Our Week 12 fantasy busts start with the Colts’ running game (Jonathan Williams) on Thursday night and continue into the biggest game on Sunday, Patriots vs. Cowboys (Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and more). So, if you’re one of the owners inclined to make start ’em, sit ’em decisions based on the NFL game you’ll be watching on TV, this might be the week to avoid that. With the fantasy playoffs right around the corner, avoiding busts is more important that ever.
We take some pretty big swings at quarterback this week, although if you look at them just on paper, they make sense. Both Josh Allen and Prescott have one of the worst matchups a fantasy QB can have, so calling them potential busts is definitely fair. And we’ve doubled down on the Cowboys passing game with Dak’s running mate Amari Cooper as another possible bust (and we even threw in the Patriots D/ST, too).
We’re also especially down on the Denver passing game, with both Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant finding their way to our busts list. If there are two things the Buffalo defense does well, it’s shut down No. 1 WRs (shoutout Tre’Davious White) and eliminate tight end production, so you might want to stay away from those guys.
We were definitely spot on last week in our David Johnson bust pick. He’s reached droppable territory in fantasy leagues. Derrius Guice also saw limited enough usage in his debut that our bust call on him was mostly accurate, though a garbage-time touchdown salvaged his day. And Le’Veon Bell certainly didn’t play like a top-10 RB.
Week 11 also saw down games for Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, just like we predicted. Both Kenny Golladay and Christian Kirk underwhelmed, too, as did Darren Fells. Our biggest misses were at tight end, where Zach Ertz and Kyle Rudolph played well. When your most prominent whiffs come at TE, you had a solid week.
For our Week 12 sleeper picks, click here. (coming soon)
Week 12 Fantasy Busts: Running backs
Brian Hill/Devonta Freeman, Falcons vs. Buccaneers (Billy Heyen). The Buccaneers have the second-stingiest fantasy defense against running backs. If Freeman (foot) is back, he adds an additional question mark in what is already a difficult matchup.
Devin Singletary, Bills vs. Broncos (Vinnie Iyer). This feels like a field-goal game where all kinds of offense will be hard to find, and Denver’s run defense has shored up of late.
Jonathan Williams/Jordan Wilkins, Colts (Matt Lutovsky). One of these guys will be the primary ball carrier for the Colts with Marlon Mack (hand) out, but neither is a particularly high-upside play. If both are active, then this is too much of a mess to wade into. If Wilkins (ankle) remains out, then Williams is a decent FLEX, but don’t expect a repeat of his Week 11 showing against a Houston run defense that allows a good chunk of its standard RB fantasy points through the air, not on the ground (98.8 rushing points allowed this season, 85.4 receiving, not counting two-point conversions).
Week 12 Fantasy Football Busts: Quarterbacks
Josh Allen, Bills vs. Broncos (Heyen). Denver’s allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Allen has gotten almost entirely rid of the turnovers, so that’s not the worry here – the Bills might just struggle a bit to move the ball through the air.
Tom Brady, Patriots vs. Cowboys (Iyer). They should try to stay grounded with ball control as they don’t want to get into a shootout, and the matchup is tough enough.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys @ Patriots (Lutovsky). Prescott has been great this year…against weaker defenses. Sure, he did light up the Vikings’ solid pass defense just two weeks ago, but he’s even had his struggles against relatively weak defenses like the Jets and Eagles. Either way, the Patriots remain the gold standard, allowing by far the fewest fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs, and while they’ve certainly padded their stats against weak competition, too, they have shut down Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Wentz.
Week 12 Fantasy Football Busts: Wide receivers
Courtland Sutton, Broncos @ Bills (Heyen). Sutton will get a game full of Tre’Davious White, which hasn’t worked out great for basically anyone this season. If you’re still starting Sutton, you can’t rely on a big day out of him.
Brandin Cooks, Rams vs. Ravens (Iyer). He should return from his concussion just in time for a brutal matchup with revenge-minded former Rams cornerback Marcus Peters.
Amari Cooper, Cowboys @ Patriots (Lutovsky). Cooper (knee) is banged up, playing a season-low 55-percent of snaps last week and failing to produce against a weaker Lions secondary. This week, he gets arguably the top corner in football, Stephon Gilmore. It’s tough to sit someone as talented as Cooper, but this might be the week to do it.
Week 12 Fantasy Football Busts: Tight ends
Jared Cook, Saints vs. Panthers (Heyen). The Panthers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2019. Cook salvaged a two-target Week 11 with a score, so if you assume Carolina can keep him out of the end zone, there many positives here.
Jacob Hollister, Seahawks @ Eagles (Iyer). The new Will Dissly will cool off as Seattle attacks Philadelphia more on the outside.
Noah Fant, Broncos @ Bills (Lutovsky). Fant has produced the past two games with Brandon Allen under center, but we’re not sold on his ability to be consistent. The Bills defend TEs better than anyone except the 49ers, so there’s no reason to take a chance on Fant this week.
Week 12 Fantasy Busts: Defenses
Atlanta Falcons vs. Buccaneers (Heyen). The Bucs’ WRs are just too good to not feast on the terrible Atlanta secondary, and I’m betting that outweighs the inevitable Jameis Winston turnovers. The Falcons will be a hot streamer pickup this week, but they might be fools good.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Packers (Iyer). They didn’t contain much vs. Kyler Murray, so against Aaron Rodgers isn’t where you want to play them.
New England Patriots vs. Cowboys (Lutovsky). This might seem counterintuitive after picking Prescott and Cooper to bust, but no team allows fewer fantasy points to D/STs than Dallas. We see this as a low-scoring game that won’t yield many sacks or turnovers in addition to limited points. Prescott could easily throw for 220 yards and a score and not help fantasy teams, while the Pats defense could easily get one sack, one takeaway, and allow 14 points – thus not helping its owners much either.