With the trade deadline passed in most leagues, Buy or Sell will now be shifted to Keep or Cut options. As we move into the playoffs bench composition becomes very important because you want to have the best possible backups options in case something happens to your starters. You don’t want to have to take any chances with waivers. Handcuffs are a must own in the playoffs. Malcolm Brown, Spencer Ware, Rod Smith, Latavius Murray, and Royce Freeman are all must-own handcuffs. At this point, in the season if you are not comfortable starting a player in the playoffs you should, in theory, cut them for someone else, including handcuffs. That situation is not cut and dry,, however, because you may not want to give that player to an opponent, which is a fine reason to hold onto a player in the playoffs. Let’s review some fringe players and what they offer or don’t offer to your team. If someone who is considered “Keep” is not owned in your league, you can take that as go add him a suggestion. And of course, “Cut” means you can dump them to the waiver wire and clean your hands of their fantasy filth. Now, let us jump into Week 13 fantasy football keep or cut!
Sammy Watkins | WR | Kansas City Chiefs
Sammy Watkins missed Week 10 and for some reason was in the Week 11 game for five snaps. I personally view that as a missed game, but it technically was not. Coming out of the Bye week, Watkins has not practiced (as of 11/28) and his status is not looking great for this week. Then come the fantasy playoffs. In Week 1 of the fantasy playoffs, he will face the Ravens, who have allowed the least overall fantasy points and least fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Watkins would likely draw the coverage of Jimmy Smith in that one. No thank you. In Week 15, Watkins would probably draw the shadow coverage of Casey Hayward of the Chargers. Watkins had three catches for 21 yards in Week 1 against the Chargers. Once again, no thank you. Watkins might just be held out of play until he is fully healthy because everyone knows the Chiefs are making the playoffs. Watkins can’t be trusted in your lineup going forward if he even suits up. Cut him.
Jarvis Landry | WR | Cleveland Browns
Jarvis Landry is struggling mightily right now, while his offense as a whole is improving drastically. Thanks to Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb, the Browns have won two games in a row and are looking like the second-best offense in the AFC North. Landry started the year as an absolute target hog in the top three of targets seen halfway through the season. The problem was that the efficiency wasn’t there. Given that target volume, he was still a must-start WR2. Now, he is nothing more than a WR3. He should remain rostered, albeit on the bench, because of the target volume. If something happened to one of your top receivers you can use him knowing that he will get a high percentage of the targets each week and just hope that he makes something of it. He has two good playoff matchups in Weeks 14 and 16 but a tough date with Chris Harris Jr. in Week 15. It would be hard to cut someone with that kind of target volume in an ascending offense. He certainly does not need to be started but remains a strong backup plan.
Alex Collins | RB | Baltimore Ravens
Gus Edwards is on fire right now. He has seemingly taken over the backfield from Alex Collins. Alex Collins was inactive in Week 12 with a foot injury and might not play this week either. However, he is a KEEP candidate because there are a lot of question marks around the Ravens right now. Who is going to be starting quarterback when and if Joe Flacco is healthy? Gus Edwards is reportedly better suited to start with Lamar Jackson as the quarterback. If Joe Flacco returns and starts, do the Ravens give the reins back to Alex Collins? While it would be hard to see that happening given how well Edwards has played, it does remain to be seen. Collins at the very least is a solid handcuff, if healthy because the Ravens have the best remaining schedule for running backs. It’s possible Collins’ benching in Week 11 was actually injury related. He has had foot issues before. He is worth the roster spot as the situation unravels.
Tyrell Williams | WR | Los Angeles Chargers
Tyrell Williams has hung onto the thread of fantasy relevance since his Week 6/7 monster performances based on his chance for an explosion. Averaging 4.8 fantasy points (Half PPR) over his last four games, including a zero for zero last game, T. Williams is not reliable at all. In those four games, he maxed out at 4 receptions for 46 yards. He is dealing with a quad injury now and is nothing more than a dart throw for a long catch or touchdown. His teammate Mike Williams is the much better roster filler as the supreme red zone threat on the team. Melvin Gordon’s injury and presumed absence from the lineup should make boost Mike Williams’ red zone opportunities even further. M. Williams had two touchdowns last week and that is likely the trend going forward. Antonio Gates could see an uptick in usage as well.
Duke Johnson Jr. | RB | Cleveland Browns
Duke Johnson truthers, myself included, were ecstatic after Duke Johnson’s breakout game in Week 9 against Kansas City. He went for 25.1 fantasy points (Half PPR) with two touchdowns. The following week he also caught a touchdown and it seemed he would be an every week flex option. Last week, the Johnson showed his cards. He is a game script dependent, touchdown dependent running back that cannot be trusted for the rest of the year. Johnson had a good game against the Chiefs because the Browns were working their way back into the game through the air. Last week, Cleveland dominated and Johnson was barely involved. Half of his points came on one 23 yard reception. Looking at their rest of season schedule, the Browns likely will not need to utilize Johnson heavily, and now Nick Chubb is also catching passes. He even had a touchdown reception in the game last week. Johnson will never get more than 3 carries in a game so he is very one-dimensional. Nick Chubb owns the Cleveland backfield so Johnson can safely be cut.