When should fantasy managers cut bait with players in-season?

In the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast, Liz Loza and Frank Schwab look at draft strategy and how long to hold on to underperforming players

Video Transcript

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FRANK SCHWAB: Now I'm curious because I struggle with this a lot, especially baseball, which is a much longer season, and things go back to the norm a lot easier. What's the right time on these guys? You talk about holding on too long, but yet, you don't want to-- I'm not going to do it late September.

Like, I'm going to believe in Allen Robinson probably a little too long because it's, like, Allen Robinson or whoever, even Trey Sermon. It's like, well, once he gets his chance, whatever. What is the right time to start to cut bait?

LIZ LOZA: I think it's dependent on your-- well, it depends on your record. You know, like, you have-- if you're losing, you've got to cut bait and can't imagine that this guy is going to be like the back half season hero. You didn't draft him to be-- you're drafting Dameon Pierce.

To be that guy you're not drafting Ezekiel Elliott to be that guy. You-- and I think that's also something, when we're looking at our draft strategies, look at schedules. I know that some people don't like schedules. But, like, the Lions come out. You're going to have an idea.

I want players who start hot knowing that I can cut bait if I need to. And there are going to be some foundational players that you're not going to want to do that with, like I think, for instance, like Terry McLaurin last season, when Ryan Fitzpatrick went down with a hip injury in the first half of that week one game should have been the moment that I was like, oh, snap. Like this is not--

FRANK SCHWAB: Sometimes you're just stuck. You're not cutting Terry McLaurin at any point. It's like--

LIZ LOZA: Well, you can't cut him, but--

FRANK SCHWAB: But you could sort of shop [INAUDIBLE] or something like that.

LIZ LOZA: In week two, we had 100-plus yard game against the Giants, but James Bradberry was his primary coverage. Like, they battled. And McLaurin owned him, which is no small feat.

The next week, they were playing Buffalo. I should have looked ahead and traded for-- like knowing, hindsight, knowing what I know now, I should have been like, there's no way this is sustainable. This is not-- like, we got lucky this week. This is a time to move and package a trade.

And I think in week two, people-- coming off of 100 plus yard performance against an absolutely respectable foe in James Bradberry, people would have been excited about that. And I did not-- I'm bad at trading. Again, like, I stick with the guys I got. I stick with the company I'm at. I stick with the man I married. Like, I stick with-- I'm just loyal. And I think that maybe I just need to get sneakier, really.

LIZ LOZA: Yeah, and it's hard when you [INAUDIBLE] on a guy, like McLaurin, who you're like, I love-- and he just put up 100 hours on James Bradberry. It doesn't matter who the quarterback is.

LIZ LOZA: Yeah.

FRANK SCHWAB: He's bulletproof, and then, yeah, a few weeks later, he had those regrets. So yeah, I think that this is a tough question to answer because a lot-- draft capital matters.

I'm cutting a 15th round pick way before I cut a fifth round pick, obviously. Your record, that's a great point. I think that's a great point that you need to get a little more aggressive with the waiver wire when you're one and three coming out of September.

But I always struggle with it. Again, especially in baseball, where at the end of a-- like Juan Soto right now. Like, I have Juan Soto. And I'm like, what can I do with this guy?

Like, he's going to come back and play well these last four months. He's got to. But when? When's it going to happen? Let's go. So yeah, I agree that's one of the tougher challenges of playing fantasy is just holding on too long and when to kind of get out with a guy.