The fantasy playoffs are only one week away, and the time has come for fantasy managers to swallow their pride by dropping underperforming players. This also pertains to star players who have suddenly seen their roles change, thus adversely affecting their value for the remainder of the 2020 season.
With only one week until most leagues commence their playoffs, fantasy owners have now seen enough to make informed decisions about which rostered players belong on the waiver wire for the final push towards glory.
The difference between winning a fantasy football championship or not could come down to simply dropping a player that you invested draft capital in but has failed to meet expectations. The most successful fantasy owners understand the importance of moving on, just as NFL teams make transactions throughout the season. You do not want to overreact to one week of poor statistics, such as Cooper Kupp only hauling in two receptions for 41 yards against San Francisco.
However, at the same time, don't hold onto a player just because you do not want to admit a draft day or in-season trade blunder. Of course, fantasy owners also have to manage injuries and COVID-19 infections and drop players who may not return in time to contribute to a postseason run. Here are several players fantasy owners should not hesitate to drop as we head into Week 13.
QB Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
The veteran signal-caller struggled immensely in Week 12 at Atlanta, accounting for four turnovers while failing to throw a touchdown pass for the second time in his last three games. Expect Carr to possibly have a solid Week 13 on the road against the Jets, but his playoff matchups from Weeks 14 to 16 against the Colts, Chargers, and Dolphins are ones all fantasy owners should look to avoid. For a player currently rostered in over 97% of leagues, a move needs to be made.
Injury Drop: Daniel Jones, New York Giants
RB Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos
Fantasy owners believed they were holding onto a late-season gem after the speedy veteran returned from injury in Week 6 and promptly posted double-digit PPR efforts in two of his first three games back. Lindsay, owned in 73% of leagues, posted 10-plus PPR fantasy points in Week 7 and 9. However, since that span, he has posted fewer than 2.3 PPR points in three of his last four games. We also learned that the explosive running back came out of Week 12 with a knee injury. Combined with a struggling Denver offense, Lindsay is simply too risky to trust in playoff lineups.
RB Kalen Ballage, Los Angeles Chargers
Ballage was a great waiver wire acquisition over the past several weeks posting 14-plus PPR fantasy points in three consecutive games, but the party's over with the return of Chargers star RB Austin Ekeler back from his hamstring injury. The versatile back was in peak form in his return with 14 rushing attempts and 11 receptions in the passing game - dominating the touches. Fantasy managers must realize that Ballage can no longer even offer even RB3/flex value down the stretch. Still owned in more than 86% of leagues indicates that many fantasy owners need to be ahead of the curve with a player likely headed for a reserve role.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, New Orleans Saints
The time has come to part ways with Saints WR Emmanuel Sanders. Like every other position player on the Saints, the veteran wideout is struggling to put up elite fantasy numbers without Drew Brees under center. Sanders has posted fewer than 1.5 PPR fantasy points in two of his last three games, and with the 'run-first' Taysom Hill calling the signals, he has become too risky to trust. I would look to move on and replace him with Texans WR Keke Coutee, who is looking at an increased role in the Houston offense following the suspension of star WR Will Fuller. Also, I would look at Kansas City's Sammy Watkins (still available in 39% of leagues), who is back from injury and is primed to make another late-season impact playing with Patrick Mahomes.
WR Darius Slayton, New York Giants
The reports are that Giants QB Daniel Jones is likely going to miss time, which makes this decision an easy one. Despite the Giants' offensive success over the past month, the second-year standout from Auburn has posted inconsistent production over the last five games. In Week 12, Slayton hit rock bottom with the dreaded blank stat line in the box score, and this comes after posting less than 4.3 PPR fantasy points in two of his previous games before Sunday. Without Jones, the risk outweighs the reward. It would be prudent for owners to cut ties now with a player owned in 84% of leagues and instead look to acquire San Francisco WR Deebo Samuel (47%), who many fantasy owners gave up on about a month ago. Samuel played for the first time since Week 7 on Sunday and hauled in 11 of 13 targets for 133 yards and is easily a guy you need to add down the stretch. Now is the time to beat your opponents to the waiver wire.
WR AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Many fantasy owners were bullish on adding Green in the summer, expecting a return to elite WR1 status with Joe Burrow under center for the Bengals. However, with the loss of the talented No. 1 overall pick to a serious knee injury, it is becoming very difficult to trust any Bengals skill position players. Green (owned in 73% of leagues) has been shut out from the stat sheet in two of his last three games, and now is the time to throw him to the waiver wire. Owners should replace him with Jets WR Breshad Perriman, who has 19 targets resulting in 11 receptions for 233 receiving yards and three touchdowns over his past three games. Still available in over 72% of leagues, I would look to swap out the wideouts.
Suspension Drop: Will Fuller, Houston Texans
TE Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
It is fair for all fantasy managers to label Higbee among the biggest fantasy busts in 2020. Since Week 2, the veteran tight end has posted fewer than nine PPR fantasy points in every game. Higbee has under 19 receiving yards in three of his last four games, which is not good enough for any fantasy manager with championship aspirations. With no touchdowns in eight straight games, fantasy owners need to explore the waiver wire.
TE Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
Cook was listed here last week, and upon a deeper dive, we see that his ownership actually increased across fantasy leagues since last week! The veteran tight end has seen sharp regression in his production after fantasy owners witnessed solid production of 12-plus PPR fantasy points in Weeks 5 through 8. However, since that span, he has only seen eight targets resulting in 3 receptions for 36 yards over his last four games combined. With Drew Brees no longer under center and the return of star WR Michael Thomas, the target share is no longer there for Cook to continue to be rostered in any league. I understand most young quarterbacks tend to rely on their tight ends as a primary outlet, but that is not happening with Hill in New Orleans - as Cook has just one reception for six yards in his last three games. Send him to the waiver wire.
MORE FANTASY FOOTBALL: Week 13 Waiver Wire