Fantasy Football: 3 Players You Can Drop After Week 14
I’m still reeling after the game on Monday night. What a way to close out Week 14 and the first week of the fantasy playoffs. I can’t think of another game at this time of the season that had so many playoff advancement hopes riding on its outcome. Regardless, I hope you’ve advanced to the next round and still have roster decisions to make ahead of Week 15. To help, I’ve identified a few targets to help churn your roster as we make the final push to championship week.
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 a player to stay on your squad.
Todd Gurley – Gurley had just nine touches with just one attempt from within the 20-yard line. Meanwhile, Ito Smith saw more touches (12), more snaps (43%), and had two touches inside the red zone. The backfield appears to be split and the Atlanta Falcons have scored more than 20 points just once over the last month. Gurley can’t be started and belongs out on the wire.
James White – White had the most snaps for any of the New England Patriots’ running backs (46%) but had the least amount of touches (5). The snap count increase is likely due to the Patriots trailing for the entire game, but White’s workload is severely lacking. As Damien Harris and Sony Michel continue to work ahead of him, White should remain away from our starting rosters.
Travis Fulgham – Fulgham didn’t even receive a target in Week 14. He ceded snaps to Quez Watkins while the Philadelphia Eagles made it a point to feature Alshon Jeffery in Jalen Hurts’ first career start. There’s no telling how Fulgham fell out of favor in a passing game riddled with injuries but doesn’t belong on our rosters anymore.
Potential Drop Candidates
Jordan Wilkins, RB, Colts
It’s easy to make this call after Jonathan Taylor scores two touchdowns, but the backfield was shifting away from Jordan Wilkins over the past few weeks. His snaps had dwindled from 34% in Week 8 down to 11% in Week 11. Taylor missed Week 12 due to being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and yet, Nyheim Hines saw the bulk of the carries. Since Taylor’s return, Wilkins has been on the decline again ending in just a 10% snap share in Week 14. His three touches (just one from inside the 20-yard line) to spell Taylor reflect his current role within the backfield. Fantasy managers in deep-bench leagues should hold Wilkins as a priority handcuff. Otherwise, we should be looking elsewhere for production.
Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals
Christian Kirk came back into fantasy relevance from Weeks 6 through 9 and in that four-game stretch, he had touchdowns in three consecutive games. His target share from earlier in the season (14.0%) increased to 18.5% and he led the team in red-zone targets. That’s all changed since Week 11. He’s had just two targets from within the 20-yard line and his target share has fallen to just 13.0% over their last four games. Larry Fitzgerald missed Week 12 and Week 13 after testing positive for COVID-19 and Kirk still sat at a 12.0% target share.
The problem is Kyler Murray's shift in passing. When Kirk was productive, Murray was averaging 8.5 yards per attempt (YPA). Since his shoulder injury and being forced to avoid pressure, he’s averaged just 5.7 YPA. Kirk has a 13.5 aDOT on the season which directly conflicts with Murray’s current style of play. Until the passing game becomes more aggressive, Kirk should be avoided in all formats.
Hayden Hurst, TE, Falcons
Tight ends are already tough to trust and we normally look at projectable targets. Earlier in the season, Hayden Hurst was maintaining at a 14.0% target share through the first month of the season. We assumed Julio Jones missing Week 3 and still injured in Week 4 would condense Atlanta’s target tree enabling more work, but the opposite happened. Matt Ryan’s volume and efficiency dropped which hamstrung the entire offense. Hurst’s target share dropped to 12.0%, but he scored a touchdown keeping fantasy managers happy. Jones did the same in Weeks 11, 12, and 14 and Hurst averaged just 36 air yards on 14 targets.
The Falcons have averaged 32.9 yards per drive on offense over their last three games. For comparison, albeit over a larger sample, the Jacksonville Jaguars have averaged 32.4 yards per drive on the season. With the offense declining and Hurst’s workload doing the same, fantasy managers should look elsewhere during the playoffs.