With Week 6 in the books, fantasy owners have enough data to make informed decisions about which rostered players deserve to be on the waiver wire. It can be easy to get attached to a player, especially if you targeted him during your draft, but if that player should be dropped, fantasy owners need to adapt.
The difference between winning a championship or not could be as small as a decision to drop a player that you thought was a sleeper, but turned out to be a bust. It’s been proven that the most successful fantasy players understand that the foresight to move on is pivotal to winning championships.
You do not want to overreact to one week of poor statistics (such as Jared Goff throwing for a woeful 78 yards), but at the same time, don’t hold onto a player just because you are afraid to let go. Of course, fantasy owners also have to manage injuries and drop players who may not return in time to contribute to a postseason run. So without further ado, here are a couple of players at each skill position that I would cut ties with after six weeks of the fantasy season.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
It continues to astonish me that Dalton is owned in more than 57% of leagues, considering he has failed to surpass 262 passing yards in four straight games and has two zero passing-touchdown performances over the last three weeks. So many owners have been holding onto the veteran signal-caller, awaiting the return of star WR A.J. Green. However, those fantasy owners, who may be 3-3 or 2-4 in their respective leagues, simply can not hold onto the Red Rifle, even as a bye week replacement. With the Bengals facing the stout Jaguars pass defense this coming Sunday, it’s hard to support rostering Dalton, even if Green returns to the lineup for a road date with the Rams in Week 8.
My model has Dalton underperforming in both of those contests, followed by a Week 9 bye. Owners would be better served by adding New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (owned in less than 25% of leagues) or Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater (owned in less than 30% of leagues). If you can afford to stash Darnold for two weeks, he has an outstanding schedule in Weeks 9-15 (MIA, NYG, WAS, OAK, CIN, MIA and BAL).
My model has him as a top-eight QB in all of those weeks. Bridgewater, on the other hand, has been outstanding in his time filling in for the injured Drew Brees, lending to the thought that the Saints won’t rush Brees back before he is fully healthy. Bridgewater has great plus-matchups in Weeks 8 and 10 with home dates against porous pass defenses (Arizona and Atlanta). Sign me up. Send the veteran Dalton to the wire.
Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins
Thompson, owned in over 90% of leagues, was solid in PPR formats, posting double-digit performances in his first four games of the season. However, the production has fallen off in the last two weeks and now we have learned that the oft-injured back is once again battling an injury. Fantasy owners have become all too familiar with this script from the talented pass-catching running back. Due to various injuries, the veteran back has failed to play an entire 16-game season in four of his first five years in the NFL. Thompson, coupled with this new foot injury, faces a brutal three-game stretch facing off against San Francisco, Minnesota and Buffalo in Weeks 7-9 before a bye in Week 10.
It’s hard to endorse rostering the vet who will have minimal value, even if he is able to suit up for the next four weeks. The model says you would be better served cutting Thompson and adding Miami’s Mark Walton (owned in less than 5% of leagues). If you can stash Walton for the next two weeks, he has plus-matchups down the stretch with games against the Colts, Browns and Eagles when he could have solid flex appeal. Jump on the speculation train now and be ahead of the curve. Ditch Thompson for the emerging Walton.
Josh Gordon, New England Patriots
I know I may take some heat on this, but to be successful in fantasy football you often have to make bold decisions and go out on a limb. Many owners may scoff at this notion as Gordon is owned in over 99% of leagues. However, let’s take a deeper look at this. While grabbing just one touchdown on the season, Gordon has just as many single-digit PPR outings as double-digit performances. Additionally, we saw the veteran wideout leave Thursday night’s win over the Giants with a knee injury.
It’s hard to endorse starting Gordon moving forward. The model has downgraded him to a flex option at best in the weeks ahead. I am not sure the star wide receiver, who has battled his way through substance abuse issues to gain eligibility back into the league, will ever return to the level of play we saw from him back in 2012 and 2013 while a member of the Cleveland Browns. If your league allows trades, try to flip him to one of your competitors. However, if your rules prevent that option, it may be time to move on.
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
I will admit I was among the high-stakes owners who targeted significant shares of Samuel in drafts this summer. After a brutal training camp for Dante Pettis, I envisioned Samuel becoming the WR1 in the 49ers' offense. Well, after six weeks, Samuel (still owned in more than 51% of leagues) has just one game with more than 44 yards receiving and has been limited to one touchdown. It was revealed after Sunday’s win over the Rams that Samuel is now battling a quad injury.
The rookie does have attractive plus-matchups against a bad Arizona secondary twice in the next five weeks. However, you simply cannot trust the talented youngster with low-upside tilts against the Panthers, Packers and Saints down the stretch. Send the ‘rook to the wire and perhaps speculate on Cowboys wide receivers Tavon Austin (owned in less than 1% of leagues) or Cedrick Wilson (owned in 0% of leagues) should Amari Cooper be forced to miss game action with his quad injury sustained in Sunday’s loss to the Jets. Both players could offer significant upside, seeing large roles in the Cowboys’ passing attack should both Cooper and Cobb miss Week 7 and beyond.
Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks
This will be a difficult read for many owners who invested significant FAAB in the past several weeks. From all indications, it appears the emerging tight end has sustained his second straight season-ending injury. Dissly, owned in over 95% of leagues, had scored four touchdowns on 22 catches in the last four games heading into Week 6 against the Browns. His production had vaulted the promising young tight end to among the top players at the position. It’s a huge blow for many owners who had struck gold off the waiver wire at arguably the weakest position in all of fantasy football.
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