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10 Lineup Busts and Avoids for Week 8

There a lot of bye weeks (six!) this week, which means you have a lot more restrictions when building a lineup. I'll try to reflect that in this week's column by digging a little dip deeper on some of the bust picks, looking at some under-the-radar players who should stay under that radar.

It's hard to tell you some of the things I would say most weeks--like to sit Lamar Miller this week against a tough Seattle team--when you might not actually have anyone ready to go that's better than Miller.

Let's start with a recap of last week's column and then we'll get into this Very Special Edition of the bust column--this is the Bye Week Busters. (Yeah, that was a dumb name.)

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Recap of Last Week

Quarterback: Philip Rivers had another mediocre game against Denver, but mediocre is better than I was expecting from him. The Chargers defense controlled Denver's offense, which allowed Rivers to limit his mistakes--he didn't turn the ball over, though he only threw for 183 yards. Jameis Winston did a little better against the Bills, tossing three touchdowns on a defense that hadn't allowed that many all season. There was a lot of blown coverage by Buffalo, which allowed tight end O.J. Howard to break free for a pair of scores.

Running Back: Ty Montgomery was an afterthought in the Packers offense this week, with Aaron Jones controlling the ball. Orleans Darkwa was ineffective. Melvin Gordon ran for just 38 yards. It was a surprisingly good week for everyone who listened to me about running backs. I'm probably not going to go 100% every week at the position, though, so don't get used to it!

Wide Receiver: T.Y Hilton had two catches for 27 yards as the Jaguars defense continued to look very, very strong. Sammy Watkins had his third best fantasy game of the season, but that just meant he had three catches for 42 yards. Is Watkins droppable? I did it already! And Davante Adams had two catches for 12 yards in a game where the Packers very clearly missed having Aaron Rodgers. The Packers are in trouble. (Duh. That was one of the most obvious statements I have ever made.)

Tight End: I was wrong on Witten, though! Jason Witten reminds me of the San Antonio Spurs in that I counted them out so many times because of age concerns and was wrong. The Spurs then drafted Kawhi Leonard and now are a lot younger, though, which doesn't have an analogy to Witten because he is going to keep getting older, but cross-sport metaphors are always flawed.

Alright. Let's look at ten dudes who will disappoint you this week now!


Top 10 Busts - NFL Week 8

Trevor Siemian (Quarterback, Denver Broncos)

I know this feels obvious, but it's the Ultimate Bye Week Hell Match this week, so some of these are going to be obvious. Example #1: Siemian, who was just BAD last week--he threw the ball 35 times but only ended up with 207 yards and no scores. This week he gets an interesting test against a Chiefs defense that hasn't looked the best on paper so far against QBs, but has been sunk by two explosive performances from Deshaun Watson and Derek Carr. They held Ben Roethlisberger to 11.9 fantasy points a couple of weeks ago.

Alex Smith (Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs)

I think the Chiefs get back on the right track this week and beat the Broncos, but I'm expecting it be a low-scoring affair, something in the 13-7 range. Smith doesn't have much success in the past against Denver and the Broncos should be one of the toughest defense he'll face this season--they're allowing just 14.6 points-per-game to opposing fantasy quarterbacks. There are better options than Smith this week.

Jalen Richard (Running Back, Oakland Raiders)

Only four teams have allowed less fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Bills. Richard will likely see the most touches in the Raiders backfield this week with Marshawn Lynch suspended, but don't forget about the possibility of DeAndre Washington seeing a handful of touches. I know this week is tough--six teams on a bye plus the suspension of Lynch could leave his owners in a bind, but I'm not sure this backfield is going to be the best place for you to turn.

Tarik Cohen (Running Back, Chicago Bears)

I will admit he gets a juicy matchup against a Saints defense that is ninth-worst against running backs and has allowed 364 receiving yards and a touchdown to backs. But I'm also looking at Cohen's usage last week--he didn't record a single carry and he only had one catch (though it was an impressive one that went for 70 yards) and wondering how fantasy owners can be expected to trust him. Mitchell Trubisky (who would have made this column if there was anyone willing to actually start him) is bound to throw the ball a little more this week, but I just don't see Cohen as a safe call. He could break a huge touchdown! But he's more likely to not do that.

Rob Kelley (Running Back, Washington Redskins)

Washington's run game has struggled all season (outside of any play that has involved Chris Thompson, because those plays all did the opposite of struggled) and it seems like it's just an endless of stream of "maybe Kelley will play well! Oh, Perine instead! No, Kelley! Mack Brown???" going on in Washington. The Cowboys have only allowed two rushing touchdowns all season. Kelley's ceiling is probably 50 yards. Try to find a different direction to go in.

Will Fuller (Wide Receiver, Houston Texans)

Seattle defense? A wide receiver who has been almost completely reliant on touchdowns? On the road? Rookie quarterback (though he hasn't played much like a rookie)? Yeah, sit Fuller.

Terrelle Pryor (Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins)

This has less to do with his match-up and much more to do with how bad Pryor has been. Josh Doctson has replaced him in Washington's lineup, which means Pryor won't be on the field nearly as much as fantasy owners would like. Jordan Reed showed back up last week as well, which cuts even more into Pryor's dwindling share of Kirk Cousins's targets.

Dontrelle Inman (Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears)

The Bears just traded for Inman. Maybe these next two statements seem self-explanatory, but here they are. 1) Inman was just acquired, so there is no guarantee he will even play this week. 2) If he does play, he will likely not be a huge part of the offense yet because he will not know the offense. Add in a third problem: his quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, can't throw the ball very well. This seems like one of those moves you make to be sneaky and hope you get ahead of the rest of your league with, but no, no, no! Don't do it.

O.J. Howard (Tight End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Go back and watch those touchdowns that Howard had--they were mostly due to blown coverages. He'll continue to be outsnapped by Cameron Brate and he plays the Panthers, who are allowed just ten points-per-game to tight ends. That's fifth-best among teams that are not on a bye this week. Howard could have another big game, but it's more likely he takes a backseat this week.

Jack Doyle (Tight End, Indianapolis Colts)

Speaking of defenses that are strong against tight ends, the Colts get to play the Bengals, who are allowing just 8.4 points-per-game to tight ends. Doyle hasn't had double-digit fantasy points in any game this season and only has two games with more than five points. He isn't a major piece of the Indianapolis offense and should not be trusted this week.


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