With Ronald Jones (finger) potentially out for Sunday’s game against the Falcons, the Buccaneers may have to turn to one of their veteran backup options to lead the backfield. That said, trusting Leonard Fournette in a tough matchup could prove to be a major risk after he was a healthy scratch last week. DeAndre Washington could be in a similar spot for the Dolphins, and that’s why these two RBs, along with recent impact players like Jared Goff, Keke Coutee, and Cole Kmet, are among our Week 15 fantasy bust candidates.
As always, our bust picks are just recommendations about players you may want to avoid based on several factors including, but not limited to, poor matchups, workload issues, minor injuries, or ongoing slumps. It’s probably best to avoid these players if possible, but if you have a gut feeling about a guy or don’t have a comparable lineup replacement, feel free to stick with the guys below. Just know that these players may either have low floors or low ceilings that could limit their overall production.
Our bust picks last week were solid save for a couple of misses. At RB, Damien Harris didn’t do much on the ground, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire was merely decent thanks to his receiving production. Both Deshaun Watson and Jared Goff put up mediocre numbers at QB while DeVante Parker, Zach Ertz, and Evan Engram struggled for various reasons at WR and TE. Steering clear of the Texans and Steelers defenses also proved to be smart moves. We’ll try to continue our success at spotting busts and atone for recommending to sit a couple of Eagles (Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders), who popped off.
Week 15 Fantasy Busts: Running backs
Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy, Buccaneers @ Falcons (Jacob Camenker). With Ronald Jones (finger) highly questionable after having a surgical procedure done on his broken pinky, the Bucs will likely turn to Fournette just a week after making him a healthy scratch. However, it’s hard to trust Fournette to do much in this matchup. He could split carries with LeSean McCoy and Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and since Week 8, he is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. Plus, the Falcons have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards to RBs this season. Fournette and McCoy do have some upside because the Falcons give up some passing yards to RBs, but their floors are low enough to qualify them as risky plays.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs at Saints (Vinnie Iyer). He is returning to Louisiana but he’s facing a tough Saints defense, which means KC will go pass-happy again with Patrick Mahomes.
DeAndre Washington/Salvon Ahmed, Dolphins vs. Patriots (Matt Lutovsky). Washington has received 15-plus touches twice this year, both times in favorable matchups (Jets, Chiefs). However, he’s averaged just 56 total yards in those games and failed to get into the end zone. Fantasy owners who watched Cam Akers gash New England last Thursday night might be eager to play Washington this week (assuming Myles Gaskin is still on the COVID list), but he’s riskier than you might think, especially since New England had been solid against RBs in Weeks 9-13 (only one back over 46 yards, high of 78, two total TDs allowed). Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) would likely start if he’s active, but he would be just as risky as Washington because of the potential for a limited workload.
Week 15 Fantasy Football Busts: Quarterbacks
Kirk Cousins, Vikings vs. Bears (Camenker). The Bears match up well against the Vikings, and during his time in Minnesota, Cousins has had trouble against the Bears. He has averaged about 230 passing yards and 1.3 TDs per game against them since joining the Vikings, and the Bears just did a great job of shutting down Deshaun Watson and the Texans’ offense. Cousins may be able to post a two-TD game as he did earlier in the season, but he could also have a complete clunker. His ceiling isn’t high enough to consider rolling with him here.
Jared Goff, Rams vs. Jets (Iyer). The matchup is awesome, but the Rams will have an easy day in the office by dominating another weak offense defensively and are bound to go run-heavy to limit Goff’s ceiling.
Baker Mayfield, Browns @ Giants (Lutovsky). Mayfield has been on a tear, throwing for 677 yards and six TDs the past two weeks, but the Giants haven’t allowed more than one TD to a QB since Week 8 and have allowed more than two quarterback touchdowns in a game just twice all season (Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Wentz). To be fair, Mayfield just lit up a statistically solid pass defense, but it’s very risky to count on lightning striking twice.
Week 15 Fantasy Football Busts: Wide receivers
Jerry Jeudy, Broncos vs. Bills (Camenker). Over his past four games, Jeudy has averaged a disappointing 1.5 catches and 21 yards. Even taking out the Kendall Hinton game and writing it off as an anomaly, Jeudy would be averaging two catches for 28 yards over that span. He could get the Tre’Davious White treatment on Sunday against the Bills, so betting on Jeudy to produce here probably isn’t the best move.
Robby Anderson, Panthers at Packers (Iyer). He might be the best option for your WR3 this week in deeper leagues, but in shallow formats, you can go in a different direction, as Jaire Alexander is built to shut him down.
Keke Coutee, Texans @ Colts (Lutovsky). Coutee has been solid the past two games, and his hot streak started against these same Colts two weeks ago (8-141). It would be easy to say he’ll do that again, but with Brandin Cooks (foot, back) expected to return and Indianapolis still sporting a solid pass defense, Coutee is a risk in standard leagues. He has a little more value in PPR leagues, but keep in mind he had just three targets and 24 yards last week despite Houston facing a big deficit most of the game.
Week 15 Fantasy Football Busts: Tight ends
Austin Hooper, Browns @ Giants (Camenker). Even if Hooper (neck) plays against the Giants, he won’t be worth starting. He has only been targeted twice in three of his past four games and Baker Mayfield is starting to develop a rapport with the likes of Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones. Hooper will be, at best, the teams’ fourth target, and the Giants have been solid against TEs and have limited them to three TDs this year, tied for the fourth fewest in the NFL.
Dallas Goedert, Eagles at Cardinals (Iyer). The Cardinals are much more vulnerable against wide receivers, whom Jalen Hurts prefers to target, and they erased Evan Engram last week.
Cole Kmet, Bears @ Vikings (Lutovsky). Kmet has seen seven targets each of the past two weeks, which is usually enough to give a player low-end TE1 value, but Kmet is still battling Jimmy Graham for goal-line looks and the Vikings have been slightly above average against the position. Kmet has a little more value in PPR leagues, but like many streamer tight ends, he’s fairly touchdown-or-bust.
Week 15 Fantasy Busts: Defenses
Green Bay Packers vs. Panthers (Camenker). The Packers have an excellent offense, but their defense has been average this year. They have allowed about 25 points per game in their past five outings, and the Panthers sport a solid offense that is slated to get D.J. Moore back. The Packers will be able to slow them down, but they won’t be able to contain them much or make enough big plays against Teddy Bridgewater to be worth starting.
Chicago Bears at Vikings (Iyer). Kirk Cousins can be helpful to defenses with his mistakes, but the injuries and wear they’re dealing with makes Chicago hard to trust on the road.
New Orleans Saints vs. Chiefs (Lutovsky). It’s low-hanging fruit to suggest sitting any D/ST playing the Chiefs, but after last week’s uncharacteristically sloppy game in Miami, some might be considering the normally reliable Saints. The Chiefs are still allowing just the third-fewest fantasy points to D/STs, so trusting the Saints would be an unnecessary risk.