There is now just one week left in the typical fantasy regular season. Byes are all but a thing of the past. Depth is less important than it was a few weeks ago, but you’re still going to make moves to fine tune your team. 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, we help you find the players you won’t miss. We call them The Droppables. 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.
One more quick note before we get started: With byes all but done and the fantasy playoffs right around the corner, the waiver wire isn’t nearly as important as it once was. Even if you wanted to get rid of a player, there’s a good chance no one on the wire is worth adding. For the rest of the season, therefore, The Droppables are also The Benchables.
Jones is a perfect illustration of the final sentence in the intro. He’s really more of a Benchable than a Droppable. He has a sizable role in an above-average offense, and remains that offense’s best downfield threat. Still, Jones has suffered such a dramatic reversal from the beginning of the season that he can be dropped in shallow leagues and belongs on plenty of fantasy benches. Jones had four catches for 54 yards against the Vikings on Thanksgiving, which made four straight games—and six out of seven—in which he had less than 55 yards. Jones scored 17.6 points per game the first three weeks of the season, and 6.23 points per game since then. Even if you aren’t dropping him, you can safely bench him.
Benjamin returned on Sunday after a one-game absence (and San Diego’s bye) because of a knee injury. He caught one pass for eight yards. Meanwhile, Tyrell Williams had eight catches for 70 yards, Dontrelle Inman pulled down six receptions for 119 yards, and both of them found the end zone. Benjamin looked like he’d be the No. 1 receiver in San Diego when Keenan Allen tore his ACL early in the season, but Williams has wrested that mantle. Benjamin may technically be a starter, but he’s third in the fantasy pecking order at the position for the Chargers. That has him safely off the fantasy radar.
Hurns left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, and if it turns out to be something that costs him any time then he’s obviously a droppable player. Even if the injury is minor, though, Hurns isn’t someone you need to protect on your roster. Over his last four games, he has four receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown. He has had more than 75 yards in a game once all season, and has been south of 60 yards seven times. After his 7.2-point game against the Bills on Sunday, Hurns has put up 5.97 points per game this season. That places him firmly in WR5/6 range, and that’s the range that has a receiver on the waiver wire at this stage of the season.
Here we are again with West, who turned in another ho-hum effort on Sunday. He ran for 48 yards on 13 carries in the Ravens 19-14 win over the Browns, marking the fifth time in his last six games that he rushed for fewer than four yards per carry. Kenneth Dixon also got 13 carries, outgaining West by one yard. Dixon also caught four passes for 31 yards, while West hauled in three for 16 yards. We’ve always known that West is a volume-based fantasy asset, and with Dixon firmly in the mix for the Ravens, West isn’t getting the workload he needs to be a true weapon in most fantasy leagues. For many of his owners, West could be like Marvin Jones. You might not want to cut him outright, but he should be comfortably on your bench.
Crowell made The Droppables last week. Among the many factors working against him, I mentioned the following:
In the seven games since that hot start, he hasn’t rushed for more than 63 yards in a game, and has found the end zone just twice. All told, Crowell has 167 yards on the ground, 194 through the air and the two touchdowns over his last seven games. That comes out to 6.87 points per game.
To be fair to Crowell, that average ticked up after Sunday. He totaled 91 yards from scrimmage, with 44 of those on the ground and the other 47 through the air. While the receiving production is encouraging, Crowell needs to make his money as a runner. His 63-rushing-yards-and-under streak now sits at eight games. In that timeframe he has 211 yards on 84 carries, which comes out to 2.51 yards per carry. That’s not going to cut it for any fantasy owner, especially with our cupboards fully stocked for the rest of the season. What’s worse, the Browns are one of the only two teams left with a bye.
Meredith stepped back into the fantasy spotlight two weeks ago when Alshon Jeffery was suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. He caught four passes for 49 yards in the first game of Jeffery’s suspension, and then came word of Jay Cutler’s shoulder injury. The Bears are saying that Cutler won’t be out for the rest of the season, but there’s no telling if or when he will be back. Matt Barkley breathed some life into the Bears offense in the second half and nearly pulled out a dramatic comeback win against the Titans, but the fantasy ceiling for this offense remains as low as any team’s in the league. The Bears remain the only team that has yet to score more than 23 points in a game this season.