Playoff Push: 10 Players Fantasy Owners Need To Hold On To And 10 They Need To Drop

With the fantasy football playoffs coming up, it’s time to make some decisions. Playoff teams and teams trying to make a push for the playoffs are putting together the final pieces of their playoff team. While they try to put that together, it may require the decision to drop or hold on to a player. Every fantasy football team has those one or two players that you debate on dropping. It’s normal, it’s a part of playing the game. With fantasy playoff games coming up, it’s time to start thinking about teams to form next year.

There might be some players on the waiver wire who have a ton of potential that you’re looking to pick up. Some of these players you may be interested could include Corey Davis, Anthony Miller, and Theo Riddick. In order to claim those players, you have to let go of those guys that you’re on the fence with. Chances are if you’re still waiting for them to play well, they probably won’t. At this point in the season, most players have found their niche and are playing consistently. If you see a player is struggling, it’s probably time to move on. However, there are 10 players that you may have doubts, that you should still keep on your roster. Your head may say to get rid of them, but give them more time. Some of these players that you may be debating on dropping for someone else could help you in the playoffs later on.

20 Hold On: Doug Baldwin - Seattle Seahawks (WR)

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to want to give up on Doug Baldwin. He missed the first three games of the season, and then he’s was struggling as he came up. Recently though, Baldwin's production has gone back up as he's gotten healthier. If you’re in a PPR league, this obviously will benefit. Russell Wilson will continue to try to get the football in Baldwin’s hands as they try to make a run for the wild card spot. If they want to really push their way in, they need to get the ball in Baldwin’s hands. Baldwin can be a late bloomer come time for the fantasy playoffs.

19 Drop: Kyle Rudolph - Minnesota Vikings (TE)

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of fantasy football players really don’t want to drop Kyle Rudolph because of the start he had, but it doesn’t look like he will see that type of production. Rudolph hasn’t scored over 10 points in a PPR league since Week 4, when he scored 10.7 points against the Rams. It seems as the weeks go on, Kirk Cousins isn’t targeting Rudolph as much. Now with Dalvin Cook back, the Vikings have a solid running game that takes away from the passing game. There are so many different variables that make Rudolph a tough player to start, which is why owners need to drop him.

18 Hold On: Jordan Howard - Chicago Bears (RB)

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

In the past, Jordan Howard has been one of the best running backs in the league. This season, he hasn’t replicated the same success, especially in fantasy. A lot of fantasy owners are probably looking to drop Howard because of how good Tarik Cohen has been, but hold your horses.

Finally, the Bears are finding a nice balance between Howard and Cohen. Howard is clearly the starting back, while Cohen is used sometimes in the run game, but for the most part in the passing game. With the Bears rolling into the playoffs potentially, it’s going to be all hands on deck, which will include Howard playing some good football.

17 Drop: Cordarrelle Patterson - New England Patriots (RB)

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

If you hopped on the bandwagon like many fantasy owners, and picked up Cordarrelle Patterson, it’s time to drop him. With Sony Michel back in the starting lineup, there’s nowhere for Patterson to fit. Michel and James White control the running game, leaving Patterson no spot to make an impact.

Only twice this season has Patterson scored more than 10 points, one in which he scored a touchdown. Patterson may see a few touches a game, but for the most part, he won’t be a big contributor. He doesn’t have any trade value, so it’s best to look at the waiver wire and see who else is available.

16 Hold On: Austin Ekeler - Los Angeles Chargers (RB)

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Starting off the season, Austin Ekeler was as surprising as could be in fantasy. In his first five games, he scored over 10 points four times as a backup running back, with his best performance in the opener with 23.6 points. Lately, Ekeler hasn’t been scoring as many points, but he should still remain on owners' rosters if they have him.

While Ekeler hasn’t been as good, the Chargers schedule does not look easy moving forward. Some of their opponents include the Bengals, Chiefs and Ravens. These are playoff caliber teams that are going to try to limit Melvin Gordon. Ekeler is going to be used a lot in the pass game as the season continues, and become a reliable starting running back.

15 Drop: Isaiah Crowell - New York Jets (RB)

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

With a lot of running backs really emerging in fantasy football this year, teams can spare some players. Isaiah Crowell for many players is a running back you don’t want to release, but at this point, he hurts the team more than he helps it.

Fantasy owners likely don’t want to give up on Crowell due to some of his great performances, including one where he rushed for 219 yards and scored one touchdown, scoring 30.1 points. With the Jets clearly out of the playoff picture, expect them to switch things up and see who else they have. They play some good run defenses that will make it hard on Crowell, which could be a reason your team loses that week.

14 Hold On: Kenyan Drake - Miami Dolphins (RB)

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Kenyan Drake may be the most inconsistent player in fantasy football; does that mean it’s worth dropping him? No. If you get a good trade offer that gives you a more consistent running back, then by all means take it. Don’t just give up Drake though, because someone else in your league will have picked up a dangerous running back.

You have to play matchups with Drake. If the Dolphins are in a favorable matchup, play Drake. When he’s having a good game, he averages anywhere from 15 to 25 points. He’s the type of player who could surprisingly win you a game.

13 Drop: Carlos Hyde - Jacksonville Jaguars (RB)

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

A mid-season trade sent Carlos Hyde to the Jaguars, and the Jaguars are now probably regretting that trade. With Leonard Fournette back, Hyde doesn’t really have a role in this offense. In Cleveland, Hyde was the starting running back, getting at least 14 carries per game. Since playing in Jacksonville, he has yet to even carry the football more than 14 times total.

Hyde is now a safety precaution in case Fournette gets hurt. Maybe Hyde will get more playing time once the Jaguars are mathematically out of the equation, but for now, he likely won’t be seeing the ball in his hands much.

12 Hold On: Leonard Fournette - Jacksonville Jaguars (RB)

Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Leonard Fournette is why you should drop Carlos Hyde, but also, you have to keep Fournette if you have him. For some, that may seem like common sense, but a lot of fantasy owners would consider dropping Fournette due to his inability to stay healthy. Luckily Fournette has quickly bounced back since returning to the Jags backfield, and it didn't take them long to get him carries, especially in the redzone.

You have to be really patient with Fournette, but if he remains healthy, you have a good shot at him scoring at least 20 points every week.

11 Drop: Royce Freeman - Denver Broncos (RB)

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season began, Royce Freeman was announced to be the starting running back for the Denver Broncos. It never really seemed this season like Freeman lived up to the expectations. Freeman, who was drafted in the third round of the 2018 draft, was expected to be a threat both in the run and pass game, making him a smart decision to start. Instead, Philip Lindsay has really taken over as that guy.

Freeman’s ankle injury on top of him already struggling to run the football makes for a bad combination. You probably won’t ever start him again, so just move on.

10 Hold On: Adrian Peterson - Washington Redskins (RB)

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson has been one of the season's bigger surprises. After he went through most of the offseason unsigned, he was picked up by Washington late in training camp following a season-ending injury to Derrius Guice. Peterson has had a resurgent season and he's going to keep getting his carries. Riding AP is really the only way Washington has any hope of reclaiming a lead in the NFC East, so Peterson should keep seeing plenty of carries late into the season. Until Washington is eliminated from playoff contention, Peterson still has something to offer fantasy owners.

9 Drop: Chris Thompson - Washington Redskins (RB)

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of fantasy owners may have mixed reviews on Chris Thompson. In a PPR league, Thompson is an absolute beast. In the first two games of the season, he scored over 20 points each game. Since then he’s struggled with staying healthy.

While the Redskins will be battling for a playoff spot, Thompson’s durability issues are a concern. Just a few weeks ago, he tried to come back and play, where he got hurt again. If you have a stacked team and can afford to have a player sit on your bench, leave him. For most players that don’t have that luxury, it’s time to move on.

8 Hold On: Dion Lewis - Tennessee Titans (RB)

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Hold up, the Titans are starting to look really good. After defeating the Cowboys and Patriots, this Titans team looks like it’s competing for a playoff spot. They’re not that far off in the division, and even in the wild card race. One player who’s been really good lately is Dion Lewis.

All season long, the Titans have had to make a decision between Lewis and Derrick Henry carrying the load. Now, it seems like it’s Lewis. His ability to be a threat in the passing game has made him the more likely option in offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur's gameplan. Although he’s struggled in the past, expect him to play really well in a playoff push.

7 Drop: Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions (QB)

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

We have our first non-running back in quite some time, and our first quarterback of the list. Quarterbacks aren’t as valuable in fantasy because there are so many talented quarterbacks available, especially in smaller leagues. One of those quarterbacks who are on a lot of rosters, is Matthew Stafford. While the Lions front office believed this team could move forward without Golden Tate, they are struggling to move the football.

Tate is a unique wide receiver who opens up the pass game for a quarterback. Without him, Stafford struggles moving the football around as much. In Stafford’s worst fantasy season, it’s time to move on from him for the season.

6 Hold On: Kenny Golladay - Detroit Lions (WR)

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The first five weeks were exciting for Kenny Golladay. In each of those five games, he scored at least 10 points, and scored 15 points in four of those games. With the Lions offense struggling, and Golladay having some bad games, a lot of owners have given up on Golladay. We even said that it’s worth dropping Stafford, so wouldn’t that mean the same for Golladay? Not necessarily.

With Tate gone, Marvin Jones Jr. becomes the No. 1 receiver. With top corners traveling with Jones, Golladay frees up the offense. The point of trading Tate, was to save money and let Golladay keep growing into being a no. 1 receiver.

5 Drop: Matt Breida - San Francisco 49ers (RB)

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the season, Matt Breida was among the top five running backs in the league in terms of rushing yardage. As the season progressed, he dealt with more injuries and missed time as other running backs played. Breida can be really good, but he can also disappoint owners. Unfortunately, it doesn’t even help playing matchups with him, because you never know which running backs will really be used that day.

Drop him. His value has gone down as the season has progressed, and he’s a liability on a starting roster. At first, he was a great pickup off waivers, but now you need to place him where he came from.

4 Hold On: Larry Fitzgerald - Arizona Cardinals (WR)

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Shifting to the other side of the NFC West, Larry Fitzgerald was the most disappointing player in fantasy football. For five weeks, Fitzgerald failed to score at least 10 points. Fans were frustrated as one of the all-time best active receivers was absolutely awful in fantasy. Since Byron Leftwich took over as the offensive coordinator, things are looking a lot better for Fitzgerald.

Since Leftwich took over, Fitzgerald has scored at least 10 points in each game, with his best being 26.2 points against the 49ers. Leftwich gets Fitzgerald more involved, making him a starting receiver in fantasy once again.

3 Drop: Evan Engram - New York Giants (TE)

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Evan Engram was one of the best pass catching tight ends in the league. After the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley, everything has changed. Engram was the Giants safety net, but now with Barkley, Engram doesn’t have a set role.

Engram has really struggled to get involved in this offense with Barkley, which is hurting his fantasy value. In 2018, he’s scored over 10 points only twice, which obviously had to deal with some injuries. Engram was great in his rookie season, but it’s time to move on. He’s not one to depend on, and that won’t change with newer wide receivers that they would like to get involved.

2 Hold On: A.J. Green - Cincinnati Bengals (WR)

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Green may be hurt, but he’s also one of the toughest receivers in the league. Seeing how bad the Bengals were without Green, he may choose to try and get back on the field as quick as possible. While it’s a risk, Green is worth the risk.

In every game Green has played, he’s scored at least 10 points every game. He’s as consistent as it gets, even when he’s being double teamed. In every game he’s played, he’s caught at least four passes. If you’re preparing for the playoffs and you have Green, you have to keep him until he gets healthy.

1 Drop: Le'Veon Bell - Pittsburgh Steelers (RB)

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The end of Le’Veon Bell is here, as he did not return back to the Steelers facilities. Considering the Steelers would not pay him what he wanted, and seeing a guy like Earl Thomas’s season go down like it did, he decided to sit out. It also doesn’t help that James Conner is playing lights out.

This is the most disappointing draft pick for every league, as Bell was likely a top three draft picks in most leagues. Those players now are sitting in shame, as their desired first round pick did not help them put up one point for their fantasy leagues.

More in Fantasy