Fantasy Football: 3 Players You Can Drop After Week 11
Thanksgiving week is one of the best slates of the season. It’s time for us to kick back, enjoy football, and tilt the day away. But before we get there, we still have lineup decisions to make.
All 32 teams are active this week, putting bench spots at a premium. With the playoffs starting in Week 14, I’ve identified a few players who should be considered as non-essential holds as we prepare for the Thursday games and Week 12.
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 a player to stay on your squad.
Jared Goff – The Los Angeles Rams had the right game plan against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Goff threw two interceptions but was largely untouched throughout most of their matchup as he didn’t take a single sack. The tunnel screens and wide receiver jet sweeps kept the pressure at bay, allowing Goff to work Tampa’s zone defense to the tune of 376 yards and 3 touchdowns. His QB4 finish was his best since Week 5, and the Rams' upcoming schedule is somewhat favorable. Goff may have value moving forward, but he’s difficult to trust on a weekly basis.
Adrian Peterson – D'Andre Swift was ruled out with a concussion this past week, leaving the backfield to Peterson and Kerryon Johnson. Both were unusable as fantasy assets. Peterson had 7 carries for just 18 yards and only got 1 target as the Detroit Lions were blanked by the Carolina Panthers. To make matters worse, the Panthers entered Week 11 with the sixth-worst run D by our schedule-adjusted numbers. They had allowed a rushing touchdown in all but two games, and the Lions couldn’t even get on the scoreboard. If Swift can't play in Week 12, this backfield has another good matchup against the Houston Texans, but it's hard to trust Peterson or Johnson.
Jarvis Landry – Weather has adversely affected the last three games in Cleveland, but Landry wound up with just two targets in Week 11. The rain surely impacted the Cleveland Browns’ offensive game plan, but Landry being out-targeted by Khadarel Hodge, Rashard Higgins, and Austin Hooper is concerning. Mayfield was still taking shots downfield off play-action without Landry’s involvement. Without any work in the red zone, Landry isn’t a valuable fantasy asset.
Potential Drop Candidates
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 92%
Matt Ryan is yet another example of the fragility of non-mobile quarterbacks. The New Orleans Saints’ defense entered Week 11 with a 24.3% pressure rate (10th highest) and were allowing just 0.09 Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. An injury to Julio Jones plus pressure up front resulted in eight sacks and two interceptions for Ryan in Week 11.
Taysom Hill dunking on the Falcons for two rushing touchdowns was insult to injury, but the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive game plan was curious at best. In Jones’ absence, Russell Gage took on the majority target share with minimal involvement from Hayden Hurst (two targets) or Olamide Zaccheaus (one target), who had stepped in for Jones in previous games. The lack of creativity, Ryan’s misfires, and his lack of rushing floor resulted in his worst fantasy outing of the season.
It might look reactionary to recommend Ryan as a drop after such a poor performance, but his next three matchups don’t generate any sort of hope (Saints, Chargers, and Buccaneers). Ryan should be useable in Week 12 against the Las Vegas Raiders, but fantasy managers should look for other options once the fantasy playoffs begin.
Duke Johnson, RB, Texans
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 79%
Duke Johnson had the backfield all to himself in Week 10. He took 95% of the team running back snaps and 93.3% of the backfield touch share. In most cases, we’d be excited about a running back with that much work, but Duke was inefficient with his touches.
He totaled just 54 scrimmage yards against the Browns but had a chance to redeem himself in Week 11 against a New England Patriots that has struggled most of the year. And, again, Johnson was the primary running back for the Texans. Duke handled 76.9% of the running-back touches, but it resulted in just 10 carries for 15 yards. Johnson did earn five targets, but he couldn’t break a play for anything longer than nine yards.
After another game without any significant contribution on the ground or in the passing game, Johnson can’t be reliably started -- even in a dope Thanksgiving matchup with the Detroit Lions. He’s had just two touches within the 20-yard line, and his matchups starting in Week 13 include Indianapolis Colts (twice) and Chicago Bears. Projections will likely favor Duke with David Johnson still on injured reserve, but neither is an essential hold with the Texans’ running game being so ineffective.
Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 83%
Marquise Brown entered Week 11 with a nice target share in the Baltimore Ravens' offense. His 23% target share was emphasized by the fact that Brown had been the primary receiver in every game except for in Week 8. His short and intermediate targets along with his deep targets (11th most in the league) were enough to sustain his fantasy value -- although said fantasy value was on life support -- until this past week.
Against the Tennessee Titans, who were missing multiple starters on defense, Brown earned just three targets. Mark Andrews saw his usual 24% share, but Brown was out-targeted by both Willie Snead and Dez Bryant, who was recently called up from the practice squad. Brown and Lamar Jackson did miss on what would have been a lengthy touchdown, but Brown was held to zero yards for the first time this season.
The Baltimore Ravens face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12 prior to their easy playoff schedule, but the shift in target share combined with a zero in the box score is difficult to stomach so late in the season. Holding Brown on your bench may be the right call, but he has become a non-essential hold if you're pressed for roster spots.
Trend to Note
Robby Anderson, WR, Panthers
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 94%
Robby Anderson has held a consistent role in the Panthers’ offense since Week 1. His 25% target share through the first month of the season caused many folks to wonder about D.J. Moore’s value. Anderson’s multiple games of more than 100 yards had many ready to make him the top receiver in Carolina.
However, the targets haven’t necessarily translated into fantasy production, and his consistency isn’t as appealing as it once was in the middle of the season. Curtis Samuel and Moore have now combined for nine touchdowns this season (five and four, respectively). Anderson has just the lone touchdown, which came all the way back in Week 1. But it’s not for lack of trying. Anderson entered Week 11 tied for second in targets from within the 20-yard line over the last month.
Despite the change in quarterback, Anderson has continued to see a reliable opportunity, but we’ll need to see the red zone work continue for him to access his ceiling. Carolina has Minnesota, Denver, and Green Bay coming up. Assuming the high-value touches continue, Anderson should rebound moving forward.