By Jennifer Eakins, 4for4
Special to Yahoo Sports
As we enter double-digit weeks of the fantasy season and teams are jockeying for playoff berths, it’s crucial to be on top of your rosters. Getting rid of underperformers or players with role changes is essential in your team’s success moving forward.
These moves may not be for everyone as each roster, team record, point total, and depth of league is different. However, I am here to help you rip off that proverbial band-aid and help decide who’s no longer serving your fantasy team the way fresh blood has the potential to.
Marquise Brown, WR – Ravens (rostered in 90% of leagues)
This one will hurt, especially for the data lovers who see Brown was 12th in air yards heading into last week and leads his team in targets. However, this Ravens offense just doesn’t seem to be able to support that many role players, especially ones in the pass-catching department.
Brown’s 8.6 half-PPR points per contest rank him at WR51 on the season. He’s being outperformed by receivers who are pretty widely available on the waiver wire like Tim Patrick and Curtis Samuel. Baltimore’s schedule lightens up in the coming weeks, but unless the o-line issues get fixed, letting Brown be someone else’s problem might behoove both your sanity and fantasy team.
Melvin Gordon, RB – Broncos (rostered in 97% of leagues)
Dropping a third-rounder is never easy to stomach, but Melvin Gordon is not producing in this Denver offense and it may be time to move on to a rusher who is. It could be that Denver's o-line is not great, or that the team is always playing from behind and forced into a pass-heavy game script, or it’s more likely a hearty combination of both. Gordon’s lack of fantasy output could also be attributed to Phillip Lindsay cutting into his touches and the team’s committee approach to the position.
Assigning the reason isn’t of the utmost concern, but Gordon’s lack of output is. Since his two weeks away from football — a Week 5 bye and then being charged with a DUI before ultimately sitting due to an illness in Week 6 — Gordon’s usage has tapered off with each passing week. His fantasy production has been trending down with the lack of work as well, with scores of 11.0, 7.7, and 3.2 half-PPR points, respectively, over the past three weeks.
With Denver’s offense the way that it is in 2020, Gordon may not be too useful moving forward, so letting him go now could save you some anguish in the weeks to come.
Le'Veon Bell, RB – Chiefs (rostered in 87% of leagues)
I know, you’ve held onto Bell this long through the lean Adam Gase games and a hamstring injury, so why let him go now that he’s on a winning team? It comes down to opportunity and production, and it doesn’t appear Bell will be getting enough work or is doing enough with it to help your fantasy team down the stretch.
Since joining the Chiefs, Bell is averaging just 17.6 snaps per contest, which has resulted in only 5.3 carries and 1.3 targets a game, for a whopping 3.3 half-PPR points each tilt. With Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire all above him in the pecking order, Bell appears to be nothing more than fantasy insurance moving forward.
If it helps to ease the pain, Kansas City boasts a really challenging remaining schedule after this week’s bye, as four of their six opponents before the Week 16 fantasy championship sit 11th or better in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to running backs.
JaMycal Hasty, RB – 49ers (rostered in 52% of leagues)
The rookie served his purpose for a few weeks, but it does not appear a breakout is in the cards for JaMycal Hasty in 2020. His four rushes for three yards in Week 9 can be partially blamed on the 49ers falling behind early, but Kyle Shanahan chose Jerick McKinnon as his lead back when the chips were down, which is telling.
The San Francisco backfield is still riddled with injuries, but Hasty is just not the guy to add a significant amount of points to your weekly roster output. I almost put in a “don’t be hasty pun” as far as dropping him, but thought better of myself. Take a look at Troymaine Pope, Kalen Ballage or J.D. McKissic if you’re hurting for rushing help, as most of us are.
Russell Gage, WR – Falcons (rostered in 12% of leagues)
There were a few splashy weeks for Russell Gage while both Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones were dealing with injury issues, but otherwise, the 24-year-old receiver has been non-effective in recent weeks. Last Sunday with Ridley sidelined, Gage only managed to haul in 2-of-6 balls for 11 yards, helping no one.
With Hayden Hurst finally carving out a nice role for himself and Jones back in the mix, there just isn’t enough work for Gage to be fantasy relevant in this offense. Send him packing in exchange for a wideout with a higher potential floor like Jalen Reagor, Curtis Samuel or even Allen Lazard, as his return from injured reserve is imminent.
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.