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Top 10 Fantasy Football Busts for Week 5

It's Week 5, RotoBallers! We're essentially one-third of the way through the fantasy regular season. With last week featuring the NFL's first COVID-related postponement, fantasy managers can officially expect the unexpected moving forward.

While some managers will lose interest or grow frustrated with the ever-growing injury list combined with unplanned bye weeks, this is the time for RotoBallers to step up and dominate using the tools provided by our excellent RotoBaller team.

Our RotoBaller team is committed to providing the best advice each week to aid you with waiver wire pickups and provide insight on every fantasy football matchup. My role is to help you keep your fantasy squad rolling by avoiding players primed to let you down on game day. Below are my top ten fantasy football busts for RotoBallers to avoid in Week 5. Good luck!

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Miles Sanders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Miles Sanders has finished as the RB12, RB22, and RB33 so far and faces a well-rested Steelers Defense in Week 5 due to Pittsburgh coming off an unexpected bye week. The Steelers have allowed the third-fewest points per game to the running back position at 13.9 and have not allowed a running back to finish higher than RB21 despite facing the likes of Saquon Barkley, Melvin Gordon, and David Johnson. Jason Peters is the latest Eagle to hit the IR, further depleting a struggling offensive line. Sanders has scored only one touchdown this season and the Steelers have allowed only one rushing touchdown against.

Fantasy managers will be hard-pressed to find a better option than Sanders and it is nearly impossible to bench a three-down running back of his skill-level, but expectations should be tempered this week.


A.J. Green vs. Baltimore Ravens

Excluding their matchup against the Chiefs, the Ravens are top-three against fantasy receivers this season. Of course, with the Chiefs’ matchup built-in, the Ravens rank a much friendlier fifteenth versus wide receivers. A.J. Green has started extremely slowly, checking in as the WR80 after four games. While rust is surely a factor, it has been discouraging to watch as he loses both playing time and targets to younger Bengals’ receivers. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins have been clearly ahead of Green on the target totem pole in recent weeks and it is going to be difficult to trust Green in any matchup until he shows some sign of life.

The Bengals are not expected to light up the scoreboard in rookie Joe Burrow’s first road visit to divisional opponent Baltimore, meaning GMs should allow Green to sit comfortably on benches in Week 5.


Matt Ryan vs. Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers have been surprisingly stout against fantasy quarterbacks, ranking fifth against the position thus far in 2020. Tom Brady was held to a QB30 finish against the Panthers in Week 2 and only Kyler Murray has finished above QB19 versus Carolina this season. Matt Ryan demonstrated his reliance on Julio Jones last week, as Ryan finished as the QB25 without his number one receiver. That performance marked back-to-back disappointments, as Ryan was the QB27 in Week 3. With Julio looking unlikely to return for this week’s matchup, fantasy managers should be looking elsewhere for a dependable quarterback.


Austin Hooper vs. Indianapolis Colts

Austin Hooper is coming off a TE6 performance but had been dreadful in his prior three games, never topping four fantasy points in any of the three. This week, Hooper faces a Colts’ defense that has been the stingiest to opposing tight ends in terms of fantasy points allowed, at 3.2 per game. The Colts have not faced any top-tier tight ends this season but have finished second, first, fourth, and eleventh against the position. That level of consistency should have GMs wary of using any non-elite tight end against the Colts for the time being.

The Browns and Colts utilize similar offensive strategies and this game is expected to be run-heavy as a result. Hooper is third in the pecking order for targets, behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and is unlikely to receive much more than the 3.3 targets he was averaging through the first three weeks in this matchup.


Myles Gaskin vs. San Francisco 49ers

Gaskin has been a pleasant surprise thus far, ranking as the RB30 after four weeks. While he has not shown much of a ceiling, he has demonstrated a safe floor. Gaskin hasn’t scored fewer than 7.7 fantasy points yet this year, mostly thanks to his 4.5 receptions per contest. Gaskin has to score from long range, as Jordan Howard has received the goal-line carries for the Dolphins.

The 49ers have allowed only 2.97 yards per carry and one rushing touchdown to opposing runners. As the Dolphins are expected to be trailing, this profiles as a low-volume rushing game in which Gaskin will have to score fantasy points through the air. Unfortunately, the 49ers have allowed only 21.25 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs. Some GMs will be forced to start Gaskin due to his volume, but he is a low-ceiling option this week.


Terry McLaurin vs. Los Angeles Rams

Terry McLaurin is off to a terrific start and actually leads all wide receivers in yards gained after the catch, according to Pro Football Focus, with 208. In fact, only Alvin Kamara has more yards after the catch than McLaurin. This week, McLaurin will face shadow coverage from Jalen Ramsey on a significant percentage of his snaps. The WR11 through four weeks, it is going to be nearly impossible for fantasy managers to bench the number one option for the Football Team, but he should be viewed as more of a WR2/3 than a WR1/2 in this matchup.

The Rams are sixth against fantasy receivers, even holding the powerful Cowboys’ offense to a modest showing. Stefon Diggs is the only receiver to have scored against the Rams thus far and McLaurin is still in search of his second touchdown. Kyle Allen is expected to take over for Dwayne Haskins at quarterback and fantasy managers will be left guessing about the rapport between quarterback and receiver. Fantasy GMs relying on McLaurin will want to watch closely to see how quickly he can establish chemistry with a new quarterback, as Washington could end up turning to Alex Smith if Allen is unable to provide the boost sought by head coach Ron Rivera.


Melvin Gordon III vs. New England Patriots

Melvin Gordon is coming off an RB3 finish and is the RB10 for the season, so it is going to be difficult for managers to find a capable alternative at an injury-riddled running back position. Keep in mind, however, that Gordon finished as the RB43 against the Buccaneers’ sturdy run defense in Week 3 and Phillip Lindsay is expected to return for this matchup. Lindsay’s return is going to punt a dent in Gordon’s workload. Gordon is reliant on heavy volume on the ground, as he has yet to top fourteen receiving yards in a game as a Bronco.

Gordon has produced at a high level for fantasy due to his three rushing touchdowns, but the Patriots have allowed only one rushing touchdown this year. The Patriots have kept the likes of Chris Carson, Josh Jacobs, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of the end zone on the ground, although Carson did score through the air. Drew Lock has a chance to return from a multi-week absence and undrafted Brett Rypien will make his second career start if Lock is unable to go. That is worrisome against Bill Belichick's defense, which currently ranks seventh against fantasy running backs. GMs likely do not have the luxury to bench Gordon, but he should be viewed as a low-end RB2 at best this week.


Joe Burrow vs. Baltimore Ravens

Joe Burrow travels to Baltimore for his first-ever matchup with the division-rival Ravens. Baltimore is 22nd against fantasy quarterbacks, but most of the damage was done by Patrick Mahomes. Excluding their matchup with the Chiefs, the Ravens would rank third in terms of fantasy points per game allowed to signal-callers. Deshaun Watson managed only a QB21 finish against Baltimore and Burrow is coming off a QB20 finish versus Jacksonville.

While Burrow is the QB11 for the season, he has now finished as the QB20 twice in four games. Burrow has only one QB1 finish in his career to this point and is unlikely to increase that total in this difficult divisional clash, as the Ravens have allowed only two passing scores to quarterbacks not named Patrick Mahomes this year.


D'Ernest Johnson vs. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have been a team you do not want to play offense against this year. That holds true for running backs, as the Colts rate as the fourth-toughest opponent for rushers. The Colts have yet to allow 90 rushing yards to any opposing backfield and have topped it off by allowing only one rushing touchdown and zero receiving touchdowns to the running back position. D’Ernest Johnson was an exciting waiver wire add following the unfortunate injury sustained by Nick Chubb. Johnson stepped in against Dallas and produced 95 rushing yards on thirteen carries, which was actually more volume than that provided to Kareem Hunt. As the Browns are a run-heavy team that has supported fantasy success for two running backs, there is reason to believe that Johnson could find himself plenty fantasy relevant until Chubb’s return.

However, there are red flags about Johnson’s Week 4 performance that bear mentioning. Kareem Hunt was dealing with a groin injury that had him legitimately questionable to suit up against the Cowboys, and the Browns at one point held a sizable 41-14 lead. It stands to reason that Johnson received additional work in an effort to manage Hunt’s reps. Johnson did not receive a target and is unlikely to be used ahead of Hunt in the passing game, and Hunt will still be the clear goal-line back. Johnson is therefore a risky flex option, as his expected utilization does not include valuable goal-line or passing game touches. Against a sturdy defense like the Colts, the floor and ceiling appear uninspiring.


Mike Gesicki vs. San Francisco 49ers

Outside of a big-time performance in Week 2, Mike Gesicki has not gotten it done. Gesicki’s last two games have identical receiving lines of one catch on three targets for fifteen yards. Although he bailed himself out with a touchdown in Week 3 and has two scores for the season, the 49ers have yet to allow a tight end to reach the end zone this year. The 49ers rank second against the tight end position, allowing just 4.9 fantasy points per game, and have not allowed more than 44 yards to the position in any game this season. Zach Ertz could manage only nine receiving yards last week after Evan Engram put up only 22 a week prior.

Starting Gesicki means you are banking on him being the first tight end to score against this defense and, if wrong, will be stuck with a disappointing stat line. Avoid where possible.

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