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
Turn away and slam the door
These players should be dropped
Mark Walton, RB, Dolphins
Walton was suspended four games Monday, the result of a trio of offseason arrests. In most leagues, four games is the remainder of the fantasy regular season. If your team is safely playoff bound, feel free to hold onto Walton, who has a favorable playoff schedule. But if your postseason birth is in doubt, it is probably time to let Walton go. While he’s taken over as the primary Dolphins’ RB following the Kenyan Drake trade last week, that’s still a role with limited value – if he weren’t suspended, he’d still probably be in and out of your flex spot, not an every-week starter. The Dolphins’ offense just isn’t good enough to boost an average lead runner into the fantasy must-start range. Furthermore, since he’s now guaranteed to spend the next four weeks on your bench, he’s probably causing more harm to your chances of making the playoffs than the potential benefit he could provide if you do make the postseason. Try to trade him to a top contender first, but you should probably drop him if those talks stall.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
Similar situation to that of Walton. Jackson is going to miss the remainder of the regular season, and probably some fantasy playoff matchups too. When he does eventually return, you’re probably not going to feel confident inserting him into a playoff matchup in his first week back – so his 4-6 week timetable is effectively 5-7 weeks as far as we are concerned. That means that, at most, we might use Jackson in the fantasy semifinals and finals, assuming he comes back on the early end of that timeline.
Jonnu Smith, TE, Titans
I like Smith’s talent, and you should absolutely hold him if you are in a keeper or dynasty league. But in redraft leagues, it’s time to let him go. Delanie Walker said that he’s likely to return from his ankle injury in Week 10, and then the Titans have a Week 11 bye. As much as I like Smith, I dislike the Titans offense even more. That team could barely sustain a single fantasy-relevant TE – in fact, Delanie Walker was featured in this article a few weeks before his injury. Once Walker is back in action, both he and Smith are desperation-only streamers.
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
LeSean McCoy, RB, Chiefs
All the other Chiefs RBs have had their turn in this article, and it’s finally McCoy’s turn. First of all, I want out of the Chiefs’ RB business. This multi-headed running back by committee has hurt all of their values, making it difficult to trust any of them on a given week. Sure, the ceiling is high, especially once Mahomes returns – which could be as soon as this week. But McCoy’s fumbling seems to have caught up with him, dropping him out of the lead role in what was already a messy timeshare. He didn’t see another carry after his third quarter lost fumble in Week 8, and he saw only six snaps in Week 9. My guess is that his workload will gradually tick back up over the next few weeks, assuming he doesn’t fumble again. But that’s not enough to warrant holding onto him. In a corresponding move, I elevated Damien Williams — who had been listed as a drop several weeks ago — into the “Can’t hold ‘em back anymore” tier.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers
He was featured in this section last week, but his roster rate is still high enough to qualify, so I wanted to reiterate the point. He’s barely seeing work anymore, and that’s with Davante Adams (toe) on the sideline. He has a lot of tough matchups remaining (most notably the bye week, 49ers, Vikings), and at some point Adams will presumably return. You’re unlikely to ever feel confident using him again. Let him go.
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
Brissett was featured in this section last week, but I want to reiterate my support for him after he had to leave Week 9’s game early due to a knee injury. While the final fantasy tally shows three bad weeks out of four, Brissett only underperformed in one of those – the other two were the results of an injury and a deliberate unusually run-heavy game plan to limit the dominant Chiefs’ offense. More news will come out on his injury throughout the week, but the early indications are positive. I still think he’s one of the best fantasy QBs available.
Frank Gore, RB, Bills
The final box score is ugly, and the fact that it coincided with Devin Singletary’s glow-up (20 carries for 95 yards and a TD, three catches for 45 yards) is even worse. But if the last 327 years of NFL history has taught me anything, it is that Frank Gore is eternal and should never be doubted. Gore still saw 11 carries, enough to warrant regular flex consideration. More importantly, the Bills are still bringing in Gore for their short-yardage situations. They don’t get into the red zone that often, but when they do, Gore is the one who’s likely to get the opportunities. Singletary’s return, and his effectiveness, lowers Gore’s floor significantly. But any RB getting double-digit carries and goal-line work deserves a roster spot.
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
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
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
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers