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Players to Cut: Week 14 (2021 Fantasy Football)

Dec 8, 2021
Mike Davis

This is the most exciting time of the year for fantasy managers. Due to the NFL going to a 17-game schedule this year, there is an extra week in the fantasy regular season. This is the last week in some fantasy leagues’ regular season, in other leagues, the playoffs will begin in Week 16. Regardless of how your league is set up, the fantasy playoffs are on the horizon and fantasy managers are either juggling for a bye week, seeding, or their playoff lives.

A big change this year due to the extra week in the regular season is that Week 14 is going to have a bye for four NFL teams this year. The Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles are all on bye this week. Those are some big players that are going to be on the shelf this week, especially Jonathan Taylor. He has 266.1 fantasy points this year, which is second in the NFL. While every player has a bye week, it is not the great timing when a Taylor manager may need a win this week to secure a bye, better seeding, or a playoff berth.

As for fantasy decisions, this is the time of the year where you can be more aggressive with your cuts. Think of it like Major League Baseball and the pitching rotation. The decisions that a manager makes with innings and days rest is going to be a lot different in July than it will be in an elimination game or a postseason series. The finality of the season changes the calculus with regards to roster decisions. You do not want to make decisions that will damage your roster or help your opponent, but you also do not need to think about next week as much at this time of the year. It is all about surviving and advancing at this point in the season.

Here are some players that I would not take on my fantasy journey going forward. These are players that are either not doing a good job in fantasy or they have some value, but their schedule is going to be bad to close the season.

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12- and 14-Team Leagues 

Mecole Hardman (WR – KC)
Hardman continues to be underwhelming in fantasy week after week. He plays with Patrick Mahomes II, who is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. Yet Hardman is the 91st ranked fantasy wide receiver over the last four weeks, averaging a meager 3.7 fantasy points per game. He has not eclipsed three receptions or 30 yards in a game over his last four games.

Hardman was a big mistake for the Chiefs. They used the 56th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to take him. The wide receivers they could have had instead are D.K. Metcalf (59th pick), Diontae Johnson (66th pick), and Terry McLaurin (76th pick). They also could have had Hunter Renfrow (149th pick) and Darius Slayton (176th pick) if they had gone with another position and waited on a wide receiver until later in the draft.

The Chiefs will likely be in the market for a starting wide receiver in the 2022 offseason, as Hardman has not shown the ability to be a viable NFL receiver, even with an elite quarterback under center. I would look in another direction for the remainder of the season. Just because the Chiefs are stuck with him in 2021, does not mean that you should be in fantasy football. There is no good reason that he is rostered in 39 percent of Yahoo.com leagues and 30 percent of ESPN.com leagues.

2019 NFL Draft Round 1-3 – Wide Receiver Career NFL Production

Marvin Jones Jr. (WR - JAC)
You know things are not working out for Jones in 2021 when Laquon Treadwell has five targets, four receptions, and 62 yards and Jones has three targets, two receptions, and 11 yards. That is exactly what happened on Sunday in a 37-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. I blame Urban Meyer for everything dumb that is happening in the Jacksonville offense, but Jones Jr. is not a viable fantasy option when is fifth in targets on one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL. He does not need to be rostered in any fantasy leagues for the remainder of the season.

T.Y. Hilton (WR - IND)
There was some hope given that Hilton dominated Houston in his career, including four receptions for 80 yards against them earlier this year. Instead, he had two targets, two receptions, and 22 yards as Indy ran the football early and often. His upcoming schedule is a bye week, the New England Patriots' fourth-ranked fantasy wide receiver defense, and the Arizona Cardinals' 10th ranked fantasy wide receiver defense. Hilton should not be on a fantasy roster at this point.

Tim Patrick (WR - DEN)
There are too many good receivers in Denver and not a good enough quarterback to feed them all consistently. Patrick has talent, but he also has only 7.9 fantasy points over his last three games, making him the 107th ranked fantasy wide receiver. The Detroit Lions are 28th against fantasy wide receivers over the last five weeks, but that good matchup is not enough for me to love Patrick's chances of being fantasy viable this week or in any future week the rest of the season.

Mike Davis (RB - ATL)
One of the most dangerous things in poker is improving a losing hand. There is nothing worse than securing three of a kind when your opponent already has a flush. Davis is a losing hand, do not let his 14.9 fantasy points in Week 13 fool you. He still had only four rushing attempts and four targets in the game. What salvaged his fantasy day was a 20-yard reception and a 17-yard touchdown run. You take out those two plays, and he had three rushing attempts for 15 yards and three receptions for 17 yards, which is in line with his normal fantasy production.

Davis faces a Carolina defense on the road that is second against fantasy backs this season. He does have a nice Week 15 matchup on the road against the 49ers' 22nd ranked fantasy defense and a home game against a Lions team that is 30th against fantasy running backs, but I think that is good news for Cordarrelle Patterson, not Davis. Fantasy managers should still worry more about Qadree Ollison taking touches away from Davis rather than good matchups in Week 15 and Week 16. I would not trust Davis after one outlier game.

Zack Moss (RB - BUF)
Moss was active this week and he was the beneficiary of an early fumble by Matt Breida. Breida had one carry and one fumble and never saw another carry. Moss was second on the team with eight carries, trailing Devin Singletary's 10 carries. The problem is Moss had 21 yards and no touchdowns and he added only two receptions for 12 yards.

On the horizon are road games against Tampa Bay, a home game against Carolina, and a road game against New England. Those teams are third, second, and 18th against fantasy running backs and the good matchup is against the New England D that he just had 33 scrimmage yards against. I would look for other options to close the season.

Alex Collins (RB - SEA)
Collins was not active in Week 13 and the Seahawks did not miss him, as they tallied 27 carries for 146 yards and two rushing touchdowns. That total is a little misleading though, as Travis Homer had a 73-yard touchdown run. Even still, Rashaad PennyAdrian Peterson, and Homer are all going to see some carries, even when Collins returns. There is not a star running back in this offense and the Seahawks are just going to ride the hot hand and it is possible that no running back sees more than 10 carries in a game the rest of the way. I would look for other options than Collins, even with a great road matchup against Houston coming up.

Ronald Jones II (RB - TB)
Jones rushed only one time for two yards, before exiting the game with an illness. Their next three games are Buffalo, New Orleans, and Carolina. Those teams are 14th, first, and second against fantasy running backs. Leonard Fournette is the third-ranked fantasy back in the league since Week 10 and Jones does not see enough work to warrant being a fantasy play, especially against a tough schedule.

Mac Jones (QB - NE)
Jones has been a great rookie quarterback and he has the Patriots on the cusp of earning the top seed in the AFC. I do not think that the Patriots' decision to have him throw only three times on Monday Night Football had anything to do with them losing faith in him. Jones was born in Jacksonville, FL and he played his college football in Tuscaloosa, AL. He had never played in Buffalo in that type of wind and snow. The Patriots decided to lean on the running game and the way the game played out, he was only needed to throw three passes. If the Patriots need Jones to throw 50 times in their next outing, they will call 50 passing plays. What you saw on Monday Night was Bill Belichick showing why he is the best football mind in the history of the NFL, he is the only coach in the league that could call three passing plays and still win a game.

However, none of that matters in fantasy leagues, and Jones killed fantasy managers that started him with just 0.46 fantasy points. The Patriots have the bye in Week 14 and what follows are a road game against Indianapolis, home games against the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, and a road game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 18. Those remaining opponents are 11th, first, eighth, and fifth against fantasy quarterbacks over the last five weeks.

New England has wind and freezing rain and snow at this time of year, so while it is unlikely that Jones has only three pass attempts in a game ever again, it is also likely that the Patriots lean on the running game to close the season if the weather is bad with Jones being more of a game manager. He is an outstanding rookie with a bright future, but his fantasy upside is capped due to schedule and weather conditions. I would look for other options.

Matt Ryan (QB - ATL)
Ryan has averaged only 11.12 fantasy points over his last six games, he is in the Baker Mayfield and Trevor Lawrence fantasy range and I have been writing that fantasy managers should cut both of those guys for the majority of the season. This offense has not been right since Calvin Ridley stepped away from the game back in Week 7. Matt Ryan was averaging 18.55 fantasy points per game in the first six games of the season compared to the 11.12 he has averaged since Ridley stepped away from the game.

Their offense as a whole is averaging 13.5 points per game in those six games. Ryan has road games against Carolina and San Francisco followed by a home game against Detroit and a road game against Buffalo. Those teams are third, ninth, 17th, and first against fantasy quarterbacks over the last four weeks. I am not sure that a home game against Detroit is enough to hold onto one of the worst fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL over the last six weeks. I would look for other options.

Jared Cook (TE - LAC)
Cook caught only three of his four targets for 29 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals. The problem continues to be that Cook is now splitting too much time with Donald Parham Jr., they have seen an equal number of targets in two of their last three games. Cook is a touchdown-dependent tight end that has scored one touchdown in his last six games. I would look for other options ahead of their matchups with the New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, at the Houston Texans, and the Denver Broncos. Those teams are 16th, fifth, fourth, and ninth against fantasy tight ends. The chances of Cook suddenly finding the end zone regularly at the end of the season are not good.

C.J. Uzomah (TE - CIN)
The good news was that Uzomah was targeted six times this week, which was tied for the most targets he has had in a game this season. The bad news was that he still had only three receptions for 20 yards. He has not scored a touchdown in five straight games and his fantasy upside is very low against a 49ers D that is first against fantasy tight ends over the last five weeks. I would look for other options.

Shallow Leagues 

Ryan Tannehill (QB - TEN)
Tannehill has averaged only 14.0 fantasy points per game over his last four contests and his next four opponents are the Jacksonville Jaguars, at the Pittsburgh Steelers, at the San Francisco 49ers, and the Miami Dolphins. Those teams are eighth, 26th, ninth, and fifth against fantasy quarterbacks and the Steelers' poor ranking is largely a reflection of a horrible game against the Los Angeles Chargers. They just held Lamar Jackson to 18.62 fantasy points after holding Joe Burrow to 17.40 fantasy points. Those two are much better fantasy options than Tannehill.

In deeper leagues, there could be hope that Julio Jones and Jeremy McNichols are on the mend that things could turn around for Tannehill. I think in a shallower league, the combination of no Derrick Henry and a tough schedule makes it problematic to hold onto Tannehill for the fantasy playoffs. There are going to be better streaming options in shallower leagues.

Nyheim Hines (RB - IND)
In deeper leagues, Hines is going to have value, because he is a handcuff to Jonathan Taylor. Ask Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, and Alvin Kamara fantasy managers how it feels to be without their best fantasy player. If anything were to happen to Jonathan Taylor, Hines would have instant fantasy value.

The problem in shallow leagues is that the fantasy scores are higher and Hines is a dead roster spot at this point. Hines is averaging only 7.1 fantasy points over his last four games and Deon Jackson had more carries than Hines this week in garbage time, as Jackson finished with six carries for 19 yards and a touchdown. Unless Hines is your handcuff and you can afford a dead roster spot, he is someone that can be cut loose in a shallower league. Handcuffs have less value later in the season, especially with the Colts entering their bye week this late in the season.

Kadarius Toney (WR - NYG)
I think you need to look at NFL economics to see why Toney is unlikely to have a strong finish to the season. Daniel Jones is closing in on the end of his third season and he has not been very good and he now is dealing with a neck strain. It is unlikely the Giants will pick up his fifth-year option this spring, which would pay him $21.369 million in 2023. They are not going to franchise tag him in 2023 or 2024 either, there is no way they can feel comfortable paying him north of $30 million based on his first three years in the league.

The Giants are going to be in the market for a quarterback this offseason and the last thing they need is Jones making his neck injury worse. They may be able to trade him like the New York Jets did with Sam Darnold and receive something for him. They also do not need him out there winning more games in a season where they are 4-8 and have no hope for the playoffs. They would be best playing out the string with Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm and finishing with a 4-12 record and a high draft pick that can be used on a quarterback.

Toney is a good rookie with a bright future, but injuries and a poor quarterback situation have derailed his season. He is dealing with a quad injury and if he can work his way back, he is probably going to be catching passes from either Glennon or Fromm. In a deeper league, maybe Toney makes it back and warrants a fantasy start with his upside. In a shallower league, I think you can roll the dice and send him to the waiver wire. I would be shocked if Jones plays again this season, the Giants should have seen enough to know he is not in their plans. As bad as he has been, his absence is going to make an anemic offense worse.

Hunter Henry (TE - NE)
Touchdown-dependent tight ends are not a bad thing in deep fantasy leagues and Henry does have seven of those this year. He is also averaging only 7.9 fantasy points over his last three games and he has failed to find the end zone in any of those games. The Patriots have a bye week, followed by games at the Indianapolis Colts, home against the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, and a road game against Miami to close the season. Those teams are 27th, second, sixth, and 11th against fantasy tight ends over the last five weeks.

In a shallow league, Henry does not have enough upside to warrant holding him during the bye week to stream against those teams. Unless you have the roster spot to carry Henry through the bye week to play against Indianapolis, I would not waste the roster spot on Henry. He is not scoring as much as of late and other than Week 15, he does not have a lot of upside in the fantasy playoffs.

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Derek Lofland is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Derek, check out his archive and follow him @DerekLofland

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