The waiver wire is a zero-sum game. For every exciting upside addition, there must be a disappointing release of a player you once gladly added to your roster. Yet, the entire fantasy football realm seems to focus only on the first half of the add-drop exchange.
Welcome back to “let it go”. The curmudgeonly counterpart to all your overly-enthusiastic waiver wire pickup columns. We’re here to kill your already-dying dreams, but in doing so help you cut loose the dead weight holding back your rosters.
And, since drops are often agonizing, all categories are named for lyrics from “Let It Go”. The pain of your difficult drop decision is nothing compared to the pain of getting that song stuck in your head.
The ground rules:
- A player must be rostered in at least 30% of Yahoo leagues to qualify for inclusion
- At least one player listed must be rostered in at least 60% of leagues
The two lists at the top address players who have been listed in earlier weeks’ columns
Test the limits
Players listed in previous weeks who, if you’ve held on this long, it’s OK to hold another week – but are still safe to drop
Duke Johnson, RB, Texans
Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams
Turn away and slam the door
These players should be dropped
Robby Anderson, WR, Jets
Anderson headlined this article in Week 2, but it bears repeating after Anderson logged 125 yards and a TD in Week 6. Anderson caught a 92-yard TD Sunday, accruing only 33 yards on all seven of his other targets combined. Now, that analysis isn’t totally fair – the only argument in favor of rostering Anderson is that he’s a speedy deep threat capable of catching a deep TD in any matchup, so I can’t hold it against him when he delivers on that potential. But the problem is that those plays are entirely unpredictable. Sure, Anderson will have at least one or two more long TD catches over the remainder of the season. But are you prepared to accept the near-zero floor in the weeks he misses? The upside isn’t high enough, and the deep TDs won’t come frequently enough, to justify holding him. Anderson is a GPP play in DFS, not a season-long player. Sam Darnold has played two games this season, and Jamison Crowder saw 13 targets in both of them. Crowder is the Jets No. 1 WR. Do you really want to roster the No. 2 option on one of the worst offenses in the NFL?
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions
The TE landscape is an ugly abyss. As a result, when I say to drop Hockenson, what I really mean is “Hockenson is no longer a TE that requires steady rostering, he should be treated as one of the dozens of streaming candidates.” Hockenson should be rostered and started for Week 8 against the Giants, and he’s worth considering in Weeks 9 and 12 against Oakland and Washington. But Hockenson is unusable in Week 7 against the Vikings, and I’d rather drop Hockenson and miss out on those potential future matchups than drop Alexander Mattison, Tony Pollard, DK Metcalf, or someone like that. The problems have been predictable. Rookie TEs usually struggle, and Hockenson has been no exception. Second, he is at best the Lions’ third receiving option, and arguably more like the fourth or fifth. Since his Week 1 blowup, he’s seen just three, four, three and six targets, and he’s failed to reach 30 receiving yards. He’s an occasional red-zone target, which, again, speaks to his potential value as a streamer in a good matchup. But there are only six or seven TEs who need to be rostered full-time, and Hockenson isn’t one of them.
I don’t care what they’re going to say
This section is for a player rostered in almost every league, but should still be dropped
Delanie Walker, TE, Titans
As just described in the Hockenson blurb, saying a TE is a drop is actually just saying that they should be considered one of the many streaming candidates. However, when it comes to Walker, your best bet really is to just drop him immediately. When assessing a streamer, our first step should be to look at the upcoming schedule: Chargers, Buccaneers, at Panthers, Chiefs, bye, Jaguars. Ouch. Over the next six weeks, Walker only has two games against top-half TE matchups, the Bucs and the Chiefs. Furthermore, while the Bucs are a good matchup for TEs on paper, their schedule has been brutal – George Kittle, Greg Olsen, Evan Engram, and the Rams twice (Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee). My guess is they’ll still finish the season as a better-than-average matchup for a TE, but it’s not nearly as favorable as the early data implies. Next, and probably more importantly, the Titans are now in the middle of a QB controversy, choosing between two gross options. Ryan Tannehill hasn’t played with a decent TE in years, but Charles Clay wasn’t much of a fantasy option during his Dolphins years. Lastly, Walker just doesn’t provide much upside. He’s not a frequent red-zone target, and he has just five catches combined over the last three games. He’s a streamer with bad QBs and a bad upcoming schedule. Let him go.
Here they stay
This player is going to get dropped in many leagues, but is worth holding for at least one more week
Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
Mayfield sprung back to life in Week 6, finally scoring more than 17 points in a week – he finished with 22.5. While many managers were probably relieved initially, a closer inspection probably does more to increase anxiety. He completed only 59% of his passes for 249 yards, and he threw one TD and three INTs. If not for his rushing TD, it would have been another awful game. On top of that, the Browns upcoming schedule is tough: bye, at Patriots, at Broncos, Bills. Mayfield is probably stuck on fantasy benches for three of the next four weeks. So why am I recommending holding on?
Two reasons. First, Mayfield’s closing schedule is a thing of beauty: Steelers, Dolphins, at Steelers, Bengals, at Cardinals, Ravens. He’s a top streaming candidate five weeks in a row, and potentially usable in Week 16 (Ravens) if you make it to the championship. Second, I just don’t believe that Mayfield is suddenly a bad player. He was one of the most accurate passers last season, and an almost universal choice as the top-QB in his relatively deep draft class. He is surrounded by talented players. And the rushing TD isn’t just a fortunate accident, it’s a basic part of his fantasy appeal. I expect him to rebound. It might take a few weeks, but the reward should be worth it.
I’m never going back, the past is in the past
Players listed in previous weeks who should still be dropped
Dante Pettis, WR, 49ers
Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts
Derrius Guice, RB, Washington
Robby Anderson, WR, Jets
Antonio Brown, WR, free agent
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears
Corey Davis, WR, Titans
Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington
Latavius Murray, RB, Saints
Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers
Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles
Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers
Darrel Williams, RB, Chiefs
Eric Ebron, TE, Colts