Fantasy Football: 4 Players You Can Drop After Week 12
Week 12 fully encapsulated the highs and lows of fantasy football. High-value assets like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones performed under expectations. Backups like Rashaad Penny and Jonathan Williams topped the ranks at the chagrin of fantasy managers.
Essentially, Week 12 was another wild ride through the NFL.
However, as the excitement of Monday Night Football fades, we’re quickly faced with Week 13. The three-game Thanksgiving slate ahead of the fantasy playoffs gets the week kicked off. If roster space is needed, we’ve got a few drop candidates to make space. Let’s dive into the latest starting with a review of last week’s recommendations.
Week 12 Review
Our previous drop candidates included:
Curtis Samuel – Kyle Allen threw for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns in Week 12. Curtis Samuel accounted for 3.5% of those yards. While he did contribute on the ground (4 carries for 40 yards), he was fourth in targets with an 11% share of the workload. D.J. Moore has clearly supplanted himself as the top receiver on the Carolina Panthers after a dominating two-touchdown performance, leaving little for Samuel as a fantasy option.
O.J. Howard – There was speculation that after Cameron Brate’s 14 targets in Week 11, Howard would be benched moving forward and Brate would take over. Neither happened. Both tight ends combined for three targets as Chris Godwin took his turn as the primary receiver, exploding for 7 catches, 184 yards and a pair of scores. Howard received two targets, but his first target didn’t come until the second half as the team began to pull away from the Atlanta Falcons. It's nearly impossible to trust Howard or Brate moving forward as the targets have been concentrated on one of the best receiving duos in the league.
Dante Pettis – Pettis saw seven snaps in Week 12 -- not targets, snaps. In a game where the San Francisco 49ers were ahead by double digits by the second quarter, the receiver couldn’t find a way onto the field to join in on the fun. Three wide receivers (one being a rookie), three running backs, and an elite tight end all played well ahead of the sophomore, reducing Pettis’ value to nothing. His redraft ownership should be at 0%.
Vance McDonald, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yahoo! Ownership: 59%
Starting tight ends in redraft leagues feels like a fool’s errand, but targets with a chance to get a touchdown are what we're looking for if we don't have an elite tight ends to play. If you weighed only the targets, Vance McDonald would appear to be a viable starter. He’s had 15% of the team’s targets over the last month, giving the impression of a safe floor. However, his PPR totals have been 14.0 (TE7), 4.3 (TE28), 6.3 (TE24), and 1.1 (TE44).
His latest performance (one target, one reception and one yard) was especially concerning given the team was missing key offensive players. His lone target came in the third quarter from Devlin Hodges after Mason Rudolph was benched. The Pittsburgh Steelers have averaged 13.3 points per game over their last three as the offense has struggled to find a rhythm. That’s fewer points in that span than the Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins, and Denver Broncos.
Given McDonald's reduced workload and offensive situation, fantasy managers should look elsewhere at an already dire position.
Duke Johnson, RB, Houston Texans
Yahoo! Ownership: 55%
Duke Johnson’s history as an efficient runner cannot be understated. However, his usage has yet to match the perceived talent level. Win or lose, Bill O’Brien is content to send Carlos Hyde into stacked boxes in an attempt to establish the run. This has left Johnson in an ancillary role that’s essentially been game-script dependent.
Johnson has received 10.8 touches per game in losses and 8.1 touches per game in wins. While their upcoming schedule could be conducive to negative game scripts (New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans), the crowded receiving group with the re-addition of Will Fuller leaves fewer targets for the running back. Week 12 marked the third time this season with only one target for Johnson. All three have been in games with Fuller active.
The lack of touches makes it difficult to retain Johnson despite his upside. Given the choice between a good handcuff and Johnson, the handcuff likely has more value.
Brian Hill, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Yahoo! Ownership: 40%
Brian Hill was set to receive the majority of the workload with Devonta Freeman sidelined with a foot injury since Week 10. Hill entered in relief of Freeman during the contest against the New Orleans Saints, and toted 95.5% of the carries, setting expectations and FAAB pricing for the upcoming waiver run.
Since then, his touch share has been 69.6% and 52.2%. He’s had four of the 12 red zone carries. He’s yet to crack 50 scrimmage yards as a starter. He’s scored zero touchdowns. Freeman was back early this week as limited participant in practice, per the Atlanta Falcons estimated practice report for Monday. With Freeman’s return imminent, Hill returns to his backup role and a non-essential handcuff should Freeman’s injury persist.
Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins
Yahoo! Ownership: 36%
The Dolphins’ running back has now started three consecutive games and touched the ball 36 times. The guaranteed volume was an allure for some fantasy managers, but the results haven’t panned out. His 15.7 opportunities per game (including targets), have resulted in 75 scrimmage yards and a single touchdown. Miami's fascination with the sophomore running back is starting to fade as his targets, touchdowns, and snaps have been on a three-week decline. Coupling Miami’s weak offensive output of averaging 20.0 total points over their last three alongside his reduced workload, and Ballage should be quickly dropped for handcuffs or upside plays as the fantasy playoffs approach.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders
Yahoo! Ownership: 99%
Josh Jacobs has already secured his piece of history, but the Oakland Raiders’ offense has had a few games like Week 12 so far this season -- games in which Oakland fell behind big, giving rise to increased usage to all assets within the Oakland offense. The rookie has yet to benefit from these types of games.
In wins, Josh Jacobs has touched the ball 24.8 times per game. He’s maintained a majority share of the backfield touches, earning nearly three targets when Derek Carr has kept the offense moving. In losses, his workload has been nearly cut in half. His touches per game drops to 15.2, and his targets drop to an average of 1.6. He saw a single target in a game the team lost by 31 points.
With difficult matchups ahead (Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars), Jacobs touch share may continue to be an issue if the offense falls behind schedule. Obviously, he's not a guy to consider cutting, but you may not want to start him when Oakland is a big underdog.