The rationale here is simple, but the concept is fairly tricky.
We'll begin with a question: How do you know when to give up on a player? Answer: Late August is probably fine.
You see? I feel kind of stupid even saying it because ... no doy. If you can't give up on him now, then the answer might as well be never. And yet ... look at all the unproductive players still rostered in more than 60 percent of CBS Sports leagues. Some even more than 90 percent.
(Actually, don't look yet. Finish reading the explainer first.)
What makes the whole thing tricky is that Fantasy Baseball is hardly one-size-fits-all. With all the different scoring formats and league sizes, it's possible I'm telling you to "give up" on a player who you know has value to you. So as not to let perfect be the enemy of good, let's just agree that you are your own league's best diagnostic. If my advice here doesn't jibe with it, then OK. You're probably right.
The way to know you're an exceptional case for any of the players mentioned here is that you're relying on him every week and don't have anyone to replace him. If so, giving up on him isn't an option for you. But "giving up," it's worth noting, doesn't necessarily mean banishing him to the waiver wire never to be heard from again. Streaming might make sense in some circumstances, particularly for the pitchers.
On the other hand, if you're keeping one of these players around because of some theoretical idea of what he could be or should be, passing up enticing waiver claims in the process, then I've got to say it's a little late for FOMO.
Naturally, the calculation changes in a dynasty league, and of course, it's theoretically possible any of these players snaps back to form at some point over the next six weeks. But each of them has performed well below expectations this season, if not for all of it then certainly most. At some point, you have to accept that it's probably just the way it's going to be.
Confused yet? Maybe the simplest way to put it is that these players are all over-rostered. Yeah, let's go with that.
Kind of a boring place to start, I know. So many catchers are bad that it's hard to give up on any who may not be, which makes for a timid selection here. I'm not even entirely comfortable including Keibert Ruiz given what his low strikeout rate does for him in points leagues, so we'll just say it's a format-specific recommendation. As for Christian Vazquez, his issue is that he's basically slipped into a backup role since joining the Astros.
Lourdes Gurriel has become basically just a hollow source of batting average. He may have some utility, particularly as an outfielder, but certainly not enough to justify a 90 percent roster rate. In theory, Trey Mancini's move to Minute Maid Park was a match made in home run heaven, but it turns out the Astros are leery of his defense, making him only a part-time player.
Whit Merrifield TOR CF
Brandon Lowe TB 2B
Jonathan India CIN 2B
Kolten Wong MIL 2B
It's true that in a Rotisserie league, with the premium on stolen bases and extra lineup spots to fill, you'll probably want to hang on to Whit Merrifield, but his 96 percent roster rate says it's not the only format where people are making that choice. He's losing a lot of volume in Toronto, which crushes his points league value. Inconsistent playing time is a factor for the other three as well, in Jonathan India's case because of recurring injuries.
Justin Turner LAD 3B
Ryan McMahon COL 3B
Ke'Bryan Hayes PIT 3B
Josh Donaldson NYY 3B
Luis Urias MIL 3B
The lack of quality options at third base probably contributes to this list being the longest of any of the infield positions. More here than anywhere else, you may simply have no other choice than to stick with these guys. Their production is so replaceable, though, that you might as well take a shot on someone Brett Baty instead and see how it goes.
Javier Baez is the most high-profile hitter in this entire article, so I can understand the hesitance to move on from him. He's been operating on the edge for his entire career, though, and seems to have finally toppled over. Rookie Jeremy Pena, meanwhile, has crashed hard after a hot start to the year.
Nick Castellanos PHI RF
J.D. Martinez BOS DH
Tyler O'Neill STL LF
Cody Bellinger LAD CF
Jesse Winker SEA LF
Seiya Suzuki CHC RF
Austin Hays BAL LF
Taylor Ward LAA RF
Marcell Ozuna ATL DH
Dylan Carlson STL CF
Mike Yastrzemski SF RF
Riley Greene DET CF
Franmil Reyes CHC DH
Like third base, outfield is so thin, particularly in leagues with five openings to fill, that you may have no choice but to stick with these guys. But Nick Castellanos' and J.D. Martinez's roster rates would suggest that even managers in shallow three-outfielders haven't seen fit to move on yet. It's time. Jesse Winker being 82 percent rostered is fairly ridiculous, too. The easiest choice to drop here, though, is Marcell Ozuna. He was losing playing time even before his arrest last weekend.
Lucas Giolito CHW SP
Noah Syndergaard PHI SP
Jameson Taillon NYY SP
Sean Manaea SD SP
Corey Kluber TB SP
Nick Pivetta BOS SP
Kyle Gibson PHI SP
Josiah Gray WAS SP
Jose Quintana STL SP
Patrick Sandoval LAA SP
You may notice Lucas Giolito is here while Jose Berrios is not. The two were of similar stature coming into the year and have similar numbers overall, but it's been a couple months since Giolito had an even halfway decent start while Berrios' issue is more the occasional disaster start. To put it another way, the highs for Berrios are high enough to keep me hopeful still. As for these other pitchers, plenty are still streamable with the right matchups, but you shouldn't feel obligated to hold any of them if something else grabs your attention.
Relief pitcher roster rates police themselves pretty well, at least in CBS Sports leagues, but Craig Kimbrel is a notable exception, probably because he closes for the best team in baseball and is, well, Craig Kimbrel. But if the Dodgers' march to the division title was more dramatic than it is, he'd probably be out of the role by now. His numbers suggest he should be rostered in the same range as Tanner Scott, who's at 50 percent. Swap Kimbrel out for Felix Bautista (76 percent) if you still can.