If you're a fantasy football owner that landed one of the top pickups on the waiver wire this week in Mike Davis and Dion Lewis, congratulations! They should be primed for some big weeks in the near future. That said, this week, they may not be recommended starts, as they both have high bust potential. But it's not just handcuff RBs we're worried about. Even future Hall-of-Fame QBs Drew Brees and Tom Brady can't rest on their laurels when it comes to fantasy start 'em, sit 'em decisions.
Getting back to the fill-in RBs, both Davis and Lewis should, hypothetically, have easy paths to the lead-back roles in their respective offenses, but both face difficult matchups. Plus, it's entirely possible that Matt Rhule and Joe Judge, two first-year coaches, use frustrating committees that limit the opportunities of these backs. In short, we just won't know what these guys will be trusted to do until we see it happen.
Brady and Brees aren't they only big-name QBs we're fading this week. Deshaun Watson is also not a recommended start against an elite Steelers defense. Our receiver and tight end bust picks also face tough matchups, and it was a lot easier than usual to pick some D/ST busts -- much easier than finding a worthwhile streamer, unfortunately.
Our Week 2 busts were pretty spot on at RB, TE, and D/ST. Nyheim Hines and Malcolm Brown both saw far less work than they did in their season openers, and owners that relied on them paid as a result of that. Rob Gronkowski continued to look done, while Evan Engram and T.J. Hockenson racked up some yardage, but no scores. Defensively, the Vikings, Patriots, and Broncos all struggled to contain top offenses (though the Patriots managed to avoid negative points thanks to a pick-six).
Quarterback and receiver were a bit more of a struggle, as fading the Falcons (Matt Ryan, Russell Gage) and players in the Patriots-Seahawks game (Cam Newton, Tyler Lockett) didn't work out too well. So, we'll have bounce back there in our search for busts this week.
Week 3 Fantasy Busts: Running backs
Dion Lewis, Giants vs. 49ers (Jacob Camenker). Even if Devonta Freeman sits out this game as he gets acclimated to his new team, it's hard to trust Lewis in this matchup. Lewis handled 10 carries against the Bears but recorded just 20 yards before salvaging his fantasy day with a TD. The 49ers might seem like a solid matchup after they lost Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas for the year along with Dee Ford (out indefinitely), but they still have a solid linebacker group and have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points per game (FPPG) to RBs this season (16.4). Lewis could be a PPR flex, but expecting anything more could prove to be a mistake.
Melvin Gordon, Broncos vs. Buccaneers (Vinnie Iyer). Gordon’s straight-ahead power running will have him crashing into a wall, and game script will be out of whack early.
Mike Davis, Panthers @ Chargers (Matt Lutovsky). Davis was solid in 2018 when he operated as Seattle’s lead back for a handful of games, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, but he received just 13 carries last season, so it’s tough to know what to expect in Week 3 when he starts against the Chargers. We do know that L.A. has done a good job against Joe Mixon (3.6 yards per carry, one catch) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (3.8 yards per carry, six catches), so it’s likely most of Davis’s damage will have to come as a receiver. Maybe you can trust him as a flex in PPR leagues, but you should probably give him a week to see how he looks in his new role.
Week 3 Fantasy Football Busts: Quarterbacks
Tom Brady, Buccaneers @ Broncos (Camenker). The matchup with the Broncos may look like a good one on paper for Brady, but Denver is middle of the pack in terms of FPPG allowed to QBs this year. Brady should generate yardage, but if Tampa Bay gets up big early -- which they should against Jeff Driskel and a Broncos team that has been decimated by injuries -- the game script may dictate a more run-heavy approach from the Buccaneers. That will limit Brady's TD upside, so it's best to sit him this week if you can.
Deshaun Watson, Texans @ Steelers (Iyer). It’s elementary to want to bench even your top-level quarterbacks against this pass defense, especially with so many intriguing QB2s this week.
Drew Brees, Saints vs. Packers (Lutovsky). Brees looked cooked for most of Monday night’s game against the Raiders, and even if Michael Thomas (ankle) is back on Sunday night, he likely won’t be close to 100 percent. That makes Brees a no-go against a Packers defense that has mostly given up fantasy points to QBs in the fourth quarter of blowout wins this year.
Week 3 Fantasy Football Busts: Wide receivers
Will Fuller, Texans @ Steelers (Camenker). Fuller didn't see a single target from Deshaun Watson in Week 2 and missed time during the game with a hamstring injury. Soft-tissue injuries tend to linger, and Fuller's matchup against the Steelers is a tough one anyway.
Marquise Brown, Ravens vs. Chiefs (Iyer). Hollywood might be made for prime time, but give the Chiefs credit for containing big-play receivers.
Robby Anderson, Panthers @ Chargers (Lutovsky). Anderson has opened the year with back-to-back 100-yard games, but his streak will come to a grinding halt against a Chargers’ secondary that has dominated wide receivers this year (18.9 fantasy points per game).
Week 3 Fantasy Football Busts: Tight ends
Evan Engram, Giants vs. 49ers (Camenker). The 49ers have allowed only a paltry 1.3 FPPG to tight ends this year. The strength of their defense, as it currently stands, is their linebackers and safeties, so the Giants may attack the cornerbacks on the outside more. That will mean fewer targets and opportunities for Engram.
Austin Hooper, Browns vs. Washington (Iyer). Mott The Hoople would be a better start in fantasy with the way Hooper is struggling with his new team.
Jared Cook, Saints vs. Packers (Lutovsky). Cook managed a short touchdown on Monday night, but he was virtually invisible the rest of the game, catching just two-of-five targets for 13 yards. Green Bay allowed 64 yards to T.J. Hockenson last week, but it shut down Minnesota’s TE duo in Week 1 (3-39) and should be able to do the same to Cook.
Week 3 Fantasy Busts: Defenses
Los Angeles Rams @ Bills (Camenker). The Rams may be allowing only 18 points per game this season, but Josh Allen has been terrific in his two starts and the Bills are averaging 29 point per game. Expect him to use his mobility to lessen the effect of Aaron Donald and open up more downfield opportunities outside of the pocket.
Buffalo Bills vs. Rams (Iyer). Our Buffalo stance this week is to sit this team against a clean, run-heavy Rams offense.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Chiefs (Lutovsky). It’s low-hanging fruit to say whoever is playing the Chiefs will be a bust, but when it’s the top fantasy defense, then, yes, we feel the need to say it. Find another D/ST this week.