Busts Week 3 Fantasy Football

Sam WagmanSports Content Editor
Last Updated: Sep 21, 2023

It’s tough enough to find sleepers in the mess of injuries we’ve seen through two weeks, but how do you feel about picking guys who will not live up to the standards of their fantasy projections?

Let’s dive into some busts I can see forsee for Week 3.

Fantasy Football QB Busts for Week 3

Jordan Love, Green Bay, vs New Orleans Saints

Love has been a trendy streamer in each of the first two weeks of the season, compiling six touchdown passes, and is currently the QB2. But he gets a tough matchup here in Week 3 against the Saints, who already have four turnovers on the year and seven sacks.

This will be Love’s first true test against a defense that can effectively pressure the quarterback and force turnovers, and I’m not sure that starting him is the best move you can make in Week 3. Look for an alternative.

See where Love ranks in our Week 3 fantasy football rankings.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Tannehill @ Cleveland

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Fantasy Football RB Busts for Week 3

James Conner, Arizona, vs Dallas Cowboys

Conner is coming off a very nice performance against the Giants last week, but the Cowboys are a completely different animal. Dallas is the top-ranked defense this season in pass DVOA and rush DVOA, as they have been quickly getting into the defensive backfield on nearly every snap.

With an offensive line already struggling a bit, Conner is a fade for me this week against a defense that can easily swallow him up for negative yardage. He’ll still see plenty of volume, but his ceiling for fantasy football this week is not there.

Honorable Mention: Jerome Ford vs Titans

Fantasy Football WR Busts for Week 3

D.J. Moore, Chicago, vs Kansas City Chiefs

This is tough for me because I love Moore as a player and think he and Justin Fields are getting on the same page as the weeks go on. However, the Chiefs have been very good against the pass this year, limiting not one but two solid passing offenses in Jacksonville and Detroit so far this season.

After Fields basically called out the coaching staff this week for not letting him play like himself, I expect him to get going this week, but it may be centered through the run game and not the passing game, leading me to recommend sitting Moore in some spots.

Honorable Mention: DeAndre Hopkins vs Browns

Fantasy Football TE Busts for Week 3

Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo vs Washington Commanders

Kincaid hasn’t yet graduated to being an every-down starter, with him currently sitting at about a 70% route share. Still, he’s close enough to be there that any hiccup in the matchup could drastically affect his fantasy points output.

Enter the Commanders, who have been stingy against tight ends for the last few seasons thanks to a strong linebacker corps. Kincaid is already a risky start, but going up against a defense that hasn’t allowed a TE over nine fantasy points yet in a game this season is tricky.

Honorable Mention: Luke Musgrave vs. Green Bay

Fantasy Football D/ST Bust for Week 3

Panthers D/ST vs Seattle Seahawks

Those of you who have been starting the Panthers’ defense because of the early rush of meh opponents better buckle up. The Seahawks host Carolina this week, and even before Bryce Young missed a couple of practices, this looked scary.

The Seahawks have one of the best groups of offensive personnel in the NFL, and to add insult to injury (literally), the Panthers are missing their best cornerback in Jaycee Horn. Oh boy.

Fantasy Football Draft Busts

Our staff’s favorite fantasy football preseason bust targets for 2023 leagues:

Frank AmmiranteAaron RodgersIsiah PachecoTee HigginsEvan Engram
Jeff HicksAaron RodgersNajee HarrisDeebo SamuelDavid Njoku
Lance PattonTua TagovailoaJames ConnerDeebo SamuelEvan Engram
Matt De LimaDeshaun WatsonJosh JacobsTreylon BurksKyle Pitts
Pat PickensJustin FieldsRhamondre StevensonDavante AdamsT.J. Hockenson
Sam WagmanTua TagovailoaTravis EtienneDeebo SamuelGeorge Kittle
Scott EngelAaron RodgersJames ConnerMike WilliamsEvan Engram

Fantasy QB Busts 2023

Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets

Let’s not confuse the Jets’ “all in to win” hype with renewed heavy Fantasy appeal for Rodgers. While his supporters submit that he won the MVP award as recently as 2021, we may not see the one-time Fantasy superstar return to such great heights.

Rodgers’ receiving crew is better than last season, with the trade to New York giving him an upgrade at the WR1 spot with Garrett Wilson. But the rest of the group is shaky, lacking a true No. 2 WR or a better-than-mediocre pass-catching tight end.

While we wait for Fantasy draft season, peek at our top NFL futures odds, then continue reading:

At age 39, Rodgers can still be a good NFL QB, but he did not look great last year, even before he fractured his thumb. He is not quite as mobile as he once was and does not make big throws with the same frequency he used to.

The future Hall of Famer may not be terrible, but he will likely be a top-15 Fantasy QB at best. — SCOTT ENGEL

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Tua had an up-and-down 2022 season finishing outside the top-15 of quarterbacks in seven of 13 starts. He did manage to finish 15th in season-long scoring – despite playing in just 13 games – due to four top-5 finishes.

Although it’s not fair – or practical – to take out his four top-5 fantasy finishes from last season, it is worth noting that nearly all of those performances came against susceptible defensive units – including the Lions’ defense, which finished last against quarterbacks in standard scoring formats.

The real concern for myself here is the injury concerns, considering he hasn’t played a full NFL season, suffered two major concussions last season, and has stated that he even considered retirement this off-season.

If I’m not getting a true dual-threat option at your QB1 – and Tua will almost certainly run even less this season – I prefer health and consistency over the occasional breakout.

Even with some of the best playmakers in the NFL, I think Tua – as the #12th quarterback being drafted in Underdog drafts – is too inconsistent and injury-prone to consider over players in the same or a similar tier. — LANCE PATTON

Fantasy RB Busts 2023

Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Fantasy Football community sees the running back drafted in the first round and immediately anoints them as unquestionable RB1.

Unfortunately, the front office that drafted Etienne is no longer employed in Jacksonville, and head coach Doug Pederson has never believed in a workhorse approach to the position. He prefers committees and enforced that by the team drafting Tank Bigsby on Day 2 of the NFL Draft this year.

Etienne was very streaky last season, with only three games of over 20 PPR Fantasy points and six games outside the Top 36 running backs in Fantasy scoring. He also has not developed into the pass-catching weapon many pegged him as coming out of Clemson, and with the arrival of Calvin Ridley in town, that’s fewer targets for Etienne to soak up.

With an average draft position of a top-15 running back but the projection of a back more slated to be a middling RB2, I am avoiding Etienne in Fantasy leagues this season. — SAM WAGMAN

Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

The concern with Harris has nothing to do with opportunity; he finished last season with four straight 20-plus touch performances and touched the ball on 41.7% of snaps played. The issue is his inability to outproduce his backup consistently.

Harris ended up with a nearly 3:1 touch ratio over Jaylen Warren, but Warren outscored Harris on a per-touch basis in standard and PPR formats. Warren only scored .04 points per touch more in standard leagues, but the difference jumped to .18 points per touch in full PPR.

Warren’s ability to catch the ball in space and create positive production threatens Harris’s Fantasy workload. If Harris can eliminate usage concerns on passing downs, he deserves to be drafted as a potential top 7-10 running back.

If not, there are enough RBs going around him in drafts that I’d rather have. — JEFF HICKS

Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots

This is less of a commentary on Stevenson and more of one on the Patriots this season. New England is coming off only its second sub-.500 season since 2000, may further regress this season in arguably the most difficult division in football, which would put a dent into Stevenson’s role.

Stevenson is coming off a breakout season where he had 1,040 yards and five touchdowns, which is why he’s being drafted on average in the second to third round this season.

But Bill Belichick-coached teams tend to spread the wealth around, backfield-wise. With competition, mainly that of Ezekiel Elliott but also potentially Ty Montgomery and Kevin Harris, Stevenson could end up being less-featured than last season despite being drafted as a top-10 back.

It’ll be interesting to see how a productive season would affect Stevenson’s fantasy football dynasty rankings. — PAT PICKENS

Fantasy WR Busts 2023

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

Choosing Tee Higgins as a bust isn’t about him as a player but his current situation. I’m high on Ja’Marr Chase, projecting the third-year star to take another leap in production in 2023. This would mean that Higgins could see a decreased target share.

It’s important to note that this is no longer a 1A/1B situation in Cincinnati. Chase is clearly the alpha in this offense right now. When both players were on the field together in 2022, Chase had a 27% target share compared to Higgins’ 21%. I expect that to continue moving forward.

Higgins is currently being drafted as the 14th wide receiver off the board with a 23.8 ADP in Underdog Best Ball formats. If we look at other players available at that pick, we see receivers for larger target shares (DeVonta Smith and DK Metcalf) and stud running backs (Derrick Henry and Josh Jacobs).

I’d rather look elsewhere at Higgins’ current cost, making him a clear fade. — FRANK AMMIRANTE

Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans

A healthy Ryan Tannehill should help Burks, a second-year receiver out of Arkansas, find his footing after an inconsistent rookie campaign. Speaking of feet, he missed a handful of games last year on injured reserve due to turf toe.

The problem for Burks boils down to his team. The Titans, ranked 30th in our NFL power rankings, are a team lacking firepower. Burks is surrounded by no other pass-catching weapons of note for defenses to worry about.

Look for him to climb the fantasy football rankings through the preseason as managers overestimate his potential in what is an underwhelming offense. He will be the quintessential overvalued option by average draft position this summer.

Tannehill has been wildly efficient in his career; however, that’s not enough as even A.J. Brown only posted 63/869/5 in 2021. The target volume will never be there in Tennessee and the Titans remain a ball control offense that will spread passes around inconsistently. — MATT DE LIMA

Fantasy TE Busts 2023

Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars

Evan Engram had a terrific debut season in Jacksonville, but I’m avoiding him at his current price as the eighth-ranked tight end at 92.8 ADP in Underdog Best Ball formats. This is because there are now too many mouths to feed with Calvin Ridley in the fold.

Ridley has proven that he can earn targets at a high rate, putting up a 26.5% target share in 2021 and a 25.1% rate in 2020. Add that to Christian Kirk (24.6%) and Zay Jones (23.1%); you have a crowded situation.

While I still think Engram will be the third option in this offense, it’s tough to trust him at this current price, given the change in team context. You can take players like Elijah Moore, who now has Deshaun Watson at quarterback, or David Montgomery, who is in an improved offense, at this cost.

While Engram is in a pass-heavy scheme in a high-scoring offense, I can’t pay this price given the packed crowd of pass-catchers. FRANK AMMIRANTE

What is a Fantasy Football Bust Player?

A Fantasy Football bust is typically a player who does not live up to expectations for that Fantasy Football season. It could be a player who was drafted highly and failed to produce relative to that draft slot, or it could also mean a player who was expected to have a strong role in their offense/defense, yet had a smaller role.

It’s important not to live in absolutes in Fantasy Football. Just because a player might be a bust, does not mean they are a bad player, but maybe they just did not measure up to the expectations we as Fantasy Football players put on them to have that season.

What Are the Signs That a Fantasy Football Player Will Bust?

There aren’t any concrete signs usually that a player will have a down year, but you can look for context clues around. Such examples could include a new offensive/defensive scheme that doesn’t quite suit that player, a new coach or coordinator that calls plays differently, or even some bad news from training camp or preseason about the player that makes you wonder whether they can sustain that projected role.

You have to be fluid with your draft strategy if a player you like has negative vibes around him.


Sam Wagman

Sam is the Sports Content Editor for The Game Day. He has been in the sports media industry for 3 years, with stints at VegasInsider, Footballguys, and Fantasy Points. Sam specializes in fantasy football content creation and strategy as well as sports betting content strategy with an NFL and PGA focus. Originally from Philadelphia, he enjoys all Philly sports despite now living in Florida. He enjoys playing tennis, pickleball, and golf -- while constantly struggling to break 80 on the course.

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