Fantasy Football Panic Meter: Week 13
If you’re reading this, you’ve likely survived until the first round of your playoffs. Well done!
Absent an incredibly small percentage of you, you’ve achieved your feat with an imperfect roster. Many of you will have difficult start/sit decisions to make over the next week, and you’ll need to closely evaluate your rosters. Here, as we do each week, we’ll examine some underperformers from this week and whether fantasy owners should be panicking about their play as we head to the playoffs.
Alvin Kamara (RB – NO) – Panic Meter Rating: 3
Between injury and ineffectiveness, Kamara has been one of the bigger busts of the 2019 season considering his draft price. He has topped 75 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving just once all season and has a meager two touchdowns. So, yes, his fantasy owners have a right to be frustrated.
But there’s at least one monstrous game coming. Kamara hasn’t seen fewer than eight targets in any of his last five games. And Latavius Murray played on just 13 snaps on Thanksgiving against the Falcons, while Kamara played 41. Touchdown regression happened for Leonard Fournette, D.J. Moore, and others. It will happen for Kamara, too, probably at the time when fantasy owners need him the most.
Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – CLE) – Panic Meter Rating: 9
Look, if we’re considering preseason value, Beckham has been at a 10 on the panic meter rating for about eight or nine weeks. At this point, it’s just about whether you’re even continuing to start him. And that nine, rather than a 10, leaves open the possibility that you might.
Beckham has topped 100 yards receiving in just two games and scored two touchdowns on the season. He has actively hurt your fantasy team in more than half the games he has played. And all those targets that suddenly came his way? He had only six yesterday. So what is the reason for even the smallest sliver of optimism?
His next two games are against the Bengals and the Cardinals. That is all there is. His only two touchdowns came against the Jets and the Dolphins, two (at the time) notoriously weak pass defenses. If you own Beckham and you made the playoffs, these next two games were the only things keeping you going. And while you may do it without much confidence, you should be starting him over the next two weeks.
Ronald Jones (RB – TB) – Panic Meter Rating: 10
Jones’ game on Sunday against the Jaguars was unfathomable. After a strong performance against the Falcons and glowing praise from Bruce Arians, Jones looked prime to take advantage of a soft matchup against the Jaguars. Instead, he missed a blitz pickup early on, saw only six touches, and played on just 18 snaps.
Regardless of what you think of Jones’ ability or even if you knew for a fact that the Bucs planned to make him the lead back against the Colts next week, the fact that any player could have such a short leash makes him an automatic bench. There’s no need to even own Jones anymore. Let someone else take the risk.
D.J. Chark (WR – JAC) – Panic Meter Rating: 3
Chark has quietly been held to 47 yards or less in three of his last four games and had the fewest receptions and yards of the Jaguars’ three main receivers on Sunday in the softest of matchups against the Bucs. Although he had elevated himself into borderline WR1 status just a few weeks ago, he’s become far less reliable.
But there’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about Chark during the playoff stretch. His schedule (Chargers, Raiders, Falcons) is far from imposing. And although a decision has not yet been made, it seems likely that Gardner Minshew will take the reins from Nick Foles, which should be a boon to Chark and the offense as a whole.
In the end, almost every wide receiver outside of the top 12 is unreliable. Chark’s schedule and solid floor, as well as a potential quarterback change, is reason enough to keep him in your lineup.
Le’Veon Bell (RB – NYJ) – Panic Meter Rating: 8
There are several things about which to be concerned with Bell. First and foremost is obviously his production. His total yards over his last four games against the Giants, Redskins, Raiders, and Bengals: 68, 92, 108, 67. More importantly, here are his touches in those four games: 22, 20, 17, 14.
Bell has battled through injury all season, and after next week’s game against the Dolphins, he’ll go up against the Ravens and the Steelers. With even Sam Darnold having to admit that the Jets’ playoff chances are over, and with his touches trending downward, the chance of Bell shutting things down, or having a significantly reduced workload, are increasing.
If you own Bell and he continues to play, you’re likely forced to continue to roll him out there. But temper your expectations, even from his recent modest level of production.