We all know about season-long busts — look no further than WR68 in standard leagues, Allen Robinson — but potential dud performances are waiting in the wings every week. Whether it’s because a player loses playing time, gets injured, faces a tough matchup, or is just due for a cold spell, there are a number of reasons he can fall flat in your lineups. Identifying possible busts is paramount and can help prevent you from having disastrous weeks. We’ve picked out potential Week 6 fantasy busts at every position, such as Devontae Booker and Kadarius Toney who are hot names on waivers but carry risk into their matchups. At very least, our list should help you know who to be leery of when making start ’em, sit ’em decisions.
As always, even perennial stars can bust in favorable matchups — like A.J. Brown in Week 5 — but we know players like him are “must-starts.” We’ll stick to naming guys on the start-or-sit bubble. As mentioned above, you can’t always avoid players on this list. Sometimes you don’t have the depth to reasonably bench these guys (or you might just totally disagree with our assessments).
After a strong Week 4, we had about a .500 batting average in Week 5. We were right on Miles Sanders, Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham Jr., Derek Carr, Taylor Heinicke, and Jared Cook. Touchdowns bailed out two of our selections, Tyler Higbee and James Conner. Now, where did we look silly? Kyle Pitts had the game of his life, Courtland Sutton had over 100 yards and a touchdown, and Trevor Lawrence was a top-10 quarterback. And the worst bad beat of all? Buffalo was the No. 1 fantasy defense — against Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City.
Overall, it was a weird and unpredictable week, but hey, that’s fantasy football. As always, we won’t choose total softballs; rather, we’ll target guys that at least warrant some consideration to be started this week.
Week 6 Fantasy Busts: Running backs
Chris Carson/Alex Collins, Seahawks @ Steelers (Jackson Sparks). Whichever guy stats this Sunday Night Football game, we’d advise sitting them. Sometimes it’s tough to ever sit a running back with guaranteed touches because of the scarcity of the position, but see if you can figure out an alternative option. Pittsburgh’s defense has shown a few cracks in the passing game, but they’ve still been a top-five unit against fantasy RBs. This offensive line vs. front-seven matchup will be a major mismatch, and the Steelers won’t respect Geno Smith as a passer, meaning more loaded boxes for Collins or Carson.
Josh Jacobs, Raiders at Broncos (Vinnie Iyer). This backfield has been terrible. Look for the Raiders to be more pass-focused to bad results this week.
Devontae Booker, Giants vs. Rams (Matt Lutovsky). Booker’s fantasy day looked better than it was last week because of two short TDs. Without those, he had just 58 total yards on 19 touches. It’s tough to start a TD-dependent RB, but with that kind of volume, Booker has some appeal. The Rams have been up-and-down against running backs, but they’re still slightly above average. If you start Booker, don’t expect big points.
Week 6 Fantasy Football Busts: Quarterbacks
Ryan Tannehill, Titans vs. Bills (Sparks). Tannehill has been disappointing this year, and it’s tough to think he’ll turn it around against arguably the league’s best defense. Buffalo is the No. 1 defense against fantasy QBs and limited Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs to just 20 points. With A.J. Brown (hamstring) and Julio Jones (hamstring) banged up, it’s tough to see a path to fantasy success here.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Seahawks (Iyer). Pittsburgh won’t face much resistance here with the defense doing a number on the banged-up Seattle offense, so it will mostly be all about Najee Harris in a cake matchup.
Derek Carr, Raiders @ Broncos (Lutovsky). Carr’s hot start has come to a screeching halt the past two weeks, as he’s averaged just 201 passing yards and one TD. The Broncos are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to QBs, and given the turmoil in Vegas, you just don’t know what to expect. Carr is a very risky play.
Week 6 Fantasy Football Busts: Wide receivers
Chase Claypool, Steelers vs. Seahawks (Sparks). We understand Claypool is coming off of two solid games and JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder) is out, but even against a bad secondary, it’s tough to trust anyone in the Steelers’ offense except Diontae Johnson and Najee Harris. This feels like a game where the Steelers might actually have the chance to have success on the ground. After all, Big Ben’s throwing arm could use a rest.
Kadarius Toney, Giants vs. Rams (Iyer). Toney! Toney. Toney? Will it feel good to start him in this matchup against Jalen Ramsey? No, it won’t. The award for most disappointing performance on a big stage after waiver-wire love goes to…
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks @ Steelers (Lutovsky). It’s tough to sit Lockett, especially in a statistically favorable matchup like this, but with Geno Smith under center, it’s equally tough to trust him. The Steelers pass defense should be better than it is, and this feels like a spot where a big-play specialist like Lockett could get bottled up.
Week 6 Fantasy Football Busts: Tight ends
David Njoku, Browns vs. Cardinals (Sparks). Don’t let Njoku’s monster 7-149-1 performance fool you — the pass-catchers in the Browns’ offense cannot be trusted week to week. Additionally, Arizona is the No. 1 defense against tight ends in fantasy, and although they haven’t played any of the league’s best players at the position, it’s worth noting they shut down Tyler Higbee and Tyler Conklin in capable offenses.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys at Patriots (Iyer). Put the sergeant on the bench as the Patriots will do a good job of policing him.
Robert Tonyan, Packers @ Bears (Lutovsky). By now, you should know Tonyan is TD-or-bust, so any week could be good and any could be bad. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it, but facing a Bears defense that’s allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to TEs doesn’t help.
Week 6 Fantasy Busts: Defenses
New England Patriots vs. Cowboys (Sparks). The Cowboys have allowed the second-fewest points to fantasy defenses, and although the Patriots are among the top defensive units in the league, elite quarterbacks and offenses usually win in this offense-friendly league. While Dallas is rolling, no defense should be started against them.
Chicago Bears vs. Packers (Iyer). They’ve been playing well and are at home, and although the Packers can give up sacks and Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been perfect, you can’t go there again.
Arizona Cardinals @ Browns (Lutovsky). The Cardinals have been one of the best fantasy D/STs this year, but Cleveland has been tough to produce against. The Browns are allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to defenses thanks to their run-heavy attack, so this feels like a game where the Cards show their low floor.