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Safest players to drop for Week 11 waiver wire priority

Waiver priority is key each week in fantasy football, but you also need to know who you can clear out to add players. We break down the options to drop in Week 11.

Detroit Lions running back Ty Johnson looks on from the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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 three lists at the bottom address players who have been listed in earlier weeks’ columns

Turn away and slam the door

These players should be dropped

Ty Johnson, RB, Lions

In some leagues managers hoard any and all RBs. For example, I’m in a 12-team non-industry league where the best RBs available are Rex Burkhead and Gio Bernard. If you’re in a league like that, then skip this paragraph. However, in most leagues, Johnson is droppable. J.D. McKissic has more yards than Johnson in both of the last two games, and McKissic out-snapped Johnson 58 to 12 in Week 10. Since Kerryon Johnson (knee) got hurt, the Lions have demonstrated repeatedly that they do not trust Ty Johnson to be their lead bad, first by emphasizing Tra Carson, and then with McKissic. Ty is a secondary back in a pass-heavy offense with a brutal upcoming RB schedule.

Chris Herndon, TE, Jets

The TE landscape is tough. There are about seven players who can be relied upon on a week-to-week basis, and everyone else is similarly unappealing. So I understand why people were rostering Herndon on the hope that he’d become one of those few regularly usable TEs. But I also always thought those hopes were overly optimistic, as they were placed on a second-year TE in a bad offense and who wasn’t particularly effective as a rookie. Now that he’s set to miss a few more weeks with a rib injury, only teams that have already clinched a playoff berth can afford to hold onto him.

A.J. Brown, WR, Titans

Here’s a simple decision tree for whether or not to roster a Titan in fantasy football:

Is the player Derrick Henry? If yes, roster. If no, do not roster.

Ok, maybe if you’re in a super-deep league you can consider Brown, Corey Davis, QB Ryan Tannehill, or whoever is starting at TE – maybe. But if you’re in a standard league, it’s not worth it. Brown probably has more upside than anyone else, but the Titans passing game ranks near the bottom of the league no matter what metric you focus on, be it yardage, scoring, yards per attempt, DVOA, and many others. They have a Week 11 bye and a few tough matchups ahead, and Brown hasn’t been remotely consistent enough to inspire any kind of confidence.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers

He’s gotten a blurb both of the last two weeks, but I’m going to keep highlighting him, at least until his roster rate falls below 50 percent. You will never feel confident starting him this season. He has one catch on five targets for four total yards over the last three weeks combined. Even in PPR, he only has two weeks this season with double-digit fantasy points. What are you waiting for?

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

Robby Anderson, WR, Jets

I’ve probably beat this horse into the ground already, as I’ve mentioned Anderson multiple times already this season. But, alas, he still qualifies for this section, so I’ll repeat myself repeat myself. Anderson is a GPP play in DFS, not someone to roster in traditional leagues. He’s an actively bad play unless he catches a deep bomb, and those plays are inherently unpredictable, especially for Anderson and this Jets offense. He’s had those week-saving catches twice this season, and neither came against the Eagles, Dolphins, or Giants – theoretically the three easiest WR matchups he’s faced. If you were holding Anderson with the idea of “playing the matchups”, then the weeks that you were most likely to start him netted you an average of 3.3 PPR points per game, and you probably benched him for his only two games with more than nine PPR points.

Mike Williams, WR, Chargers

Williams is here for the same reason as Anderson. The biggest difference is that Williams is better at hiding the fact that he’s droppable. Williams is also a better player in a better offense, but that’s part of why Williams has managed to linger on your bench this long.

TE Hunter Henry made his season debut in Week 6. From Week 7 on, Williams has seen six or fewer targets in each game, including back-to-back weeks with just three targets. He’s been a solid fantasy producer, putting up at least 7.5 PPR points per game, though his standard scoring game log is considerably uglier. Williams is a giant, a solid red-zone option, and a player able to out-jump and out-muscle cornerbacks on deep passes. When he’s getting a lot of targets, that makes him not only rosterable, but a must-start. But now that the Chargers have Henry and RB Melvin Gordon fully incorporated into the offense, in addition to the large pass-catching roles belonging to RB Austin Ekeler and WR Keenan Allen, Williams just doesn’t get enough opportunities to shine. He’s got a lot of upside for the reasons already mentioned – it only takes one big play to make his week – but he has a ground-level floor and a gauntlet of an upcoming schedule. After their Week 12 bye, the Chargers will face the Broncos, Jaguars, and Vikings.

Here they stay

This player is going to get dropped in many leagues, but is worth holding for at least one more week

Zach Pascal, WR, Colts

Week 10 was certainly ugly, catching just two passes for 26 yards in a loss to the lowly Dolphins. And Pascal is probably best left on your bench in Week 11 for a difficult matchup against the Jaguars, especially if Jacoby Brissett (knee) is still out. But after that, the Colts face three consecutive pass-funnel defenses – teams with a good run defense and a bad pass defense, encouraging opponents to emphasize the air attack. T.Y. Hilton’s (calf) initial timeline has him missing two more games, and Parris Campbell (hand) is probably done for the regular season – that combo means that Pascal is likely to stay first or second in a narrowing Colts’ target tree going forward. He saw six targets in Week 9 and seven in Week 10, so I’ll overlook Week 10’s low production numbers playing with a backup QB.

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
Robby Anderson, WR, Jets
Antonio Brown, WR, free agent
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears
Corey Davis, WR, Titans
Latavius Murray, RB, Saints (rosterable only while Alvin Kamara is injured)
Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers
Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles
Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers
Darrel Williams, RB, Chiefs
Eric Ebron, TE, Colts
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions
Delanie Walker, TE, Titans
Wayne Gallman, RB, Giants
Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
Mark Walton, RB, Dolphins
Jonnu Smith, TE, Titans
LeSean McCoy, RB, Chiefs

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
Josh Gordon, WR, Seahawks
Derrius Guice, RB, Washington

Can’t hold ‘em back anymore

Players listed in previous weeks who are no longer drop candidates, and in some cases can be added back onto rosters

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars
Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington
Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams
Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs