Week 5 Fantasy Football Drop List: Time to Move on From Joique Bell?

Don't miss out on the next Karlos Williams. Drop the dead weight from your roster now.

A fourth of the way way through the fantasy season, owners are looking to the waiver wire to find this year’s Odell Beckham or C.J. Anderson.

When looking at potential adds, however, one of the biggest fears an owner faces is giving up too early on a player. As great as it felt for owners who picked up Beckham last season, every one-handed Beckham grab haunted the owners who dropped him too soon.

With bye weeks and injuries ramping up, players will have to be dropped to make space for waiver wire adds.

Of course, just because a player is on this list does not mean they must be dropped. Many drops depend on league size and roster construction. This list is intended to give owners a list of players who could be dropped based on performance or team trends that make their fantasy outlook bleak.

At this point, little evidence suggests these players should tie up a spot on your bench, a spot that could theoretically be used on a player who could potentially break out and win you a league championship.

Joique Bell, Detroit Lions, Running Back

Yahoo ownership: 32%
ESPN ownership: 53%

Joique Bell battled injuries all offseason and missed Week 4 with an ankle injury. His ownership percentage has been dropping, but it’s still too high for a running back averaging 1.1 yards per carry though three games. In Week 3, Bell rushed 10 times for 6 yards and caught 1 pass for -2 yards. He did find the end zone on one of his carries, keeping owners hanging on for hope.

Bell has looked like he’s running uphill in a sand trap this season and is now nursing an ankle injury. Bell has produced a -0.32 Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per attempt this season, which means that he is hurting the offense and the team’s chance of producing points on an average carry.

The Lions offense is no longer the fantasy juggernaut of seasons past, as both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson have struggled. With rookies Ameer Abdullah and Zach Zenner, and passing down back Theo Riddick carving out a role, the Lions have running backs on the roster could keep Bell off the field.

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers, Tight End

Yahoo ownership: 42%
ESPN ownership: 26%

Playing in 14 games last season, Vernon Davis finished with just 245 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns, his lowest yardage total since his 2006 rookie season and lowest touchdown total since 2008. After starting the season with receiving stat lines of 3 catches for 47 yards and 5 for 62 in Weeks 1 and 2, Davis didn’t record a catch in Week 3 before leaving with a knee injury.

Owners who waited around last season for Davis won’t make the same mistake again. He was brutal last year and is on the same track this season. As a team, the 49ers are averaging only 12 points and 158.8 passing yards per game. There isn’t much offense to go around. Davis had a few huge seasons in the past, recording 13 touchdowns in both 2009 and 2013, but those days are long gone.

Since last season and continuing into this season, the production just isn’t there from Davis or the 49ers passing “attack.” Don’t make the same mistake owners made last year wasting a roster spot on Davis, who our algorithms value as just the 33rd-best fantasy tight end for the rest of the season.

Andre Johnson, Indianapolis Colts, Wide Receiver

Yahoo ownership: 74%
ESPN ownership: 72%

Free from the quarterback carousel of the Houston Texans and now catching passes from Andrew Luck, Andre Johnson was expected to be a focal point of the Colts passing offense alongside T.Y. Hilton. Looking a step or four slower and every bit of 34 years old, Johnson’s receiving totals through four games make for the worst four-game stretch of his career.

Johnson has accounted for just 51 yards on 7 catches. To make matters worse, all seven of those catches came in Weeks 1 and 2. Johnson has not caught a pass in back-to-back weeks and saw only two targets in Week 4. Johnson has secured a Reception NEP of just 6.40 through four games, which ranks 70th among 78 receivers with at least 15 targets.

Clearly behind Donte Moncrief in the pecking order of Colts wide receivers, Johnson will be scraping for targets for the rest of the season. Already more productive than Johnson through four games, it’s only a matter of time before first-round pick Phillip Dorsett carves a greater role in the Colts passing attack.

Charles Johnson, Minnesota Vikings, Wide Receiver 

Yahoo ownership: 41%
ESPN ownership: 40%

Coming into the season Charles Johnson was expected to be quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's number-one receiving option. Through three games, Johnson has 6 catches for 46 yards. Johnson left Week 3 with a knee injury and missed Week 4. He has just 8 targets on the season, and his Reception NEP per target (0.33) is more indicative of a running back than a team's top-option at receiver.

Bridgewater has only attempted 115 passes through four games, relying on the run to move the offense. When your starting running back is Adrian Peterson, that is a wise game plan. Not being targeted and banged up with a knee injury equals a recipe for disaster for Johnson’s fantasy outlook. Johnson is looking like a player taken aboard the preseason hype train with no indication his season will turn around.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers, Quarterback 

Yahoo ownership: 60%
ESPN ownership: 54%

Colin Kaepernick has been bad this season, there’s no denying that. Kaepernick has been held under 175 passing yards in three out of four games to start the season and has failed to record a passing touchdown in three of four games. His only rushing touchdown came in his four-interception game Week 3 versus Arizona. Kaepernick has also accounted for six turnovers this season.

Kaepernick's Passing NEP of -12.16 ranks 37th among 42 quarterbacks who have attempted a drop back this season. 

He can’t move the offense downfield and outside Carlos Hyde's Week 1 explosion, defenses have had no problem slowing the 49ers offense to a screeching halt. Kaepernick’s on-field performance has been so bad that some have suggested benching him for backup Blaine Gabbert. Calling to be replaced by Blaine Gabbert tells you all you need to know about how poorly Kaepernick’s season prospects are.

Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans, Running Back

Yahoo ownership: 41%
ESPN ownership: 64%

Bishop Sankey started off this season with perhaps the best game of his career, rushing for 74 yards on 12 carries and 1 touchdown. Sankey also caught 2 passes for 12 yards and score. After looking like a potentially strong running back after Week 1, Sankey has been nonexistent, rushing for just 52 yards on 17 carries and catching 2 passes for 31 yards in Weeks 2 and 3 combined.

The Titans turned to Antonio Andrews and Dexter McCluster to lead the way in Week 3, and Andrews turned in a strong performance. The Titans were on bye during Week 4, and the only indication of running back carry distribution going forward out of Tennessee is head coach Ken Whisenhunt is doubling down on his commitment to a committee rushing attack.

Second-round pick David Cobbb will also return to the field later this season, muddling this backfield even further. This makes Sankey’s weekly usage as unpredictable as his performance has been on the field. Sankey finished last season with a -15.17 Rushing NEP, which ranked 37th among 43 backs with at least 100 carries. After failing to beat out Shonn Greene last season for lead back duties, this season is looking like a repeat.

Shane Vereen, New York Giants, Running Back 

Yahoo ownership: 50%
ESPN ownership: 63%

Shane Vereen was slated to be the Giants passing down back this year and an asset to fantasy owners, especially those in point-per-reception leagues. After recording 12 catches in Weeks 1 and 2 combined, Vereen hasn’t caught a pass in back-to-back weeks. The Giants are now 2-2 winning their last two games. To say that Vereen was only a receiving factor in losses isn’t the case, as the Giants had leads in both their Week 1 loss to Dallas and Week 2 to Atlanta.

Vereen’s weekly usage is volatile, and he lacks the upside to win you weeks given the committee approach. Theoretically it would be harder to drop Vereen in PPR leagues, but remember he hasn’t caught a pass since Week 2. The catches will come, but he will be difficult to plug into lineups consistently. The Giants use of a three-back rotation makes all Giants’ running backs, including Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, almost unusable on a weekly basis.

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons, Wide Receiver

Yahoo ownership: 58%
ESPN ownership: 60%

If it wasn’t clear after stat sheet goose eggs in weeks 2 and 3, it's clear now that Roddy White is no longer part of the Atlanta Falcons' weekly game plan. His latest 2-catch, 8-yard performance in Week 4 hopefully did the trick. While White was doing his best Riley Cooper impersonation not catching passes, Leonard Hankerson had his best game as a Falcon in Week 4 hauling in 6 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.

Hankerson has clearly overtaken White as the number two option behind Julio Jones in the Falcons passing attack. Quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown for 904 yards over the last three weeks of the season (8 of which went to White) and ranks second in the league in Passing NEP. White's time as a fantasy relevant player looks over. Pick up Hankerson if he is available.