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Safest players safest to drop to make room for Week 3 waiver wire additions

You’ve got your eye on a few players hitting the waiver wire in Week 3. Now you just need to figure out who to drop. We’re here to help you sort that out.

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook looks on during training camp at Dream Finders Home Practice Complex. Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The fantasy football 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.” This is 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 percent of Yahoo leagues to qualify for inclusion
  • At least one player listed must be rostered in at least 65 percent of leagues

Turn away and slam the door

These players should be dropped

Dante Pettis, WR, 49ers

This is like the final post-credit scene of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where a confused Ferris looks directly into the camera and says, “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home.” Similar to the player in the next section, Pettis has legitimate talent, but he does not belong on a 2019 fantasy roster. Concerningly, not a single 49ers WR played more than 51 percent of the teams snaps Sunday. Deebo Samuel, who saw the fourth-most snaps among WRs, led the team with seven targets. No other 49er, at any position, saw more than four targets. Pettis saw zero targets, though he did record one completion on a second-quarter gimmick play. That brings his two-game total production to one target, one reception, seven receiving yards, and one completed 16-yard pass. We still don’t know if any 49ers WR will be rosterable this season, but we can say with extreme confidence that Pettis won’t be.

Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, Rams

This is like the final post-credit scene of Ferris – wait, I used that joke already? Oh sorry. But seriously. Why is he still on your team? It’s over. Go home. This is not the handcuff you’re looking for. I’m getting so flustered by Henderson’s high roster rate that I’m mixing up my movie references. Malcom Brown is the handcuff, Henderson is just wasting a roster spot.

All the injured QBs

Ben Roethlisberger is done for the season. Drew Brees is done for at least six weeks. Sam Darnold will probably miss at least a month, though his timeline is uncertain. Jameis Winston — wait, never mind he’s not injured he’s just terrible. Assuming you’re in a standard one-QB league, there are just way too many good options to bother holding on to an injured one. Even when healthy, none of these guys are likely to be top-five QBs, which is the threshold at which I’d consider holding an injured signal-caller. Most years, the difference between QB6 and QB15 is roughly two fantasy points per game. That’s not nearly enough to justify four to six weeks of a dead roster spot.

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

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars

It’s hard not to get all the Gardner “stretches in only his jockstrap” Minshew hype. But it’s also hard to hold onto a secondary receiver in one of the league’s worst offenses. Despite starting the season against two suspect defenses, the Jaguars are in the bottom half of the league in points, total yards, and passing yards. D.J. Chark and Chris Conley lead the team in targets, and they have seen a combined 80 percent of the Jaguars’ air yards. Westbrook isn’t far behind in total targets, but all of his passes are so close to the line of scrimmage that his upside isn’t much higher than – to stick with the theme here – a snowman’s vertical leap.

I am a huge fan of Westbrook’s talent, and I think he’s capable of much more than what Jacksonville has let him show. I hope we someday get to see him unleashed in a good offense with better coaching. But I’ve seen enough to throw in the towel on his 2019 season. There will be better bye-week fill-ins available on the waiver wire. You are never going to start him, so don’t let him waste a valuable roster spot.

Here they stay

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

Dion Lewis, RB, Titans

It hasn’t been great. In fact, it’s been actively bad through two games. But I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel.

I fundamentally do not believe that the Titans are good. Both of their games so far have been against teams going through significant turmoil, the Browns and the Colts. But the schedule gets harder from here. Three of their next four games are against seemingly challenging defenses, and they still have games against the Chiefs, Saints, Chargers and Texans (twice).

That’s the key for me. The Titans have not yet been in a Lewis-friendly game-script – they’ve been winning or tied for 90 minutes and 25 seconds, they’ve never been down by more than seven points, and they’ve trailed for just 29 minutes and 35 seconds. Presumably, this team is going to spend a lot more time playing catchup in the future. Lewis topped 100 total yards three times last season, two of which were in losses.

I’m hesitant on this one, and I would not keep Lewis if it would cost you a chance at Raheem Mostert, DK Metcalf, Carlos Hyde, or someone of that caliber. As long as Derrick Henry is healthy, the best-case scenario for Lewis is a few spot-starts in games where we expect the Titans to lose (Week 4 at the Falcons, Week 10 vs. the Chiefs, a handful of others). He’s definitely droppable for a potential every-week contributor. But I’d rather hold onto Lewis a little longer than bother with flavor-of-the-week Bucs’ RB, or play whack-a-mole with the latest hot Jaguars/Jets/49ers/Bills WRs.