Fantasy Droppables: Austin, Manning have no place on playoff rosters
There’s one game left in Week 10, but for all intents and purposes, we have just three weeks left in the standard fantasy regular season. With that in mind, this will be the last Droppables column of the season. We’ll focus on the playoff push, as well as preparations for owners already heading to the postseason, with our Sunday night columns for the rest of the season. Before we get to that point, however, there will still be moves to make on the waiver wire this week. That means there are also players on the other side of those eventual transactions. And if this is going to be the final Droppables column of the season, why not start it with a bang?
Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
Manning probably isn’t going to remember the day he secured one of the NFL’s most prestigious records all that fondly. Manning became the all-time leader in passing yards on Sunday, surpassing Brett Favre’s 71,838 yards. That was the only good moment for him in the Broncos’ loss to the Chiefs. He threw four interceptions and was benched for Brock Osweiler. We’ve known since the very first week of the season, and really since last December, that Manning is physically a shell of what he used to be. Still, this was the nadir of what has been a tough season for him individually.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said that a healthy Manning remains the starter, but right now, there’s no guarantee that he’ll get the start against the Bears next week. Even if he does, he shouldn’t be anywhere near a fantasy starting lineup. The Chiefs showed how every team will attack the Broncos with Manning under center. They pressed every receiver at the line, essentially daring Manning to try to beat them deep. By taking away the short passes, they eliminated the only area where Manning has been effective this season. You can bet every team that sees the Broncos the rest of the season will do the same. As deep as quarterback is, you should be able to do better than him every week for the rest of the year.
Kendall Wright, WR, Titans
Wright missed his second straight game because of a knee injury, and that’s something you have to consider even more strongly this time of year. A two- or three-week injury at the beginning of the season isn’t a big deal. At this stage of the year, it could spell the end of a player’s campaign.
Wright isn’t expected to miss the rest of the season, but he’s no sure thing to play next week. Even if he does, Wright has been a bit of a disappointment this season. After getting off to a hot start, he had 15 catches for 130 yards and one touchdown in four games before suffering his knee sprain. Justin Hunter broke his ankle in the Titans’ Week 10 loss to the Panthers, so Wright could be in line for more targets when he does get back on the field, but this is a low-value passing attack, and both Delanie Walker and Dorial Green-Beckham will also have significant roles for the rest of the season.
Tavon Austin, WR, Rams
Austin put on display on Sunday what makes him such a confounding fantasy player. In what was a decent matchup with the Bears, he caught just two passes for five yards and carried the ball three times for 18 yards. Austin has four receiving touchdowns on the season, but just two games with more than 50 yards. He has had at least three carries in six of the Rams’ nine games this year, but 22 yards or fewer in four of those. Austin is going to pop a big play every now and again, and that will carry him to big fantasy days here and there. Like all players of this persuasion, though, it’s essentially impossible to predict when they will come. His big-play ability makes him an attractive depth receiver, but we no longer need depth with byes all but in the rearview mirror.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants
This isn’t Jennings’s first appearance among the Droppables, but he’s still owned in nearly 70% of leagues, so it seems we need to have another discussion about him. He had another game in Week 10 typical of his 2015 season, running 11 times for 39 yards and catching two passes for 12 yards. Jennings is good for 12 to 15 touches per game, but he doesn’t do a whole lot of damage with that workload. He has a total of two touchdowns and three games with at least 80 yards from scrimmage.
The Giants split their backfield duties into a lot of pieces, and while Jennings’s slice is the biggest, it’s nowhere near enough to turn him into a meaningful fantasy player. With just four teams left to go on bye, you shouldn’t have to think about someone like Jennings, who’s buried on the overall running back depth chart.
Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
The Patriots lost a key player on their offense for the second straight game. Last week, it was Dion Lewis tearing his ACL. This week, it was Edelman, who reportedly broke a bone in his foot in his first half. We likely won’t get official word on the injury until Monday, but it’s a safe bet that he’s going to miss significant time. There’s a chance he could return before the regular season ends, but likely not early enough to make an impact in the fantasy playoffs. This is a huge blow for both the Patriots and Edelman’s fantasy owners. Heading into Week 10, Edelman was sixth among wide receivers in total points and fifth in points per game. Danny Amendola will be an attractive player on the waiver wire, but he can’t replace Edelman in real life or fantasy.