It’s now week 7, and we’re headed into the teeth of the bye weeks. We’re also starting to see some serious injuries manifest themselves, and as fantasy football gamers in survival mode, we have to be able to react quickly and make a tough cut when necessary. If you find yourself facing some decisions either this week, or in an upcoming bye week situation, here are some widely owned players that you can consider moving on from to create a roster spot.

Quarterbacks

Eli Manning NYG | QB

C’mon man(ning)! You would never think you’d have to advise to cut ties with a guy that’s thrown 15 picks through the first 6 weeks. It should be self evident, right? Eli ownership still signals a clear “no”. Folks are still enthralled by the phantom of pre-2013 Eli’s upside. News flash: Despite having the same weapons, he simply isn’t being protected, has no run game, and can’t seem to generate any passing offense without turning the ball over. Eli may be great again, but he’s not worth stashing for a single-week use this year. When the bye strikes your QB, consider much higher upside options off waivers like Terrelle Pryor and (if he’s still available) Phillip Rivers, or safer options like Alex Smith. (about 80% owned)

Joe Flacco BAL | QB

When the Ravens locked up Flacco to the tune of $120.6 million, many pundits predicted that he hasn’t worth elite QB money, and would never live up to that contract. Those pundits…were right. Admittedly, Flacco is down a couple of weapons, but he’s thrown 9 interceptions already and simply can’t seem to move the ball the way he did during the Ravens magical championship run last year. He’s ranked 18th in scoring among QBs in 2013, and doesn’t pad his stats by rushing. Ray Rice is also looking very average, which isn’t helping. In standard leagues, there’s no need to hold onto such a low upside piece in anticipation of bye weeks. (about 65% owned)

Michael Vick PHI | QB

This sounds completely crazy, right? Let me explain. I’m assuming here that you’re holding Vick as a second QB, and you already own someone like Brady, RG3, or Romo. You can cut ties with Vick for a couple of reasons, one being his injury status. According to Vick “…it’s a long road ahead” to come back from his hamstring injury. Based on this, I can’t imagine he has any trade value in standard leagues. Backup Nick Foles has looked excellent in his absence, and if Vick takes too long to recover, he might lose his job either way. Finally, if we consult our box scores, Vick has been very average in starts since his early season demolitions of Washington and San Diego. You’re holding him to play in a bye week for you, which he may not, and even if he does, you can’t count on solid production at this point. Add it all up, and you can do better with a roster spot in standard leagues. (about 95% owned)

Running Backs

Rashard Mendenhall ARI | RB

Mendenhall has truly just been awful. He’s averaging just over 50 TOTAL yards from scrimmage per week, and 12 of his 42 total points have come via goal line touchdowns. Those 42 points rank him 30th among RBs in fantasy scoring. He’s showed poor decision-making, poor burst and lateral speed, and hasn’t blocked well either. The Andre Ellington experience should be starting in earnest this week. This is a tough cut because Mendenhall is technically still a starting RB in the NFL. If you can still trade him, so be it. If not, it’s time to move on to greener pastures. (about 80% owned)

Daryl Richardson STL | RB

Richardson was a preseason darling of pundits as a later-round RB selection, and was the subject of a contentious quarrel between Brent and Dustin at our FST Experts league draft. All was for naught, it seems. Zac Stacy has taken hold of the RB position in St. Louis with gusto, rushing for 160+ yards over last two weeks, averaging over 5 yards per carry doing it. For comparison sake, that’s about equivalent to the total rushing output from Richardson this entire YEAR. D-Rich had his chance, and he’s blown it. The Rams are moving on, and its high time owners did too. (about 65% owned)

Joique Bell DET | RB

This one really hurts me, because I love Joique’s potential and own him in multiple leagues. But it’s time to face the facts: Bell simply isn’t a viable play while Reggie Bush is healthy. He’s a handcuff, and one that’s scored in single digits the last three weeks running. You can’t start him at Flex every week and feel good about it, just like Bernard Pierce, Bryce Brown, and Ben Tate, but his ownership percentage doesn’t reflect this. If you have Bell on a squad and need to clear a roster spot in the next couple of weeks, feel free to move on from Jokie. (about 80% owned)

Wide Receivers

Stevie Johnson BUF | WR

Owners, this is going to sting a little, but it will be worth it in the end. It’s time to cut ties with Stevie. E.J. Manuel won’t be back before early November, so for the time being, he doesn’t have a legit NFL QB throwing to him. There aren’t any other standout WR’s in Buffalo to take the top opposing corner’s attention off him. Even the Bills’ running game has performed below expectations. Stevie currently ranks 44th in overall scoring at the WR position, and this isn’t going to improve soon. Kick him to the curb. (about 90% owned)

DeAndre Hopkins HOU | WR

The entire Houston offense is going down in flames right now, and you’re going to have to let DeAndre go down with it. He has all the talent in the world, but he’s tied to either T.J. Yates, or Matt Schaub (neither of which are good things) and is also the second option at WR behind Andre Johnson. At best, the Texans are a run-first team, and will look to emphasize this in light of their recent struggles. Hopkins has scored over 10 fantasy points just once this year, and it’s time to relegate him to the waiver wire and grab up-and-comers like Keenan Allen, Terrance Williams, Harry Douglas, and Rueben Randle. (about 65% owned)

Tavon Austin STL | WR

Talk about a total waste of an entire offseason of hype. I bought into it too, and am just lucky I didn’t take him anywhere. I’m not sure if the Rams are just so bad that they can’t use him effectively, or if he’s just not as good as advertised at the NFL level. Either way, you can’t just hold Austin any longer and hope for the best. He’s scored over 10 fantasy points just once, which is less times than he’s scored less than 1 fantasy point (twice). He was on the field for just 4 of 47 snaps last week in a blowout win over Houston. There’s something wrong here, but owners in standard leagues can’t wait around for it to be fixed. Grab an upside WR this week and move on with your life. (about 85% owned)

Tight Ends

Coby Fleener IND | TE

Maybe this is just a knee-jerk reaction to what I saw on Monday Night Football, but I’m feeling like Fleener is grossly overrated. He’s had two relevant fantasy games this year, and one of them was against Jacksonville. I could get open against the Jaguars. The remaining weeks, and I’m not kidding about this…he’s scored 0, 1, 1, and, you guessed it…1. That’s 3 points in 4 weeks. People are rostering this guy waiting for him to blow up in the 2 TE heavy Pep Hamilton offense, and I say it just isn’t going to happen. He’ll have another useful game or two over the next 9, but good luck guessing when they’ll be. Unless you’re using him specifically for this week’s bye, there’s no reason to be holding Fleener. (about 40% owned)

Brandon Myers NYG | TE

Myers was highly useful as a waiver wire pickup for these aforementioned upcoming bye weeks last year. Unfortunately, it isn’t last year. Myers is tied to dreadful Eli Manning in an anemic Giants offense in 2013. Making matters worse, he’s the fourth option at best in the ‘passing game’, behind Cruz, Nicks, and Randle. He’s caught 5 passes in the last 4 games, and 18 total for the year. There is almost no situation where standard leaguers should be rostering Myers at this point. Pick him up and play him in a bye week if you must, but definitely do not hold him hoping for better things down the road. (about 60% owned)

Jared Cook STL | TE

We all saw the big week one, and we thought “Maybe THIS is the year Cook realizes his potential!” Um…nope. He’s still Jared Cook, boom-or-bust-but-mostly-bust TE that now happens to play for the offensively challenged Rams instead of the offensively challenged Titans. He went from Jake Locker as his QB to Sam Bradford. In other words, little has changed. He is what we thought he was: Droppable in standard formats, and a play-at-your-own-risk TE2 during the upcoming bye weeks. In other words, his goose is Cooked. (about 80% owned)

Defense/Special Teams

Houston D/ST HOU | D/ST

So…word on the street is that Houston is terrible. I’m unsure if the offense is killing the defense or vice versa, but the reality here is that the Texans defense and special teams unit is not currently playable. They’ve put up a single week right at 10 points, two weeks at 0 points, and the rest in single digits. They’re also banged up and their formerly elite pass rush has vanished. The term “running on reputation” comes to mind in terms of fantasy value. If you drafted this unit, they’re killing you right now, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier until week 10 against Arizona. If you have other decent options, feel free to cut the disappointing Texans loose. (about 85% owned)