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The Cut List – Who to Drop for Fantasy Football Week 12

Diontae Johnson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

After having to deal with bye weeks for the past six weeks, fantasy managers everywhere will get a short reprieve in Week 12 with zero teams on a bye. This will give fantasy managers more options than they've had for a long time and with the injuries piling up, it'll be a much-needed break.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I wanted to say thank you to all of you readers out there. I appreciate you all and I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving holiday. I wish you all the best of luck with your fantasy football teams.

Let’s look at some of the players you can safely send to the waiver wire for Week 12. We can't touch on every cuttable player, especially for every league size, but we'll cover some of the most cuttable players entering Week 12. As always if you have any specific questions, give me a follow @RobFFSlayer and shoot me a message.

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Quarterbacks to Cut in Week 12?

Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos – 73% Rostered 

Russell Wilson has made his home in this column all year. I feel bad, like I’m just hating on this guy. Trust me, I’d love to write about someone else. I’d do anything to be able to do that, but every week I check the roster numbers, and every week Wilson is rostered in around or above 70%.

Wilson was here last week. And the week before. And the week before that. I’m not sure if anyone reading this ventures into the world of Reddit, but this article is posted there every week and last week after Wilson made the Cut List for probably the seventh time this season, many argued he needed to be rostered because they play the Raiders. Well, he sure did play the Raiders and he scored a whopping 10.68 points.

He has scored more than 15 points twice this season. He’s been held under 10 points the same number of times he’s broken 15. People, what are we doing here?! He’s not even a streamer. He proved that this past week when he put up 10.68 points against the Raiders. I’m not even convinced he’s a lock-it-in starter in two-quarterback leagues, certainly not in Superflex.

No, I don’t care that he plays the Carolina Panthers in Week 12. I simply do not care. He cannot be trusted in a starting lineup in any league right now, especially in Week 12 when there are zero teams on a bye.


Running Backs to Cut in Week 12?

James Robinson, New York Jets – 73% Rostered

Fantasy managers were likely pretty happy after James Robinson was traded to the New York Jets. With Travis Etienne completely displacing Robinson in Jacksonville, there seemed to be extra opportunity in New York following Breece Hall's knee injury. However, in three games with the Jets, Robinson has snap shares of 22%, 40%, and 22%.

In two of those three games, he's been held to fewer than 20 scrimmage yards. He has offered nothing in the passing game, earning just three targets, which he has turned into two receptions, and five yards. He was lucky enough to find the end zone on one of those completions, but that clearly isn't a place they're looking to use him.

He has averaged 8.33 rushes per game with the Jets. With little to no receiving work and almost zero scoring opportunity inside a terrible Jets' offense, fantasy managers need Robinson to be extremely effective to provide any fantasy value. The problem with that is Robinson hasn't been efficient at all this season. His yard per carry average is sitting at just 3.9 yards. He has six games all year with a yard per carry average of less than four. In three games with the Jets, he's averaged 3.4, 3.7, and 1.4 yards per carry.

Based on how little the Jets have used in the passing game, even in the event of a Michael Carter injury is unlikely to have a big positive effect on Robinson's fantasy value. Ty Johnson would likely be up a lot of Carter's role in the passing game, while Robinson continues to operate as the early down grinder.

It's hard to envision a scenario where Robinson can break double-digit points without finding the end zone. The problem with that is the Jets have scored more than 20 points just four times. They haven't scored more than 20 points since Week 6. The low upside of Robinson's fantasy game gives fantasy managers a reason to move on, assuming you're not in such a desperate state for a starting running back. If he's riding the pine week in and week out, you're better off adding a different player who offers more upside.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs – 72% Rostered

Clyde Edwards-Helaire was on the Hot Seat after Week 9 and made his first appearance on the Cut List last week. Well, he’s back again. If you were one of those fantasy managers rostering CEH who couldn’t quite cut ties with him last week, thinking, hoping, and praying last week was a bad aberration, it is officially time to come to terms with the Kansas City backfield. To put it bluntly, CEH is not a part of it.

He played just four snaps in Week 10. He played five last night against the Chargers, but was injured and did not return. In the past three weeks since their bye, he’s touched the ball just seven times total for a total of 28 yards. That’s a three-week total. Whatever happened before the bye is as irrelevant as Clyde Edwards-Helaire is right now.

Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams – 64% Rostered

What happened with Darrell Henderson on Sunday was a surprise for a lot of people, but maybe it shouldn’t have been. The Rams’ season is over. They’re not making the playoffs. Cooper Kupp is on IR. For as decent as Henderson has been when he’s on the field, head coach Sean McVay has never really seemed to be all that impressed. Considering those circumstances, is it really all that surprising McVay gave his younger running backs a shot?

Henderson played just four snaps this past weekend. Meanwhile, Cam Akers logged 25, and rookie Kyren Williams had 35. Akers and Williams combined to account for 22 touches, while Henderson received just two. What’s worse, Akers accounted for more rushing yards in Week 11 than any single week of the season for Henderson.

The Rams attempted to trade Akers before the deadline and they very well might use these last few weeks as an audition of sorts. They will likely still look to move him this offseason and the additional playing time could help negotiations. As for Williams, he’s a rookie. In a lost season, it’s worth it to get him on the field and see what the team has in him.

This new rotation, with Akers being the early-down grinder and Williams the pass-catching back, is likely here to stay, which means Henderson can safely be sent to the waiver wire.

Nyheim Hines, Buffalo Bills – 56% Rostered

After the Bills traded for Nyheim Hines, with as much as the team passes the football, there was an outside chance Hines started to play more snaps than Devin Singletary. That may not have meant more touches than Singletary, at least not right away, but the playing time… err, expected playing time, presented an opportunity.

Three weeks and he’s played 20 out of a total of 202 snaps. That’s fewer than 10%. Over that time, the Bills’ running backs have 72 combined total touches. Hines has two of those. He has touched the ball on 2.7% of the running back touches since being traded to Buffalo. In three weeks, he has as many weeks with negative points as he does positive ones.

His role can double, even quadrupole, and it still won’t matter for fantasy purposes. Even more troubling has been the positive play from rookie James Cook. He had 11 carries in Week 11 and finished with 86 rushing yards. That performance is certainly not going to help Hines get more opportunities.


Wide Receivers to Cut in Week 12?

Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams – 93% Rostered

After Cooper Kupp was put on IR, there was a slim chance he was going to return this season. He was technically eligible to return in Week 15, but with the Rams’ season all but lost, it seemed unlikely. Still, holding onto a top-five player even if the chances of him returning were just 10% made sense. The upside of putting Kupp into your lineup during fantasy playoffs was too much to pass up. However, that’s all out the window now.

As indicated above, Kupp is on a 6-8 week timeline, which brings that hypothetical 10% chance down to 0%. Kupp will not be returning this season. This was a sliver of hope, but that exists no more. Fantasy managers can safely drop him, as difficult as that will be.

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers – 84% Rostered

Diontae Johnson currently sits as the WR46 through 11 weeks of football. It’s likely that Rondale Moore and DeAndre Hopkins will have passed him up following Monday Night Football. He’s averaging just 7.5 half-PPR PPG, which is fewer than Zay Jones, Mack Hollins, and Devin Duvernay.

He has just two games with more than 10 points, zero games with more than 13, and two games with fewer than five half-PPR points. If you’re in a larger league, I can understand holding Johnson because there might not be another better on the waiver wire and at the end of the day, Johnson has 86 targets, which is really good.

However, if you’re in a 10-team or 8-team league, Johnson has got to go. Truthfully, he’s getting close to that in 12-team leagues. Yes, eventually he’ll find the end zone, something he hasn’t done all year, but there still seems to be a very limited ceiling. If you give him a touchdown in any of his last seven games, his highest output would be 14.5 half-PPR.

Since Kenny Pickett took over in Week 4, he’s had less than 45 receiving yards in five out of seven games. It should also be noted that he averaged 11 targets per game with Mitchell Trubisky under center, but that number has fallen to 7.5 with Pickett. That’s still good, but he hasn’t exactly been the same target hog we’re used to. I’d rather have Treylon Burks, Parris Campbell, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Christian Watson, and/or Darius Slayton.

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans – 77% Rostered

Much like Diontae Johnson above, I’d take Burks, Campbell, Peoples-Jones, Watson, and/or Slayton over Brandin Cooks for the rest of the season and in most leagues, that’s a swap you should be able to make on the waiver wire.

No one expected the Houston Texans’ offense to be good this season, but Davis Mills showed some promise last year as a rookie. He’s been disastrous in his second season. They’re 30th in points and 32nd in yards gained. Their passing offense is slightly better, but still very, very bad. They’re 26th in passing yards and 22nd in passing touchdowns. Those numbers present a very limited ceiling for Cooks if one even exists at all.

While some of that was to be expected, fantasy managers were counting on a high number of targets to carry the day, which simply has not been there. Since Week 3, Cooks is averaging 6.3 targets per game. During that span, he’s been on pace for just 107 targets compared to the 134 he had last season.

His catch rate has plummeted from 67.2% to 59.1% and he’s currently sporting the worst TD rate in his nine-year career. Similarly, to Johnson, if you’re in a 12-team league, you might not have any choice, but to hold, but in smaller leagues, Cooks can be let go.

Chase Claypool, Chicago Bears – 61% Rostered

There was some optimism when Chase Claypool was traded to the Chicago Bears because there is less target competition in Chicago compared to Pittsburgh. While fantasy managers can give Claypool the benefit of the doubt on his first week with the Bears when he played just 35% of the team's snaps, it's getting a lot harder now that he's played three games with his new club. While he racked up six targets as they made a concentrated effort to get him the ball, he finished with just two receptions and 13 receiving yards.

The first week gave some hope Claypool might be able to help fantasy managers out as he became more accustomed to the Bears' offense, but that hasn't been the case. In the last two weeks, Claypool has played just 31% and 42% of the team's snaps. He has just five total targets the past two weeks and finished with three receptions and 19 receiving yards combined.

With the low passing volume in Chicago and with Claypool playing fewer than 50% of the team's snaps, it'll be virtually impossible for Claypool to be someone fantasy managers can depend on. He might be a good bounce-back candidate in 2023 with a full offseason in Chicago and the continued growth from Justin Fields, but he's unlikely to provide any fantasy value for the rest of the season.

Devin Duvernay, Baltimore Ravens – 61% Rostered

Devin Duvernay exploded out of the gates to start the season, scoring 57.3 half-PPR points in the first five weeks, however, 18 of those points came from touchdowns. He scored three touchdowns on just 20 targets, an unsustainable rate. Since Week 6, Duvernay has just 23.7 points. Over that time, he has had 14 targets. He went from averaging four targets in the first five weeks to 2.8 in the last five. That's a bit of a decrease in utilization, but his PPG average absolutely catered. This fell from 11.46 to 4.74.

Lamar Jackson has four games this season with less than 200 yards passing and he has just one game with more than 250. Even more concerning, in the first three games of the season, Jackson had 10 passing touchdowns. He has just six in his last seven games. The only player fantasy managers can trust in this passing attack right now is Mark Andrews.


Hold On

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings – 89% Rostered

On the surface, there’s not very much difference between Brandin Cooks, Diontae Johnson, and Adam Thielen. These are all three veterans who have disappointed fantasy managers this season, so why is Thielen getting a pass?

Well, it really doesn’t have much to do with his Thielen, but his quarterback isn’t Davis Mills or Kenny Pickett and the Vikings' offense is a pretty good one. Given those circumstances, there’s a decent chance Thielen has some bigger weeks in his future. While he’s no doubt the No. 2 behind Jefferson at this stage, he has still earned seven or more targets in eight out of 10 games.

The Vikings have scored the 13th most points this season and have the 10th most passing yards. This is an offense fantasy managers should want a piece of. Thielen is still a big part of that and we should expect to see some touchdown regression soon.

Thielen is averaging just 0.20 touchdowns per game. Since Kirk Cousins was acquired, Thielen has not had a season where he averaged fewer than 0.56 touchdowns per game and that was all the way back in 2018. In 2021, he averaged 0.77 touchdowns per game and in 2020 that number was at 0.93. Better days seem to be ahead for the veteran receiver.


On the Hot Seat

Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns – 84% Rostered

A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers – 81% Rostered

These two players are getting grouped together because they’re essentially the same person in the same situation. They’re both the clear No. 2 running backs on their respective teams. They’re both behind an alpha running back who is significantly better than them and they’re both vastly underperforming.

If you’re in a 12-team league or larger, maybe you want to hang onto them for the handcuff value in the event Nick Chubb or Aaron Jones gets hurt, but with each passing week, handcuff values lessen and lessen as there are fewer weeks available for those studs to get hurt in. If you’re in a 10-team league or smaller, these two players could both safely be cut if your situation dictates it.

Even in the event, Chubb or Jones were to get hurt, based on what we’ve seen from Hunt and Dillon, their ceiling wouldn’t be nearly as high as we all expected going into the 2022 season.

Dillon has not scored a touchdown since Week 1. He’s been held to fewer than 50 rushing yards in six out of 11 games and hasn’t had more than 75 rushing yards in a single game this season. He has five games with a yard-per-carry average of less than four. He has two or fewer targets in six games this season. In fact, 12 of his 26 total targets came in two games alone. In the other nine contests, Dillon has had just 14 targets or 1.5 per game. 46 of his 109 receiving yards came in one game, leaving him with just 63 yards in his 10 other games.

This is all to say Dillon has absolutely zero standalone value and his efficiency issues this season combined with the offensive struggles in Green Bay, raise questions about just how good of a handcuff he actually would be in the event Jones were to get hurt.

Hunt has been just as bad. Prior to Week 11, he hadn’t been north of four in four consecutive weeks. From Weeks 6-10, he had two games with a yard-per-carry average of less than two. He has just one game with more than 50 rushing yards and in his past five games, he has three with less than 15 yards rushing. Last year, he averaged 3.4 targets per game, but that number has dropped to 2.6 this season. His efficiency is also down across the board. In 2021, averaged 4.9 yards per carry and 7.9 yards per reception. Those numbers are down to 3.9 and 6.8, respectively.

Even more troubling is his recent utilization. In the first five weeks of the season, Hunt received 12-15 touches in every game. In the past five weeks, he’s seen 4-15 touches. He has four games with fewer than 10 touches in the past five weeks, which is something that didn’t happen a single time in the first five games. He had been over 50 total scrimmage yards in the first five games but hasn’t broken 20 scrimmage yards in three of his last five. Those are some very concerning trends. Like Dillon, Hunt has almost no standalone value and it’s fair to consider his handcuff value has gotten worse in recent weeks.


Sell, Sell, Sell

D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions – 99% Rostered

This will be the last week of the sell section as most trade deadlines will have now passed, but if yours is still open and you’re rostering D’Andre Swift, now is the time to sell. Since returning from his three-game absence, the Lions have not been using Swift the same whatsoever.

In the past four weeks, he has touch totals of 10, 5, 7, and 8. Luckily, he’s scored three touchdowns to buoy his fantasy value. Of his 36.7 half-PPR points over the last four weeks, 18 of them came via touchdowns, an insane 49% rate. Needless to say, his touchdown rate on such limited touches is not sustainable and when those touchdowns dry up, Swift won’t even be startable unless his volume increases somewhat significantly.

His touchdowns might just give fantasy managers a window to sell him. It’s hard to think anything is going to change for Swift this season. Prior to Week 10, Swift finished the week off with a full practice and didn’t receive any uptick in touches or playing time. This past week, Swift practiced in full all week, and yet, still no change to his utilization.

It’s hard to expect anything to change at this point. He looks like he’ll be a touchdown-dependent RB3 the rest of the way and if you’re able to flip his early season production and name value, now is the time to do it.


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