Week 16 Fantasy Busts: Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Russell Wilson among ‘risky starts’ in difficult matchups
Can you really trust the Cowboys running back, be it Ezekiel Elliott or Tony Pollard, against a tough Eagles defensive line? What about the timeshare that will occur between Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown in the Rams backfield with Cam Akers out? These players are among our top bust candidates for Week 16, as the matchup and volume concerns could make them fail to live up to expectations. Russell Wilson, Corey Davis, Evan Engram, and Chase Claypool are other players that land among our Week 16 fantasy bust picks.
Keep in mind, these are just recommendations, and you can still start them if you either don’t have any better options or have a gut feeling that a player will do well. These players just happen to be dealing with several negative factors, including poor matchups, workload concerns, nagging injuries, and ongoing slumps at the position. Often, they have low ceilings or low floors, so just be wary of that if you do choose to trust any as starters.
WEEK 16 FANTASY: Sleepers | Start ’em, sit ’em
Our bust picks were merely decent last week, as we correctly predicted down games for Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff, Jerry Jeudy, Robby Anderson, Cole Kmet, and the Saints and Bears defenses, but all three of our RB bust picks ended up having strong days. We’ll try to avoid whiffing on the RB picks this time around to help you win your fantasy football championship game.
WEEK 16 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Week 16 Fantasy Busts: Running backs
Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown, Rams @ Seahawks (Jacob Camenker). With Cam Akers (ankle) out for Week 16, the Rams are going to rely on Henderson and Brown to carry the load. Earlier in the season, the two operated in what was virtually an even split. Trusting either to emerge as a solid starter against a Seahawks defense that has given up the third-fewest rushing yards to RBs is a risk. Henderson has some upside as a pass-catcher, but with uncertain volume and a plethora of other options for Jared Goff to target, these two are just boom-or-bust flex options with low floors.
D’Andre Swift, Lions vs. Buccaneers (Vinnie Iyer). The Bucs stop everything running back-related unless it’s an elite veteran back, which Swift isn’t yet.
Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, Cowboys vs. Eagles (Matt Lutovsky). If Elliott (calf) plays, this will be a tough situation for both backs. When both were active in Week 14 in a favorable matchup against the Bengals, Elliott had 12 carries for 48 yards and two catches for 11 yards; Pollard had 11 carries for 39 yards and two catches for nine yards and a TD. The Eagles are a much tougher run defense, so you can’t count on either producing. If Elliott is out again, Pollard should get 20 touches, but keep in mind last week he did almost all of his damage through the air before a late 40-yard TD run. He remains a risk depending on your other options.
WEEK 16 DFS TOURNAMENT LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel
Week 16 Fantasy Football Busts: Quarterbacks
Matthew Stafford, Lions vs. Buccaneers (Camenker). Between Stafford’s rib injury, Kenny Golladay’s continued absence, the COVID issues among the Lions’ coaching staff, and the fact that the Buccaneers have a great pass rush, Stafford’s matchup looks like a tough one. He’s usually a strong starter at the quarterback spot, but there are streamers with better upside than him this week.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. Rams (Vinnie Iyer). He’s been really bad in fantasy since Week 10, and you should really try to find a stronger streamer and avoid this brutal matchup at home.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Colts (Lutovsky). The Colts have allowed three straight 300-yard games (two by Deshaun Watson and one garbage-aided performance by Derek Carr) and Roethlisberger continues to air it out often, but this still feels like another low-ceiling spot for Big Ben. Between his recent struggles, the elements, the matchup, and Pittsburgh’s problem with drops, Roethliserger isn’t worth counting on in the fantasy championship game.
WEEK 16 DFS CASH LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel
Week 16 Fantasy Football Busts: Wide receivers
Chase Claypool, Steelers vs. Colts (Camenker). In his past four games, Claypool is averaging 3.5 catches for just under 40 yards. He hasn’t scored since Week 11 and it may be tough for him to find the end zone against the Colts. Indy is tied for the seventh-fewest TDs allowed to WRs this year, and with Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster getting more looks that Claypool of late, it’s hard to trust him as anything more than a low-upside flex.
Corey Davis, Titans at Packers (Iyer). He’ll be Robby Anderson-ed in coverage by Jaire Alexander, so good night to his great value for the most part in 2020.
Curtis Samuel, Panthers vs. Washington (Lutovsky). Samuel has had nine targets in each of the past two games and at least five in each of his past nine games. That kind of workload is usually good enough in PPR leagues, but against Washington’s top-three pass defense, Samuel’s ceiling is low and his floor isn’t that high either.
Week 16 Fantasy Football Busts: Tight ends
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys vs. Eagles (Camenker). Since Schultz saw eight targets against the Eagles in Week 8, he has seen his target total drop by one each week. He was down to just two targets last week against the 49ers, and while he did score, he seems to be more TD-dependent than the solid PPR threat we saw earlier this week. Schultz has averaged just 28.2 yards per game in his last five outings, so the upside is low even despite his previously solid performance against the Eagles (six catches, 53 yards).
Hayden Hurst, Falcons at Chiefs (Iyer). The numbers and his TD last week might say yes, but the head and the heart say no because he won’t be on the field much.
Evan Engram, Giants @ Ravens (Lutovsky). Engram is tough to sit in PPR leagues, but with just 96 total yards and no TDs in his past three games, he’s also tough to start, especially in a below-average matchup against the Ravens.
WEEK 16 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Week 16 Fantasy Busts: Defenses
Philadelphia Eagles @ Cowboys (Camenker). Usually, the team playing the Cowboys has been a safe bet this year. However, the Cowboys have scored 71 points in their past two games and they have the passing weapons needed to put up some points on Philly. The Eagles could still get some sacks, but with Andy Dalton playing well and protecting the ball, the Eagles don’t have a very high ceiling.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Colts (Iyer). Getting gashed by the Bengals in big spots isn’t a good sign against this run-heavy team.
Indianapolis Colts @ Steelers (Lutovsky). Pittsburgh allows by far the fewest sacks in the NFL, and even though Ben Roethlisberger has been throwing a few more INTs lately, the Steelers are still usually careful with the ball (last Monday notwithstanding). This could be a relatively low-scoring game, but Indianapolis likely won’t accrue many fantasy points.
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