With four teams on a bye (Dolphins, Patriots, Eagles, Colts) and the injuries piling up, lineup decisions won’t be easy this week. For some, that might mean starting a risky player, so we understand if you have to take a swing with someone on our Week 14 fantasy busts list below. Still, we wanted to lay out borderline start ’em, sit ’em options, like Russell Gage heading into a tough matchup and Chase Edmonds coming off of an injury, and explain why they might be riskier than usual.
As always, even perennial stars can bust in favorable matchups, but it’s tough to call superstars “busts” unless they’re less than 100 percent, they’ve really been trending downward, or they have a particularly brutal matchup. We mostly stick to naming guys on the start-or-sit bubble, not guys who are simply going to have a good-but-not-great week or guys who are on over 90 percent of waiver wires. Sometimes you don’t have the depth to reasonably bench these players (or you might just totally disagree with our assessments), but you’ll at least know who is at risk this week. Nothing is worse than being taken off guard by a fantasy dud.
In Week 13, we correctly identified Teddy Bridgewater, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kendrick Bourne, Darnell Mooney, Hunter Henry, Dawson Knox, and Zach Ertz as busts. We also were concerned about Najee Harris, who you could probably label a Week 13 bust in standard leagues. Russell Wilson, Sony Michel, and Tee Higgins defeated the bust label we put on them, but we had a good week for the most part. We’ve started to go bolder with our selections, so naturally, we’ll be wrong here and there.
Overall, we were in the green, so here’s to another solid week of figuring out the worrisome players.
Week 14 Fantasy Busts: Running backs
Tevin Coleman, Jets vs. Saints (Jackson Sparks). Coleman is in the league’s concussion protocol, but if he plays, his usage might suggest he’s due for a decent fantasy output soon, but the Saints boast a great run defense that just shut down Ezekiel Elliot in Week 13. New Orleans has a week secondary, though, so this will likely be a pass-first game script with multiple Jets backs getting work in the receiving game. If Coleman is out, we don’t trust Ty Johnson or Austin Walter, either.
Saquon Barkley, Giants @ Chargers (Vinnie Iyer). You’re probably starting him out of obligation as an RB2 at this point, but the Chargers have tightened up against the run and neither the ugly QB situation nor increased usage of Devontae Booker is a welcome sign.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals vs. Rams (Matt Lutovsky). Edmonds is expected back after a four-week absence, and even though he exhibited a solid floor when healthy earlier in the season, his ceiling was capped by a lack of TDs (1). Edmonds’ best rushing day of the year was actually against the Rams in Week 4 (120 yards), but a repeat of that performance in his first game back seems unlikely. He’s still a solid flex in PPR leagues but tread carefully in standard leagues.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Busts: Quarterbacks
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers @ Bengals (Sparks). Garoppolo has been a capable streamer over the past few weeks, but since the Bengals are a top-10 unit against fantasy QBs, it’s tough to trust him, especially if Deebo Samuel (groin) and Elijah Mitchell (concussion) are out.
Derek Carr, Raiders @ Chiefs (Iyer). Now that he got dented and dinged in the desert at home, it’s hard to pull him out of the garage for an outdoor test against a much improved KC D.
Matt Ryan, Falcons @ Panthers (Lutovsky). Ryan has one TD in his past four games, so chances are you’re not considering starting him. He’ll snap his cold streak eventually, but the Panthers allow the fourth-fewest FPPG to QBs, so Ryan is merely a low-end play in two-QB/superflex leagues.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Busts: Wide receivers
Odell Beckham Jr., Rams @ Cardinals (Sparks). Beckham Jr. has scored two touchdowns in the past two games for the Rams, but he caught just two-of-five targets for 28 yards last time out. His five targets ranked fourth on the team, so it’s not as if he’s automatically the No. 2 WR behind Cooper Kupp. On top of all that, Arizona ranks as the 10th-best defense against fantasy WRs, so it’s tough to trust any Rams’ pass-catcher outside of Kupp this week.
Courtland Sutton, Broncos vs. Lions (Iyer). Oh, finally he’ll do something here, right? Not when Teddy Bridgewater couldn’t target him with a GPS. Sutton is a hard dude to trust even what looks like a good matchup and might just be waiting on a superior QB who can get the ball to him downfield, which won’t come until 2022.
Russell Gage, Falcons @ Panthers (Lutovsky). Gage came through last week (11 catches, 130 yards) despite Matt Ryan’s struggles, but he faces a much tougher challenge against a Panthers’ defense allowing the second-fewest FPPG to WRs. Gage could still pay off as a low-end flex in PPR leagues, but his ceiling is low.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Busts: Tight ends
Tyler Conklin, Vikings vs. Steelers (Sparks). Adam Thielen (ankle) will likely be out for this game against the Steelers, so you might think it’s Conklin’s time to shine, but Pittsburgh’s weakness is defending wideouts. As bad as the Steelers’ defense has been, it ranks as a top-10 unit against fantasy TEs, so we think this will be more of a Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn game than a Conklin game.
T.J. Hockenson, Lions @ Broncos (Iyer). He just broke out on the Vikings, but this is a different story on the road against the defense that just erased Travis Kelce. Hockenson is still a top-12 option based on the position, but prepare to be disappointed (again).
Noah Fant, Broncos vs. Lions (Lutovsky). Fant hasn’t scored since Week 6, and he hasn’t had more than 59 yards since then either. Given the state of the TE position, many are still likely starting Fant based on upside, but the trends aren’t great. The Lions are actually decent against TEs (12th-fewest FPPG), so it’s tough to imagine Fant standing out this week with all the mouths to feed in Denver.
Week 14 Fantasy Busts: Defenses
Los Angeles Rams @ Cardinals (Sparks). This Rams’ defense isn’t what it used to be, and last time these teams squared off in October, Arizona scored 37 points — and that’s when the Rams were playing their best football. If you aren’t willing to drop someone to pick up a D/ST streamer, we understand if you roll with this unit, but beware of possible negative fantasy points.
Carolina Panthers vs. Falcons (Iyer). The numbers say “yes” for the Panthers coming off the bye, but the Falcons should have some offensive pride and fight in a division matchup with Matt Ryan not allowing them to rack up enough sacks and takeaways.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Browns (Lutovsky). The hits keep coming for the Ravens, as top defensive back Marlon Humphrey (pectoral) is out for the year. The secondary is beyond vulnerable, so even the low-wattage Browns should be able to light up the stat sheet here.