Fantasy Football: 4 Players You Can Drop After Week 8
There should be little doubt about fantasy football’s impact on interest in the actual sport.
Monday Night Football featured two teams with losing records. The winless Miami Dolphins travelled to Heinz Filed to face the 2-4 Pittsburgh Steelers. Neither team was starting their primary quarterback. The game total was one of the lowest of the week. And yet, social media was still ablaze throughout the evening. The game was actually compelling for a time -- until Mason Rudolph got into a rhythm, forcing Miami to remember their ultimate goal.
Regardless, the lack of general interest in the game allowed us to focus on the ancillary players. Diontae Johnson’s 45-yard catch and run to end the first half. The deep targets to James Washington. Benny Snell Jr.’s usage with James Connor injured. Targets and touches remain our top priority as we dig into the next week’s drop candidates.
We’re into the back half of the fantasy season now. Roster moves and trades should be done with an eye on the playoffs. Depending on your league standing, the short and long term repercussions must be taken into account as we work the waiver wire. We also have four teams on bye. With all that taken into account, let’s look at last week’s drop candidates as we get into Week 9.
Week 8 Review
Our previous drop candidates included:
Josh Gordon – Gordon’s injuries were worse than anticipated and apparently the last straw. His overall decline in play compared to the rise of Phillip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers cleared the path for Gordon to be placed on IR and scheduled for release. There’s still a chance for Gordon to find a new team, but, for fantasy purposes, his season is over.
Delanie Walker – Walker missed Week 8 to continue rehabilitating his surgically repaired ankle. In his stead, Jonnu Smith immediately provided an impact to the tune of 6 catches for 78 yards and a score against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa was a positive matchup for the team, but Smith’s 21.9% target share is more than Walker’s share on the season. At best, Walker will continue to share duties, but it’s possible Father Time has won another battle with an NFL player.
Jimmy Garoppolo – You’d think that in a game where the 49ers scored 51 points, the quarterback would have a good day. Nope. Yet again, Jimmy G was held under 200 yards passing as the running game ran over Carolina. Plus, he threw an interception. His Week 9 matchup against the Cardinals warrants streaming consideration, but it’s hard to trust him given his recent history.
Chris Thompson – There’s some hope that Thompson will be available in Week 9 against the Buffalo Bills. Practice reports will give us a better indication, but Washington’s offense isn’t one we should be investing in so late in the season. Unless desperate, Thompson should be left on the waiver wire.
Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Yahoo! Ownership: 77%
There’s been a lot of mystery and confusion surrounding the Arizona Cardinals' backfield the past couple weeks.
First, the fantasy community got trolled by the Cardinals as David Johnson dressed but barely played in Chase Edmonds' career game. Next, Arizona brought in Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner behind Edmonds. Now, Edmonds has pulled his hamstring and the Cardinals have traded for Kenyan Drake. Edmonds is expected to miss multiple games and, upon his return, will be in a very crowded backfield.
With his lack of availability and uncertainty in his role, Edmonds can be dropped as fantasy managers make their case for the playoffs.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Yahoo! Ownership: 76%
The Jacksonville Jaguars' slot receiver has been battling multiple injuries (neck/shoulder) for the past couple weeks. Dede Westbrook fought through Week 7 with his usual complement of snaps and targets, but he was ruled out of Week 8 in the second half after receiving zero targets in the game. He missed practice ahead of Week 8, and his Week 9 availability against the Houston Texans is already in doubt.
Jacksonville has a bye in Week 10 and travels to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11. Dede's injuries require close monitoring, but with how well the remaining receivers have performed, Westbrook can be dropped ahead of Week 9 if you're in a roster pinch.
Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears
Yahoo! Ownership: 61%
The Chicago Bears are now the fifth-worst offense in Adjusted Passing NEP per play (0.01). Tarik Cohen's snaps and targets have been erratic as Matt Nagy has continually adjusted the offense with Mitchell Trubisky back under center.
The team entered Week 8 with a 64.0% overall passing rate, with their running backs owning 30.3% of the target share (second-highest rate in the league). They passed on 50.7% of their plays in Week 8, with running backs receiving 25.7% of the target share. Cohen saw his fewest targets of the season in that one, and the Bears' next three matchups are against teams at or above league average in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play.
Without a consistent workload, Cohen falls out of favor as a flex play and is another drop candidate in standard formats as we look toward Week 9.
Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans
Yahoo! Ownership: 20%
The Houston Texans’ slot receiver was consistently seeing around five targets per game in the slot for one of the NFL's better passing attacks.
That came to an end in Week 8. The real-time fear was that Keke Coutee was injured again as he had returned from an ankle issue earlier in the season. That wasn’t the case. Announcers commented on Coach Bill O’Brien telling them that Coutee was lacking consistency. This gave way to Coutee playing zero snaps in favor of DeAndre Carter. Without any clarity on the situation and a shared role at the position, Coutee is droppable for other assets as the team re-evaluates their personnel.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Yahoo! Ownership: 90%
We should have seen it coming sooner, but again, Father Time appears to have won another battle.
Larry Fitzgerald started off the season with a 23% share of the team’s targets through the first three weeks. He had double-digit targets in each of the first two games. Since then, his targets have steadily decreased down to four this past week against an exploitable interior matchup versus the New Orleans Saints (who have allowed fifth-highest completion percentage in the slot).
While Fitz's snap rate has remained consistent, his targets should be monitored going forward in an offense passing at the 13th-highest rate in the league (58.5%), and Christian Kirk is looking like the team's top receiver.