It’s now week 12, and we’re getting set for the last of the byes this week. We’re also moving into the home stretch of the season. Hopefully, if you’re still reading this, you’re in contention for a postseason berth in your fantasy league. We’ve seen a rash of QB and RB injuries since our last column focusing on players you can safely cut, and a host of WR options have emerged while a few TE options have faded out. So, for the last time this season, we’re going to discuss players you can safely cut in standard formats for a bye-week fill in, a hot FA, or a high upside rest-of-season player.

Quarterbacks

Colin Kaepernick SF | QB

You can make all the excuses you want, but the bottom line is that Kap hasn’t delivered the goods for owners this year. Blessed with an elite defense and a formidable home field advantage, many were projecting Kaepernick as the next big thing. The reality? He’s topped 15 fantasy points only 4 times, which is the same amount of time he’s scored under 10. He isn’t putting up gaudy passing numbers, and his rushing is rarely making up for it. If you’ve been stashing him as a backup, it’s time to find someone with higher upside. (about 99% owned)

Matt Ryan ATL | QB

If anyone was wondering how good Julio Jones is, Ryan’s play before and after his injury can be the marker. Pre-Julio-injury Ryan was looking like a top 5 QB with 96 total fantasy points through 5 weeks. Post-Julio-injury Ryan has managed only 62 in the 5 weeks since. The Falcons have no running game to speak of, and Ryan’s extreme passing volume hasn’t been enough to make up the difference. In the last 5 weeks, he’s thrown more INT’s than TD’s .I can’t imagine he would make anyone’s top 10 QB rest-of-season rankings. If you need the roster spot, give Ryan the boot. (about 97% owned)

Andy Dalton CIN | QB

This guy is maddening for fantasy football owners, and has certainly caused his share of losses in the past month or so. You’d think that with Dalton’s weapons (Bernard, AJ Green, Marvin Jones) he would be find fantasy consistency easily, but it is not to be. Since his white-hot 3 week span of dominance against DET, NYJ, and BUF, he’s failed to top 15 fantasy points in any of the 3 weeks since, managing only 5 TD’s and 8 INT’s. And, let’s be honest, one of those TD’s was that last minute fluke Hail Mary TD to AJ Green as time expired. He managed only 11 fantasy points and under 100 passing yards in a game where the Bengals ran roughshod over Cleveland. You’re never going to be able to start him in any matchup with confidence. It’s time to cut bait on the Big Ginger. (about 80% owned)

Running Backs

DeAngelo Williams CAR | RB

We can sum up why it’s time to move on from Williams nicely, as follows: The Panthers have as many runners sharing carries (4, counting Cam Newton) as Williams has weeks over 10 fantasy points, more runners than points scored by Williams last week in a good matchup against NE (2) and almost as many runners as average carries by Williams over the last two weeks (7). He’s over 90% owned, but I look at him and see 90% useless. Later! (about 92% owned)

Maurice Jones-Drew JAC | RB

MJD was a second round pick. Man, what a bad pick. Sorry about that. If you didn’t deal him to a moron like me (I ‘bought him low’ early in the season…terrible trade) then you’ve probably been staring at him for 5-6 weeks wondering when you’ll play him. If you’re still in the playoff hunt, the answer is NEVER. You’d rather play Bobby Rainey than MJD. You’d rather play…hell, are there 5 other starting RB’s you wouldn’t rather play over MJD at this point? His team is constantly behind and his rushing yards and TD’s are totally fluky. He looks done, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he started to sit down the stretch as the Jags evaluate what they have for next year. It’s been a good run, MJD, but it’s time to go the way of Old Yeller. Peace. (about 65% owned)

Lamar Miller MIA | RB

Very infrequently have I seen an offense with so many playmakers misuse them so flagrantly. The Dolphins abysmal offense has totally marginalized the talents of Mike Wallace, Lamar Miller, Ryan Tannehill, and Charles Clay. Again, some of this has to do with the Martin / Incognito turmoil, but I place more of the blame on the totally inept coaching staff that still believe that Daniel Thomas should be splitting snaps with a much more explosive Miller. Whatever the reason, Miller has 11 total carries in the two weeks that followed his 16 carry, 105 yard outburst against CIN. There’s no excuse for such criminal misuse of talent. All that is clear is that Miller will not get featured back carries going forward. He can’t be trusted to produce for you in the playoffs. It’s time to practice catch and release, and throw Miller back. (about 95% owned)

Wide Receivers

Hakeem Nicks NYG | WR

This one is gonna hurt. But, if we’re being totally honest, Nicks has been trash all year. He’s topped 10 fantasy points TWICE. He’s pouting on the sidelines, and seems to have lost both his patented burst and the trust of already-shaky QB Eli Manning. Would you be holding him still if his name wasn’t Hakeem Nicks? Final thought: Nicks ranks 52 in WR scoring this year. Not 52nd out of all players. 52 out of WR’s, only. That, my friends, is brutal, and is why it’s time to let someone else stash Nicks on their bench. (about 90% owned)

Mike Wallace MIA | WR

I hate this guy. Everywhere he goes, he pouts and only wants to run long routes. He doesn’t really block or go over the middle, and he’s clearly not a team player. The Dolphins paid him in a fit of insanity. Like Nicks, he’s had TWO weeks of 10 or more fantasy points, and also like Nicks, Wallace ranks outside the top 50 in scoring among WR’s (53rd). Whatever the heck the Dolphins are trying to get done offensively in Miami isn’t being helped by the Martin / Incognito situation, the run game, or Mike Wallace. Kick him off the boat – you’ll be happy you did. (about 89% owned)

Steve Smith CAR | WR

Why on earth is this guy still above 85% owned? Smith is yet another ‘name’ WR who is totally running on reputation. You can include Smith in with the others in the prestigious ‘Two total weeks over 10 fantasy points’ club. Don’t be fooled by the weekly high projected points for Smith – He’s definitely lost a step, and he doesn’t seem to be able to separate deep any longer. It also doesn’t help that the Panthers don’t have a real #2 WR to take any of the coverage heat away. Smith has been reduced to doing most of his work over the middle, and his yardage and TD totals reflect this. I can’t see him being a top 25 WR for the rest of the year. (about 90% owned)

Tight Ends

Jared Cook STL | TE

Cook totally wasn’t in my plans for this column, because I just assumed that there was no chance he was still owned in enough leagues for anyone to care. The 55% of you that still own this guy…what are you thinking? Can you point to any stat line accumulated after week 1 that screams “I need to be owned!!”? You can’t because he has more week of ONE fantasy point (2) than weeks over 10 fantasy points since week 1 (0). Pick up virtually anyone in his place, but please purge your roster of this nightmare of a preseason sleeper as soon as possible. (about 55% owned)

Heath Miller PIT | TE

After missing the first couple of weeks recovering from massive offseason knee surgery, Miller picked up right where he left off with consecutive weeks of 7 and 8 fantasy points. I was on board with Miller being a great value pickup based on his past rapport with Ben Roethlisberger and the passing orientation of the Steelers. Since then however…he’s been awful. He’s stuck on 0 games over 10 points this year, and has a zero and a one to his credit. TE has gotten awful thin all of a sudden, but I’d rather have options with more upside like Tim Wright, Delanie Walker, or Rob Housler. (about 50% owned)

Defense/Special Teams

Chicago D/ST CHI | D/ST

Injuries and ineffectiveness have decimated this once proud defensive unit, and it is high time to recognize this fact. The Bears were typically the third or fourth defense off the board on draft day, but have turned in the 10th best overall D/ST campaign. That doesn’t seem poor until you consider that they’ve scored 94 standard fantasy points in total, over a third of which was scored in weeks 2 and 3 combined. Since week 4, they’ve scored 10 or more fantasy points only three times, one of which was the Green Bay game where Aaron Rodgers was knocked out in the first quarter. Outside of that, they’ve been well below average, and at this point represent a good matchup for enemy offenses. It also ‘bears’ mentioning that Devin Hester isn’t the threat he used to be, so you can’t count of special teams scoring from Chicago like you could in the past. Consider ditching the Bears leaky defense for better rest-of-season options like NE, NYJ, and BUF. (about 80% owned)