Fantasy Football: 3 Players You Can Drop After Week 6
Another doubleheader to close out a week of football, and we’ll be turning to the waiver wire yet again for relief. Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota enter their bye weeks, making quarterback decisions difficult along with other key offensive starters we’ll be missing for Week 7. With another four teams scheduled out, fantasy managers will be forced into some tough decision when it comes to making waiver claims. After a few disappointing performances, I identified a few non-essential holds to consider while you’re setting up your rosters for Week 7.
Again, this is the one column I write where 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 player to stay on your squad.
Jerick McKinnon – McKinnon gets another shot as a fantasy contributor. Raheem Mostert suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 6 that will likely result with him on Injured Reserve. After Mostert left in the early third quarter, McKinnon had 5 touches, with rookie JaMycal Hasty earning 9 (plus an incomplete target). The workload is expected to be split, but McKinnon now has a much more viable path to touches than the week prior with Mostert on the active roster.
Mark Ingram – Ingram sustained a left ankle injury in the first quarter. He briefly returned in the second quarter, handled a single carry, and left again for the game. Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins filled the void in his absence, with Edwards slightly edging out Dobbins in touches. Ingram’s injury isn’t considered long-term, and the Baltimore Ravens are entering their bye week. If Ingram can't go, we’ll likely see a similar split when Baltimore is back on the field in Week 8.
T.Y. Hilton – Not only were Hilton’s results poor, but his usage was even worse. We’d accept lackluster target volume if Hilton was still the primary receiver in the offense. Week 6 showed us that’s not the case. Marcus Johnson, Trey Burton, and Zach Pascal all earned more targets with greater results. Hilton also had multiple drops, relegating him to the end of the receiving corps. The Indianapolis Colts go on bye in Week 7, giving managers another chance to drop Hilton in favor of more viable options.
Potential Drop Candidates
Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Lions
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 64%
Marvin Jones had been used more as a deep threat in 2019 with a 13.0 aDOT (average depth of target) to close out the season. He has a 10.5 aDOT to start off the 2020 season. His drop in depth by itself isn’t an issue, but it overlaps with both Kenny Golladay’s (10.9) and Danny Amendola’s (10.3). Since Golladay returned from injury, Jones has just 3 targets of 15 air yards or more, an 11% target share overall, and has 1 target inside the 20-yard line. Despite Matthew Stafford’s aggressive nature (10th in deep ball rate entering Week 5), Jones isn’t used on those routes, and Stafford’s looked to the other pass-catchers when they’re in scoring position. As he falls into WR3 territory, he should be falling from our rosters onto the waiver wire until his usage picks up.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 82%
It’s less about the player and more about their situation. Jarvis Landry is second in targets with a 19% share and has just 1 target in the red zone. His workload is less compared to 2019, but it’s been clear Landry’s dealing with residual issues from his hip injury. Regardless, the Cleveland Browns' offense doesn’t leverage the passing game as much as we’d like for fantasy production. Cleveland entered Week 5 with the fifth-lowest neutral passing rate and third-lowest passing rate while in scoring position. Baker Mayfield had accounted for just 30.5% of his team scoring coming out of Week 4. He’s also 20th in attempts over 15 air yards. No Browns’ receiver has topped 100 yards in a single game this season, lowering any expectations we might have for the Cleveland pass-catching corps. Jarvis will be facing the Cincinnati Bengals, Las Vegas Raiders, and Houston Texans over the next month, which may give us some hope for his future. However, if you need the space, Landry becomes a non-essential hold.
Eric Ebron, TE, Steelers
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 54%
Tight-end production is typically difficult to find, and Eric Ebron’s potential has always been the allure. Regardless, he has just one touchdown on the season and has only topped 50 receiving yards in a single game. Ebron’s fallen to fourth on the team in target share with Chase Claypool quickly catching up to him as he ascends in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense. The former Colt has certainly beat out Vance McDonald for the pass-catching tight end role as he’s nearly doubled McDonald’s number of routes run. However, Ebron's efforts have resulted in 0 red zone targets since Week 3 on a team seemingly filled with pass-catching talent at wide receiver. Fantasy managers may look at his targets over the last 3 weeks (7, 6, and 4) and deem them acceptable given his position. However, his 7.8 aDOT at an 18% target share matches both Zach Ertz’s profile and production in an offense with more options in the passing game. Without either downfield or red zone targets to boost his yardage total or touchdown upside, Ebron can be dropped in favor of other tight-ends with either in their range of outcomes.
Trend to Note
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 95%
JuJu Smith-Schuster’s target share has oscillated between 14% and 18% over his last three games, while his production has lagged even further. He hasn’t topped 50 yards in four consecutive games despite leading the team in targets from within the 20-yard line. At the same time, Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson have ascended to 17% and 20% shares, respectively. In addition, James Washington has continued to siphon targets with a 30.4% share in Week 6. Even with Johnson out of the lineup, Smith-Schuster didn’t earn a target until the early second quarter with Washington leading the pass-catching group in targets and Claypool continuing to leverage his speed as both a receiver and a runner on a design end-around in the red zone. Without a touchdown, Smith-Schuster has ranked as the WR41, WR62, and the WR69. As the Steelers continue to find more options in the passing game, JuJu may need to be relegated to a WR2 or FLEX consideration moving forward.