Get ready, fantasy owners, as there are some big names making the list with the fantasy playoffs just two weeks away. It is now time for fantasy owners to drop certain underperforming or injured fantasy stars, as well players who have seen their roles change drastically. With 11 weeks of data, fantasy owners have a large enough sample size to make informed decisions about which rostered players belong on the waiver wire.
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 dominant fantasy owners understand the importance of foresight. Sometimes, you simply have to move on, just as NFL teams move on from players throughout the season.
However, 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 some players fantasy owners should not hesitate to drop after 11 weeks of NFL action.
We have new players at the top, scroll down for a few players who have been mentioned in this column before but are still owned in far too many leagues.
QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots
I know you may find it hard to drop a Hall-of-Fame quarterback that is owned in 99% of leagues and is piloting a team that is tied for the best record (9-1) in the NFL. However, Brady (who was started in 69% of leagues in Week 11 against the Eagles) hasn't topped 285 yards in his last four games, with just four touchdowns total over that span. The six-time Super Bowl champion has been a fantasy bust in his 20th season, only throwing 14 touchdown passes in 10 games. Brady does have a plus-matchup in Week 15 at Cincinnati, but the Patriots offense just isn’t playing at a level where fantasy owners should be trusting arguably the best signal-caller to ever play the game when your fantasy life is on the line. Brady has thrown fewer touchdown passes than Kirk Cousins, Daniel Jones, Derek Carr and Jacoby Brisett, all of whom are currently being started in fewer leagues than the aging quarterback..
RB Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts
Mack, owned in 100% of leagues, has been lost indefinitely after undergoing hand surgery early Monday. This is a huge blow for fantasy owners, as the third-year back had gained more than 74 yards on the ground in four straight games. With the fantasy playoffs only two weeks away, owners can not afford the luxury of stashing the promising young back on the bench. Fantasy football’s overall RB15 needs to be dropped this week and replaced with backfield teammate Jonathan Williams. Williams accounted for 147 total yards in Week 11 after Mack went down. Whatever FAAB money is left at your disposal, now is the time to use the available funds on targeting Williams, Washington’s Derrius Guice or Pittsburgh’s Jaylen Samuels.
WR Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
The electrifying rookie, owned in 91% of leagues, has struggled to match his torrid start to the season. The speedy wideout, who had 12 receptions for 233 yards and two touchdowns in his first two games of his career, has now produced fewer than 23 receiving yards in three of his last five games. The rookie has fewer than five targets in four consecutive games and has been hindered by an ankle injury that caused him to miss Week 6 against the Bengals and Week 7 versus Seattle. Brown, started in over 63% of leagues in Week 11, has a rough slate ahead. He will most likely draw Rams top CB Jalen Ramsey in Week 12, the top-rated 49ers in Week 13 and possible inclement weather in Week 14 in Buffalo. Owners can look to add the Giant Darius Slayton (owned in 31% of leagues), Cowboy Randall Cobb (34%) or Raider Hunter Renfrow (21%).
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
This is easily the biggest name in Week 11 and a player I know fantasy owners will not want to see on this list. However, let me explain. Smith-Schuster, who is currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol, is definitely among the biggest busts in fantasy football this season. The star wide receiver, owned in 99% of leagues, has produced fewer than 44 receiving yards in four of his last five contests. The third-year wideout, who is also rumored to be nursing a knee injury, could miss Week 12 or beyond. Even if he is able to get back on the field for the fantasy postseason, do you really want to trust a player who has only produced 81 yards receiving and no touchdowns over his last three games? The Steelers offense as a whole is one my model says to avoid down the stretch with an unreliable Mason Rudolph, injuries to RB James Conner and WR Diontae Johnson and the suspension of Pro Bowl OL Maurkice Pouncey.
As previously mentioned…
QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
The fourth-year signal caller highlighted this list last week, but fantasy owners are like poker players who refuse to muck pocket kings even when an ace appears on the flop. Goff, who is owned in 97% of leagues, struggled massively again in Week 11 against the Bears and now has only five touchdown passes combined in his last six games. With games against the Ravens in Week 12, Seahawks in Week 14, Cowboys in Week 15 and 49ers in Week 16, Goff should not be anywhere near any starting lineups come playoff time.
WR Robby Anderson, New York Jets
As we spotlighted back in Week 10, Anderson should not be rostered in the fantasy playoffs. Anderson is still surprisingly owned in more than 69% of leagues. He has failed to top 43 yards receiving in five straight games and has produced three games with just a single reception in that span. My model points at WR Jamison Crowder, RB Le’Veon Bell and TE Ryan Griffin as the New York Jets positional players to trust in the upcoming ‘money’ weeks.
WR Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams
We suggested Cooks as a drop back in Week 10, however many fantasy owners are making the mistake of still holding out hope. In Week 8 against the Bengals, the sixth-year playmaker suffered his second concussion of the season, leaving his availability in doubt going forward. Cooks, owned in more than 85% of leagues, has just 27 receptions and one touchdown playing eight games in what was supposed to be a prolific Rams offense. Even if the star wide receiver is able to return to the field, it’s hard for any fantasy owner to feel comfortable he will suddenly find a role in the current dysfunctional Los Angeles offense.
WR Antonio Brown, Free Agent
This one just does not make any sense at all. How is Brown still owned in over 38% of leagues? Really? No organization wants the drama and the circus he would bring into the locker room. Give it up already. Continuing to roster Brown into the fantasy playoffs is as useless as instructions on a shampoo bottle.
More Advice From SI Fantasy
—Jaime Eisner’s waiver wire pickups: Randall Cobb, Jonathan Williams, Jacob Hollister and more
—Bill Enright’s injury report takes a look at who is out how long
—Frankie Taddeo’s Week 11 superlatives look at the best and worst of last week