Fantasy Football: 3 Players You Can Drop After Week 3
Week 3 is in the books, and the overreactions are in full swing. Whether you’re 3-0 or 0-3 or somewhere in between, the production (or lack thereof) from many of our favorite draft targets has us questioning our offseason thoughts and scrambling to adjust.
To help, I’ve identified some potential drop targets ahead of Week 4. Roster churn will be necessary with bye weeks starting in Week 5. Let’s review the targets from last week and dive into players we can cut to start the new week.
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 (like an 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.
Tarik Cohen -- Cohen left the game in the fourth quarter. He had only 41 all-purpose yards prior to the injury, and he’s now out for the season with a torn ACL. Ryan Nall is the only other running back listed on the depth chart, so we’ll need time to see how the Bears adjust to life without their versatile running back.
Curtis Samuel -- It wasn’t a slate-breaking performance, but Samuel saw a slight uptick in usage as receiver along with his usual work out of the backfield. Mike Davis slid right into Christian McCaffrey’s role, handling 86.7% of the team’s running carries, but it was encouraging to see Samuel more involved. It’s not enough to get him back on our fantasy rosters, but it's worth monitoring as the team faces the Cardinals in Week 4.
Chris Herndon -- Herndon was out-targeted by Braxton Berrios and Kalen Ballage in a complete meltdown of the New York Jets’ offense in Week 3. Sam Darnold threw three interceptions, including two pick-sixes. Herndon accrued just 12.5% of Darnold’s passing yards behind Berrios and Ballage. We should steer clear of any player attached to the Jets’ offense.
Potential Drop Candidates
Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 78%
The Philadelphia Eagles' offense entered the season banged up. Alshon Jeffery was on the PUP list. Miles Sanders’ hamstring strain was set to keep him out of the opening game. Plus, the Eagles were without multiple offensive linemen due to various ailments.
The football community set the bar low for Carson Wentz, and we have still come away disappointed. Through three weeks, the Eagles' offense is better than only the Jets' offense by our schedule-adjusted metrics.
It's crushed Wentz's fantasy value, and he's managed to be the QB22 due in large part to his rushing ability. He's turned in only one QB1 (top-12) week so far.
The quarterback position is one of the easiest positions to pivot from when our starters turn in poor performances. With plenty of waiver-wire options available each week, Wentz should be cut in one-quarterbacks leagues until he either rebounds or has a great matchup.
Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 42%
The hope was that Keelan Cole would see some sort of boost in targets with the team short an option in the passing game. Cole had earned a 15.6% target share in Week 2, and his role from the slot was secure with Chris Conley taking the place of Chark. But Cole’s target share dropped to 11.9% on Thursday night, seeing just five targets despite the team trailing for the entire game.
On top of his reduced role, Cole saw none of Minshew’s pass attempts while the team was in the red zone. In Chark’s absence, Minshew relied on the running backs for 28.6% of his attempts in the red zone, which deviated from their 22.5% rate over the previous two weeks.
While Cole has seen a consistent role of five to six targets per week, his nonexistent red zone usage leaves him reliant on deep balls from Minshew. With Conley leading the team in air yards, Cole’s path to upside is limited, making him a non-essential hold
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 46%
Through three weeks, Kerryon Johnson has yet to lead the Detroit Lions' backfield in touches or snaps in a game. Johnson has been the ceremonial starter every week but has amassed just 19 touches in that span. Either Adrian Peterson or D'Andre Swift has operated as the team’s primary ball carrier with varying degrees of success.
Even after Johnson started in Week 2 and scored a touchdown on the opening drive, he still split carries with both backs earned only a single target to Swift’s five. The delineation in roles has broken down to Peterson being the primary ball carrier while Swift handles the passing-game work. However, even Swift was relegated to watching from the sideline last week as the Lions’ offense welcomed back Kenny Golladay, and Swift got only a single target.
Regardless, Johnson finds himself as the odd man out in an offense predicated on deep passing and short-yardage rushing success. Neither of which Johnson has excelled at in his short time in the NFL. Without a reliable workload, Johnson should be dropped in favor of running backs with a clearer path to volume.
Trend to Note
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 91%
However, through three games, Mixon has averaged just 20 touches per game and has been an afterthought in the passing game. Giovani Bernard has siphoned away some of the targets that most of us assumed would go to Mixon. Even worse, Bernard has looked good and been more effective on his receptions.
The Bengals’ passing options have increased with the additions of Tee Higgins and Mike Thomas plus the return of A.J. Green. Mixon has seen the 96.3% of the running back rushing share but only 3.5% of the running back targets. As he’s yet to find the end zone, he’ll need more pass-game work to give him a solid weekly floor moving forward.
No one is saying you should cut Mixon, but we may not be in for the kind of season we were hoping for from him. It’s possible he bounces back against Jacksonville in Week 4, and if he does, it might be a good time to trade him unless he sees an uptick in pass-game usage.