It's only been three weeks, but it's safe to say that the tight end position is dead once again. My tight end section this week, in the 2019 Fantasy Football Week 4 Drop List, features five tight ends drafted among the top-17. Add that to the two tight ends lost to injury for the season and we've got a very dire situation.
If you have one of the top tight ends, you're at a very strong weekly advantage. If you don't have one, I'd recommend streaming tight ends based on matchup rather than starting a bad player. In Week 4, target Will Dissly against the Arizona Cardinals (who have given up 25.4 fantasy points per game to tight ends) or Gerald Everett against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14.8 fantasy points per game).
On to the drops. To be clear, at some point in time these players will be usable (due to injury or matchup) but for now, they can't be started week-to-week regardless of matchup and can be dropped.
2019 Fantasy Football Week 4 Drop List
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Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
SuperCam is dead (for now). Reports of his injuries during the preseason were not exaggerated - in fact, I would argue they weren't talked about enough. Newton, a quarterback who adds his most value by running, was dealing with a foot and shoulder injury and was still somehow drafted as a top-10 quarterback.
I hesitate to say that Cam is done in the NFL, but it is likely that the dynamic ball-carrier we saw early in his career is finished. Over his last eight regular-season games (all losses), Newton has averaged 259 passing yards and thrown 18 touchdowns to 20 interceptions. More importantly for his fantasy value, he's only rushed 33 times for 144 yards and no touchdowns. Through two games, PFF has charted him with a 29.2 running grade (worst among quarterbacks) and only one scramble attempt. Even if Newton returns (which may not be soon given how well Kyle Allen is playing), if he's not adding value on the ground, he's a middle-of-the-road fantasy quarterback.
Latavius Murray, New Orleans Saints
The offseason thinking made sense, but the best-laid plans sometimes don't go right (or something like that). Murray was thought to be a direct Mark Ingram replacement but after three weeks we're seeing a couple of things. 1) Mark Ingram is much more talented than Murray and 2) Murray's inflexibility limits his usage severely.
With Teddy Bridgewater taking over, Alvin Kamara played 83% of the snaps while Murray only carried the ball twice. The touchdown opportunities are also going to go down so Murray can be safely dropped as Kamara is hopefully going to be handed the reins.
Darwin Thompson, Kansas City Chiefs (again)
Thompson found himself in this section after Week 1 when it became clear he was not going to receive many touches behind Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy. After Williams was declared inactive for Week 3 and Shady was dealing with an ankle injury, Thompson was again a hot waiver pickup. Instead, this time Darrel Williams usurped him, playing 37 snaps to Thompson's five. Until something drastic happens, it's probably safe to avoid Thompson all season.
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
I'm not sure what the Bengals are doing paying Bernard like a starting running back only to give him only 21 touches over three games. If Bernard can't make his mark in a game that Joe Mixon enters banged up, it's just not going to happen. He finishes Week 3 with a PFF grade of 49.2 which places him tied for 85th among 87 graded running backs. More surprisingly, he has a receiving grade of 32.8 (90th out of 92) and that's supposed to be his strength! Consider him strictly a handcuff at this point.
Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers
I gave Allison the benefit of the doubt in Week 1 after he put up a donut. In Week 2, he saved himself from the chopping block by securing all four of his targets for 25 yards and a touchdown. But after Week 3 performance where he caught one of his three targets for -1 yards, he gets the ax.
Out of 227 receivers they've graded, PFF slots Allison in at 197, right below Jamal Custis (who?) and Simmie Cobbs (who??). The fact of the matter is that not only is Allison not playing up to par, neither is Aaron Rodgers. And until Rodgers gets it together, Allison has little to no value.
Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers
Don't get me wrong. I love Marquise Goodwin. Great story and great human being. I would not roster him in fantasy though unless it's a best-ball league. Goodwin is a poor man's Ted Ginn Jr. He's a long-ball threat that more often than not won't cash in.
He has eight targets through three games on a run-first team. Hopefully, you get the point.
Keke Coutee, Houston Texans
Coutee was someone I admittedly had my eye on, as his target share when healthy was surprising. However, he's consistently dealing with injury and since then the Texans have added Kenny Stills - a proven veteran. Over the last two games (Coutee missed Week 1 due to injury), Stills has out-snapped Coutee 57 to 46 and out-targeted him nine to three.
Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
I hope you read my 2019 Fantasy Football Tight End Busts column because while I didn't see it exactly happening like this, I called the Jared Cook bust season. Cook had a huge outlier season in 2018 and was being drafted like he'd repeat or build on it. Instead, through three games he's caught five of 12 targets for 69 (nice) yards.
Even with Drew Brees at the helm, Cook didn't look to be a huge part of the offense. With Bridgewater under center, Cook will be even less valuable as Bridgewater has not shown a propensity for big downfield plays.
— Kevin Patra (@kpatra) September 23, 2019
Trey Burton, Chicago Bears
Burton seems healthy but Mitch Trubisky's inefficiency and propensity to throw to his other options has killed Burton's upside. In two games, he's caught six of seven targets for 25 yards - 4.17 yards per catch. At that rate, the Bears are better off handing the ball to David Montgomery (just kidding we know that's not going to happen).
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
Hopefully, you didn't invest a high waiver or too much of your FAAB budget into Hockenson after his Week 1 explosion. Since then, he's caught two of seven targets for eight yards. It's safe to say his debut performance was matchup-based as the Cardinals have been repeatedly ripped by tight ends in Weeks 2 and 3. The Lions and Stafford simply have too many options both in the passing attack and on the ground for Hockenson to be a weekly fantasy starter.
Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers
Although he's playing through a groin injury, Graham is very much like Allison. If Rodgers doesn't play better, Graham is not very useful for fantasy purposes. To be fair, we've seen it year after year anyways. Rodgers is not a tight end friendly quarterback. After his Week 1 "explosion" for three catches for 30 yards and a score, Graham has failed to catch each of his one targets in his last two games.
On the bubble: Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers
Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.