Feel the excitement! It’s Labor Day Weekend and we’re almost to the season opener on Sept. 10. Before we get there, all 32 teams need to trim their rosters down to 53 players for the regular season. That means we’re going to have a few big names packing their bags and shipping out to new locations this weekend. I’ll keep track of the biggest moves that will have an impact on fantasy situations in this space for anybody drafting this weekend. Of course, be sure to check our Projections for our latest adjustments before your draft.
Notable Skill Player Movement
DeAndre Washington — RB, cut by KC
Lamar Miller — RB, cut by NE
Lynn Bowden — RB, traded to Mia
Josh Rosen — QB, cut by Mia
Jake Kumerow — WR, cut by GB
Trey Quinn — WR, cut by Was
Dare Ogunbowale — RB, cut by TB
Jonathan Williams — RB, cut by Det
Jordan Thomas — TE, cut by Hou
Ryan Switzer — WR, cut Pit
Theo Riddick — RB, cut by LV
Duke Williams — WR, cut by Buf
John Kelly — RB, cut by LAR
Hakeem Butler — WR, cut by Ari
Laquon Treadwell — WR, cut by Atl
Trevor Siemian — QB, cut by Ten
Jeremy McNichols — RB, cut by Ten
Reggie Bonnafon — RB, cut by Car
Joshua Dobbs — QB, cut by Jax
Mike Glennon — QB, cut by Jax
Jauan Jennings — WR, cut by SF
Paul Richardson — WR, cut by Sea
Jason Huntley — RB, cut by Det
David Blough — QB, cut by Det
Artavis Pierce — RB, cut by Chi
Players whom we’re feeling more optimistic about based on roster moves made on cutdown day.
Tua Tagovailoa (Mia) — The Dolphins waived 2018 top-10 pick Josh Rosen, which is an excellent sign that the Dolphins feel confident in Tua’s health heading into the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick will open the season as the team’s starter but it shouldn’t take too long for Tua to break into the lineup. If I had to bet on when Tua will get his first start, I’d predict in Week 7. The Dolphins will be returning home from a road back-to-back against the 49ers and the Broncos in Week 5-6, and they’ll get back-to-back home games starting in Week 7 against the Chargers and the Rams after a brutal opening slate.
Josh Jacobs (LV) — The Raiders have given mixed signals about the extent of Jacobs’ usage in their passing game this season, but they made a pair of positive moves for him on that front after trading Lynn Bowden to the Dolphins and cutting Theo Riddick. Jacobs is still going to lose passing-game work to Jalen Richard this season, but he should at least get a few more opportunities to catch the rock with Bowden no longer contending for snaps each week. We currently have Jacobs projected for 37 catches this season, but he has a little more hope to cross that 40-catch threshold this season. I’d consider drafting Jacobs starting at the tail end of the first round.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams (KC) — We heard buzz this week that DeAndre Washington was the odd man out in this backfield, and the Chiefs made it official when they released Washington and kept second-year RB Darwin Thompson as their third RB. The Chiefs were so happy with CEH’s training camp performance that the organization felt comfortable going into the season with just three RB options. The Chiefs love Williams’ knowledge of the offense and they love his size (5’11”, 224 pounds) to bring some tough running into the offense. The Athletic’s Nate Taylor suggested this week that Williams could split carries with CEH early in the year if they’d ease the first-round pick into a big workload. It’s not out of the question that Williams could have some low-end FLEX appeal this season if he sees 25-30% of the snaps next to CEH in this potent offense. He’s not a true handcuff since Thompson would likely factor in on passing downs, but Williams would be a high-end RB2 if Edwards-Helaire would miss time. Make sure to find Williams on your drafting platform so you remember to draft him late.
D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson (Det) — The Lions won’t be carrying a fifth back on their active roster to start the season after they cut both Jonathan Williams and Jason Huntley, which bodes well for the health of Swift and Johnson heading into the season. Swift has fallen behind some after missing 10 days with a leg injury, but he’s been able to practice in a limited fashion this week. HC Matt Patricia hinted on Aug. 28 that Swift’s absence in camp could cost him some playing time early in the season as he needs to get fully acclimated in the offense. It could lead to more snaps for Kerryon Johnson early in the season, but we’re begging our subscribers to not fall into the Kerryon trap. We have legitimate concerns about Johnson holding up this season with his bad knees — he’s been wearing a brace in camp. We’re actually warming up to Swift more as we head into the season even as his ADP has slipped in recent weeks over concerns about his leg injury.
Sony Michel and Damien Harris (NE) — The Patriots must be fairly confident in Michel’s health heading into the season — or they’re going to make a move for another RB — after releasing Lamar Miller. Harris is battling his own hand injury after getting surgery on his pinky but it looks like he’ll have a chance to play in the season opener after the Patriots released Miller. The Patriots activated Miller from the PUP list earlier this week after he missed the entire 2019 season with a torn ACL and MCL. The Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan believes there’s a chance the Patriots could eventually bring Miller back.
Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman (SF) — McKinnon and Coleman got a small vote of confidence after the 49ers released UDFA JaMycal Hasty, even after the Baylor grad stood out in training camp. Raheem Mostert is still the top back in this backfield heading into the season, but I’d rather draft Coleman 100+ picks into drafts or McKinnon in the final rounds in hopes that HC Kyle Shanahan continues to tinker with his backfields.
Deebo Samuel (SF) — The 49ers activated Samuel (Jones fracture) from the NFI list, which will give him a chance to play in Week 1. Deebo has been sprinting at close to full speed off to the side in recent practices, and he could be in a helmet and pads next week. Deebo’s ADP has plummeted two rounds into the 90s in recent weeks, but we could be looking at a buying opportunity with his improving outlook and with all of the 49ers receivers injuries. I’d still put Deebo more on the doubtful side for Week 1, but he’s likely to be playing by Week 2 at the latest, barring a setback.
Alshon Jeffery (Phi) — Jeffery made the Eagles 53-man roster out of training camp, which is a strong indication he could be ready to play at some point in September. Jeffery has yet to practice as he continues to recover from his Lisfranc surgery, which makes it unlikely that he’ll play in Week 1, but he could return shortly after that. The Eagles could certainly use him early in the year with Jalen Reagor’s status for the month of September up in the air because of his shoulder injury.
Players whom we’re feeling less optimistic about based on roster moves made on cutdown day.
Jordan Howard and Matt Breida (Mia) — This isn’t a huge downgrade, but the Dolphins added a body to their backfield by trading a 2021 fourth-round pick for 2020 third-round pick Lynn Bowden and a 2021 sixth-round pick. We were told that Bowden struggled throughout Raiders training camp so I’m skeptical that he can come into Miami and contribute right away. Still, there’s a chance he could be stealing some passing-down work from these Dolphins backs at some point this season. The Dolphins may even have a different plan of attack with Bowden as they’re currently desperate for help at their slot WR spot — Bowden played all over the field at Kentucky. The move to get Bowden wouldn’t deter me from drafting either Howard and/or Breida, but it could be used as a tiebreaker if you’re stuck between the Dolphins backs and another option.
Other notable roster moves that help or hurt fantasy situations
Aaron Jones (RB, GB) — The Packers waived Dexter Williams, which is a strong indication that the Green Bay will be keeping Jamaal Williams on their 53-man roster after some chatter this off-season that he could be cut. We were anticipating Jamaal Williams making the roster so this won’t change his RB10 status in our Projections.
Mike Davis (RB, Car) — Davis is setting up to be the top backup for Christian McCaffrey this season after the team released Reggie Bonnafon, who was CMC’s top backup last season. Davis would be the player to own in this backfield if McCaffrey missed time this season, but Trenton Cannon would also be in the mix.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB, TB) — Vaughn hasn’t had much good news during training camp, but he at least secured a roster spot after the team released RB Dare Ogunbowale. Vaughn will likely have to cut his teeth on special teams to start the season, and there’s an outside chance he could have a role in this backfield later in the year with a couple of underwhelming options ahead of him in Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, and LeSean McCoy.
James Robinson (RB, Jax) — You might want to consider adding Robinson in your dynasty leagues after he made the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent. GM Dave Caldwell said Robinson has been a pleasant surprise and that the Jaguars lucked into landing him this past spring. Robinson is the fourth back on their roster right now after the team released Leonard Fournette earlier this week, but Robinson will have a chance to quickly climb the unproven depth chart in front of him if he takes advantage of his playing opportunities. Robinson could even have a role in Week 1 next to Devine Ozigbo if Ryquell Armstead is unable to play after his second trip to the COVID-19 list.
Jake Luton (QB, Jax) — Did the Jaguars find another gem quarterback prospect in the sixth round for the second straight year? Luton beat out both Mike Glennon and Joshua Dobbs for the backup gig behind last year’s sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew. Our Greg Cosell loved Luton’s tape coming out of Oregon State and OC Jay Gruden called Luton the “biggest pleasant surprise” in Jaguars camp last week. Luton is a player to remember in dynasty formats if he gets the chance to play at any point this season.