Cut Bait or Just Wait
We’ve seen a lot over the first three weeks of the season to have a pretty good idea of what’s working and what’s just not getting the job done on our fantasy teams. Here I take a look at some frustratingly aberrant or unproductive players and give some thoughts on whether we should move forward with or without them.
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Hunter Henry TE, Chargers: I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way, so I don’t have to deal with it the rest of this article. If he’s a TE and his name isn’t Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, Zach Ertz, Jason Witten, Delanie Walker… or maybe Charles Clay, he can be dropped as you see fit. Chances are he won’t resemble anything close to consistency from week to week. This includes Hunter Henry who is already contesting with Keenan Allen, Ty Williams, Travis Benjamin, Melvin Gordon and Antonio Gates for targets, and rookie WR Mike Williams is soon to be added to the fold. The truth of the matter though is that if you don’t own one of the aforementioned TEs, you can use Henry or any one of the other middling options according to their matchups and have just as good a chance of finding fantasy gold – or getting a real big goose egg in your stat line. If you have someone in mind who improves on Henry’s abysmal floor, don’t feel bad about letting Henry go. You’ll probably be able to pick him right back up if it goes south.
Adrian Peterson RB, Saints: As the 3rd option in the Saints running game, Adrian Peterson has yet to see double digit touches this season. But unlike Alvin Kamara, who hasn’t either, Peterson doesn’t offer the same explosiveness and upside in the passing game. He’s only really useful if Ingram suffers an injury, and Ingram is in the best shape of his career, so that seems less likely than usual.
Paul Perkins RB, Giants: I had hope for Paul Perkins when he came into the league a year ago, but historically players of his size/speed combo rarely thrive as 3 down backs in the NFL. It appears as if he’s not an exception. In fact, it looks like all of the usual suspects in New York are proving ineffective. Don’t be surprised if the Giants unwrap rookie Wayne Gallman soon.
Ted Ginn WR, Saints: Ted Ginn will have his good days. In fact, he’ll probably have some great days in fantasy this season. It’s just impossible to predict when those days will be. He had 3 games to be the no.2 option in New Orleans while Willie Snead was out, and he’s been one 40 yard TD away from obsolescence over that time. It’s those big plays that keep him in lineups, but over his career he’s hurt his owners more than help them. There are other high upside options, with reasonable floors, that are available in your leagues. Kenny Stills and Taylor Gabriel come to mind.
Terrelle Pryor/Jamison Crowder WR, Redskins: Both Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder have disappointed their owners this season. Yet to be seen are the kind of games we expect from guys who are both coming off of career best seasons in an offense that should be oozing with production. I’ve also known QB Kirk Cousins as a slow starter in fantasy though, and this season has been no different. Only in week 3 have we seen a glimpse of what he can do once things get firing. Pryor and Crowder are going to turn it on, but their fortunes are tied to Cousins’ arm. It looks like that arm is beginning to get back into top 10 QB shape.
Cooper Kupp WR, Rams: Cooper Kupp has had some down games after his week 1 coming out party, and I wouldn’t blame you if you feel pretty reluctant about keeping him rostered. QB Jared Goff has felt emboldened enough in the past couple of games to stretch the field with his outside receivers or just hand it off to Todd Gurley, and it’s worked. That strategy might work in Dallas this week, but with Seattle, Jacksonville, Arizona, New York Giants, Houston and Minnesota up after that, his outside options are going to be stifled by dominant corners. You’re going to see a lot of Kupp in those matchups folks.
Brandon Marshall WR, Giants: I can’t ignore 11 targets in week 3 for Brandon Marshall, when the Giants finally jump started their offense after a lackluster beginning to their season. New coach Ben McAdoo wants to keep his job, and he now knows that involves allowing Eli Manning to open up the passing game and not trying to rely on their completely ineffective running game. I at least want to see what Marshall can do against a Tampa secondary that has given up the most fantasy points to receivers this season before doing something drastic.
Eric Decker WR, Titans: I’m not the biggest Decker fan, but I want to give him a little leeway after this slow start in which he’s averaged about 3 fantasy points a game. Two of those games were against Seattle – notoriously difficult for outside receivers and Jacksonville – the no. 32, or hardest, matchup for receivers according to our proprietary matchup tool. Corey Davis is still absent, and the Titans get Miami, Indianapolis, and Cleveland on their plates after a matchup with Houston this week – and Houston hasn’t been the juggernaut against receivers that it has been in the past over the first 3 weeks.