Fantasy Football: 4 Players You Can Drop After Week 9

In-season adjustments are just as much a part of real football as it is a part of fantasy football. How we manage our teams or make lineup decisions change as we learn more about players, coaching tendencies, and our league-mates. The league goes through a similar process. Players, after multiple film sessions, begin to recognize formations and pre-snap movements. Moves and countermoves are made with that knowledge at hand, with some anticipation of what’s to come based on what’s been done before. We don’t share the same pressure as the actual players, but the similarities are there when strategizing against our opponents on a weekly basis.

Week 10 is the roughest bye week with six teams on bye. It will be imperative for fantasy managers to determine which players are essential holds as we put in waiver claims for the upcoming slate of games. With only so many bench slots and the playoffs getting closer, usage rates and injury updates will be critical to successfully managing our fantasy rosters as we dive into the final few weeks of the regular season.

Week 9 Review

Our previous drop candidates included:

Chase Edmonds – Edmonds missed their Week 9 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers with a hamstring injury, leaving Kenyan Drake as the next man up. Drake, after signing with the team earlier in the week, went over 150 scrimmage yards in a close loss. Now, David Johnson is back practicing, and Edmonds is still sidelined without any specific timetable on his return. Workload will be something to monitor for everyone in the committee once they’re all healthy.

Dede Westbrook – Westbrook was held out of Week 9’s London game as the receiver continued to battle shoulder and neck ailments. The Jacksonville Jaguars had just placed Marqise Lee on injured reserved only days ago and looked to preserve one of their primary receivers as they continue to vie for a playoff spot. Now, the Jaguars go on bye, and we aren’t expected to find out any additional news until the start of Week 11.

Tarik Cohen – If you’re a pass-catching running back and your quarterback finishes a full half with 13 pass attempts for only 24 yards, you might be having a bad day. Unfortunately, David Montgomery was just about the only bright spot in what was, surprisingly, Mitchell Trubisky’s second-worst performance of the season. In that loss, Montgomery nearly matched Cohen’s target count (5) while still having 14 carries. The offense is in a downward spiral with limited fantasy options outside of Montgomery and, possibly, Allen Robinson.

Keke Coutee – Coutee continued to see zero snaps in Week 9 as DeAndre Carter and Steven Mitchell Jr. played ahead of him. Bill O’Brien has neglected to comment on the wide receiver’s absence from the rotation, indicating there’s an internal issue. The Texans are on bye, making the decision to leave him on the waiver wire an easy one.

Drop Candidates

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Yahoo! Ownership: 65%

It feels like it was only yesterday when the sixth-round rookie took over for Nick Foles. He’s 4-4 on his career starts, but the ‘Minshew-mania’ has been like no other in quite some time. Gardner Minshew's 16.9 fantasy points per game over his first three starts were high in the QB2 ranks, offering a safe floor in touch matchups. He even found himself in the QB1 conversation in Week 8 after a strong performance against the New York Jets. However, Minshew and the Jaguars fell significantly short of expectations against the Houston Texans in Week 9. Houston entered the week 16th in Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP) per play (0.13) and had just lost J.J. Watt for the season. Derek Carr had passed for three touchdowns against them the week prior. Regardless, Minshew couldn’t summon any more magic, while he threw two interceptions (on back-to-back plays), was sacked three times, and lost two fumbles while scrambling. The Jaguars go on bye in Week 10, and Nick Foles has been practicing, making Minshew an unnecessary hold through the bye.

Ty Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

Yahoo! Ownership: 40%

The ‘next man up’ process for acquiring Ty Johnson after Kerryon Johnson’s injury has turned into an abject disaster. He’s been on the field for the most snaps of any Detroit Lions running back over the past two weeks but has only 23 total touches to show for it. His -1.81 Rush NEP in Week 8 was 18th-worst across all running backs. Detroit’s pass rate was 60.1% through the first seven weeks of the season. That rate has increased to 65.1% as Matthew Stafford has had the most pass attempts of 15 air yards or more over the last couple of weeks. Without a secure role, and given Detroit's ability to put up nearly 28 points per game without much of his help, Ty Johnson is a drop candidate for Week 10.

Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Yahoo! Ownership: 32%

It finally happened. Bruce Arians acknowledged Ronald Jones would be the starter moving forward. Peyton Barber had seen an equal or greater share of the snaps and touches in prior weeks, but Week 9 was the first sign of a swap in roles. Jones out-snapped and out-touched Barber nearly four to one in both categories. While the Seattle Seahawks had the 13th-worst Adjusted Rushing NEP Per Play going into the week (-0.02), Jones was still able to turn that into a 16-67-1 stat line with a couple of catches to add to this day. With this lopsided reversal and declaration from the head coach, Barber’s role is reduced to backup in real football and should be on the waiver wire in fantasy.

Mitch Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears

Yahoo! Ownership: 21%

After adjusting for sacks and negative plays, the Chicago Bears had a total of 9 yards on offense in the first half of a professional football game. Nine. Mitchell Trubisky was indecisive, inaccurate, and waited for plays to develop until an Eagles defender was in his lap. Philadelphia's secondary (0.16 Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP Per Play) had given up four touchdowns to Kirk Cousins, one passing and one rushing touchdown to Dak Prescott, and two touchdowns to Josh Allen. Trubisky, who had 4.25 rush attempts per game in 2018, didn’t take advantage of anything the Philadelphia Eagles offered. His highest fantasy finish was QB12 in Week 7, and he’s had a below-average passing Success Rate in three of his five games. Even with six teams on bye in Week 10, Trubisky doesn’t offer a floor worth considering with the offense in complete disarray ahead of their matchup against the surging Detroit Lions.

Concerning Trend

Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots

Yahoo! Ownership: 96%

Rex Burkhead’s return removed Brandon Bolden from the New England backfield equation but still left three variables as the weekly problem to solve. Sony Michel was seeing an average of 21.7 touches from Weeks 6 through 8, but that promptly dropped to 5 touches in Week 9 against the Baltimore Ravens. Their matchup against the Ravens was the first time this season we’ve seen New England play from behind. While the game was still close, Michel mixed in for four carries and one target. After the Ravens pulled away with a defensive score, Michel never saw the field for the rest of the game. Without a consistent (and reliable) role in the passing game, Week 9’s results indicate Michel can be scripted out of any game as New England will work with the pass-catching backs available in the committee.