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Fantasy Football Panic Meter: Miles Sanders, George Kittle, JuJu Smith-Schuster (2021)

Oct 5, 2021
George Kittle

Starting, sitting, trading, waiting, and replacing are decisions every fantasy football player makes all season long. Unfortunately, information comes at us fast and furious, making it difficult to decipher when to change our lineups. This article series will be here weekly to help you make those pivotal calls. Welcome to the Panic Meter.

Each week, we will give you several players who underperformed and how panicked you should feel about that letdown. The scale (as seen below) will tell you exactly what to do with last week’s busts, whether it means running them back out there this week or sending them packing for the waiver wire.

Every player will get a Panic Meter grade between 0 and 4 and a strategy to employ at that graded level.

0 This week wasn’t great, but panic not, my friend! Start him again next week.
1 Wait and see mode activated. If you can replace him, it may be a smart move.
2 That was ugly. Something is wrong here. To the bench.
3 Hold at your own risk. This player isn’t reliable right now, consider moving on.
4 Stop. DROP. Shut ’em down. Open up shop! He gone.

Now that you understand the system bring on the panic!

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Week 4 Panic Meter

Odell Beckham Jr (WR – CLE) | Panic Meter: 0
Baker Mayfield completed just 15 passes this week, resulting in a few poor fantasy performances from Cleveland. Beckham was one of those. Two catches for 27 yards following up an excellent return last week left managers wanting more from OBJ. There’s undoubtedly more to be had, as witnessed by his seven targets against Minnesota. So, despite the lowly results, OBJ remains the top option for Baker.

Chris Carson (RB – SEA) | Panic Meter: 0
Carson almost earned a 1 this week. He rushed 13 times for 30 yards, but more concerning has been the snap count. Carson’s been in under 50% of the snaps the last two weeks, splitting the work with Alex Collins (RB – SEA). Collins has 12 touches for 78 yards himself. It appears Seattle is managing Carson’s workload early. He is the back to roster and still provides weekly upside despite diminishing touches.

D’Andre Swift (RB – DET) | Panic Meter: 0
Swift was limited in practice heading into the week and ended up shedding opportunities to his counterpart Jamaal Williams (RB – DET). However, Swift was targeted six times and was overlooked on a route that would have been an apparent TD. No worry is needed here because his receiving floor is so high.

Miles Sanders (RB – PHI) | Panic Meter: 1
Sanders has 15 touches COMBINED in the last two weeks. A lot of that has to do with Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI) throwing 87 times in those games, but it is still a troubling trend. Kenny Gainwell (RB – PHI) continues to make plays (especially on passing downs) when he is called upon. This isn’t an RBBC, but Sanders has fallen to FLEX level at this point.

Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA) | Panic Meter: 1
Gaskin almost earned a 0 this week. He has been very involved in the Miami pass game to this point, providing him a nice fantasy floor. However, it is possible the game plan got away from the Dolphins this week, as they went almost exclusively to their passing packages in the second half. Maybe I am too harsh here, but fantasy managers shouldn’t ignore two carries for 3 yards either. 

Mike Davis (RB – ATL) | Panic Meter: 1
BJ Rudell of ProFootballNetwork said it best in his recent Week 4 Takeaways article, “…his fantasy value is hanging by a thread.” Cordarrelle Patterson (RB – ATL hasn’t been on the field as often as Davis, but he has blown him out of the water with production. Davis barely had upside with no competition, but now he becomes difficult to start with a legitimate threat to his workload.

Courtland Sutton (WR -DEN) | Panic Meter: 1
It feels as if there are two schools of thought on Sutton at the moment. Either you are petrified of Drew Lock‘s (QB – DEN) ability to get the ball to his playmakers while Teddy Bridgewater (QB – DEN) nurses a concussion. Or, you agree with Frank:


Personally, I am not selling yet.

George Kittle (TE – SF) | Panic Meter: 1
Kittle nearly earned a 2 this week, but a pending QB change saved him. To be fair, the calf injury isn’t confidence-inspiring, but Trey Lance (QB – SF) is a significant upgrade. Kittle is a focal point in the offense, despite no breakout fantasy weeks this year yet. Additionally, TE isn’t full of replacements of his talent or involvement, so let us all hope this turns around quickly.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – PIT) | Panic Meter: 2
Smith-Schuster has yet to top 52 yards in a game. His QB’s skills have vanished. And, the other talent around him has stolen any upside he possessed. There is still some hope that you could trade him to a desperate league mate, but I wouldn’t be too picky about the return. Instead, aim for someone with TD upside because JuJu doesn’t give you that at all.

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Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with Starting Your Own Fantasy Football League or head to a more advanced strategy – like What is the Right Amount of Risk to Absorb on Draft Day? – to learn more.

Aaron Pags is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Aaron, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyTriage.

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