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Fantasy drops to make to chase waiver wire adds for semifinal matchups

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  • Arizona Cardinals
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  • Carolina Panthers
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  • San Francisco 49ers
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By Jennifer Eakins, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Writing this column after the fantasy football massacre that was Week 15 isn’t easy, but I’ll do my best to sort through what went down in order to best prepare you for Week 16. Hopefully, some of you made it through last week’s debacle and get a fresh slate for this next round.

Rosters still need to be trimmed of all the fat and what-ifs so they are streamlined for success over these next few weeks. Below is a look at some players who can be dropped and sent packing as we head down the stretch of both the NFL and fantasy seasons.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR – 49ers (94% rostered on Yahoo)

It appeared as if Brandon Aiyuk had ventured out of the dog house and back into fantasy relevancy, but in true Kyle Shanahan fashion, nothing is what it seems. After a season-high 10 targets in Week 14, Aiyuk saw just two balls last week and was out-targeted by Jauan Jennings, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel.

With everything on the line and his inconsistent usage in the 49ers' offense, Aiyuk is best suited on the waiver wire or the bench if you just can’t part with the 23-year-old receiver.

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Chuba Hubbard, RB – Panthers (82% rostered on Yahoo)

Last week was not a productive one for Chuba Hubbard, as the Panthers trailed for the entire contest, and the 22-year-old back just couldn’t get anything going. Hubbard carried the ball eight times for 40 yards, tacking on just one catch for one yard.

This week he’ll face a Buccaneers team more vulnerable through the air and who is most likely to lead from the start, similar to Week 15 against Buffalo. Week 17 doesn’t get any easier for the rookie, as he gets a stout Saints run defense ranked second in RB schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) this season. Hubbard is a risky, touchdown-dependent RB moving forward and could sink your playoffs if started.

Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard (30) removes his helmet in the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard has struggled to produce down the stretch and has a tough remaining schedule. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Denver WRs (Excluding Tim Patrick

Both Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy have made this article at some point this season, but considering their Yahoo rosterships are 74% and 82%, respectively, they need to be included one last time. It’s been eight games since either of these two posted double-digit fantasy points (Sutton in Week 6). Jeudy scored 10.2 half-PPR points in Week 1, and has yet to top it as we head into Week 16.

Denver’s offense is best on the ground, and will now have the more erratic Drew Lock under center for the time being, as Teddy Bridgewater suffered a concussion on Sunday, which was not his first of the season. Tim Patrick seems to be the only fantasy-relevant WR in the Denver offense — 7.9 Half-PPR points per tilt (WR42 through Week 14). Get rid of the Broncos’ baggage and swap them out for wideouts on a better offense like Gabriel Davis or Marquez-Valdes Scantling.

David Johnson, RB – Texans (49% rostered on Yahoo)

With the RB position so volatile, having a warm body feels like a positive thing as we head down the stretch. Unless it’s David Johnson. The 30-year-old runner is averaging a dismal 4.9 Half-PPR points per game since the Texans have returned from their Week 11 bye. He has not found the end zone since the first week of the 2021 season.

Johnson has been out-snapped 51% to 38% by Rex Burkhead in their last five games, and Burkhead has seen 14.8 touches per game to Johnson’s 11.7 in that time frame. With 49% of Yahoo managers still hanging onto Johnson, it’s time to peruse the waiver wire for some fresher options like Craig Reynolds, Ronald Jones or Dontrell Hilliard.

Tyler Conklin, TE – Vikings (47% rostered on Yahoo)

We had high-ish hopes for Tyler Conklin once Irv Smith Jr. was ruled out for the season in the early stages, but his breakout was just not meant to be in 2021. The fourth-year TE has had some serviceable weeks, but he's averaged just 4.4 points over the last four games.

Even down Adam Thielen, Conklin’s usage did not increase as this offense goes through Dalvin Cook. The remaining schedule for Minnesota does not favor the TE position either as the Rams, Packers and Bears all sit in the top half of the league in aFPA to opposing TEs. Gerald Everett or Albert Okwuegbunam come to mind as possible replacements.

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Say goodbye to these injured players

Here are a handful of drop-worthy guys most likely not suiting up during the regular reason, or if they do, aren’t worth hanging onto anymore:

  • Chris Godwin (99% rostered on Yahoo)

  • DeAndre Hopkins (73% rostered on Yahoo)

  • Julio Jones (72% rostered on Yahoo)

  • T.J. Hockenson (63% rostered on Yahoo)

  • Sterling Shepard (24% rostered on Yahoo)

This article originally appeared in its full form on 4for4.com

A proud alumna of the UGA Grady College of Journalism, Jennifer Eakins has been working in the sports industry for well over a decade. She has had stints with CNN Sports, the Atlanta Hawks and the Colorado Rockies. Her first fantasy football draft took place in 1996 where she selected Ricky Watters with the first overall pick, and she has been a fantasy degenerate ever since.

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