2021 Fantasy Football Busts Projections Week 5 | Sit ‘Em Picks & Players Who’ll Disappoint

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Each week of the 2021 NFL season, I will be listing certain players as potential fantasy football busts for the upcoming week. No, this does not mean I believe these players are trash and should not be rostered.

The players I name in this article each week may have unfavorable matchups, situational changes that negatively impact their value, injury concerns, and other various reasons to avoid having them in your lineups for that specific week.

The adage “stick with your studs" only applies to a few elite fantasy options. You should not be married to all of your starters every week, but instead, pick and choose which players have the best matchups and highest potential of fantasy points each week.

I know that can be a lot of work, but don’t worry, I have you covered with fantasy football tips!

This weekly fantasy football bust article, partnered with my weekly waiver wire article, will assist you in your sit/start decisions every single week for the 2021 season.

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2021 Fantasy Football Busts for Week 5 - Quarterback

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers

First of all, I understand if you are hesitant with benching a quarterback with a safe rushing floor. That said, I list Jalen Hurts as a bust this week and encourage you to, at the very least, temper your expectations.

Jalen Hurts has thrown for over 300 passing yards and 2 touchdowns in each of his last two games. He faced the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4.

His stats were impressive by the end of both games, but there is something to be cautious of. A good chunk of his passing yards and touchdowns came late in both contests. Falling behind in both games, Hurts had plenty of “garbage time" to pad his numbers.

Yes, it could happen again in Week 5, but the Carolina Panthers are the best defense the Philadelphia Eagles have seen all year. The Panthers have given up the 8th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.

Carolina just held Dak Prescott to just 188 passing yards in Week 4. I feel like Week 5 could be Hurts’ worst fantasy output so far.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Jets

Matt Ryan is coming off his best game of the season. He threw for 283 passing yards and 4 touchdowns! It takes a lot of guts to bench a guy after a hot week like that, but that is what will separate you from the rest of your league.

In last week’s article, I encouraged you to bench Derek Carr. He had an incredible run of over 380 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns in each of his first 3 games. It may have sounded crazy to bench someone like that.

Well, in Week 4, Derek Carr still threw 2 touchdowns but had an interception and threw for just 196 yards. He had his worst game of the season. It’s important to play each week individually, especially if the matchup isn’t favorable.

That’s the case with Matt Ryan in Week 5. He finds himself against the New York Jets.

The Jets have given up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks through 4 weeks. They were able to hold Sam Darnold and Ryan Tannehill to under 20 fantasy points. In fact, no quarterback has scored 20 points on them this year.

Matt Ryan hasn’t been very consistent either. He’s been hot and cold, and for that reason, I expect him to be on the colder side against the Jets defense this week.

More Week 5 Busts To Avoid:

  • Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns @ Los Angeles Chargers

Find better Week 5 fantasy football players to start with our 2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers Predictions.

2021 Fantasy Football Busts for Week 5 - Running Back

Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos

Najee Harris has looked great for a rookie this season. Unfortunately, he will have his toughest defensive matchup in Week 5.

The Denver Broncos have given up the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. They did face a less-than 100% Saquon Barkley in Week 1 but held James Robinson to just 47 rush yards in Week 2. The Broncos have yet to give up 60 rush yards to a running back this season.

The Steelers’ offense has not looked impressive this season. Najee Harris has only rushed for more than 45 yards just once this year.

Harris will need to produce from a receiving perspective this week to add value to your roster. That presents its own challenge as Ben Roethlisberger is dealing with a hip injury and has struggled to get into a rhythm this year.

If you don’t have a viable option to fill in for Harris this week, you may want to consider a boom or bust option at another position and hope for the boom to counteract his expected disappointing performance.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills

Another player seemingly catching fire, and I’m the crazy person telling you to fade him this week! Clyde Edwards-Helaire has gone back-to-back weeks with 100 or more rushing yards.

This could certainly become the norm for CEH given how much defenses have to plan around Patrick Mahomes and the passing attack, but we’ve seen inconsistency with Edwards-Helaire since becoming the starting running back in 2020.

We’ve already witnessed mediocre performances from CEH with under 50 rushing yards in his first two games to begin the 2021 season. Both times were against good run defenses.

The Buffalo Bills have allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. They held Najee Harris to 45 yards on 16 carries in Week 1 and Antonio Gibson to just 31 rush yards in Week 3.

CEH may have had two great weeks heading into this game, but the matchup isn’t favorable. If you have two other solid starters at running back, I’d consider leaving Edwards-Helaire on the bench in Week 5.

More Week 5 Busts To Avoid:

  • Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Against a tough Buffalo Bills defense, it might be a good idea to bench Clyde Edwards-Helaire and to go in a different direction. (Image: USA Today Sports)

2021 Fantasy Football Busts for Week 5 - Wide Receiver

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots

Texans backup quarterback Davis Mills struggled mightily against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. He threw for 87 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.

It doesn’t matter who you are at wide receiver, you are not going to have a good week when your quarterback posts that kind of stat line.

Brandin Cooks would love to have a “revenge game" in Week 5 against his former team, the New England Patriots. If the Patriots are good at one thing on defense (they are good at many things on defense), they are very good at making mediocre quarterbacks look like they don’t belong in the NFL.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots are coming off a tough loss to their former quarterback of 20 years, Tom Brady. You better believe they will have all the motivation in the world to take it out on the Texans this week.

The Patriots have given up just the 4th fewest fantasy points to wide receiver this year. It appears Brandin Cooks is in for his second disappointing game in a row. He may be a great buy candidate after this week if it comes to fruition.

Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns @ Los Angeles Chargers

It’s exciting to have Odell Beckham Jr. back and healthy playing football. What’s not exciting is the lackluster play by his quarterback, Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield has thrown just 2 touchdowns in the first 4 games and had under 250 passing yards in the last 3 weeks. Mayfield missed a wide-open OBJ last week that would have likely resulted in a touchdown.

The Los Angeles Chargers have one of the best defenses in the league. This presents a big problem for a quarterback and wide receiver trying to re-gain the chemistry they’ve shown in the past. The Chargers have given up the 5th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and 2nd fewest to wide receivers.

Until Baker Mayfield and OBJ get on the same page, it’s going to be difficult starting either one, especially when the matchup is a tough one like this week.

More Week 5 Busts To Avoid:

  • DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers

Find better Week 4 fantasy football players on the waiver wire with our 2021 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Top Pickups.

2021 Fantasy Football Bust for Week 5- Tight End

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals

It’s been a frustrating start to the season for George Kittle and fantasy managers. He is not producing on the level you would have expected from a top 3 option at the position.

Kittle appears to be on an every other week schedule in regards to his production. He has over 75 receiving yards in weeks 1 and 3 but 40 or fewer yards in weeks 2 and 4. If the pattern were to continue, he’d be in for a decent week. I wouldn’t count on it this week, however.

The Arizona Cardinals have allowed just the 3rd fewest fantasy points to the tight end position. Although Kittle isn’t your typical tight end, he certainly hasn’t been his consistent self thus far. The Cardinals haven’t allowed a tight end to earn more than 36 receiving yards this year.

Surprisingly, George Kittle has yet to catch a touchdown pass this season. I don’t expect that to last very long, but given the uncertainty at quarterback for the 49ers, I don’t expect it to happen this week.

More Week 5 Busts To Avoid:

  • Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers @ Cincinnati Bengals

2021 Fantasy Football Bust for Week 5 - Defensive Team

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals

The San Francisco 49ers defense hasn’t been the greatest in 2021, especially in the last two weeks. Yes, they did play the Packers in Week 3 and the Seahawks in Week 4, but it doesn’t get any easier in Week 5.

It appears no one can stop the offensive monster that is the Arizona Cardinals. They are undefeated through 4 games and have scored 30+ points each week. To make things more challenging for the 49ers’ defense, they will have to attempt to slow down Kyler Murray and crew on the road.

Even if the 49ers were playing the best defense they can, I would still fade them any time they have to deal with the Cardinals’ explosive offense. If the 49ers’ defense is on your roster, start looking for a replacement for Week 5.

More Week 5 Busts To Avoid:

  • Miami Dolphins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Nate Hamilton

Nate Hamilton is a regular contributor to the fantasy football industry. He has produced content for some of the top fantasy football sites including FantasyPros, The Fantasy Footballers, Fantasy Data, FantraxHQ, and currently The Game Day! He is a co-author of Amazon's #1 Best Selling "The Fantasy Football Black Book" with Joe Pisapia. Nate is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA).

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