Big names with a proven track record are always difficult to part with, but this is the time in the fantasy baseball season when you can't afford to wait around. Here's a look at popular, highly owned players who you should move on from in the final weeks of the season.
Arizona Diamondbacks -- On June 21, nearly two months ago, Taijuan Walker moved to 6-3 on the season with a win over Colorado at Coors Field. It's the last time he has won a game. He's winless in his last nine starts, and after a loss Wednesday against Houston, his record now stands at 6-7 with a 3.83 ERA. Rostered in 52.5 percent of ESPN leagues, Walker isn't someone you have to hold on to at this point.
Atlanta Braves -- Matt Adams impressed in his first few months with the Braves after coming over from St. Louis in a May 20 trade, but his bat has cooled off considerably in the last month. He's batting only .200 since the All-Star break with just two of his 16 home runs coming in that span, and he belongs on your league's waiver wire at this point.
Baltimore Orioles -- Starting Chris Davis or Mark Trumbo these days is proving to be problematic in fantasy, and benching either of them isn't always easy given their major success in recent years and their overall reputation as sluggers. Still, Davis (on rosters in 56.8 percent of ESPN leagues) is batting just .211 with four home runs and 42 strikeouts since the All-Star break and Trumbo (78.5 percent) isn't any better, hitting .187 with four home runs, 33 strikeouts and a team-low .608 OPS since the break. Stop waiting around for these guys.
Boston Red Sox -- Jackie Bradley Jr.'s season numbers look all right, as he's slashing .255/.335/.418 with 13 home runs and six stolen bases, but are those numbers good enough to warrant a roster spot in 64.4 percent of leagues? Probably not. Now consider that he's batting just .198 (23-for-116) with 40 strikeouts and one home run since the break. Through that lens, Bradley looks like one of the most overrated players out there in terms of popularity.
Chicago Cubs -- Jason Heyward is still held in 13 percent of ESPN leagues despite another rough year at the plate. After batting .230 with seven home runs in 142 games last season, his numbers are only slightly better this season (.252 BA, eight HRs), and everyone should now be at the point of moving on from the defensive-minded right fielder.
Chicago White Sox -- We waited what seemed liked forever for Yoan Moncada (29.5 percent) to get the call to the big leagues, and while his future remains bright, it's becoming increasingly clear that he isn't going to help fantasy leagues this season. The rookie second baseman has struck out 36 times in his first 24 big-league games and is batting .185 (15-for-81) with two home runs and no steals. Not good.
Cincinnati Reds -- Scott Schebler is on the disabled list due to a shoulder strain but is on a rehab assignment and could return to the Reds soon. In the lineup or on the bench in 17.2 percent of ESPN leagues, the outfielder did virtually all of his damage prior to the All-Star break and is batting .077 (4-for-52) with two extra-base hits since. Given that and the time away due to injury, it's amazing his popularity remains as high as it is.
Cleveland Indians -- Young center fielder Bradley Zimmer (19.8 percent) separates himself in fantasy due to his rare combination of speed and power, and he does have three homers and five steals since the break. That being said, he is batting .180 with a .612 OPS over that stretch with 34 strikeouts in 89 at-bats.
Colorado Rockies -- 100 games. 402 plate appearances. Seven home runs. That's the situation we find ourselves in with Carlos Gonzalez (65.8 percent), whose power has simply vanished this season. He's batting a career-low .236 on the season and has left the park only once since the break. If he's still on your roster, you've held on to him too long.
Detroit Tigers -- It has been a rough stretch for Michael Fulmer (87.7 percent) over his last five starts, a span of time that also included a trip to the disabled list (right elbow neuritis). A loser of four consecutive starts, the powerful right-hander has a 6.07 ERA since the break and his strikeouts are down (18 in 29 2/3 IP) in that stretch. It's premature to drop a promising talent like Fulmer, but you might want to bench him until he starts pitching like the player we're used to seeing.
Houston Astros -- A sore knee has led Brian McCann to the 10-day disabled list, and at this point, he is still held in 58.5 percent of ESPN leagues. While McCann is a part of one of the best offenses in baseball, he isn't necessarily someone worth waiting for when you consider his second-half struggles. The 33-year-old is batting .162 (11-for-68) since the break and now faces the uphill battle of returning from knee pain.
Kansas City Royals -- So far, the Royals' trade for Brandon Maurer (16.5 percent) is a big bust. In 10 starts with his new team, the hard-throwing 27-year-old has given up 15 hits and six walks in 8 2/3 IP, sporting an 8.31 ERA and 2.42 WHIP. He could turn it around, yes, but your better bet in "holds" leagues is opting for a different middle reliever who is throwing the ball better.
Los Angeles Angels -- How desperate are people for saves in fantasy baseball? Consider the fact that, as of Thursday, Bud Norris is rostered in 24.6 percent of leagues despite allowing 15 runs over 9 2/3 IP in his last 12 appearances. That's a 13.97 ERA, folks.
Los Angeles Dodgers -- Joc Pederson isn't striking out as much as he has in the past, but that's about the only good thing to say about the way he's hitting over the past month. Pederson is hitting .149 (11-for-74) with two home runs and a .547 OPS since the break, yet is surprisingly still on 17.4 percent of ESPN rosters. He's hitless in the past week (0-for-14), and if you still have him, you've held on to him too long.
Miami Marlins -- Not many players on the Marlins stand out as underachieving relative to their popularity, but lefty starter Adam Conley is one who should be considered more of a streaming option who is only used in favorable matchups. Rostered in 7.6 percent of ESPN leagues, the 27-year-old has allowed 42 hits and struck out 21 in his past six starts, a span of 37 1/3 innings.
Milwaukee Brewers -- Jonathan Villar (59.7 percent) struggled so mightily before the All-Star break that many assumed he'd rebound in the second half of the season. That isn't so. In 26 games, he is batting .231 with one home run, six steals and a .593 OPS. Keep in mind, also, that these numbers come after his recent five-game hitting streak. That's how cold the second baseman has been since the break. Villar looks like a completely different player than the one who had 19 homers, 38 doubles and 62 steals last season.
Minnesota Twins -- The flashes of dominance are there for 23-year-old rookie right-hander Jose Berrios (69.5 percent), but most of his success this season came in May and June. He had a 5.79 ERA in five July starts and followed that up with a 7.04 ERA in three starts this month. You don't want to drop the future star in dynasty leagues, but in a redraft league, Berrios is too risky to start these days and his upside is minimal; he hasn't recorded more than six strikeouts in five of his past six starts.
New York Mets -- We waited most of the season for the Mets to call up their top prospect, Amed Rosario, and now that he's in the bigs the next big question is how long to you wait for him to produce? With hits in six of his past eight games, Rosario (27.3 percent) has brought his batting average up to a more respectable .240, but a low on-base percentage (.269) and high strikeout total (17 in 52 plate appearances) make him a risky play at shortstop for the remainder of the season.
New York Yankees -- Since the All-Star break, Jacoby Ellsbury (19.1 percent) is slashing .174/.269/.333 with six extra base hits. While his six steals offer some value, it isn't worth holding on to a struggling veteran like this just for his contributions in one category. Ellsbury turns 34 next month, and it's safe to say his best days are squarely behind him at this point.
Oakland Athletics -- Jed Lowrie (32.3 percent) is a fine major league ballplayer, but he has never been much of a fantasy producer. That has changed a bit this season, as he enters Thursday with 10 home runs and 38 doubles, but he has cooled off in the second half of the season and is batting just .259 with one home run in his past 31 games.
Philadelphia Phillies -- Tommy Joseph has one home run in his past 31 games, and that wouldn't be the worst thing if he was hitting for average, but he's not. In fact, he's hitting .211 with a .552 OPS in that span. He's only rostered in 8.1 percent of ESPN leagues at this point, but there's little reason for him to be anywhere but waivers in any league given his lengthy slump.
Pittsburgh Pirates -- Yikes, has it been a rough second half for Jordy Mercer. Held in nearly 10 percent of ESPN leagues, Mercer is the Pirates' coldest hitter since the break, batting .198 with a woeful .252 on-base percentage. That's not going to cut it, even for a shortstop, and Mercer isn't worth holding on to at this stage in the season.
St. Louis Cardinals -- Few players have had as much of a Jekyll and Hyde season as Jedd Gyorko. The Cardinals' third baseman erupted in the first half by slashing .300/.364/.519 and hammering 13 home runs along the way. Since the break, all that has changed. He is slashing .176/.267/.264 in that span, yet is still somehow rostered in 63.1 percent of fantasy leagues.
San Diego Padres -- Clayton Richard (6.8 percent) is sporting a 5.28 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in his past seven starts, and opponents are batting .323 against him in that span. Amazingly enough, those numbers come after the 33-year-old southpaw threw a complete game shutout against the Phillies on Wednesday. Don't expect that to last.
San Francisco Giants -- Brandon Crawford is on a team in just under a third of ESPN leagues -- 32.8 percent to be exact -- even after a poor second half and one of the lowest on-base percentages (.274) among all regulars in baseball. Crawford doesn't steal bases and isn't hitting for power, average or getting on base. There's no reason he should still have a place on this many fantasy rosters.
Seattle Mariners -- Yonder Alonso (36.3 percent) is off to a slow start in his first eight games in Seattle, and while the All-Star first baseman could turn things around, the reality is we've been waiting for him to do so for a while. Of his 23 home runs this season, only two have come since July 14, and the move from Oakland Coliseum to Safeco Field isn't exactly a big upgrade for a home park.
Tampa Bay Rays -- The common feeling regarding Logan Morrison (61.6 percent) when he went to the All-Star break with 24 home runs and 57 RBIs was that there was a good chance he'd cool off and regress to his career numbers. That has proven to be the case, as the veteran first baseman is hitting .219 with four home runs and a .684 OPS since the break. It's difficult to cut a guy with 28 homers, but keep in mind that most of those came in the first half of the season.
Texas Rangers -- Mike Napoli's power in a hitter's park makes him an appealing option at the end of your roster, but he also plays a position at first base that's easy to replace in fantasy, and he's batting .198 with 43 strikeouts in his last 29 games. That's too much to overlook for someone like Napoli who is held in 15.2 percent of ESPN leagues.
Toronto Blue Jays -- Russell Martin (20.7 percent) is on the DL due to a left oblique strain and will remain out for at least a few more weeks. You can currently stash him in the DL spot, but it's questionable what he'll be able to offer once he returns after lengthy layoff; the 34-year-old is batting .195 with a .612 OPS in 22 games since the break and is more of a name than a true fantasy producer.
Washington Nationals -- Incredibly, Matt Wieters' reputation as a hitting catcher is keeping him on a roster in 58 percent of ESPN leagues despite a .238 batting average and .654 OPS. What's remarkable is that it isn't like Wieters is heating up; he is batting .216 with one homer and a .268 OBP since the break.