Fantasy Football: 4 Players You Can Drop After Week 1
We’ve made it through Week 1 and, inevitably, there were some surprises.
Hopefully, the good surprises helped your team. Or, the buzzsaw came so quickly your weekend was over before the afternoon games.
The season is a marathon, though -- not a sprint. Still, it’s ideal to get out of the blocks with some speed. Some players provided the necessary boost in Week 1. Some others are now a cause for concern. Injuries, either sustained prior to or during the game, are different. We can easily point to practice reports or trips to the medical tent as reasons for lack of usage on the field. Anything else makes us skeptical.
Each week in this piece we’ll identify players who are viable drop candidates. However, Week 1 produces a number of overreactions throughout the fantasy community. With such a small sample, this week’s recommendations are just players to monitor as we head into Week 2.
Potential Drop Candidates
Ty Montgomery, RB, New York Jets
Yahoo Ownership: 16%
Late preseason reports suggested Ty Montgomery was going to share the load with Le'Veon Bell after Bell's year-long absence from football. Adam Gase had other plans. Bell was "eased back" into football to the tune of playing 72 of 72 offensive snaps. Montgomery was on the field for only 7% of the snaps.
In a game in which Sam Darnold tied his second-most pass attempts, the converted wide receiver saw zero targets. Montgomery wasn’t even used in the two-minute offense. It is possible game script played a role as the New York Jets maintained a positive score differential until the final three minutes of the game. However, Bell saw six targets, and his lone score was through the air.
The Jets host the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. Cleveland’s 68.3% passing rate and 63 plays per game (15th-best) mesh well the Jets’ 66 plays per game. The idea is that the Browns figure out their issues on offense and can force New York into a negative game script. Without it, Montgomery may be relegated to only pure backup status with limited weekly usage.
Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins
Yahoo Ownership: 43%
If players on the team are asking to be traded, it might be time to find other options. Week 1 could not have gone worse for the Miami Dolphins. Or, if you believe in the tanking theory, it’s all going according to plan.
Either way, 21 rushing yards does not inspire confidence. No, that’s not a typo. The Dolphins rushed for a total of 21 yards in Week 1. Kenyan Drake rushed for 57.1% of those yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick, not a running back, accounted for 38.1%. Kalen Ballage? -2.9%. Yes, that’s a negative sign. After all the offseason hype, Ballage rewards the truthers with a negative score.
Ballage got the starting job, and his first carry went for four yards on rush up the middle. Midway through the first quarter, he caught a backwards pass that was credited as a run after being met in the backfield for -8 yards. Afterwards, his carries went for -3, 0, and 6 yards. He also saw only a single target in the passing game.
You can credit the Baltimore Ravens' defense, but limiting a team to 200 yards of total offense is concerning. Plus, the Dolphins host the New England Patriots in Week 2. The team has been clear on their direction, and Week 1 should be an indication to fantasy managers to move on before other viable waiver targets are acquired.
Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears
Yahoo Ownership: 40%
The Chicago Bears kicked off the 2019 season with a dud -- only 254 total offensive yards, just 3 points and,a three-way backfield.
In all of that, Anthony Miller was hardly seen. The second-year player saw just 22% of the team’s offensive snaps on a team that was competing in a tight one throughout the entire game. Javon Wims and Cordarrelle Patterson got on the field more often than Miller. That's not what you’d envision for a player that ended 2018 with 11% of the team’s targets after playing only 13 games. But it appears that Chicago has a new game plan headed into 2019.
Miller saw 48.1% of his targets come from the slot in 2018. However, Tarik Cohen's versatility may be limiting Miller’s chances of making an impact in 2019 as Cohen lined up as a wide receiver (slot or outside) on 95.7% of his offensive snaps in Week 1. The slot usage is especially concerning for Miller. Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel both operate on the outside, allowing Miller to play in the slot. If Cohen has now shifted to a slot role (presumably to free up backfield space for David Montgomery and Mike Davis), Miller becomes a non-factor in this offense.
Mitchell Trubisky attempted 45 passes in their Week 1 loss, and Miller earned only a single target. Now it's worth noting that Miller was dealing with an ankle ailment in camp, so maybe the team was just easing him in to the season. We'll see. The Bears travel to Denver to play the reeling Denver Broncos in Week 2, so it's probably best to wait and see here.
Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers
Yahoo Ownership: 47%
Geronimo Allison confirmed reports that he would be the team’s slot receiver in 2019. The news garnered comparisons to Randall Cobb's usage in previous years. Couple the information with an offensive-minded head coach, and fantasy managers were eager to draft Allison this season. The community was ready to see Allison out there on the field and part of a high-powered offense.
Well, Allison was on the field for 50% of the snaps. But, unless you play in a point-per-snap league, you were left staring at a zero after the game ended.
Allison wasn’t even targeted. Even with Davante Adams (at times) being triple-covered, Miller could not gain enough separation to earn a target from Aaron Rodgers. The four-year veteran slipped and was pushed off his route on multiple instances while Rodgers was sacked five times. Robert Tonyan (1 target), Trevor Davis (1 target), and Marcedes Lewis (3 targets) all saw more action in the passing game than Allison did.
In a role that typically generates both targets and receptions, Allison may be out of Rodgers’ circle of trust, prompting us to leave him on the waiver wire until further notice.
Trend to Note
Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Yahoo Ownership: 65%
Henderson’s collegiate 8.9 yards per carry instantly put him at the top of the priority list for fantasy managers. Beat writers even speculated on an even split between Brown and Henderson with Gurley leading the charge. But Gurley ended Week 1 with 70% of the snaps, Brown was in on 27%, and Henderson only 3%. LA even limited their running back usage in the passing game, deviating from their 2018 rates, making the situation even more confusing.
While Henderson is clearly the better athlete compared to Brown, the team may have other plans for him throughout the season, forcing us to adjust our expectations.