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The Week 4 Do Not Cut List

Saquon Barkley is my main man in my most important home league. It is a keeper league and I have a stacked team beyond him as well, with Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, and Deshaun Watson. This team is 0-3. I am not happy. I am worried, but I will not panic. The reality is that the season is not over, and making the playoffs is still within the realm of possibilities. What matters most is to not make drastic decisions, remain true to your process, and allow new information to guide your roster construction. Some elite players are under-performing, and you must decide if you want to cut bait, or hang tight. Let’s look at some of these cases and determine what we should do.

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 (look for my upcoming article to see which ones you should target)
  • Use your IR spots if available.

High Draft Capital

Some of these players may seem obvious, but I want to provide reasons for optimism surrounding these disappointing players. 

Davante Adams

Last season Adams had a touchdown or over 100 yards receiving in every game outside of Week 4 versus Buffalo. So far this year he has zero TDs and is averaging only 66 yards a game, “good enough” for WR 44 in PPR. This is not what you invested your second-round pick for — not even close! But there is reason for optimism. Adams has a 24% target share for a team led by Aaron Rodgersbetter times are ahead. Adams leads the Packers in receptions and receiving yards. The Packers have faced three tough pass defenses in the Bears, Vikings, and Broncos this season. Week 4 versus the Eagles will be Adams’ 2019 breakout game. The Eagles have allowed a 100-yard receiving performance every week this season and in Week 2 the Falcons had two WRs with over 100 yards. The RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer shows the success WRs have had over the last five matches. The only disappointing game was a Week 17 Washington game quarterbacked by Josh Johnson.   

Furthermore, Adams performs well in games where the Packers are favorites and the Vegas Over/Under is above 45 points. The model projects a 16 – 21 point range.

Upshot: Must start until further notice

Leonard Fournette

Thursday night provided a snapshot of Fournette’s season to date. Only two of his 15 carries went for more than four yards, and 60% of the carries were for zero or negative yards. However, on Fournette’s 12th carry he ripped off a very nice 69-yard gain to salvage a rough outing. It was not an easy night for him. However, even without the long gainer, there is reason for hope for the rest of season outlook. Fournette played on 100% of the snaps, had all of the running back carries, and received a 27% market share of Gardner Minshew’s targets. This all provides a very high floor. The receiving opportunity gives Fournette a massive ceiling moving forward. The 20 targets to date is fourth among RBs on the season. Throughout his career, Fournette has never gone more than three games without a touchdown. The scores are coming, and from a historical perspective, they should be coming in bunches. 

Upshot: Still a plug and play – look to acquire Fournette if possible. 

Stefon Diggs

Diggs has seen 12 targets and hauled in six of them for 101 yards and one touchdown — not a bad week. Unfortunately, those are Diggs numbers through three games. It has not been a pretty season for him. He is one reason why my aforementioned team is 0-3! The main problem for Diggs is that he is only being targeted an average of four times per game. Much of this is due to game flow: in Vikings wins, he was targeted two and three times; in losses, seven. In order for an increase in production, Diggs needs a negative game script. According to the RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer, the final half of the season is no cakewalk for the Vikings. But they do face defenses with positive matchups for wide receivers, which will help buoy Diggs.

Upshot: You can not start him, but hold for now. If he does not get going by Week 6, his name will no longer be on The List.

Players on the Previous List

Graduates

Miles Sanders

Jordan Howard still exists — his one-yard touchdown and 42% rushing market share are tough to ignore. However, Sanders was the more explosive player, totaling 126 yards on 15 touches. Yes, he fumbled,  which is problematic, but it should not carry over to next week. Howard, for now, limits the ceiling for Sanders, but as the RB leading the Eagles in market share of opportunity, he is a must own. 

Carryovers

O.J. Howard

Let me be honest, I was hoping for much more than 9.6 PPR points in Week 3. It is fine, I suppose, but finishing the week as TE15 is not ideal. I am still holding on to Howard for all the reasons in last week’s article. Howard’s 19.8 aDOT last week was encouraging, as was the fact that he played 75% of the team’s snaps, compared to Cameron Brate’s 48%.

Upshot: Unless Greg Olsen is still available, hold Howard — he is a better option than streaming the position  

Dede Westbrook 

The Jaguars passing offense has been distributed between D.J. Chark, Chris Conley, Fournette, and Westbrook. And now Marqise Lee is back in the lineup — this is nice for Minshew, but can be frustrating as a fantasy manager. Chark has scored in every matchup, while Westbrook has scored only once, and has been struggling with dropped passes, including a would be 22-yard touchdown against the Titans. Despite all this, there is reason to hold on to the 57th ranked WR. Last week Westbrook saw 30% of the team targets, and the highest WOPR (weighted opportunity rating) on the team.

The Jaguars made a concerted effort to involve Westbrook in the game, and you should expect this moving forward. While he is yet to eclipse 50 yards in a single game, the team-leading target share should lead to higher productivity. 

Upshot: WR3 or Flex in PPR with opportunity for more

Image Credit: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Davante Adams.

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