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Fantasy Football Panic Meter: Austin Ekeler, Tua Tagovailoa, Adam Thielen, Terry McLaurin, James Conner

Fantasy Football Panic Meter: Austin Ekeler, Tua Tagovailoa, Adam Thielen, Terry McLaurin, James Conner

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

Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC) | Panic Meter: 1

In Week 12, Austin Ekeler flopped with 9.3 PPR points. It was the first time since 2018 that he finished with single-digit PPR points in consecutive weeks. Although he has finished RB6 or better in 50% of his games, the truth is that there are a lot of red flags surrounding Ekeler this season. He has been held out of the end-zone in four of eight (50%) games this season. In 2023, when Ekeler doesn’t score a TD he averages 8.05 PPR PPG. He finished without a TD in six of 17 (35%) games last season, yet scored single-digit fantasy points just once. Panic has not reached the point where sitting Ekeler is an option, but panic is certainly creeping in. It’s fair to wonder if this is his final year as a stud RB1.

Tua Tagovailoa (QB – MIA) | Panic Meter: 2

After a season-low 7.82 points in Week 12, Tua Tagovailoa dropped down to QB13 on the season. Tagovailoa has 20+ points in just four games this season. In his other seven games, he’s averaging 13.05 points. On a PPG basis, that would have him ranked QB26. He is a boom-or-bust QB who, so far, has been more risk than reward. In fact, he hasn’t “boomed” since Week 8. Tagovailoa has become a risky QB2. For those implementing him as a starter, panic is real. Luckily, Tagovailoa faces a Washington pass defense currently allowing the most fantasy points to opposing QBs in Week 13. If he can’t deliver an explosive performance, panic will reach an all-time high.

Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS) | Panic Meter: 2

Terry McLaurin delivered a subpar nine PPR points (four catches, 50 yards) in Week 12. It was his third consecutive game with single-digit PPR points. He is averaging just 42 yards per game during this span. In fact, despite Sam Howell leading the NFL in passing yards, McLaurin hasn’t had a single game over 100 yards this season. However, he sees steady volume (averaging eight targets per game since Week 5). Panic depends on how you view McLaurin. If he is supposed to be a WR3/flex for you, then he has performed within expectations. If you expected anything more, you should be panicking.

Adam Thielen (WR – CAR) | Panic Meter: 2

Adam Thielen hit rock-bottom in Week 12, finishing with a season-low 1.2 PPR points (one catch for two yards). Thielen has been a relatively consistent producer, but since his Week 7 bye, he has not reached 15.5 PPR points or 75 yards in any game. He’s averaging 10.2 PPG during this span. This is not your signal to abandon ship, but panic has to at least be a thought. Objectively speaking, he isn’t doing horrible. Until you compare his most recent five games to his five-game span before the bye, where he was averaging 24.6 PPG. Suddenly, panic is all too apparent. Theilen has crashed from WR1 territory and has settled in as a high-upside flex who hasn’t flashed his upside in quite a few weeks.

James Conner (RB – ARI) | Panic Meter: 3

Conner’s 7.2 PPR points in Week 12 marked his fifth consecutive game with single-digit PPR points. Sure, the Cardinals got blown out in Week 12. However, it’s hard to blame the game script, considering Conner has established himself as a three-down back/reliable pass catcher in the past. Even so, he has less than two catches in five of seven games this season. To add insult to injury, he has scored just two TDs this season. Panic can’t get much higher for those who rely on him as a starter. He sees too much volume to be dropped (14.8 carries per game), yet he hasn’t produced enough to warrant lineup consideration. He is banished to the bench until further notice.

Cut list | Panic Meter: 4

Khalil Herbert, Dameon Pierce, Jonnu Smith, Rashid Shaheed

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