Not like we should be surprised, but we’ve seen countless busts already during the 2021 season. Some have struggled all season long, while other seem to wait until you insert them in your lineup before laying an egg. We’re here to help with our Week 4 fantasy busts so you don’t take a near zero in your starting lineup. Whether the general hype around a player has gotten too high or someone on the start ’em, sit ’em bubble has a tough matchup, there are a number of reasons disappointments can happen. This week Chuba Hubbard and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine were hot names on waivers but have some red flags that owners might be overlooking.
Even the top studs can bust, but we can’t realistically sit those players. It’s easy to say the Patriots are tough against wide receivers, so expect less than usual from Mike Evans and Chris Godwin — but who in their right mind is going to bench these guys unless you’re in a six-team league? Instead, we have to find guys on the start ’em, sit ’em bubble who could actually be candidates to ride the pine this week. As always, don’t bench any of our selections if you clearly have no better options, but be aware of the possibility of a down week and explore your options.
For last week, we get an A-plus for identifying Justin Fields, Sony Michel, Will Fuller, Robert Tonyan, and the Washington defense as busts. Where did we go wrong, though? D’Andre Swift looks almost matchup-proof in PPR, so we missed there. The same might be true for Derek Carr, who we also thought was due for a regression. Tyler Higbee had a decent game, and Tom Brady ended up with a nice fantasy day due to volume and a rushing score. Do we get some credit there for the gutsy call, though? Nah, probably not.
Overall, our busts have been more on point than our sleeper picks, and we’re back again to figure out who might struggle in Week 4.
Week 4 Fantasy Busts: Running backs
Damien Harris, Patriots vs. Buccaneers (Jackson Sparks). Harris hasn’t gotten a workhorse load since he fumbled in Week 1, and even with all of Tampa Bay’s defensive struggles, they’ve still been shutting down the run. Harris doesn’t present much of a threat in the receiving game, so even with James White out indefinitely, Harris won’t get much usage through the air. That said, his floor and ceiling are very low. A goal-line touchdown is all that can save his day here.
Myles Gaskin, Dolphins vs. Colts (Vinnie Iyer). Malcolm Brown is getting some starting attention for his different skill set, and expect Salvon Ahmed to get some chances soon, too. The matchup is also meh.
Chuba Hubbard, Panthers @ Cowboys (Matt Lutovsky). Hubbard is going to get his touches, which is half the battle, but the Cowboys’ defense has been far better than expected, especially against RBs. Austin Ekeler had a good day receiving against them in Week 2, but that’s standard for him. The Bucs and Eagles’ backs were shut down on the ground and through the air, and Hubbard could find himself in a similar situation. Plus, Royce Freeman could wind up stealing more snaps than most think.
Week 4 Fantasy Football Busts: Quarterbacks
Sam Darnold, Panthers @ Cowboys (Sparks). Darnold has been the sleeper of the season sitting at QB12, but he’ll be without Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) for a few weeks. The pressure will be on him to deliver without his safety blanket, and the Cowboys’ defense looks legitimately solid after getting torched by the Buccaneers in Week 1.
Derek Carr, Raiders at Chargers (Iyer). It’s slowing down at some point, and Monday night on the road against a tougher pass defense under Brandon Staley is the time. Las Vegas will be a better bet for success in the running game.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans @ Jets (Lutovsky). This looks like a great matchup at first blush, but Tannehill’s top receiver (A.J. Brown) is likely out, and the Jets surprisingly are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs this year. Turns out when you’re as bad as the Jets, teams simply don’t need to pass against you. Tannehill could have a decent day, but it’s Derrick Henry who figures to be the winner here.
Week 4 Fantasy Football Busts: Wide receivers
Cole Beasley, Bills vs. Texans (Sparks). Beasley once again looks like a PPR machine, but his fantasy points come from volume. If this game is a blowout, Josh Allen won’t attempt a ton of passes, and Beasley could see a quiet day after the first half. It’s important to remember bad teams are not always a great matchup due to the possibility of a one-sided game.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Titans vs. Jets (Iyer). Because of injuries for A.J. Brown (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee), he might be the top wideout for Ryan Tannehill against New York, but Tennessee won’t be throwing much and the hosts’ corners are actually playing pretty darn well.
Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, Giants @ Saints (Lutovsky). It’s easy to think Golladay and Toney shine with Darius Slayton (hamstring) and Sterling Shepard (hamstring) hurting, but Golladay (hip) is dinged up himself and Toney has done nothing this year. Collin Johnson actually led the Giants in targets last week, Evan Engram is back, and Saquon Barkley is commanding a lot of touches. The Saints are also a much tougher defense than Atlanta. This could be a bad all-around offensive day for New York’s wideouts.
Week 4 Fantasy Football Busts: Tight ends
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins vs. Colts (Sparks). Gesecki had his best game of the season against the Raiders, catching 10-of-12 targets for 86 yards. However, despite the Colts not being as good as expected on defense, they’ve been among the top half of the league against tight ends. Overall, this offense is just bad with Jacoby Brissett at the helm, so all Dolphins are bust candidates this week. The Colts’ defense usually heats up as the season progresses.
Robert Tonyan, Packers vs. Steelers (Iyer). His TD-dependent, low volume ways are becoming a concern, as now other receivers are well involved beyond Davante Adams.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys vs. Panthers (Lutovsky). Schultz has a big Week 3, but we’ve already seen him disappear one week and show up the next. While we like his overall outlook for the season, we’re not high on him against a Panthers defense that’s allowed the fifth-fewest FPPG to TEs this year.
Week 4 Fantasy Busts: Defenses
Carolina Panthers @ Cowboys (Sparks). The Panthers have been one of the top defensive units this season, but they’ve faced Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston, and Davis Mills. Dak Prescott will be the best quarterback they’ve seen, and it’s not even close. It doesn’t help that cornerback Jaycee Horn (foot) will out of the game, too.
Washington Football Team vs. Falcons (Iyer). It’s unbelievable how poorly they are playing with questionable effort and shaky discipline all over the field. They could get right against the Falcons but seem more likely to fall further into irrelevance.
Denver Broncos vs. Ravens (Lutovsky). The Broncos have been great this year, but it’s not overly difficult to put up fantasy points against the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets. The Ravens are a different animal, and Denver is destined to disappoint.