Fantasy Football: 3 Players You Can Drop After Week 12
Week 12 set up to be a wild week from the start. Multiple players from the Baltimore Ravens tested positive for COVID-19, which caused the game to be moved from their primetime spot on Thanksgiving. By Sunday morning, five other teams made similar roster moves, elevating the concern for Sunday’s games. The week has now been extended with the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers set to play on Wednesday afternoon, Thursday Night football cancelled, and most fantasy platforms postponing waivers until Thursday morning. Even with the additional time to process the weekend games, I’ve got a few potential drop targets to consider ahead of Week 13.
As always, 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.
Matt Ryan – Without Julio Jones, Matt Ryan faltered in Week 12. His -7.0% Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) was his second-lowest on the season, and his 185 passing yards were the fewest he’s thrown in 2020. He was at least able to provide a floor with 13.9 points, but his two touchdowns accounted for just 32.6% of the Atlanta Falcons’ scores. With Jones’ Week 13 availability already in question, fantasy managers should continue to look elsewhere with the Saints’ defense up next.
Duke Johnson – Johnson’s situation marginally improved in Week 12. He was still ineffective as a runner (9-37-0), but his usage as a receiver was slightly better with a bump in his aDOT (5.0 in Week 11 to 6.0 in Week 12). However, that shift was primarily caused by the 29-yard pass that resulted in a touchdown. Johnson still has control over the backfield for another week if David Johnson remains out, and Will Fuller’s suspension will open up some targets moving forward. With the Houston Texans facing Indianapolis (twice) and Chicago over their next three games, Johnson is a hold for now but will be hard to start throughout the playoffs.
Potential Drop Candidates
Cam Newton, QB, Patriots
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 77%
He’s been at his best when not under pressure, but those games have been hard to come by over the last month. Newton struggled against the Arizona Cardinals and the Baltimore Ravens who are both in the top 10 for pressure rate this season. In both games, the former MVP was held to under 120 passing yards, and he salvaged his fantasy day against the Ravens with a touchdown on the ground.
New England’s upcoming matchups throughout the fantasy playoffs include the Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills. The Rams and Dolphins are second and sixth, respectively, in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, and the Chargers and Bills have each averaged nearly a 30.0% pressure rate over their last four games. With Newton unable to maintain production week to week, it’s best to find other options as we head into the fantasy playoffs.
Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 80%
The hope was that after Kenyan Drake returned, Chase Edmonds would still be featured in the Cardinals’ offense. However, his snap share in Week 12 (45%) was at its lowest since Week 6 while his running back touch share was at 28.6% for the second consecutive week.
To make matters worse, his red-zone touches were completely eliminated during their loss to the New England Patriots in Week 12. Edmonds had received at least one touch from within the 20-yard line in every week this season until the Cardinals faced the Patriots. Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake completely took over the backfield with nine touches when Arizona was within the red zone.
Drake’s finally converting short-yardage scores and his increased touch share indicates he’s over his injury which has limited Edmonds’ overall usage. Edmonds would be a priority handcuff to hold, but the Cardinals are set to face the Rams, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers throughout the playoffs. With his limited usage and bleak outlook over the rest of the season, Edmonds becomes a non-essential hold coming out of Week 12.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 47%
I’m guessing that most fantasy managers aren’t relying on A.J. Green anymore, but his roster rate warranted the discussion.
Any Cincinnati Bengals pass-catcher was difficult to trust after Joe Burrow’s season-ending knee injury, but Green clearly caught the brunt of the change at quarterback. The nine-year veteran was gaining some rapport with Burrow and had maintained a 17.0% target share over the last few games. The results weren’t great (just 41 receiving yards), but Green did find the end zone for the first time since Week 8 back in 2018.
However, in Week 12, Green was a ghost. Brandon Allen attempted 29 passes and only 3 of them went Green’s way. His 10.3% target share was his lowest since Week 4 and his second-lowest rate on the season. In Allen’s single trip to the red zone, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and Auden Tate earned a target over Green, and Higgins scored the lone touchdown.
With the passing volume and efficiency on the decline in Cincinnati, fantasy managers should quickly move on from Green as we enter the fantasy playoffs.
Trend to Note
Jakobi Meyers, WR, Patriots
Yahoo! Roster Percentage: 52%
Jakobi Meyers’ first start for the New England Patriots came in Week 8, and he immediately took over as the primary receiver right out of the gate. From Weeks 8 to 10, he commanded a massive 42.0% target share with 286 receiving yards to show for his workload. To be fair, 169 of those 286 yards came in a single game, but the 31 targets had Meyers in every starting lineup.
However, he’s fallen behind in the last two weeks. His targets have dwindled to just 3 and 6 in Weeks 11 and 12, respectively. His 15.5% target share has been accompanied by 90 receiving yards while Cam Newton has thrown for over 400 yards in that span.
In addition, Meyers mysteriously didn’t start against Arizona (N'Keal Harry was on the field for the first drive when Newton was intercepted) and was used sparingly throughout the game. Beat reports indicated Patrick Peterson was covering Meyers throughout the game, and the young receiver hasn’t quite developed learned how to beat press coverage.
However, with Newton ailing as a passer, fantasy managers should be wary of starting Meyers moving forward.