Identifying bust candidates is extremely easy. Identifying meaningful bust candidates is more difficult and of infinitely more value. It’s easy (and obvious) to state the Kendrick Bourne is a bust candidate this week. He’s a bust candidate every week, so it’s an empty statement, devoid of any meaningful insight or relevance to fantasy football gamers.
Conversely, laying out a case that someone like Robert Woods is a bust candidate for Week 13 carries significance. People pay attention. Woods is a relevant force in fantasy, potentially a lynchpin in many fantasy teams. It’s that essence of hot-takery that defines a true bust candidate.
With that precedent firmly laid down, let’s begin, shall we?
QB – Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Mark my words – we are witnessing the (thankfully gradual) decline of Tom Brady. He is finally succumbing to the effects of age, returning to mortality after so long in the pantheon of the footballing deities. In years past, a diminished Brady would still be good enough to cement New England as Superbowl favorites and continue the endless cycle of Patriot dominance.
The game, however, has changed. Quarterbacks are throwing more passes for more yards and more touchdowns than ever before. Here are some Brady stats this year:
- 65.2% Completion Percentage – lowest since 2014
- 275.5 yard per game – lowest since 2014
- 17.7 fantasy points per game – 15th in the NFL
This has been the year of the quarterback, and Brady just hasn’t done enough this year to be trusted week to week. He’s a streamer now, and you don’t stream quarterbacks against the Vikings.
RB – Any Jaguars Running Back
RIP Blake Bortles. Your end has finally come. RIP Jaguars playoff hopes. RIP Jaguars running backs in this game against the Colts. This is a Jaguars team imploding on every level.
Here’s the deal. Leonard Fournette is suspended after getting into a one-on-one boxing match on the sidelines last week. So it’s either Carlos Hyde or T.J. Yeldon to step into the breach on a run-heavy team. Except it isn’t either. It’s both. And in fantasy football, we don’t like both. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are the exceptions, not the rule.
Expect two things against the Colts this week. First, expect Hyde and Yeldon to cannibalize touches, and thus nullify each other’s fantasy value. Second, expect Andrew Luck to beat up a Jaguars defense that just allowed Josh Allen to rush for 99 yards, and toss a 75=yard touchdown to someone called Robert Foster.
The Jaguars will lose this game. Badly. And neither Hyde nor Yeldon will give you a return on your investment.
WR – Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
In Week 5 of this year, the Bengals were sitting pretty atop the AFC North, with a 4-1 record. They were exciting to watch on offense, albeit a little leaky on defence. Andy Dalton was playing some of the best football of his career, Tyler Boyd was breaking out, and for the first time in a long time, the Bengals were genuinely dangerous.
It’s Week 13, and the Bengals are 5-6 having won just one game since moving to 4-1. Injuries and poor play have reduced this team from a legitimate force in the AFC to an all-too-familiar afterthought. Andy Dalton’s injury pushes Jeff Driskel under centre, which rains heavily on the breakout parade of Tyler Boyd.
Squaring off against a resurgent Broncos team hunting for a playoff spot of their own does not bode well for the Bengals this week, and unfortunately, the main loser in this game (apart from Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson) is Tyler Boyd.
TE – Any Tight End Not Named Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz
Honestly, I would be fully in favor of removing a mandatory tight end spot from fantasy and replacing it with a flex. This year more than any other has been a disaster at tight end. Unless you drafted Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz, you’ve been streaming the tight end position. Streaming the tight end position is officially, scientifically, the least fun position to stream.
Maybe you snagged George Kittle and have been blessed by the YAC King, or maybe you benefited from Eric Ebron’s hyper-unsustainable touchdown rate. But most likely, you’ve been let down by players like Jordan Reed or C.J. Uzomah or Trey Burton. Tight ends are almost impossible to project. One week Ebron scores three touchdowns, the next he doesn’t touch the ball once.
You still want a tight end bust this week? Fine. Austin Hooper. There. Watch him score two touchdowns on your bench, because that’s what tight ends do.
By Ben Barton @Baron_Barton