Fantasy Football Hold’Em or Fold’Em?

Amar Desai
Packers at Redskins 09/23/18. Photo Credit: KA Sports Photos | Under Creative Commons License
Packers at Redskins 09/23/18. Photo Credit: KA Sports Photos | Under Creative Commons License

Kenny Rogers has passed along advice that you can use in your life in more ways than one. Sometimes you are faced with a decision on whether to continue with something or let it go. This reasoning can be applied to fantasy football.

A quarter of the 2019 season has completed and now we have a good idea on players that are bound to continue their success and those that are doomed to see their production dip. What can we expect from current fantasy studs like Dalvin Cook, Lamar Jackson, and Darren Waller for the rest of the season? Will former stars like George Kittle, Sony Michel, and Stefon Diggs rebound over the course of the 2019 campaign? This article hopes to enlighten you in figuring out some players that are worth holding and some players that are worth folding.

Fantasy Football Hold’Em or Fold’Em?


Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars – Hold

Oh, Minshew Mania is real and the fantasy world needs to take notice. The Jaguars back-up quarterback that has taken over the country with his mustache and strong play is not a fantasy option you would think of owning every week. While he hasn’t produced the jaw-dropping numbers you would want, he has been reliable every time he has played.

Minshew has only thrown an interception in his first game he played in and that was to replace the injured Nick Foles. Since then, he has been cool and collected in the pocket and finding the right receivers to get the ball down the field. The more he plays, the more confidence he will build and it helps that his schedule is very favorable as well over the coming weeks. The Jaguars will face weak pass-defenses like Cincinnati, Indianapolis (twice), New York (Jets), and Tampa Bay.

Now Foles is expected to return around week 11, but if Minshew can keep up his level of play then there might be a bit of hesitation to swap him out for Foles. A reliable option week in and week out is worth holding onto and starting if you are without one of the many fantasy options that are dealing with injuries or poor play like Cam Newton, Drew Brees, and Jared Goff. Hang onto Minshew and while he may not single-handedly win you a match-up in a given week, he certainly won’t be the reason you will lose it.

Another Hold Candidate: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys – Fold

Remember when everyone was losing their minds on how well Prescott was playing through the first three weeks of the season? He racked up 920 passing yards, nine touchdowns, and a completion percentage of 74%. This of course came at the expense of teams that boast a win total of one through the first three weeks of the season.

Then Sunday night shed some light on the reality that is Prescott as a viable fantasy option. The Saints were able to put Prescott under pressure and covered up all his receiving options. He was only able to lead two scoring drives out of their nine total in the game. Now yes, he did look great against poor teams but the Cowboys are now on track to face some of the tougher defenses in the NFL.

Green Bay presents a tough battle this week and then after the bye week they go on a stretch of facing the defenses of the Vikings, Lions, Patriots, Bills, and Bears. So there are a couple of match-ups before that stretch where Prescott can still reap in some serious points, but this is the best opportunity to sell high on him and get some value before his play against tougher defenses drop his value real fast.

Another Fold Candidate: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Running Backs

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals – Hold

A preseason favorite, Mixon has been less than stellar through the first four weeks of the 2019 season. While the Cincinnati pass-offense has been gaining more points due to the Bengals playing from behind often, Mixon has not been utilized because of that fact. This may lead many to consider sending him off for another player to bring more points to your roster.

While he has started slow, Mixon will be cooking up some points by the bountiful in the coming weeks and the rest of the season. Playing Arizona this week will certainly give Mixon the opportunity to right this sinking ship and his level of play should increase from there. After this week, the Bengals still have fantasy favorable defenses like the Ravens, Rams, Jets, Steelers, and Raiders. So while Mixon has been slow out of the gate, expect him to regain his true form and become the fantasy star that he has always been.

Another Hold Candidate: James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers

Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers – Fold

The hope was with the hiring of Matt LaFleur that the offense would be more balanced. This was what all fantasy owners were excited about as Jones would finally be set free from the shackles of Mike McCarthy’s play-calling. Instead, we are seeing more of the same from LaFleur as they currently have a run/pass ratio of 40/60, which includes a game on Thursday night against the Eagles where they passed the ball 53 times compared to only 20 called running plays. Let’s also not forget that Jamaal Williams has been included in this offense more often, leading to Jones not getting the free reign that we all hoped for.

While he currently sits at 12th as top fantasy running backs, imagine how much higher he would be with better play-calling. This is a good time to flip Jones for a better option at running back as the Packers have not shown us that they are ready for Jones to be a big part of the offense. We all understand that this offense flows through Aaron Rodgers, but the limited options he is dealing with at wide receiver begs the question of why not involve Jones more to take that pressure off? So far, it looks like this is the Rodgers show still and Jones can be dealt while his stock is still relatively high to get a good return on.

Another Fold Option: Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

Wide Receivers

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals – Hold

Larry Legend is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with David Johnson. While he may be close with fellow receiver Christian Kirk in targets and receptions, rookie quarterback Kyler Murray knows who to get the ball to in scoring opportunities. While Fitzgerald is low on the rankings of the best fantasy receivers this season, he is the one to own in this Cardinals offense.

Arizona is going to face some favorable pass-defenses including the Falcons, Rams, Buccaneers, Giants, and five more divisional games. While the 49ers boast the best pass defense currently, Fitzgerald has been able to get his stats against them regardless. This same applies to the Rams and Seahawks as the coaching staff knows that Fitzgerald has the experience and the ability to move the ball down the field and score as well, against his divisional opponents.

So Kirk is worth owning in this pass-heavy offense as well, but Fitzgerald is the one getting into the end zone and that will continue as the Cardinals try to put Murray in the best position to succeed. This means looking Fitzgerald’s way more often than not.

Another Hold Candidate: Jamison Crowder, New York Jets

Brandin Cooks/Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams – Fold

Plain and simple, this is Cooper Kupp’s year. For all those fantasy owners that drafted Kupp, they are rubbing it in the faces of those that drafted Woods or Cooks because Kupp on average went later than both of those guys. Clearly this Rams offense is not the same that we are used to seeing. There are glimpses here and there of the high-octane offense, but they’re not the same offense that was second in total yards last season.

Cooks and Woods have had a game or two where they scored double-digit points, but it fails in comparison to Kupp having four-straight. Kupp leads this team with 63 targets and Woods is a distant second with 47 and Cooks only has 34. Goff has found the receiver he wants to throw to this year and this means that you should sell on both Cooks and Woods before we get too far in the season and their stock plummets faster than the Dow Jones on October 19th, 1987.

Another Fold Option: Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins

Tight Ends

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers – Hold

Want to guess Kittle’s current fantasy ranking among tight ends? Don’t bother looking it up, the answer is 24th. The same tight end that broke the single-season receiving record in 2018 is currently a fantasy afterthought right now. All those fantasy owners that drafted him as high as the second round are currently regretting that choice.

Fear not friends, Kittle will come back with a vengeance and will warrant that high draft investment. Through the early part of the season, Kittle has been used more to set up the running game instead of being used as a receiver. With that said, he still leads the team in targets and receptions. Kittle is going to face some defenses that allow points to the tight ends including Seattle, Arizona, Los Angeles (Rams), Washington, and this week’s opponent Cleveland. While most owners would never question trading away Kittle, this is for those owners that are on the fence on fielding offers for him. Hang on to him and let your faith in Kittle be restored in the coming weeks.

Another Hold Option: Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks – Hold

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens – Fold

Going under the radar in this Baltimore offense is Andrews’ play. Lamar Jackson is clearly the front and center of this offense, but Andrews has separated himself from a crowded position group and has established his role in the Ravens offense. He also has become one of Jackson’s go-to targets as he is second on the team in targets with 32 and trails leader Marquise Brown by only two. This all sounds like a reason to hold on to him, but this is actually the perfect time to trade him.

After the bye week in week eight, the Ravens face some stingy pass-defenses with athletic players than can cover a tight end like Andrews and limit his production. So while he may continue to rack up the numbers in the next couple weeks, after week eight is when we might start to see his numbers decline and you don’t want to be left holding onto him when his value is no longer as high. You can wait maybe a week or two, but start fielding those offers and get a good return for the current third-best fantasy tight end.

Another Fold Option: Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

Packers at Redskins 09/23/18. Photo Credit: KA Sports Photos | Under Creative Commons License

Packers at Redskins 09/23/18. Photo Credit: KA Sports Photos | Under Creative Commons License