The Patriots have long been one of the NFL’s best teams, but this year, things have changed. Without Tom Brady, several key defensive contributors, and most of their offensive weaponry, they’ve looked like a shell of themselves. In Week 10, they’re getting a tough matchup against the Ravens that could limit what they’re able to accomplish on offense. Avoiding players QB Cam Newton, RB Damien Harris, and WR Jakobi Meyers seems like a good idea this week. This Patriots trio, along with other worries like Jerick McKinnon, Darius Slayton, and Hunter Henry, make our list of potential busts causing Week 10 start ’em, sit ’em headaches in fantasy leagues.
As always, our bust picks are just recommendations. Some of these players could find success, but each of them has a particular issue, whether it’s bad matchups (like the Patriots vs. the Ravens), workload issues (McKinnon), or players that have simply struggled of late to do anything (Slayton). Their ceilings and floors are lower than other options this week because they come with significant risks.
Our busts picks were fairly solid in Week 9. Our most notable picks, Ravens RB Gus Edwards and QB Lamar Jackson, both had very average games that were buoyed by rushing TDs. Elsewhere, Leonard Fournette barely touched the ball, Jonathan Taylor got outworked by Jordan Wilkins again, Kirk Cousins did practically nothing in another run-dominant game, Corey Davis, Darius Slayton, and Robert Tonyan combined for two catches, and the Patriots D/ST played poorly against an awful Jets offense.
We’ll try to keep identifying matchups to fade moving forward, but if we do as well as we did last week, it’s probably best to avoid most of these guys.
Week 10 Fantasy Busts: Running backs
Jerick McKinnon, 49ers @ Saints (Jacob Camenker). McKinnon had 68 total yards and a TD against the Packers in Week 9, but while he may be the lead back for the 49ers, it’s tough to trust him. At times, Kyle Shanahan has given him rest games, and with Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Tevin Coleman (knee) potentially returning, things could get dicey quick for McKinnon in terms of available carries. Plus, the Saints are excellent against the run, so it’s probably best to avoid McKinnon in this matchup.
Darrell Henderson, Rams vs. Seahawks (Vinnie Iyer). The Rams should be changing up their backfield again after the bye with unknown work between him, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers, and Seattle is still tough against the run.
Damien Harris, Patriots vs. Ravens (Matt Lutovsky). Harris suffered a chest injury late in New England’s Monday night game, but even when he was healthy, he was splitting carries with Rex Burkhead and ceded a one-yard TD to him. With Sony Michel (quad) also due back soon, things could get complicated in the Patriots backfield. You can’t trust any Pats RBs against a stout Baltimore run defense.
Week 10 Fantasy Football Busts: Quarterbacks
Carson Wentz, Eagles @ Giants (Camenker). Some will assume that the 2-7 Giants figure to be a good matchup for Wentz, but in reality, the Giants have allowed just 18.2 fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs this year, good for 10th fewest in the league. Wentz also leads the league in interceptions thrown (12) and times sacked (32), so he could make some mistakes against the Giants that limit his ceiling. He can be started since he posted a season-high 359 passing yards when the Eagles last played the Giants, but he’s not guaranteed to have success this week.
Joe Burrow, Bengals at Steelers (Iyer). This is a brutal matchup up front, and Pittsburgh’s defense will be fired up after a lackluster week against the Cowboys.
Cam Newton, Patriots vs. Ravens (Lutovsky). Newton had one of his best games of the season last week, throwing for 274 yards, rushing for 16, and accounting for two TDs without a turnover. That was against the Jets, though. This week, against a tougher Ravens defense, a banged-up Newton (neck) will probably drop below 200 passing yards for the sixth time, and his rushing ceiling is capped, too.
Week 10 Fantasy Football Busts: Wide receivers
Jakobi Meyers, Patriots vs. Ravens (Camenker). In his past three games, Meyers has averaged 10 targets, 7.3 catches, and 95.7 yards. As good as those numbers are, it’s hard to trust Meyers against a Ravens defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest FPPG to WRs this year (18.9). The Patriots don’t have a lot of weapons, so the Ravens will focus on shutting down Meyers and making the likes of N’Keal Harry (if healthy), newcomer Isaiah Ford, and Damiere Byrd beat them.
Marvin Jones Jr., Lions vs. Washington (Iyer). This is more of a game to throw to backs and tight end T.J. Hockenson, as WFT can concentrate its good outside coverage on him with no Kenny Golladay (hip).
Darius Slayton, Giants vs. Eagles (Lutovsky). The Eagles are middle of the pack at defending WRs, so it’s not the matchup that scares us here — it’s Slayton’s dwindling target share. He had just one target last week while Sterling Shepard had eight and Evan Engram had 10. Somewhat of a correction is likely this week, but unless Slayton gets loose for a big play, his path to a worthwhile amount of fantasy points is a tough one.
Week 10 Fantasy Football Busts: Tight ends
Hunter Henry, Chargers @ Dolphins (Camenker). Henry has been getting targets — he’s averaging 6.6 per game this year — but the yardage and TDs just haven’t been there for him. In his past four games, Henry has totaled either 23 or 33 total yards, and on the season, he has just one score. The Dolphins are only allowing 5.0 FPPG to TEs, so this isn’t a great spot for Henry to break out of a mini-funk.
Jared Cook, Saints vs. 49ers (Iyer). When Adam Trautman and Josh Hill are getting looks and they’re spreading the ball around to more wideouts, Cook is in trouble. It doesn’t help the matchup is bad, too.
Jonnu Smith, Titans vs. Colts (Lutovsky). Smith got back in the end zone last week, but he still had just two targets. That makes two weeks in a row he’s had two looks, and he hasn’t caught more than two balls since Week 5. Nobody allows fewer FPPG to TEs than the Colts, so Smith is an extremely dicey play this week.
Week 10 Fantasy Busts: Defenses
Minnesota Vikings @ Bears (Camenker). Yes, the Bears offense is bad and the Vikings have allowed only 21 points per game in their past two outings. That said, you can’t trust the Vikings to continue playing well. They have too many injuries at the cornerback slot, and if Nick Foles has a good game, he will be able to pick that defense apart. There are better streaming options despite a favorable-looking matchup.
New England Patriots vs. Ravens (Iyer). This defense has gone from making big plays and dominating most of last season to wilting against the run and deep pass, which is perfect for Lamar Jackson and the entire Baltimore offense to get out of a slump.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Dolphins (Lutovsky). It’s always tempting to pick on rookie QBs, but the Chargers defense simply hasn’t done much of anything this year. With Desmond King out of town and Joey Bosa (concussion) banged up, there’s little reason to take a chance on L.A. after the Rams and Cardinals didn’t do much in their opportunities against Tua.