on Yahoo! 

Cole Kmet has 8 targets through four weeks. That's a pace of 34 targets. Think about how much that pace needs to increase before he even comes close to being fantasy viable. Last year, he had 93 targets and was just a low-level TE2. He would need to triple his current pace to get to that target volume. Then, on top of tripling his current volume, he would need to be significantly more efficient on those targets. Based on the play of Kmet, Justin Fields, and the entire Bears' offense, that seems extremely unlikely.

When fantasy managers bet on Kmet this offseason they were making a bet on significant improvement in terms of Kmet's efficiency. This would require better play from not only Kmet himself, but the quarterback, and the entire offense as a whole. It was a big bet to begin with. For Kmet to be worthy of a roster spot, that same bet needs to hit and the Bears need to substantially increase their passing volume. Just one of those bets would be a long shot, but both? Forget about it. It's time to cut your losses and look elsewhere.

 

On the Hot Seat

Michael Carter, New York Jets – 79.8% Rostered on ESPN & 77% on Yahoo! 

If you want to go ahead and cut Michael Carter and get ahead of the trend, you have my blessing. Breece Hall is officially here and he's unlikely to go anywhere. Carter's PPG has decreased every single week. He scored 13.5 half-PPR points in Week 1, then 7.5 (Week 2), 5.1 (Week 3), and finally 3.9 (Week 4).

Carter is still getting double-digit touches per game and for that reason, he'll stay on the hot seat for one more week, but fantasy managers should anticipate this trend continuing to move in Hall's direction.

Carter could be viewed as a solid handcuff, so if you're okay holding a handcuff, then go ahead and continue to roster Carter. If he stays in the 8–10 touch range, he could continue to hold some desperation flex appeal, but make no mistake, Carter's fantasy value is definitely heading in the wrong direction.

 

Hold

Elijah Moore, New York Jets – 79.1% Rostered on ESPN & 76% on Yahoo! 

Some of you may be wondering why Allen Robinson is on the Cut List and Elijah Moore is a hold when they've both been very disappointing this season, but the answer is really quite simple. Elijah Moore was really good last year as a rookie. Robinson's career is moving in the opposite direction. We shouldn't be cutting Moore because we should constantly be making bets on talent. At the end of the day, based on what we know, Moore is a very talented, young receiver.

It can be incredibly difficult to be patient, but that's exactly what fantasy managers need to do here. The New York offense was expecting Zach Wilson to be under center and then he injured his knee in the preseason and Joe Flacco becomes the starter. Flacco and Wilson are clearly different quarterbacks and they operate differently.

This young offense had to adjust to Flacco and now they've had to readjust back to Wilson. Through three weeks, Flacco had a 5.8-yard-per-attempt average. In Wilson's first game back, he was at a 7-yard per attempt average. Flacco averaged 7.6 intended air yards per pass attempt and Wilson was at 9.1 in his first start. Clearly, Wilson is more willing to push the ball down the field. Why is that important?

Wilson's willingness to air it out will eventually benefit Moore. Fantasy managers should be more than willing to give Wilson and Moore extra time to get on the same page. They've each struggled with injuries through their first two seasons and haven't had a ton of on-the-field time to build chemistry. As they do, we just might see more fantasy points for Moore.

DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers – 96.8% Rostered on ESPN & 94% on Yahoo! 

For the same reasons, we're holding on to Elijah Moore, we're holding on to DJ Moore. He is simply far too talented.

It's not a stretch to say he's one of the most talented receivers in this league. Consider what he's been able to accomplish in the last three years despite the quarterbacks he's had to catch passes from. His quarterbacks have been awful, and I know Baker Mayfield has been on the wrong side of awful thus far, but he's managed to overcome that in the past.

He's caught passes from Kyle Allen, Will Grier, past his prime Cam Newton, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, and PJ Walker. Is Mayfield better than them? I still think so, despite Mayfield doing his best to prove me wrong. Is he worse than them? I have a hard time believing that, but still, even with that awful list of quarterbacks, he's managed to rack up 1,100 yards in three straight seasons.

Better days are around the corner and a coaching change could be on the horizon. Matt Rhule has been atrocious since Year 1 and that might also shake up this anemic offense. Don’t drop Moore, the player is just too good.

 



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