Fantasy Football: 4 Players You Can Drop After Week 11
The Atlanta Falcons' performances over the last two weeks highlights an important concept in fantasy football. Small sample sizes or outlier results can't always be accepted as such. In some cases, there's some nuance or actionable piece of information that may point to the beginning of a new trend.
In the case of Atlanta, Dan Quinn reportedly gave up play-calling duties to some of his assistants coming off of their bye. Since that time, they've recorded 11 sacks and limited their opponents to 12 points over two games, including a road matchup with the high-powered New Orleans Saints.
The fantasy community had eight weeks of data pointing to Atlanta being a positive matchup. Processes pointed to the Carolina Panthers (last week) and New Orleans being the optimal plays in both weeks. The results were very suboptimal.
Even in Week 11, processes surrounding matchup evaluation should continue to incorporate as much data as possible. Inputs, however minor, can have a large impact on offensive output that will affect our teams. Larger sample sizes are always preferred, but recent trends also point to actionable information as we make roster decisions. With that, let's give into the Week 11 news as we look to Week 12.
Week 11 Review
Our previous drop candidates included:
Brandin Cooks – Adam Schefter has provided some good news for Cooks. He’s expected back for their Week 12 Monday night matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. While the speedy deep threat will be active, the question around his usage remains to be answered. Jared Goff’s pass attempts of 15 air yards or more have decreased every week since Week 7. At the same time, Baltimore has allowed eight total completions on those same passes along with notching an interception. The Los Angeles Rams’ offense has averaged 23.8 points per game over their last four games. Without the Rams looking like the same aerial attack of the last two seasons, Cooks isn't a must add or hold by any stretch.
Robby Anderson – Three targets. One reception. Six yards. One touchdown. The touchdown (and celebration) will pop for any fantasy manager moving forward. However, he was still fourth in targets and finished with fewer than 50 receiving yards for the eighth time this season. A weak target share on a lesser offense should keep Anderson out on the wire.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Yahoo! Ownership: 98%
"Welp" is right.
David Johnson’s first-round ADP now feels like a steep cost given his output. He gained 613 scrimmage yards in the first six weeks of the season (10th-most in the league). Since then, he’s recorded 12. That’s not a typo.
His snaps were trending down since Week 5, and he’s yet to see a 50% snap share since his return to play. Also, his on-field presence isn’t the nearly the same. He’s received no more than seven touches over the past three weeks and was shut out in Week 11 without an injury designation.
He’s clearly hurt, and it’s possible the team will re-evaluate his situation over their bye. But without more clarity, Kenyan Drake leading the way and with Chase Edmond on his way back, Johnson becomes a non-essential hold if you need to use bench spots on players who can help you win now and get into the playoffs.
Curtis Samuel, WR, Carolina Panthers
Yahoo! Ownership: 79%
To think of what could have been.
The Carolina Panthers’ receiver entering his third year was a prime breakout candidate in what was to be a good offense piloted by Cam Newton. With Newton out and Kyle Allen still learning the ropes, we’re left to discern Curtis Samuel's value headed forward.
His counterpart, D.J. Moore, has taken and retained the number-one wideout role on the team. Moore’s 402 air yards over the past three weeks have been converted into 316 receiving yards on 36 targets. Samuel hasn’t been nearly as efficient. His 314 air yards have resulted in only 124 receiving yards on 21 targets. Samuel does have two touchdowns to cover up the discrepancy, but the differences in the receivers’ usages directly conflicts with their quarterback’s skill level.
Allen has now thrown interceptions on four deep passes over the past three weeks. Samuel’s 15.0 average depth of target has given way to Moore, Greg Olsen, and Christian McCaffrey either meeting or exceeding his target share as the offensive line (and Allen’s lack of experience) has broken down. Samuel’s 190-yard differential between air yards and receiving yards is the second-biggest over the last three weeks.
As Carolina continues to lean on the short and intermediate areas of the field, Samuel appears to be the odd man out, making him a viable drop candidate ahead of Week 12.
O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yahoo! Ownership: 51%
O.J. Howard returned to the fantasy circle of trust in Week 10 prior to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. The Tight End Flowchart matchup was worth a start, and Howard saw a season-high seven targets along with scoring his first touchdown of the season.
The joy over having the TE4 in preseason ADP finally hitting double-digit PPR points lasted only seven days. Howard was benched following a catch, bobble and behind-the-back debacle that resulted in one of Jameis Winston’s four interceptions. In his absence, Cameron Brate saw 14 (!) targets as the Buccaneers attempted to make a comeback against the New Orleans Saints.
Howard’s lacking usage, clear competition, and possibility of being benched for poor play all point to a risky fantasy asset that can be dropped in all but dynasty formats. It's just not happening for him this season.
Dante Pettis, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Yahoo! Ownership: 10%
Marquise Goodwin has missed two games and has averaged less than three targets per game over his last three outings. Emmanuel Sanders is injured and playing limited snaps. George Kittle is hurt and has missed two games. Matt Breida is also injured and missed Week 11. With all of these primary offensive players are missing time, Dante Pettis has totaled seven targets while Jimmy Garoppolo has attempted 86 passes.
Rookie receiver Deebo Samuel and backup tight end Ross Dwelley both earned more targets than the second-year player as the San Francisco 49ers’ offense continued to put up nearly 30 points per game. Pettis now sits at eighth in target share on the team -- behind three other receivers, two tight ends, and two running backs. The hope was that the absence of so many starters would increase his workload, but clearly his play has put him at the bottom of Kyle Shanahan’s list.
Until further notice, Pettis belongs out on the waiver wire.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Yahoo! Ownership: 91%
It’s hard to buy into losing teams as their offensive projections are limited on a weekly basis. The Cincinnati Bengals are now third-worst in yards per drive as the team has moved from Andy Dalton to Ryan Finley and gotten zero boost from it.
Tyler Boyd has been in the slot on 54.5% of his targets, but he’s seen only 11 targets since the team’s bye. He had 11 or more targets in four games prior to the quarterback change. Week 11’s results were three targets, one reception, and zero yards.
As Finley has immediately shown he’s not the answer for Cincinnati’s future, he’s begun to bring the other assets down with him as he’s yet to clear 200 yards passing in a game. Cincy faces the stout D of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12, leaving little hope for Boyd's immediate future as the playoffs near. If Boyd doesn't do anything in Week 12, it may be time to cut him loose.