Fantasy Football: When is it the right time to cut a player in-season?

There's a common thread that connects all of us fantasy football managers year in and year out, season in and season out.

The thread goes a little something like this: You draft a player in the early rounds. You expect them to be a lineup-lock all season, a producer of points you don't have to think about. They will return on your draft investment. And then the season starts, and they struggle. Week after week they leave you wanting.

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And soon, your record is left wanting, too. You're looking for answers to your disappointments, and your eyes turn to that highly drafted player — the one whom you expected to be a lineup-lock, a producer of points. Instead, the player has been an anchor.

But you hold out hope they'll turn it around, right? After all, you drafted them so early, they'll deliver on expectations eventually, right?

You can't cut them, can you?

Fantasy football analyst Liz Loza and NFL analyst Frank Schwab discuss this very dilemma in the video above.

When should you cut a struggling star?

Liz keeps it simple: Refer to your record the moment you encounter this dilemma.

Have you been winning despite that player's unexpected lack of production? Stick through it — bench him a couple of weeks in favor of someone else and see what happens, or look to trade him.

Allen Robinson II, #1, struggled in fantasy in 2021.
Allen Robinson — then a member of the Bears — was one of the stars who struggled all season in fantasy. (Photo by David Crane/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

Do you find yourself at or near the bottom of your standings? Well, it's time to do something drastic. Take a deep breath, hold your nose and cut the player, even if they were one of your top picks. Trade them for whatever you feel can help you win now.

You don't have the luxury to wait for them to turn it around — if they turn it around at all. You didn't draft that player to be a second-half hero; you drafted them to deliver from Day 1.

Moving on is hard — but sometimes you have no choice but to do so.