Fantasy Football Panic Meter: Christian McCaffrey, Mike Evans, Terry McLaurin (Week 13)
As fantasy managers, we often face difficult decisions. To sit, or not to sit? In an age where data is coming at us more frequently than ever, it’s easy for information to become over-saturated or lost in translation. This article series will be here each week to help you filter through the jungle of statistics so you can make more educated lineup decisions. Welcome to the “Panic Meter.”
Each week, we’ll feature several underperforming players with an assigned grade corresponding to the appropriate level of panic for the respective player/performance. Below is a scale with grades between 0 and 4, as well as a strategy that correlates to the specific grade.
|PANIC METER GRADE||STRATEGY/PLAN OF ACTION|
|0||This past week was not ideal, but it can be chalked up as an anomaly. Don’t even think about benching them.|
|1||Panic is setting in. The leash becomes shorter but said player is still in consideration as a starter. Make sure a plan B is in place.|
|2||Officially panicked, exploring trade options, and possibly benching for a more proven/reliable option.|
|3||Fire sale. Get rid of them for whatever you can before it’s too late. They can no longer be trusted as a starter. A borderline drop-candidate.|
|4||Sever all ties. Smash the drop button so hard that man ends up in the shadow realm.|
Christian McCaffrey (RB – SF) | Panic Meter: 1
After a 8.9-point dud in week 12, how panicked should fantasy managers be about CMC? On one hand, it was the fourth time in his last five games he rushed for less than 40 yards. On the other hand, it was the first time this season (aside from his first game as a 49er) where he scored less than 13.5 PPR points, and the first time since week three he scored less than 17.6. His meter would be at a zero if not for the fact he suffered a knee “irritation” on Sunday. His injury is definitely something to monitor. If he is good to go, we can chalk this one up as an anomaly. If it turns out to be serious, then there’s cause for panic.
Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS) | Panic Meter: 1
Despite a dream matchup with the Falcons, McLaurin flopped in week 12 putting up just 9.3 points on four catches. It was the second game in a row McLaurin has failed to manage double-digit PPR totals, and the third time in his last four that he scored less than 11.0. From one point of view McLaurin has been disappointing. From another, he has displayed a relatively safe floor. The amount of panic that should be associated with him is entirely dependent on how you view him. As a WR1, he has been undoubtedly been underwhelming (just one game with 20+ PPR points). As a WR2/flex, he hasn’t been great but he’s been pretty solid (seven games with 12+ points, four with 17+). The panic button doesn’t need to be smashed, but we can keep our finger on it in case this recent low-output trend continues.
Mike Evans (WR – TB) | Panic Meter: 2
Boom-or-bust production is nothing new for Evans, but sooner or later it would be nice to see a boom. For the past three weeks, Evans has delivered no more than 10.4 PPR points or 54 yards. Things reached a boiling point in week 12 when he experienced his worst game of the season, catching just two passes for 31 yards (5.1 points). It was Evans’s fourth game this season with single-digit PPR totals, and his second in has last three games. Panic is justified, but selling for chips would be a hasty move. Despite encouraging usage (averaging 8.5 targets per game) his production has been frustrating. If you wanted to move on, nobody could blame you. However, sooner or later he will explode and his value will spike. The ideal time to sell would be when his upside is fresh in everyone’s mind.
Alvin Kamara (RB – NO) | Panic Meter: 2
It’s officially time to panic. After a disastrous two-fumble 1.8-YPC performance panic can’t get much higher for someone who is supposed to be an RB1. With 7.0 points in week 12, Kamara has now delivered single-digit PPR totals in three of his last four games, maxing out at 12.6 points during that span. You can’t drop him. However, if you are in danger of missing playoffs, selling below draft-day value is very much in play. Kamara has a great fantasy playoff schedule, but before then he plays Tampa (third-least points allowed to RBs this season) and has a bye. If you’re locked in for playoffs, patience with Kamara could pay off. If you’re not, you should be panicking.
Dameon Pierce (RB – HOU) | Panic Meter: 2
Pierce’s situation hit rock-bottom in week 12 as he finished with less than five points and 20 total yards for the second game in a row. He once again paced the backfield in snaps and touches, but it didn’t amount to much, as Dare Ogunbowale got the garbage time touchdown. The Texans are going through a major identity crisis and it’s costing us the lone bright spot of their fantasy offense. Pierce has become difficult to trust and has tumbled from his must-start status. Until some stability is established in Houston, there is a high probability we see more duds like this from Pierce. He should be considered no more than a borderline RB3/low-upside-RB2 until further notice.
Tyler Higbee (TE – LAR) | Panic Meter: 3
Things were looking up after Higbee stacked consecutive performances of at least eight targets and 8.5 points weeks 10-11. However, he crashed back down to Earth in his first game with Bryce Perkins under center. For the fourth time in his last six games, Higbee finished with less than 3.5 PPR points. It was the second time in that span he finished with zero catches and zero points. With Stafford hurt, and doubt he returns at all this season, there’s not much room for optimism when it comes to Higbee’s fantasy value. His status as a fantasy TE1 is nothing but smoke and mirrors at this point. With Perkins or Wolford at QB, he has little-to-no fantasy value. Even with the TE landscape as scarce as it is, Higbee is a borderline drop candidate.
Cut list | Panic Meter: 4
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