Week 14 Fantasy Busts: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jalen Hurts among ‘risky starts’ in tough matchups
Clyde Edwards-Helaire frustrated fantasy football owners last week by being declared active for the Chiefs game against the Broncos and failing to play a down. While he should actually see the field this week, he could be poised to disappoint again against a tough Dolphins defense. New Eagles starting QB Jalen Hurts could be in a similar boat. Though many are excited to see him in action, he’ll have to take on one of the best defenses in the NFL. That will land Edwards-Helaire and Hurts among our Week 14 fantasy bust candidates along with Damien Harris, Jared Goff, Marvin Jones, Brandon Aiyuk, Zach Ertz, and Robert Tonyan, among other frequent starters.
Per usual, our bust picks are merely recommendations of players to avoid based on a variety of factors. Whether it’s because of poor matchups, workload issues, or extended slumps, our bust picks are usually best to avoid if possible, but you’re welcome to trust any of these guys if you have a gut feeling or don’t have a comparable option on your bench. Just note that these players may have either lower floors or ceilings than some of the available alternatives.
WEEK 14 FANTASY: Sleepers | Start ’em, sit ’em
Last week, our bust picks were decent overall. Steering clear of Giovani Bernard and the crowded Falcons backfield in tough matchups proved to be smart. So did avoiding Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, and Ben Roethlisberger at QB. However, players like Wayne Gallman and Logan Thomas ended up having breakout performances despite tough matchups, but aside from those two anomalies, the rest of our picks were pretty accurate.
Week 14 Fantasy Busts: Running backs
Damien Harris, Patriots @ Rams (Jacob Camenker). Harris has been getting carries and some yardage this season, but he has only managed to score twice thanks to Cam Newton and James White vulturing opportunities from him in the red zone. While Harris should continue to get close to the 15.8 touches per game he has averaged since Week 6, he may have a tough time doing much with those carries. The Rams have allowed the third-fewest rushing yards this season, so Harris has a lower floor than usual to go along with his already-low ceiling.
Miles Sanders, Eagles vs. Saints (Vinnie Iyer). His touches keep going down, and the Eagles could shake things up more with Jalen Hurts. Plus the matchup is terrible.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs @ Dolphins (Matt Lutovsky). Edwards-Helaire should actually play this week, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him get fewer than 10 touches. In the six games prior to last-week’s no-show, CEH averaged just 10.6 touches and 48.8 total yards while scoring four total touchdowns. If he doesn’t get in the end zone, Edwards-Helaire is a major risk against any opponent.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Busts: Quarterbacks
Jalen Hurts, Eagles vs. Saints (Camenker). Hurts has replaced Carson Wentz as the starter for the Eagles, but trusting him in fantasy doesn’t seem like a great move. Hurts’ first start will come against a Saints defense that is the NFL’s best in terms of yardage allowed (288.8 per game) and fourth best in points allowed (20.1). Hurts has a solid rushing floor, but his only production may come in garbage time, especially if the Saints can pressure him a lot early behind his weak offensive line.
Deshaun Watson, Texans at Bears (Iyer). The Bears’ defense won’t be that bad for a second straight week. Chicago can contain Watson with the pass rush and stop his limited receiving weapons.
Jared Goff, Rams vs. Patriots (Lutovsky). Goff has four games with over 300 passing yards in his past five outings, but his touchdowns have fluctuated wildly (1, 0, 3, 0, 2) and he’s also had 10 turnovers in that span. Goff is capable of big numbers against anyone, but with the Patriots defense surging (combined 379 yards, no TDs, three INTs allowed to Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert the past two weeks), it’s tough to trust Goff with your season on the line.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Busts: Wide receivers
Marvin Jones, Lions vs. Packers (Camenker). Jones has gotten a boatload of targets with Kenny Golladay (hip) sidelined and has been a solid WR2/WR3 depending on the matchup. This one isn’t great for Jones, though. Because of the Lions’ dearth of receiving talent, Jones will have to face off with Jaire Alexander quite a bit. Jones did the same thing in Week 2 when Golladay was out and caught four passes for just 23 yards. He salvaged his day with a TD, but expecting that to happen again vs. a cornerback as good as Alexander doesn’t seem like a great idea.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins vs. Chiefs (Iyer). He might be your best WR3 option, but there’s no question his value for garbage production is hurt here with Tua Tagovailoa instead of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers vs. Washington (Lutovsky). Aiyuk has been dominant in his past four games, so it’s unlikely any of his owners will want to sit him in the fantasy playoffs, but Washington remains a top-three pass defense and Nick Mullens might not be good enough to overcome that like Ben Roethlisberger did against Washington last week. Aiyuk is talented enough to put up decent stats with just a handful of catches, but he’s riskier than usual this week.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Busts: Tight ends
Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. Saints (Camenker). Ertz returned to action following a long stint on IR with an ankle injury and caught two of four targets for 31 yards. He was out-targeted and out-gained by Dallas Goedert on the day, and it appears that Goedert will be the preferred TE option moving forward. Maybe that will change with Hurts now starting, but considering that Ertz has averaged 2.8 catches and 19.8 yards in his past four games, it’s hard to recommend trusting him, especially against a good defense.
Evan Engram, Giants vs. Cardinals (Iyer). The Cardinals have reversed course in tight end defense this year, and this will be more of a wideout game for the Giants.
Robert Tonyan, Lions vs. Packers (Lutovsky). Tonyan is on another hot streak, catching 14-of-15 targets and scoring three TDs over his past three games. However, the Lions have allowed the fewest receiving yards to TEs this year, so Tonyan is even more TD-or-bust than usual. You can find a safer option.
Week 14 Fantasy Busts: Defenses
Houston Texans vs. Bears (Camenker). The Bears ranked bottom five in both yards gained and total points this season, but they did just drop 30 points on the Lions last week and did a lot of damage with their running game. The Texans have allowed a league-high 1,677 rushing yards to RBs, so the Bears should be able to spark their offense again and render the Texans defense a middling streamer, at best.
Tennessee Titans at Jaguars (Iyer). They are just not a good defense at the moment and seem like a trap, as Jacksonville has scored quite a bit of late with balance and explosiveness.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Bills (Lutovsky). The Bills have limited D/STs virtually all year, and they’ve been on a real tear lately, averaging 33.8 offensive points over their past four games. Pittsburgh will get a few sacks and maybe a takeaway, but it has a low ceiling this week.