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Safest players to drop heading into the Week 4 waiver wire

The waiver features some intriguing talent heading into Week 4. We’re here to help you decide who to unload to make room for said talent.

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky drops back to pass during the first quarter against Washington at FedExField. Tommy Gilligan-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 65% of leagues

We’ve added two quick lists at the top to address players who have been listed in earlier weeks’ columns

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
Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams
Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts
Derrius Guice, RB, Washington
Robbie Anderson, WR, Jets

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

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars

Turn away and slam the door

These players should be dropped

Antonio Brown, WR, free agent

I know the NFL’s track record on “doing the right thing” is… Not perfect. But I just cannot imagine a situation where Brown plays another game this season. Let him go. You’ll be happier once it’s over.

Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears

There’s a way to paint Trubisky’s Week 3 as a turning point. He finally faced a below-average defense, and he came away with 20.44 points. He completed 25 of his 31 attempts (80.6%) for 231 yards and three TDs. But I don’t buy it. Washington did him a ton of favors, committing five turnovers and giving the Bears great field position for most of the game. Most importantly, managers didn’t draft Trubisky for his arm. We knew he was a middling passer (at best). Trubisky was drafted for his rushing upside, on the hopes that he could recreate the ground game that made him second among QBs in rushing yards as late as Week 8 last season. But through three games, Trubisky has a total of just five rushes for 21 yards.

As for the Bears’ schedule? Tough defenses are the norm in the NFC North this year. In addition to two remaining games against the Vikings and a seemingly improved Lions D, the Bears still have games against the Packers, Rams, Eagles, Saints, and Chargers. Trubisky should be held in Superflex or two-QB leagues, but he’s no longer worth a standard league roster spot.

Corey Davis, WR, Titans

Is this really the offense where you want to own a tertiary receiving option? Actually, let’s be fair. Davis isn’t the third receiving option. He’s the fourth. Is there a word for “fourth-iary”? (There is, it is “quaternary”). Davis is tied for third on the Titans in targets, but he’s sixth on the team in receiving yards. Ouch. And while his three catches for 44 yards may look like improvement, compared to his earlier box scores, he had zero catches at the start of the fourth quarter, when the Titans were down 17-0.

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

Duke Johnson, RB, Texans

Depending on when you drafted, this one might sting. If your draft came after the Lamar Miller injury and after the Texans acquired Johnson, then Johnson may have gone as early as the fifth or sixth round. Even after they acquired Carlos Hyde, the logic was sound (though the price was getting high) – Johnson and Hyde were teammates last year, and Johnson provided significantly more fantasy value. Johnson played twice as many snaps, and more than 50% more scrimmage yards. Johnson was acquired by trade, while Hyde was a waiver wire release!

Oops.

Hyde is the back to roster in Houston, and the role doesn’t seem to have enough value to justify holding Johnson as a handcuff in a standard size league. The Texans are relying on Johnson when they want to pass to an RB, but they are once again near the bottom of the league if RB targets. Johnson’s carries have fallen each consecutive week, and he’s now playing less than half of the snaps. He’s not going to help a roster win.

Here they stay

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

Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears

As I’ve already made clear with my inclusion of Trubisky, above, I’m pretty down on the Bears right now. Through three games, Cohen has totaled just eight carries for 16 yards and 12 catches for 82 yards. That’s a 523 scrimmage yards pace. That’s bad. But Cohen more than doubled that last season, so we know he has the ability to be much better. I’m also encouraged by the fact that Cohen leads all Bears RBs in snaps. The Bears’ offense has been a mess, and the underwhelming performance of rookie RB David Montgomery has been one of many reasons why. It’s true that the Bears have more pass-catching options this season, and Cohen is more dynamic on screen plays and short passes than designed runs, and that could continue to limit his workload. But Cohen has too much talent, and he has too much value as an emergency exit for an offense that is constantly struggling.

Malcolm Brown, RB, Rams

While the Week 1 performance was fun, you didn’t draft Brown with the expectation that you’d use him every week. He’s Todd Gurley’s handcuff, which is a role that has had significant value during previous seasons. Don’t be discouraged by a decreasing workload. He’s still the backup to roster.