Fantasy Football: 3 Players You Can Drop After Week 2
Bye weeks are usually when we’re forced to make tough roster decisions due to players having the week off to rest. Week 2 has sped up that schedule. Injuries to some of the biggest names in the NFL will have every fantasy manager scanning the waiver wire for relief options. But the acquisition of Week 3’s hottest priority adds requires a corresponding drop. So we’re here to review some of the potential drop candidates as we head into Week 3.
This is one area where I hope I’m wrong. Well, I hope I’m wrong from time to time. Cutting a player is never an easy decision unless a definite reason presents itself (e.g. injury). I’ll always take a look back to either confirm my previous read on the situation or find some hope for a player to stay on your squad.
Jordan Howard – He got the short-yardage touchdown, but was otherwise unproductive on the day. He was out-snapped by Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida and had fewer rushing yards than Ryan Fitzpatrick. To boot, he was left out of the passing game yet again in favor of the other running backs. As his production continues to tail off, he should remain on the waiver wire.
Christian Kirk – Despite recording a 0 in Week 1, Kirk was second on the team in total air yards at 70. The usage indicated there was some hope that the third-year receiver could redeem himself. He again found himself near the bottom of the pecking order as DeAndre Hopkins stole the show again. Even in a voluminous passing offense, Kirk has yet to separate himself and can‘t be reliably used in any fantasy format moving forward.
Rob Gronkowski – Tom Brady threw 35 passes in Week 2. The former elite tight-end earned 0 of those pass attempts. If the narrative is that Brady is favoring the younger, more athletic players, LeSean McCoy had five receptions in the same game. Other viable tight ends have emerged due to injuries (e.g. Jonnu Smith) with clearer paths to volume and fantasy production. Gronkowski should be kept far away from your roster as Gronkowski’s (and Tom Brady’s) value is waning in fantasy circles.
Potential Drop Candidates
Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 75%
Tarik Cohen’s value has been tied to his role as the change-of-pace back in Chicago. His targets have steadily risen since he came into the league in 2017, and he finished the 2019 season with 104. The James White comparison made sense, but Chicago’s offense has been markedly less productive than the New England Patriots. Regardless, running backs were targeted on 26% of Chicago’s passing attempts (fifth-highest in 2019), keeping Cohen’s value in the middle rounds of drafts.
But his usage has taken a hit to the early parts of 2020. Running backs have only been targeted on 15.9% of Mitchell Trubisky’s attempts as Chicago has begun incorporating their receivers and tight ends more in the passing game. Plus, Cohen isn’t the only pass-catching back for the Bears. David Montgomery has earned 3 targets per game (2.2 targets per game in 2019) through the first couple weeks, capping Cohen’s upside.
As the passing options open up in Chicago, Cohen may feel the brunt of decreased usage, forcing fantasy managers to put him out on the waiver wire in favor of higher priority pickups.
Curtis Samuel, WR, Panthers
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 63%
Curtis Samuel finished 2019 with the ninth-most air yards for all wide receivers. Converting air yards into receiving yards is what we need, but air yards indicate offensive intent.
Last year showed a need to use Samuel in both the passing game and as a runner (19-130-1 on the ground). The Panthers signing Robby Anderson was a concern, but Teddy Bridgewater’s penchant for short passes (6.2 aDOT) was deemed a positive should Samuel move to the slot.
Samuel has seen a rise in snaps out of the slot, but Robby Anderson has earned more targets in Matt Rhule’s offense. Anderson has 179 air yards to Samuel’s 79, and the former Jet has converted those air yards into over 100 yards per game to start the season. In addition, Bridgewater has taken a step forward as his passing aDOT has increased to 7.7 as the team tries to incorporate more intermediate concepts into the offense.
Christian McCaffrey’s injury presents a sliver of hope for Samuel. Mike Davis will take the bulk of workload, but Samuel is a converted running back. It may take some time for the offense to adjust to life without their RB1, so Samuel is a potential cut candidate as his role within the new offense is limited.
Chris Herndon, TE, Jets
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 46%
Rostering a player with a high number of projected targets is typically good process. That’s especially true at the tight end position. Touchdowns almost guarantee a TE1 finish on a weekly basis, but potential targets, and the accompanied yardage, can be more reliable.
Unless you play for the Jets.
After Week 1, the prevailing narrative was that Sam Darnold’s connection with Jamison Crowder (13 targets) removed most of Chris Herndon’s upside. But Crowder was forced to sit in Week 2 due to injury. The Jets were forced to start Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios. There were no other viable options and Herndon would be a featured part of the offense.
Herndon didn’t see his first target until the second quarter, dropped his sole red zone target, and ended the day fourth in targets. He was out-targeted by Josh Malone, who didn’t log a single reception in 2019. The New York Jets are now 31st in total points per game at 15.0.
Herndon’s target share dropped after a primary receiver was out of the lineup and is on one of the lowest scoring offenses in the league. Until the team’s outlook improves, we should be looking elsewhere for tight-end production.
Trend to Note
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 91%
It's another week featuring a concerning trend for a Bengals’ receiver. Tyler Boyd quickly redeemed himself on Thursday night, but his teammate had a rough night.
The positive for A.J. Green is his usage. Through two weeks, he leads all Cincinnati pass-catchers with 338 air yards. The next closest receiver has 84. He has a similar lead in targets. The problem is his (and Joe Burrow’s) ability to convert those air yards into fantasy points.
Green had 13 targets in Week 2 that resulted in just 29 yards. He dropped a sure touchdown pass and had multiple contested catches broken up throughout the game. His offseason injury and lack of time with Burrow may explain some of the misfires between the pair.
However, as the team moves to empty-set formations and incorporating more receivers Green may have trouble separating himself from the pack.