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 and 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. Panic is not necessary.|
|1||Panic is creeping up. It’s not time to sound the alarm yet, but it is something to be aware of. Said player should still be considered a starter but is now under surveillance.|
|2||Officially panicked, taking things week by week, considering a Plan B, exploring trade options or benching for a more reliable option.|
|3||Fire sale. Actively seeking a trade while the player in question still has value. They are no longer a trustworthy starter. In some cases, a borderline drop-candidate.|
|4||Sever all ties. Smash the drop button so hard that the man ends up in the shadow realm.|
Fantasy Football Panic Meter
Josh Jacobs (RB – LV) | Panic Meter: 1
After Josh Jacobs delivered just 11.0 PPR points in Week 3, panic has become hard to ignore. He hasn’t topped 85 total yards, 12 fantasy points or scored a TD once in 2023. Panic is fair, and frustration is understandable.
However, the official recommendation is to hold strong. If anything, Jacobs makes for an excellent buy-low candidate at the moment. He’s dominating the Raiders backfield in snaps and touches (averaging 18.3 touches per game). The next closest RB on the roster has six touches this season. Jacobs is currently operating at his floor.
All things considered, it’s a relatively high one. In 2022, Jacobs started just as slow. He struggled weeks 1-3 (AVG: 10.7 PPG), then scored 101.3 total points in his next three games (AVG: 33.7 PPG). His boom is coming. Don’t let recency bias cause you to miss it.
Derrick Henry (RB – TEN) | Panic Meter: 1
Derrick Henry delivered a catastrophic two-point stinker in Week 3. His 11 carries were the fewest touches he has registered in a game since Week 12 of 2018. It was also his lowest-scoring fantasy game since Week 5 of 2017. In all likelihood, this was nothing more than an anomaly. The Titans fell behind early and abandoned the run. The reason panic has reached a ‘1’ is because of how badly the Titans struggled to generate any offense in Week 3. It raises the concern of whether or not Henry will continue to fall victim to game-script and offensive woes. For now, this will be written off as a bad game. However, if similar events unfold in future weeks, it’ll be time to have a difficult conversation.
DeAndre Hopkins (WR – TEN) | Panic Meter: 2
Speaking of underperforming Titans… DeAndre Hopkins has failed to eclipse double-digit PPR points, four catches or 50 yards in two straight games. He has just 12 targets in that span. The worst part about this rough patch is that the game script was in his favor in both weeks. At his age, volume is crucial for Hopkins. Without that, he is much less appealing than his name would suggest. Hopkins projects as a matchup-dependent flex moving forward.
Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAX) | Panic Meter: 2
Trevor Lawrence, after three weeks, has a 3:2 TD/INT ratio and is averaging 13.7 PPG. He has yet to score 20+ fantasy points or throw for 300+ yards in any game this season. His offense has failed to put more than 20 points on the board in two consecutive weeks despite what appeared to be friendly matchups. It’s reasonable to expect more from a QB with the pedigree and stable of weapons that Lawrence has. His disappointing start to the 2023 season is giving rise to panic, and justifiably so. Unless he picks it up soon, Lawrence will find himself in low-end QB2 territory.
Garrett Wilson (WR – NYJ) | Panic Meter: 3
After three weeks of football, Garrett Wilson is at WR30 in total points. He has yet to exceed five catches in any game. He’s averaging just 7.3 targets and 55 yards per game. Wilson is uber-talented and has scored two stellar TDs this season. The problem is, those two plays have accounted for nearly half of his fantasy production so far. For someone who was drafted as a borderline WR1, panic is screaming. Anyone with a pair of eyeballs can conclude that Zach Wilson is to blame. Jets HC Robert Saleh seems to lack this pair of eyeballs and is keen on sticking with Wilson as the starter. Things don’t seem likely to improve any time soon. Best case scenario: you can get mid-range WR2 value for the reigning OROY if you act now.
Najee Harris (RB – PIT)| Panic Meter: 3
Najee Harris has failed to top 6.5 PPR points, register over 65 total yards or finish as a top-35 RB in three consecutive games to begin the 2023 season. He’s barely playing over 50% of snaps. He looks slow, indecisive and overall ineffective. If you had any expectations of him being a reliable contributor to your fantasy team, panic can’t get much higher. He has little value in trade talks, even less value in your starting lineup, and yet, he sees enough volume to where you can’t cut him. If you can move him, you should. Until then, he is banished to the bench, only to return when he has proved he is more than a desperate flex.