Your Dynasty Question Answered, Part II

boldenWe have another question from the audience. Nick asks about his roster and when cut time rolls around:
I am in a 12 man, PPR Dynasty League – and will need to cut my roster down to 17 players over the summer. I’ve begun thinking about who I might cut and was hoping to get your advice. By the time our rookie draft rolls around in August, my roster must be 17 players or less, including at least 1QB, 2RBs, 3WRs, 1TE, 1K, and 1DEF.
My team is listed below.
Wilson, Russell SEA QB
Bolden, Brandon NEP RB
Davis, Knile KCC RB
Ellington, Andre ARI RB
Lattimore, Marcus SFO RB
Miller, Lamar MIA RB
Pierce, Bernard BAL RB
Spiller, C.J. BUF RB
Wilson, David NYG RB
Blackmon, Justin JAC WR
Dobson, Aaron NEP WR
Hartline, Brian MIA WR
Hopkins, DeAndre HOU WR
Jeffery, Alshon CHI WR
Johnson, Calvin DET WR
Moore, Denarius OAK WR
Randle, Rueben NYG WR
Cameron, Jordan CLE TE
Green, Ladarius SDC TE
Hauschka, Steven SEA PK
Rams, St. Louis STL Def
Titans, Tennessee TEN Def

Looks like a solid team so far, especially for a 12-team league. I’d kill to have guys like Calvin Johnson, Alshon Jeffery, and Jordan Cameron on the same team. Let’s see who needs to go to get from 22 down to 17.

  • First things first – the defenses. To me, this one is pretty easy. While both the Rams and Titans were middle of the pack in terms of yards allowed, the Rams were third in the league in sacks and led the league in forced fumbles. They have a good young corps with end Robert Quinn, linebacker Alec Ogletree and could draft another with one of their two first round picks. To top it off, they hired Gregg Williams, and his super aggressive scheme, to run the defense. Meanwhile, the Titans have a new coach, new defensive coordinator, new scheme and will have several new players. Cutting the Titans will get you down to 21.
  • The first skill position player I’d cut is running back Knile Davis of the Chiefs. Heading in to the season, Davis’ only value was as the primary backup to Jamaal Charles. Even in that position, he managed only 70 carries on the season and a 3.5 YPC. He also only caught 11 balls for 75 yards. Davis just didn’t flash anything that indicates he’ll be a dynasty contributor or starter in the NFL. He also had a reputation as a fumbler in college at Arkansas. Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs draft or bring in a free agent to provide more spark behind Charles. The fact that you don’t already own Charles makes it even easier to let him go. This gets you down to 20.
  • The next cut I’d make is Brandon Bolden for New England. Bolden only saw action in 2013 when Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount couldn’t hold on to the ball. However, he didn’t show enough to make coach Bill Belicheck keep him in  there. Should Blount leave in the off-season, Bolden will still be only the backup in an offense not known for its commitment to the run. Besides Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski (when healthy) there’s just no consistent options there. Running backs have a notoriously short shelf life and even more so in New England. In fact, the remaining New England backs have only been there since 2011 with Bolden due to hit free agency in 2015. Bolden is the least reliable option at this point and cutting him should get you to 19.
  • This is where it starts getting difficult because you’re making decisions on guys that are starting compared to those that aren’t but have the potential. For me, the next cut would be Lamar Miller of the Dolphins. Aside from playing in a complete circus, the Miami offense just wasn’t good and doesn’t project to be anytime soon. Miller himself took a step back from his rookie year in 2012, where he averaged 4.9 YPC to averaging a very average 4.0 YPC. Furthermore, according to any metric used by Pro Football Outsiders offensive line rankings, the Miami line just wasn’t good. Given, they had to replace two starters due to the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin incident, those are still two spots they’re going to have to replace this off-season. To me, we’ve seen what Miller is and it’s not very good. I would take the potential of Bernard Pierce in Gary Kubiak’s run-heavy system or even David Wilson’s explosiveness returning over Miller. This will get you down to 18.
  • Since we’ve picked on the running backs, let’s look at the other possible positions. Quarterback is a non-starter as you must keep at least one, so Russell Wilson it is. On the tight end front, you have two young, high-upside guys in Cameron and Green. Both will be ranked as TE1’s heading in to 2014 and I see no reason to cut either of them.
  • Which brings us to your strongest position: wide receiver. With proven entities like Calvin Johnson and Alshon Jeffery to high-upside guys like Justin Blackmon and Reuben Randle, you have a good mix in there. To me, it comes down to Brian Hartline or Denarius Moore. Since you’re in a PPR league, I’m going to lean towards cutting Moore. While Hartline is the second oldest of your receivers, he’s proven to be quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s safety valve and has racked up the catches in a poor offense. Furthermore, Hartline just signed a hefty extension and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Meanwhile, Moore has missed seven games in his three years in the league and hasn’t had more than 51 catches or 741 yards in any of those. He’ll also have competition for targets with the emergence of Andre Holmes down the stretch. Moore’s potential is greater but he has yet to cash it in. This cut gets you to 17.

There you have it. Not surprisingly, most of the cuts were at running back, the most replaceable position in dynasty and the NFL. No doubt you can use one of your first rounders on a running back. The only tough choice was whether to keep Hartline’s catches or Moore’s potential. Since this is a PPR league, I went with catches.

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