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Safest players to drop for Week 12 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 12.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams makes a 50-yard reception in the fourth quarter as Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Rashad Fenton and cornerback Charvarius Ward defend during an NFL International Series game at Estadio Azteca. Kirby Lee-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

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions

I’m a big Stafford advocate most of the time, but I was shocked to see his roster rate at 60% Tuesday morning. He’s injured, and two out of his three playoff matchups are really bad. His initial timeline would have him out for at least Weeks 12 and 13, and possibly longer. Since he’s hurt, it’s obvious that managers holding onto him have another QB on their roster. To those managers, I ask, “even if he gets healthy in time, are you really going to start Stafford over this other guy in Week 14 against the Vikings or in Week 16 against the Broncos?” In most standard leagues, the answer should be a resounding “no”. Which leads to the next question: is the possibility of starting Stafford once, in Week 15, worth eating up a roster spot for each of the next three weeks? For most managers, that answer should also be “no”.

O.J. Howard, TE, Buccaneers

We’re long past the days of managers including Howard in the small tier of reliable TEs. However, the combination of his familiar name and a matchup against the Falcons may lead to Howard’s roster rate increasing ahead of Week 12. It should decrease. Howard tipped his only target in Week 11, leading to an interception. He was apparently punished for the rest of the game, as his final snap count was his lowest in over a year. Cameron Brate, on the other hand, set a season-high in snaps, and career highs in targets and receptions. Finally, the Falcons’ defense appears to have turned a corner since Dan Quinn relinquished play-calling duties two weeks ago. They’ve allowed 12 combined points to the Saints and Panthers. They are no longer a defense that needs to be targeted, just as Howard is no longer a TE worth rostering.

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

Mike Williams, WR, Chargers

Williams had a truly incredible catch Monday night, keeping alive the Chargers’ final drive and their (ultimately failed) upset bid against the Chiefs. That play was awesome, and millions more people saw it than any other Williams play all year. That play alone will inspire many to keep Williams on their roster, as they saw his obvious talent in a high-profile moment. But the fundamental truth is that one play did not, and could not, change his 2019 fantasy outlook. As mentioned when Williams was featured here last week, Williams doesn’t have a large enough or consistent enough role to be worth rostering in standard sized leagues. Before that play, Williams had caught just one of his four targets for 26 yards. He’s got enough big-play potential that he should always be considered as a GPP option in DFS, but managers cannot depend upon him in traditional leagues.

Brian Hill, RB, Falcons

Running backs are so scarce that Hill isn’t a “must drop” by any stretch of the imagination. That said, managers who are feeling tempted to let him go should feel free to give in to that urge. Devonta Freeman (foot) is likely to return at some point this season, possibly as soon as Week 12, and Hill was really bad in Freeman’s stead. He played only 60% of the snaps. Though he saw 15 carries, which would have me calling him an add in most circumstances, it was clear that the Falcons were trying to find alternative ways to run the ball. Hill’s 15 carries were just 60% of their rushing attempts (excluding the Matt Shaub game-ending kneel-down), and he finished with a meager 30 rushing yards. If all that wasn’t bad enough, the next couple games are against tough run defenses.

Here they stay

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

J.D. McKissic, RB, Lions

The spinny-wheel that the Lions are using to determine their lead RB landed on Bo Scarbrough in Week 11. Scarbrough was effective, notching 55 yards and a TD with his 14 carries in his NFL debut, just one day after getting signed to the active roster. Scarbrough isn’t likely to disappear – he’s effective as a line-drive bruiser, a player with similar skills and limitations to fellow former Alabama RB Derrick Henry. But while Scarbrough is likely to stick around, McKissic once again showed that he’s the most trustworthy on passing plays, whether as a blocker or as a receiver. McKissic was on the field more during the late drives, as the Lions were attempting a comeback. McKissic is talented, Ty Johnson has been disappointing, and McKissic fills in the gaps in Scarbrough’s skillset. I want to hold on, at least one more week, to see what happens.

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
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
Ty Johnson, RB, Lions
Chris Herndon, TE, Jets
A.J. Brown, WR, Titans
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers
Mike Williams, WR, Chargers
Damien Williams, 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

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
Derrius Guice, RB, Washington