Week 13 Fantasy Football Drop List: Wave Goodbye to Low-Upside Options
The fantasy playoffs are almost here, and hopefully, if you’re reading this, your team is either still in the hunt or already secured a playoff berth. Week 12 was our first week without byes since Week 3, so a full slate of games and an abundance of player options gave owners more talent to field a roster.
Backup running backs once again came through for fantasy owners that kept them rostered. Jeremy Langford started off Thanksgiving night by scoring another touchdown en route to double-digit points in standard leagues for the fourth straight week. Marshawn Lynch’s backup, Thomas Rawls, and Chiefs’ third string running back Spencer Ware both provided high-scoring weeks for fantasy owners.
That is a lesson on why at this point in the season, it is usually wise to roster possible weekly-difference makers than the replacement-level talent that is abundant in free agency and at the end of many fantasy rosters.
This is a list intended to give owners an idea of players who can be dropped. Some names have been listed before, but continue to remain owned inexplicably, while some are newly cemented in the drop category.
As always, these are not must-drop players; they are players who could make for good drop candidates, depending on league size and roster construction.
Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts
Yahoo Ownership: 57%
ESPN Ownership: 43%
At this point in the season, it is baffling so many fantasy owners are still hanging on to Andre Johnson. He has had a great career, and there’s a good chance he’s a future Hall of Famer, but his time with the Colts has been forgettable.
It’s remarkable how poorly Johnson has done in his first season in Indianapolis. He’s been held to one catch or fewer in five of 11 games and under 45 yards in nine of those games. Just two fantasy relevant games out of 11 is a bad bet for fantasy owners.
Johnson has been targeted just 53 times on the season, tied for 79th among all players. Johnson’s Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target of 0.62 ranks him 53rd of those 80 players. His season hasn’t gone how many envisioned heading into the year.
Outside the top 60 in total points in standard scoring leagues at the wide receiver position and virtually invisible in the Colts’ offense, Johnson should have been dropped weeks ago. Cutting bait on him before the playoffs is still a wise choice.
Terrance Williams, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys
Yahoo Ownership: 45%
ESPN Ownership: 39%
The return of quarterback Tony Romo was expected to give a boost to Terrance Williams’ fantasy production, but unfortunately, Romo lasted only two games before re-injuring his collarbone. That leaves Matt Cassel back at the helm of a Cowboys’ offense that has been unable to score without their starting quarterback
The hope is Dez Bryant can maintain some fantasy value, but for Williams, all hope has likely vanished. Williams scored just one touchdown in the seven full games without Romo and went over 50 yards receiving just once.
Williams’ Reception NEP per target this season is a solid 0.78, placing him 16th out of 67 players with at least 60 targets. The problem is his catch rate of just 54%. This low percentage places him just 61st of those 67 players.
The Cowboys' Adjusted NEP currently ranks 27th, and they will likely continue to struggle offensively to close out the season. Williams should be one of the first Cowboys fantasy owners drop.
Davante Adams, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
Yahoo Ownership: 81%
ESPN Ownership: 74%
The opportunity has been there for Davante Adams since he returned from injury in Week 8, but drops and other costly mistakes have plagued his season. Just when it appears he may finally be getting it together, another poor performance looms.
On Thanksgiving night, Adams played especially poorly, catching 2 of 11 targets for just 14 yards. Jeff Janis began to cut into some of Adams' playing time on Thanksgiving, and that could continue moving forward.
Adams has been bad this season. There are only three players in the league with at least 60 targets and a negative Target NEP. Adams is one of those three players.
For the season, Adams has only been able to reel in 32 of 64 targets from one of the best quarterbacks in the game. His Reception NEP per target of 0.36 ranks him second to last of 67 players with at least 60 targets on the season.
The Green Bay passing game hasn’t put up the points like seasons past, and Adams’ frequent mistakes have only made it harder for the offense. Adams can’t be trusted as a starter for fantasy owners with a playoff spot on the line.
Pierre Garcon, Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins
Yahoo Ownership: 70%
ESPN Ownership: 59%
Pierre Garcon had the chance to be the Redskins’ number-one receiver in DeSean Jackson’s extended absence earlier this season but failed to capitalize on the opportunity. Since Jackson’s return, Garcon has continued to put up middling statistics.
Garcon has failed to top 75 receiving yards in any game this season and has scored just 3 touchdowns. Jackson, meanwhile, has returned with touchdowns in back-to-back games. A healthy Jackson and tight end Jordan Reed means fewer targets for Garcon.
He’s gotten a decent amount of looks this season but has failed to do much with them. Out of 35 players with 75 targets or more this season, Garcon’s Reception NEP per target of 0.62 ranks him 28th.
Garcon has settled into a fine complementary player for Washington, but his low ceiling should keep him out of most fantasy lineups.
Jason Witten, Tight End, Dallas Cowboys
Yahoo Ownership: 94%
ESPN Ownership: 94%
Before Gary Barnidge, there was an even greater dad-runner in Jason Witten, who also happens to be one of the most consistent tight ends of all time. Unfortunately, he just lost his starting quarterback for the second time this season on Thanksgiving. Witten has been a safety net for quarterback Tony Romo since he took over the starting quarterback job from Drew Bledsoe in 2006.
Witten’s statistical output has dropped over the last few seasons. He has recorded his lowest receiving yard per game averages over the last two seasons since his rookie year of 2003.
Now catching passes from Matt Cassel for the remainder of this season, his fantasy prospects are as low as ever.
He hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1 and has gone for over 60 yards receiving just once all season. Currently sitting outside the top 20 in tight end fantasy points per game in standard scoring leagues, Witten has not produced for fantasy owners.
Further, Witten’s 0.46 Reception NEP per target ranks him 24th out of 28 tight ends with at least 40 targets on the season.
The Dallas Cowboys’ 2015 season has gone as poorly as imaginable, and Witten’s time as a top-10 tight end is over for now. Based on his season-long production and prospects, Witten is best treated as a possible streaming tight end option with minimal upside.