The bye-week apocalypse is upon us. Six teams—the Ravens, Rams, Dolphins, Giants, Steelers and 49ers—have a Week 8 bye, Six more take a rest in Week 9, and four apiece are off the following two weeks. That makes 20 teams, 52.5% of the league, going on bye over the next month. This is the trickiest part of the schedule for fantasy owners to navigate. Your depth will be crucial.
And yet, you’ll still need to make moves on the waiver wire, which will require you to cut players when roster depth is most tested. Knowing who you can afford to drop can make the difference between a playoff berth and an early end to your season, or a regular season championship and a third-place finish. In this space over the next few weeks, we’ll help you find the players you won’t miss. We call them The Droppables.
One quick note before we get going. If a player is droppable, that does not mean you should get rid of him at all costs. What it means is that the player in question does not and should not hold a priority spot on your roster. If you need to make a move, the players below can be on the chopping block.
Yeah, Jennings scored a touchdown on Sunday. Big deal. He ran for 25 yards on 13 carries and caught two passes for 24 yards. Marquette King, the Raiders' punter, ran for more yards than Jennings on Sunday. Since running for 75 yards on 18 carries against the Cowboys in Week 1, he has 67 yards on the ground on 35 totes. That’s right, Jennings has rushed for fewer than two yards per carry across a three-game sample. The Giants' run game is a mess, and Jennings doesn’t show up in the passing game at all. What’s more, the Giants are one of the six teams going on bye next week. Jennings won’t be able to help you at all then, though his performance really won’t be that much different than it is when the Giants are actually playing. He offers little value in nearly all fantasy formats.
Ah, okay, so it isn’t as easy to be a successful quarterback in the NFL as Wentz made it seem early in the season. Maybe, just maybe, it had something to do with playing the Browns and Bears in his first two career games. To be fair, no one should beat up Wentz for struggling against the Vikings, arguably the league’s best defense. He threw for 138 yards, 4.93 yards per attempt, one touchdown and two interceptions, numbers that have become common for quarterbacks when they play Minnesota. Wentz hasn’t done much over the last three weeks, though, scoring just 11.13 points per game in standard-scoring leagues. Wentz has exceeded expectations, but that only makes him a stream play in one-quarterback leagues, not someone who has to stick on your roster.
Speaking of streamers in traditional formats, how dramatically have things turned around for Bortles? The third-year quarterback threw for 246 yards, 5.72 YPA, one touchdown and two interceptions in the Jaguars' 33–16 loss to the Raiders. Bortles has thrown for fewer than 7.0 YPA in four of his six games this season, a shocking lack of efficiency for a player who should be making strides if he’s a legitimate franchise quarterback. He’s still too reckless with the ball, throwing seven interceptions against eight touchdowns. He has just one game this season with more touchdowns than picks, and all those turnovers limit his fantasy ceiling. Like Wentz, he remains on the stream radar, but he shouldn’t be locked into a roster in traditional one-quarterback leagues. He’s simply too erratic to trust on a regular basis.
We’ve talked about Johnson’s droppable status over the last few weeks, and he hasn’t done anything to turn around his season. Johnson carried the ball for six times against the Bengals on Sunday, totaling 15 yards. He caught four passes for 18 yards, marking the fourth time this season he had fewer than 60 yards from scrimmage. Johnson doesn’t do enough on the ground to rely on his production there, and he isn’t making the same impact as a receiver that he did as a rookie. Isaiah Crowell, meanwhile, has taken a step forward this year, locking down a role as Cleveland’s primary runner. Johnson got more work as a pure running back last year when the two appeared neck and neck, but it’s clear that the backfield belongs to Crowell now. Johnson still has some value in deep leagues with full PPR scoring, but he can be dropped in all other formats.
Parker was a popular breakout pick this summer, so his backers had to be pleased when he caught eight passes on 13 targets for 106 yards in his season debut back in Week 2. Since then, he has 15 receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown in five games. He added to that litany of mediocrity with a three-catch, 20-yard effort in the Dolphins 28–25 win over the Bills on Sunday. Including that 106-yard game, which seems like a distant memory at this point, he’s averaging 5.92 points per game in standard-scoring leagues. Over his last five games, he’s putting up 4.98 points in an average contest. Given everything he has put on tape this year, there’s little reason to hold onto Parker.
Two things are clear in the Jacksonville rushing attack, and neither is good for Yeldon. First, Chris Ivory is the leader of the backfield. In every game this season where Ivory has been completely healthy, he has out-touched Yeldon or split touches right down the middle, and the latter hasn’t done anything to change that reality. The second problem—and this is a problem for Ivory, too—is that the Jacksonville line appears completely incapable of run blocking. The Jaguars headed into Sunday’s loss to the Raiders averaging 71 yards per game on the ground, ranking 31st in the league. They put up 105 yards as a team on 16 carries, but Yeldon accounted for just 24 of those yards on six carries. His value, and that of the entire Jaguars' backfield, is fleeting.
After Jay Ajayi’s second 200-yard game in as many weeks, it’s safe to say that he is in complete command of the Miami backfield. Not only is Foster miles behind him on the depth chart, he may have been passed by Damien Williams, as well. When Ajayi briefly exited the game due to cramping in the fourth quarter, it was Williams who took his spot in the backfield. All told, Foster had three carries for five yards. Ajayi is going to be a workhorse for the Dolphins over the course of the rest of the season, making him the only Miami running back worth owning. Foster doesn’t even appear to be the handcuff in South Florida. He’s totally off the fantasy radar.
Sproles has a hold over some corners of the fantasy community because of his ability to explode in any given week. He put that on display back in Week 3, when he caught six passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. The problem, though, is those games are so few and far between, and nearly impossible to predict. Outside of that game, Sproles has a total of 176 yards from scrimmage this season. If you’re starting him you’re doing so out of desperation, not because he’s set up to succeed. That’s the definition of a droppable player.
Sanu is still owned in about two of every five leagues, which is surprising given his lack of production this year. Sanu and the Falcons had a great matchup with the Chargers on Sunday, and almost everyone on the team delivered. They scored 30 points and racked up 386 yards from scrimmage. Sanu was responsible for 16 of those yards and none of the points. He has fewer than 50 yards in six of Atlanta’s seven games this season, totaling 258 yards and a pair of scores on 23 receptions. That translates to 5.4 points per game in standard-scoring leagues. He’s not going to be a fantasy factor this season.