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The Do Not Cut List: Week 1

Many of us feel a bit like Chicken Little today: the sky is falling and all of our prep was for naught. Many of our sleepers are still sleeping and our breakouts could not find the emergency hammer to break the glass. Fear not though, you are still in good shape, and the very worst thing you could do at this point is freak out and make overreaction or rage drops. In the words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic!” This article will be your proverbial towel as we race our way through the galaxy.

Things to Remember

Here are a few main points to remember before we get started:

  • No quarterbacks are on this list because the position is deep and there are likely many streamable options, or if you are in a Superflex league you likely don’t have many options available. 
  • Do feel free to drop kickers to make your waiver wire moves, they are also streamable.1
  • Use your IR spots if available.

The Obvious

It is Week 1. If you invested a top-five-round pick on a player they are on this list. As the year progresses we may learn enough to drop players with high draft capital, but not yet. There is still too much to learn.  Kerryon Johnson, Aaron Jones, and Devonta Freeman were all major disappointments, but it goes without saying …

Running Backs

David Montgomery 

He may actually fall in the “obvious” category, but in case you are tempted to rage drop him after a mediocre six carries for 18 yards and only one reception, please refrain. The Chicago Bears had an overall poor offensive performance but Montgomery saw 50% of the RB carries. He should bounce back in the next few weeks, starting this week against the Denver Broncos. Using the soon-to-be-released RotoViz Stat Explorer App you can see that in the last five games of 2018, the Broncos gave up an average of 23.6 rushes for 112.6 yards. 

In Week 1 of 2019, the Oakland Raiders rushed for 98 yards and two TDs. Montgomery should begin to bounce back this week, but if Week 2 is another subpar outing I still won’t cut bait — he has a pathway to high production with the rushing market share opportunity.  

Upshot: Not panicking at all

Miles Sanders 

Same logic here as with Montgomery. Rookie RBs often start out slow, especially when a committee approach is used to start the season. However, Sanders led the Philadelphia Eagles with 11 carries, accounting for 35.5% of the carries.  He also had two targets — not as much a we would hope for, but he was not ignored in the passing game. Better days are ahead for Sanders, if he continues to get 35% of the rushing attempts he projects out to a low-end RB2, not what you drafted, but not cuttable. The hope is an increase in workload. Sanders can be a valuable asset on this team even without injuries to Darren Sproles or Jordan Howard. However, an injury to either of those two, and he could be a league winner. 

Upshot: Not panicking at all

Rashaad Penny 

You likely did not draft Penny expecting him to get the bulk of the carries for the Seattle Seahawks, so him playing on 14 of 53 plays compared to Chris Carson’s 41 snaps might not be a big surprise. The good news is that no other RB saw the field. The Seahawks had a dreadful day from a volume perspective with only 45 total offensive plays. However, a commitment to the run was certainly evident with a 55.5% rushing rate. An astonishing 71% of the plays involved a Seattle RB. Penny remains a decent flex option with RB1 upside if Carson misses any time.

Upshot: Not panicking, yet 

Kenyon Drake

It was not pretty, I won’t lie to you. Drake saw only four carries and three targets. The Miami Dolphins had only 19:53 minutes of possession and were in a huge hole early, forcing a change in the game plan. This could be a recurring theme for the Dolphins and may be reason for concern in the future. But don’t drop him yet. Kalen Ballage had an even worse day and should not out-touch Drake moving forward. 

Upshot: Monitor for now, mild levels of panic

Wide receivers

Curtis Samuel

The Carolina Panthers WR did not have a great game with only three receptions for 32 yards. In fact, it was a little disturbing. There certainly is a narrative that suggests panic. After all, Christian McCaffery saw an impressive 28.9% target share, and D.J. Moore had an equally impressive 26%. One might wonder if there is enough passing volume to go around. There are two key factors to address with Samuel: first, he is explosive. Samuel’s 4.3 speed means he can take it to the house on any play. Second, the Panthers’ WRs have a favorable Strength of Schedule for the rest of the season, facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week. For the rest of the year, only four opponents rate as difficult matchups.

Upshot: No panic, still a truther. Possibly a bench player for now. 

Robby Anderson 

On most weeks a 17% Target Share with a number of deep shots will lead to more productivity than three receptions for 23 yards. The deep targets are there for Anderson. If Sam Darnold hits Anderson in stride, we are looking at 66 more yards and a touchdown. Week to week there will be some boom and bust, but you definitely need to hang on.  

Upshot: Everything is fine

Tight End

O.J. Howard

I have so many shares of Howard. Seriously, I had a tilting Sunday! Howard fumbled, tipped a pass that led to an interception, and finished with only 32 yards on four receptions. But on a positive note, Howard played 55 of 69 snaps. Unfortunately, he only ran routes on 20 of Jameis Winston’s 36 passes. “Not great Bob, not great.” Cameron Brate was also involved in the offense, and even had two touchdowns nullified by penalty.  Howard should be fine next week, facing a Panthers team that ranks in the top third of the league for TE matchups.

Upshot: Nervous, but blindly pushing the panic away

Image Credit: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Kenyan Drake.

  1. Look for my article later this week to see which ones you should target.  (back)

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