Fantasy Football: 4 Players You Can Drop After Week 13
We finally made it -- the fantasy playoffs.
Grinding through the regular season is a war of attrition with bye weeks, injuries, and trades seemingly occurring each week. While we look back on the season and remember what was, the weeks ahead are what fantasy football is all about. The road to winning your league becomes a bit shorter, and matchup and player evaluation become critical during this time.
Let's dig into the latest trends and see who should be left on the waiver wire as we enter playoff season.
Week 13 Review
Our previous drop candidates included:
Vance McDonald – McDonald saw 3 targets in Devlin Hodges second NFL start. The veteran tight end did reach a 14% target share, but he was still third in team targets on a team that passed on just 46.9% of their offensive plays. He received zero red zone targets, further limiting his upside at the position. With another sub-TE24 performance, McDonald should be left on waivers as the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to grind out wins their own way.
Duke Johnson – Johnson saw a season-high 15 touches against the New England Patriots. His six targets (23% target share) were also a season high, lending credence to the idea that this was a concerted effort by Bill O’Brien to exploit a weakness with the Patriots’ defense. Conversely, Carlos Hyde’s workload was scaled back to 10 rush attempts. While the increased workload (and the touchdown) is welcome for Duke, it occurs inconsistently, making him a low-end RB2 or FLEX play at best. In short-bench leagues, he remains a non-essential hold through the playoffs.
Brian Hill – Hill’s snap rate dropped to 26% as Devonta Freeman returned on Thanksgiving. Hill continued his downward trend of touches and saw no work inside the red zone. There were no reports of a setback for Freeman after Week 13, relegating Hill to backup status moving forward. The Atlanta Falcons have been eliminated from playoffs, giving rise to the idea that Hill may be used more over their final stretch of games. However, injuries to Julio Jones and Matt Ryan have limited Atlanta's offense as they’ve totaled 25.9 and 24.9 yards per drive over their last two games. Hill is not a handcuff worth prioritizing.
Kalen Ballage – Ballage continued to start for the Miami Dolphins in Week 13. His three carries went for 0, 1, and -1 yards before the running back needed to be carted to the locker room. Injury aside, Ballage’s 29.73% success rate is 55th out of 57 running backs with 50 or more attempts. The Dolphins have found their success through the air, keeping Ballage from starting rosters in fantasy leagues.
Tevin Coleman, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Yahoo! Ownership: 94%
First, Raheem Mostert’s usage seemed like a gimmick. Then, it became situational as Matt Breida was dealing with injuries. Now, Tevin Coleman has ceded primary running back carries to the third-string/special teams running back.
The Baltimore Ravens had allowed only two 100-yard rushers the entire season. Mostert put up 146 in the rain as Coleman managed six yards on five carries. Coleman has now fallen behind both Mostert and Breida in percentage of 5- and 10-yard runs, and his target share (10%) nearly matches Mostert’s. Coleman’s 6 touches and 21.4% backfield share were a season low, with a clear shift in responsibilities as the game progressed.
With San Francisco preparing to travel to New Orleans in Week 14 to face the Saints stout run D (eight-best, per our schedule-adjusted metrics) along with Breida’s likely return, fantasy managers no longer have a starting running back on their squad with Coleman. At best, Coleman is a hold, but his outlook is bleak heading into the fantasy playoffs.
Jonathan Williams, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Yahoo! Ownership: 78%
Williams' previous touch rates of 82.4% and 72.5% were cut to 32.1% in Week 13. He didn’t carry the ball throughout the entire second half. His red zone work was reduced to nada as Nyheim Hines received all of the work, including the goal line plunge in a neutral-game situation. Wilkins and Hines both received multiple targets to Williams’ lone target.
Now in three-way timeshare with a limited role, Williams’ path to fantasy success is hard to envision. In addition, the Indianapolis Colts’ Week 14 game is against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the top run D, per our numbers. Without any clarity on the situation and a possible return from Marlon Mack, Williams can be dropped for better options.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Yahoo! Ownership: 76%
Sammy Watkins hasn’t topped 100 receiving yards since Week 1. His three-touchdown performance in the opening week reinvigorated fantasy managers who invested in him throughout the offseason, but that excitement was short-lived.
Since then, Watkins has missed multiple games and fallen further on the passing depth chart. Watkins has 15 targets across the last three games, resulting in 55 scoreless yards. He also has the second-most drops on the team (three) with one coming this past week. The offense has been concentrated around Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and Watkins’ usage hasn’t increased when either has been out of the lineup.
Holding a piece of an explosive offense is typically wise, but Watkins doesn’t appear to have the role necessary to justify keeping him even through the playoffs.
Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Yahoo! Ownership: 58%
Philip Rivers hasn’t been a QB1 (top-12) since Week 7. He’s crested 20 fantasy points only three times this season. Meanwhile, he’s thrown an interception (or more) in three straight games. His Passing Success Rate has been at 50% or below in six of his last eight games. Even his yardage totals have been inconsistent as he’s bounced between 201 and 353 passing yards over the last month.
The assumption is that Melvin Gordon regaining his role as the lead back has changed how the offense functions. However, the Los Angeles Chargers are still passing on 61% of their plays, and Rivers has attempted 140 passes over the last month. With a cross-country road game ahead of them in Week 14 (Jacksonville Jaguars), fantasy managers should look for streaming options as the Chargers continue to disappoint both on the field and in the box score.