Fantasy football winners and losers of NFL cutdown day


When NFL teams have to trim their rosters down to the final 53 players, it always gets interesting for fantasy football. We see surprise releases year in and year out that ultimately have an impact on some fringe fantasy options.

Veteran players usually make the biggest splash in their releases, opening the door for some of the younger players who may have been on the bubble. Today, we’re taking a look at the winners and losers following Tuesday’s NFL cutdown day. 

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Fantasy football winners of cutdown day

These players saw their fantasy stock rise the most for one reason or another in Tuesday’s moves.

Mac Jones locks down the Patriots starting job.

The most unexpected release came from no other than the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick put the quarterback controversy to an end Tuesday, releasing Cam Newton. Newton had been the projected Week 1 starter for quite some time, making his release quite the surprise. The Patriots will now move forward with Alabama rookie Mac Jones under center for the 2021 season. They sat at Pick 15 in the 2021 NFL Draft and let Jones fall right into their lap. He had a solid preseason going 36-of-52 passing (69.23%) with the seventh-most passing yards (389). Jones instantly becomes a late-round target in superflex and/or two-quarterback leagues.

Bryan Edwards benefits from John Brown’s departure

Entering the league buried in a 2020 draft class of wide receivers, Bryan Edwards finds himself in a prime spot following the final roster cuts. Veteran wide receiver John Brown asked for his release from Las Vegas Tuesday. Brown was brought in this offseason on a one-year contract and looked to be the Raiders’ No. 2 receiving option. FTN Fantasy’s projections even had Brown slated for the second-most targets among Raiders wide receivers with 69. His release now makes Edwards the favorite for this role. Of all wide receivers who saw fewer than 20 targets last season, Edwards had the most receiving yards (193). The duo of second-year wide receivers in Edwards and Henry Ruggs will look to make a leap in 2021.

Nico Collins is a fantasy sleeper as a rookie

FTN Fantasy’s consensus WR83 in PPR rankings, Nico Collins, is another young wide receiver in a better spot following the cutdown day. The former Michigan and Texas wide receiver was selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Following the release of Keke Coutee, Collins should step in as a top-three option in the Texans’ wide receiver room. Brandin Cooks sits at the top of the depth chart, while the No. 2 spot will be between Collins and former Chicago Bear Anthony Miller. The Texans brought Miller in this past offseason through a trade that sent a fifth-round pick to Chicago for Miller and a fifth-round pick. Regardless, Collins will see time on the outside on a Texans’ offense that will be trailing often. The departure of Coutee just opens up that many more targets to be had for the rookie. 

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Fantasy football losers of cutdown day

These players saw their fantasy stock take a hit for one reason or another in Tuesday’s moves.

It’s still an absolute mess in the Houston Texans backfield

No team is more in shambles than the Texans. They have the lowest projected win total on DraftKings Sportsbook, currently set at four. The expectation is that Deshaun Watson will not play for the Texans in 2021, which doesn’t help the team’s case. They held onto five running backs on their 53-man roster, including David Johnson, Philip Lindsay, Mark Ingram, Rex Burkhead and Scottie Phillips. Running back by committee is the expectation here, which is extremely unappealing for fantasy football purposes. Johnson and Lindsay are the most drafted running backs of the bunch. Using the FTN Fantasy ADP tool, both backs have an ADP currently inside the top 130 on Yahoo. However, both Johnson and Lindsay are losers following the final cutdown day. Stay away from the Texans backfield.

Tyler Conklin’s big workload might not come to fruition

In light of the Irv Smith news from this past weekend, all signs pointed to fourth-year tight end Tyler Conklin. Toward the end of the 2020 season, Conklin really started to turn it up with Kyle Rudolph out of the picture. Over the last four weeks, there were only six tight ends who had more catches than Conklin’s 15. It looked like a clear path to targets early on this season with Smith set to miss some time, but that has now become cloudy. Tuesday afternoon, the Vikings made a move to bring in ex-Jets tight end Christopher Herndon via trade. There has been plenty of buzz surrounding Herndon over the past couple seasons, as he’s shown flashes early on in his career. While Conklin will still have a role in the passing game, he’ll likely share time with the newly acquired Herndon. It would be hard to imagine either Conkin or Herndon will be viable fantasy football options if they’re on the field together.

Tony Jones didn’t seize the Saints No. 2 for himself

Rumors had floated around about Latavius Murray potentially being let go. Unfortunately for Tony Jones, that did not end up being the case. This move would have pushed him into a role behind Alvin Kamara in the Saints’ backfield. Jones had an impressive preseason, averaging 8.8 yards on just 12 attempts. While he may not have had a large role, it would have at least been significant enough to make him worth considering as a stash on the bench. As long as Murray remains in the picture, Jones should not be rostered.

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