Week 12 is here, the fantasy playoffs are on the horizon, and now is not the time to put a bust in your lineup. Roster management is the most critical aspect of fantasy football, and if you want a chance at making the playoffs, you have to avoid players who can put up duds in big matchups. This week, it will be harder to do that as both the Rams and Chiefs are on bye. Owners will be scouring the waiver wire for streaming options, but it's also important to look deeper at your lineup and see if there are truly any busts who you might be starting. And if that's the case, you have to think long and hard about trying to replace them to give you a better shot at winning.
Last week, our bust picks were almost all accurate. All of our NFC North quarterback picks (Matthew Stafford, Mitchell Trubisky, Kirk Cousins) put up duds, though Cousins was saved a bit by garbage time. Both Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen failed to score at RB which made them mediocre options. At WR, Calvin Ridley and Allen Robinson were both mediocre, at best. Our TEs (Kyle Rudolph, Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron) all busted, too, so this really may have been one of our stronger weeks in predicting busts. We'll try to ride the hot streak into Week 12.
While it's always good to bench a bust in favor of a sleeper, there are some players that you just can't sit. If you see one of your starters on this list and don't have a legitimate backup, feel free to still play them. Just don't necessarily expect them to put up great numbers in tougher matchups. At the end of the day, just go with your gut.
Week 12 fantasy football busts: Running backs
Alex Collins, Ravens vs. Raiders (Jacob Camenker). Collins has largely been a disappointment this year after many expected to see him take the next steps toward becoming an RB2. With Gus Edwards seemingly taking over as the lead back, Collins won't have a chance to do much even in a solid matchup with the Raiders. Collins should be avoided (if possible) until we really see how the Baltimore ground game is going to shake out going forward.
Chris Carson, Seahawks @ Panthers (Iyer). You probably will start him because of volume and that's fine, but if you have similar options, keep in mind Carolina plays much better run D at home.
Adrian Peterson, Redskins @ Cowboys (Matt Lutovsky). Blame it on the banged-up O-line, blame it on Alex Smith’s injury, blame it on age and overuse -- whatever the case Peterson is slowing down. His two TDs last week covered up for the fact he’s averaging only 3.1 yards per carry over his past three games. That’s not going to cut it against the Cowboys’ fifth-ranked run defense.
Week 12 fantasy football busts: Quarterbacks
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers @ Broncos (Camenker). Originally I had Mitchell Trubisky as the pick here, but it seems that he isn't going to play on Thanksgiving Day. So, that makes him a sure-fire bust. As for Big Ben, he struggles on the road and is coming off a dreadful outing against the Jaguars. The Broncos defense is starting to improve and should have a chance to slow him down this week.
Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Cardinals (Iyer). Rivers had massive passing volume last week, but L.A. should smash on the ground often here. His upside his limited beyond TDs against a good pass D.
Matthew Stafford, Lions vs. Bears (Lutovsky). The Lions offense is banged up (no Kerryon Johnson or Marvin Jones), and the Bears defense will be able to key in on Stafford and bring pressure. Stafford will still have some success with Kenny Golladay and Theo Riddick, but not enough to merit starting in fantasy.
Week 12 fantasy football busts: Wide receivers
Corey Davis, Titans @ Texans (Camenker). Davis is either going to have an injured Marcus Mariota or Blaine Gabbert throwing to him. That will make it tough to trust him even as he continues to see a high volume of targets against the Texans.
John Brown, Ravens vs. Raiders (Iyer). If Lamar Jackson starts again as expected, there will be very little throwing downfield. Brown has gone quiet of late, anyway.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals @ Chargers (Lutovsky). Fitz has seen a nice mid-season resurgence with four TDs over his past four games, but that’s largely been thanks to favorable matchups (49ers, Chiefs, Raiders in his past three). The Chargers have allowed one WR touchdown since Week 5, and with Joey Bosa back, Josh Rosen might be under constant pressure all game.
Week 12 fantasy football busts: Tight ends
Jimmy Graham, Packers @ Vikings (Camenker). It was originally assumed that Graham was going to miss four-to-six weeks after suffering a broken thumb. Instead, he is apparently planning on trying to play through that. My retort to that is: How will he catch the ball? It's uncertain if Graham will even be able to catch or if he'll mostly serve as a decoy in the coming weeks. Either way, it's impossible to trust him in fantasy until we see what he can actually get done on the field.
David Njoku, Browns @ Bengals (Iyer). The matchup on paper is good, but the problem is with the Bruce Arians type offense Cleveland is now running, it's a lot more about wideouts.
Evan Engram, Giants @ Eagles (Lutovsky). For all of the Eagles troubles on defense, they can still get after the quarterback and cover TEs. That’s a deathly combination for a tight end who has Eli Manning throwing to him.
Week 12 fantasy football busts: Defenses
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Giants (Camenker). The Eagles have some appeal as a streamer, but the Giants offense has been playing better lately while the Eagles' secondary is banged up. That's not likely to be a recipe for success, so try to look elsewhere for defense this week if you can.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Broncos (Iyer). Denver has protected the ball and the QB better of late and is typically a cleaner and more productive offense at home.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Packers (Lutovsky). Green Bay will allow a few sacks, but Aaron Rodgers doesn’t throw interceptions. Green Bay has had bad fumble luck this year (nine lost), which could change any second. If the Vikings can’t cause turnovers, their upside is severely limited.