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#186 The 10 Roster Cuts That Matter

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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter, we look at the roster cuts that matter for fantasy and how to use that info to our advantage in drafts. It's 9/1. Take it away, Peter Overzet…


It’s September 1st and every NFL team has cut down their roster to 53 players. We saw a flurry of moves at the 4pm deadline yesterday, and while there was nothing truly shocking, many of these cuts can give us actionable clues as to how the team feels about the remaining skill position players on the roster.

Here are all the roster cuts that matter for fantasy…

  1. We’ve been trying to read the tea leaves on the Chargers WR group all offseason and we finally got clarity after the team waived Tyron Johnson. Considering we know what Jalen Guyton is—a speedy vertical WR who runs clearout routes—this is very bullish for rookie Josh Palmer, who should be on the field for most 3-wide sets. 
  1. This one stings—the Jaguars released big bodied WR Collin Johnson, electing to keep Tavon Austin and Jamal Agnew on the roster instead. It’s a bizarre move considering how well Johnson has played whenever he’s seen the field, but if anything it strengthens the value of the Big 3 (DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, and Laviska Shenault). 
  1. The Panthers waived RBs Rodney Smith and Reggie Bonnafon and will enter the season with only three running backs—Christian McCaffrey, Chuba Hubbard, and Trenton Cannon. Reporter Joe Person considers Cannon more of a special teams player than a running back. This tells me that the team is fully confident in using Hubbard as a one-for-one McCaffrey replacement if needed, similar to how they used Mike Davis last year when CMac went down. 
  1. The Rams waived RB Xavier Jones with an injury designation. Before the Sony Michel trade, Jones looked like he had an inside track to the No. 2 job behind Darrell Henderson. This points to a two-man backfield between Henderson and Michel, which is always preferred to the dreaded three-man committees we sometimes see. 
  1. The 49ers waived veteran RB Wayne Gallman. Jeff Wilson is not expected to be ready until midseason due to his torn meniscus. This offense has previously supported 3 RB producers at times, so it’s likely that one of JaMycal Hasty or Elijah Mitchell will receive some touches in Week 1 and would be a huge part of the offense in the event of an injury to Raheem Mostert or Trey Sermon. Hasty had a couple strong preseason games and would be my preferred way to play it. 
  1. The Chiefs waived rookie WR Cornell Powell, who the team took in the 5th round of the 2021 draft. Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle will now compete for snaps as the No. 3 WR behind Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. Robinson is the veteran, but Pringle is the guy to watch. 
  1. The Eagles released WR Travis Fulgham. Similar to Johnson in Jacksonville, this is a bit of a surprise. Fulgham flashed big time last year when the Eagles were hit with injuries. The team clearly loves what they’ve seen from Quez Watkins this preseason. 
  1. The Steelers waived RB Jaylen Samuels. There were rumors earlier in the offseason that Benny Snell might not make the team. I think this continues to solidify Anthony McFarland as the preferred backup behind the rookie first-rounder Najee Harris, who will get all the work he can handle this year. 
  1. The Vikings released slot WR Chad Beebe due to a foot injury. Dede Westbrook has just started to return to practice for team drills, which means K.J. Osborn likely will start the season as the No. 3 wideout in Minnesota. With Irv Smith out due to his knee injury, Osborn could have a modest role out of the gate as new acquisition Chris Herndon gets caught up to speed in the offense. 
  1. The Titans waived rookie WR selection Dez Fitzpatrick, which is somewhat surprising. Josh Reynolds has very little competition for the No. 3 WR role now (no offense Racey McMath). 


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* Per Tom Pelissero, Raiders WR John Brown requested his own release and the team granted his request. It was clear from the preseason that Brown was the odd man out behind Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, and Hunter Renfrow

* The Jets traded post post post hype sleeper Chris Herndon to the Vikings, leaving them with only one TE on the roster, Tyler Kroft. They will add someone between now and Week 1. 

* For some reason the Texans are heading into the season with five running backs: Phillip Lindsay, Mark Ingram, David Johnson, Rex Burkhead, and Scottie Phillips. Establish it. 

* As expected, Bears RB Tarik Cohen was placed on the reserve/PUP list to start the season. He has yet to practice this offseason and will now miss at least the first six games of the season. Damien Williams will take on the touches, and potentially more, vacated by Cohen. 




Matthew was on Bill Simmons’ podcast yesterday for their annual fantasy football mega-preview. Check it out

- Pete Overzet


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