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Safest players to drop in Week 9 fantasy football [UPDATE]

The waiver wire is critical to fantasy football success, but you also need to know who you can drop. We offer up players worth dropping heading into Week 9.

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward breaks up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Gordon waivers update, 11/1, 5:03 p.m.

The Seattle Seahawks successfully claimed Gordon off waivers on Friday. Head coach Pete Carroll said Gordon will not play in Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the team will see how he looks next week heading into Monday Night Football vs. the San Francisco 49ers. Gordon had a knee injury that resulted in him going on IR before his waiving, and Carroll said he is hearing positive things about the knee.

Gordon joins Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, providing an upgrade for Russell Wilson. Lockett remains a strong PPR and solid standard play, while Metcalf could lose some value with Gordon taking some potential targets away.

Josh Gordon status update, 10/31 3:48 p.m.

The New England Patriots are waiving Josh Gordon off their injured reserve list, according to multiple reports. 31 other teams will have a chance to claim him off the waiver wire. If he does not get claimed, he then becomes an unrestricted free agent. He will run through waivers on Friday, November 1st

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 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

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, Redskins

Turn away and slam the door

These players should be dropped

Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs

The touchdowns in back-to-back weeks have been great, but how long are you going to trust a secondary option in Matt Moore’s offense who only sees 2.5 targets per game? When Patrick Mahomes comes back, any speedy WR is a risky but reasonable flex option. But until Mahomes comes back, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are the only Chiefs you should be starting. This is doubly true heading into Week 9, when they face the Vikings, one of the best defenses in the league. Hardman is someone you might pick up again later in the season, for example, as a streamer in Week 13 against the Raiders. But even if Mahomes shockingly returns this week you still shouldn’t start Hardman in Week 9. If Mahomes gets healthy quickly – a big “if”, and one where we probably won’t have good information until long after waivers process – then Hardman wouldn’t be a must-drop, but I think you gain a lot more from the extra roster flexibility than from holding him.

Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots (for now)

He’s on the IR with a designation that requires the Patriots to release him once he’s healthy. He hasn’t been anywhere near the Flash Gordon we remember from years ago, and his next team – assuming someone picks him up – will probably be a team with a losing record because of how the NFL’s waivers system works. Best case scenario is probably one or two more missed games, and then he lands on a team where he can be a low-end flex option during the few remaining bye weeks. Too much hassle, not enough potential reward. Let him be some other manager’s problem.

Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks

If you have Chris Carson, go ahead and ignore this paragraph. Penny is worth holding as a handcuff. But if you don’t have Carson? Drop Penny and grab one of the higher upside handcuffs out there (Alexander Mattison, Darrell Henderson, heck, even Darius Guice). Penny is averaging 6.6 touches per game, and he’s coming up on one of the worst imaginable schedules for an RB: Buccaneers, 49ers, bye, Eagles, Vikings. Chris Carson is borderline benchable in some of those, let alone his backup.

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

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers

If it weren’t for two almost-fluky catches in Week 7 – one for 74 yards, the other for 59 – this one would be a no-brainer. Valdes-Scantling has seen just four targets or less in each of the past four games, despite that Davante Adams (toe) has missed all four. Since Adams went out, Valdes-Scantling is tied for sixth on the team in targets, behind both running backs and tied with Jake Kumerow. Valdes-Scantling still leads the team in air yards during that stretch, which implies that he might have another big box score buoyed by a single giant play again – but that just makes him a decent GPP option in DFS. He’s scored single-digit fantasy points in six of his eight games. He still has his bye ahead of him, in addition to matchups against the 49ers, Bears and Vikings, the latter two are both during the fantasy playoffs. You’re unlikely to feel comfortable starting Valdes-Scantling at any point going forward, and you’re not going to want to use him in the fantasy playoffs. Free your roster spot for someone you might actually use.

Here they stay

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

Jacoby Brissett, Colts

At this point most fantasy managers know about the replaceability of QBs – the idea that the difference between (roughly) the eighth and 16th-best QBs is tiny. Strategically, that fact means that we need to be careful not to overvalue a player we believe is in that eight-to-12 range, as a small drop in play could cause them to fall behind a large number of other options, and the difference between QBs in this range can often be outweighed by weekly matchups.

I know all of that. People should still hold onto Brissett. His roster rate is dropping because he’s had two games with less than 12 fantasy points out of his last three. But both of those bad games were due to unusual matchups – in Week 5, the Colts adopted an extremely conservative game-plan in a successful attempt to slow the explosive Chiefs offense; in Week 8, he struggled against the Broncos, who have been one of the three toughest opponents for a fantasy QB. But Brissett has at least 16 fantasy points and multiple TD passes in every other game. Three of his next four matchups are fantasy goldmines – the Steelers, the Dolphins, and the Texans. Hold Brissett, and if someone else drops him, pick him up.

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
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
Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs