Fantasy Football Bust Candidates: Week 13's biggest potential disappointments

Editor’s note: The players listed below are NFL stars who were drafted or added in virtually every Yahoo Fantasy league. That said, this column is not an endorsement to bench them in Week 13. You’re in control of your roster; every league size and shape is different. What we are trying to explain is that expectations should be lowered this week compared to usual for some of the NFL’s biggest stars. Aside from examining this week’s matchups, this can also serve as a reminder not to overreact if one of your high draft picks disappoints in Week 13.

DK Metcalf @ Los Angeles Rams

Metcalf is having an odd season, as he hasn’t been a top-25 fantasy WR in 0.5 PPR leagues despite ranking top-12 in targets, target share, air yards and air yardage share; he’s top-three in red-zone targets. And this is with new QB Geno Smith, the heavy favorite to win the Comeback Player of the Year award while ranking first in True Completion percentage. Put differently, Metcalf has finished as a top-10 fantasy receiver just one week (@Det) all season, and that includes a WR17 finish last week despite 15 targets against a Las Vegas secondary allowing a higher Passer Rating than Patrick Mahomes’ career mark.

Tyler Lockett has more yards and touchdowns while seeing nearly 20 fewer targets.

Metcalf has additional concerns this week in a matchup versus the league’s worst offense; the Rams were getting the fewest yards per play before losing Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford and Allen Robinson. Opponents have the fifth-lowest pass rate (52.4%) when playing on the road against the Rams this season, and LA has the slowest pace in neutral situations in the league. Jalen Ramsey has admittedly struggled, but Seattle should be extremely run-heavy Sunday playing mostly with the lead and the Rams without Aaron Donald in a matchup with one of the lowest totals (41.5 points) of the week.

Jeff Wilson Jr. @ San Francisco 49ers

Wilson gets an extremely tough matchup against a 49ers defense allowing NFL-lows in points per game (15.7), YPC (3.3) and yards per play (4.7). They haven't ceded a point after halftime since Week 7. San Francisco has yielded the fewest fantasy points to running backs, with none reaching 60 rushing yards against them this year (while missing Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw!). Opponents also have the lowest run rate in the NFL in San Francisco this season, and Miami’s defense has been gashed for the most yards per play while on the road. Tua Tagovailoa is playing out of his mind, but Wilson could also cede more work if Raheem Mostert returns for a revenge game of his own (joining JWJ and Mike McDaniel).

Jeff Wilson Jr. #23 of the Miami Dolphins has a tough fantasy matchup
Jeff Wilson Jr.'s revenge game might not yield many fantasy points. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

All told, Wilson is a bench candidate this week.

Deshaun Watson @ Houston Texans

Watson easily led the league in YPA (8.9) without DeAndre Hopkins and with arguably the league’s worst coaching the last time we saw him play in the NFL, but that was in early January 2020 — about 700 days ago. That’s a significant amount of time to miss in pro sports, and Watson wasn’t even able to practice with the Browns until just two weeks ago. For what it’s worth, he went 1-5 for seven yards in the preseason.

Watson aside, the Texans are a sieve versus the run but are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Opponents have the second-lowest pass rate (48.8%) when facing Houston, which should remain similar Sunday in a game featuring Nick Chubb with Cleveland touchdown favorites.


Lamar Jackson ($30) vs. Denver Broncos

After throwing 10 touchdowns over the first three weeks of the season, Jackson has just seven TD strikes over eight games since. A hip injury thankfully hasn’t prevented Jackson from running, but he’s clearly not 100% and gets as little help from his WRs and RBs as any quarterback in the league (while also currently missing his left tackle).

Jackson’s rushing always keeps his fantasy floor high, but Sunday’s game script limits his ceiling as much as his supporting cast.

Denver is the worst kind of fantasy matchup, sporting an offense that’s averaging the fewest points per game since the 2000 Browns but a defense that’s yielding an NFL-low 5.4 YPA and the fewest passing touchdowns (nine) in the league. The Broncos are also allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, including the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game (12.2) to the position.

Moreover, the Panthers had an NFL-low 29.2% pass rate against Denver last week, as teams simply don’t have to throw against the legendary Russell Wilson/Nathaniel Hackett combo. This matchup’s total is by far the lowest (38.5 points) of the week, and the under is 10-1 in Broncos games this year.

Jackson is an easy fade in DFS.

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