Week 10 Fantasy Football Drop List: Cutting Unreliable Pass-Catchers
Heading into Week 10 of the NFL season, it’s probably fair to say fantasy owners know what they have in their team. We’ve all likely been struck with multiple injuries, as is the norm in the world of football. Roster depth is important for when these injuries strike or when battling through bye weeks.
More important than the depth itself is the strength of a starting roster. Heading into the stretch run before the fantasy playoffs, owners should be looking ahead at which players can most help their playoff hopes.
Trying to stay ahead of your opponents on free agent pickups is key to fantasy success. Just ask the owner that kept DeAngelo Williams rostered after Le'Veon Bell returned. Williams’ performance this week may have single handedly won their Week 9 matchup.
The owners that dropped Williams regretted that decision as soon as Bell went down. With LeSean McCoy's status unclear for Thursday Night, those that dropped Karlos Williams prematurely may be looking at a similar fate this week.
Deciding who to drop is a weekly gamble, as situations can change with each down. This is a list of players that are looking less likely to lead your team to victory with each passing week. As always, these are not must-drop players, but depending on league size, roster configuration, and the quality of players available to pick up, could be drop candidates.
James Jones, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
Yahoo Ownership: 87%
ESPN Ownership: 89%
James Jones started out the season on a rip with four touchdowns in Green Bay’s first three games. Since his hot start, Jones' scoring has slowed with just two touchdowns over his last five games.
Looking back, Jones' fantasy output was unlikely to keep pace based on the small number of targets received. He has just 24 receptions on 37 targets through eight games.
His 1.39 Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target is highest in the league among players with at least 30 targets. Jones’ Reception NEP per target is so high because of the number of touchdowns on a low number of targets. Owners banked on touchdowns, which paid off early in the season.
As the Green Bay offense has slowed, so has James’ production. Jones has been held to two catches or fewer in five of eight games, including each of his last four. Typically in fantasy, we target players who are getting frequent targets and receptions, and for Jones, neither is the case.
With wide receiver Davante Adams finally healthy, Jones’ targets may take an even bigger hit moving forward.
Jones is a boom-or-bust fantasy option, with a touchdown as his main path to production. Wise owners should shop Jones around to see if an opponent looks at season long totals and takes the bait on a trade. Even if no takers are found, owners in shallow leagues may want to see if a stronger option is available.
Pierre Garcon, Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins
Yahoo Ownership: 77%
ESPN Ownership: 66%
Pierre Garcon has the opposite problem of James Jones. He is frequently targeted but produces little results.
Garcon has been consistent this season, mainly in point-per-reception leagues, but offers a low weekly ceiling. He has at least 5 receptions in six of eight games but has yet to reach 75 yards receiving in a game this season.
Although he has received a good share of targets and receptions, his fantasy owners haven't benefited. Garcon ranks 41st out of 52 players with at least 50 targets on the season with a Reception NEP per target of 0.61.
The Redskins’ offense has been better than most realize, ranking 18th in the NFL in our Adjusted NEP metrics. Despite a middle-of-the-pack offense, there hasn’t been a player to count on for fantasy points.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins is inconsistent. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson and tight end Jordan Reed may finally be healthy and begin seeing a large share of targets. Running back Chris Thompson has established himself as the preferred passing down back, also garnering receiving attention.
There are a lot of options in Washington and limited opportunities to go around. Garcon may offer a safe floor in PPR leagues, but his upside is virtually nonexistent, especially in standard scoring leagues.
Ted Ginn Jr., Wide Receiver, Carolina Panthers
Yahoo Ownership: 39%
ESPN Ownership: 39%
Somebody has to catch passes from quarterback Cam Newton, but outside of tight end Greg Olsen, no wide receiver has proven to be reliable option. A perennial fantasy underachiever, Ted Ginn Jr. has failed to take advantage of the opportunity in front of him.
Ginn has caught 5 passes or more in just one game this season and gone over 60 receiving yards just once. Add in just three touchdowns (spanning just two games), and Ginn is best left off fantasy radars.
With a Target NEP total of -2.46, Ginn ranks ahead of only Golden Tate out of 52 players with at least 50 targets on the season. Ginn has not helped the offense when targeted this season.
Rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess played his best game of the season Sunday and can hopefully build on that performance. Funchess could prove to be the top wide receiver moving forward for the Panthers with Kelvin Benjamin out for the season.
Ginn hasn’t provided much in the team’s undefeated start, and it’s doubtful he’s going to help fantasy owners for the remainder of this season.
Charles Clay, Tight End, Buffalo Bills
Yahoo Ownership: 49%
ESPN Ownership: 57%
After looking like a top-10 tight end through the first four weeks, Charles Clay has settled into the ever growing tier of tight end streaming options. Clay has found looks in the passing game hard to come by in recent weeks.
Over his last four games, Clay has just one game with a receiving total over 30 yards, and two games under 10 yards. The Bills want to be a run-first team, evidenced by quarterback Tyrod Taylor attempting just 12 passes Sunday.
Clay has been marginally productive as a pass catcher this season. Out of 26 tight ends with at least 20 catches on the season, Clay ranks 16th with a Reception NEP per target of 0.55.
There will be weeks when Clay could be started, but he’s been too inconsistent to trust as a locked-and-loaded, top-12 starting option. Taylor’s return may improve Clay’s stock some, but head coach Rex Ryan will lean on the run game as much as possible.
Zach Ertz, Tight End, Philadelphia Eagles
Yahoo Ownership: 58%
ESPN Ownership: 57%
Chip Kelly’s offense was supposed to revolutionize the league with fantasy points oozing from every position. First year Eagles’ quarterback Sam Bradford hasn’t been able to guide the offense as effectively as needed, and former Dallas Cowboy DeMarco Murray hasn’t earned his big paycheck on the ground. Fantasy disappoints are abundant in Philadelphia, and tight end Zach Ertz falls in that mix.
According to ESPN Live Draft Results, Ertz was the 11th tight end drafted. Considered a high-upside sleeper in the Eagles’ offense, Ertz currently ranks 26th in total fantasy points at the position in standard scoring leagues. He is also yet to score a touchdown this season and is on pace for just over 600 receiving yards.
It’s surprising such a high number of owners are still hanging onto Ertz considering his low returns. His Reception NEP per target of 0.50, ranks 20th out of 26 tight ends with 20 receptions or more.
Ertz has quietly been a fantasy disappointment. His production doesn’t even put him in the tight end streamer range at this point in the season.