In order to advance to the next round of the fantasy football playoffs, you’re going to need to trot out a close-to-perfect lineup. Our Week 15 busts list can help you avoid potential lineup-killers like Kenneth Walker III, Trevor Lawerence, D’Onta Foreman, Tua Tagovailoa, and Drake London.
Of course, even “must-starts” can have off-days (looking at you, Mike Evans) but you won’t see those types of players among our bust picks unless we legitimately advise benching them. We’re looking for players on the start-sit bubble — not obvious starters and not players owned in just a small percentage of leagues. You might not have enough depth to bench the players below — or you might just disagree with our picks — but either way, it’s your team, so make the decisions that work best for you.
We clled D’Andre Swift, Zach Charbonnet, C.J. Stroud, Jordan Addison, Pat Freiermuth, Dallas Goedert, and the Chiefs D/ST having tough Week 14 fantasy outings, and our goal is to one-up last week’s showing with even better predictions this time around.
Be careful with these potential landmines.
WEEK 15 FANTASY ADVICE: Sleepers | Projections | Start-sit
Fantasy RB Busts Week 15
Kenneth Walker III, Seahawks vs. Eagles (Sloan Piva). Whether you call him K9, KW3, or the SkyWalker, we’re calling him a bust this week. The second-year back returned from an oblique injury in Week 14 against the 49ers but he managed just 21 yards on eight carries. Now he draws a tough matchup with the Eagles, an even better run D than San Francisco. Philadelphia has surrendered the fewest fantasy points to RBs in standard and half-PPR leagues this season. Walk away.
James Conner, Cardinals vs. 49ers (Vinnie Iyer). The 49ers are erasing the running game and should quickly push this into a negative game script to the point that Conner will cede key touches.
D’Onta Foreman, Bears @ Browns (Matt Lutovsky). Foreman is the clear leader in the Bears’ backfield, but a matchup against Cleveland’s 11th-ranked run defense doesn’t bode well for him. He’ll need a short TD to pay off, and we don’t see that happening with Justin Fields back and stealing carries.
WEEK 15 PPR RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers
Fantasy QB Busts Week 15
Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars vs. Ravens (Piva). It’s always difficult to consider benching TLaw, especially when he’s coming off a four-week stretch in which he averaged 28.1 standard fantasy points per game. However, the Ravens’ defense has been as dominating as any team in 2023, allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. Lawrence also has a tender ankle and top receiver Christian Kirk recently hit IR with a core injury, so this seems like a very difficult week to trust TLaw over higher-floor options.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins vs. Jets (Iyer). He’s plummeted among the QB ranks with poor play of late, and now he has a banged-up Tyreek Hill vs. a red-hot Jets pass defense. Plus, the Dolphins should lean more on the run in this matchup.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals vs. 49ers (Lutovsky). Murray often finds a way to post good-enough stats, but the 49ers allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to QBs. He’s yet to throw for multiple TDs in a game this year, so he’ll have to do a lot of damage with his legs. We don’t see that happening against San Francisco’s dominant defense, relegating Murray to a risky, low-ceiling lotto ticket.
WEEK 15 STANDARD RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers
Fantasy WR Busts Week 15
Marquise Brown, Cardinals vs. 49ers (Piva). The cons outweigh the pros with Hollywood this week. The last time we saw him, he exited Arizona’s Week 13 game with a heel injury after recording zero catches on three targets. Even before that, Brown had totaled 13.4 half-PPR points over the Cards’ previous three games and fewer than eight points in five of six. Plus, you might have heard this before, but the Niners play pretty good defense.
Drake London, Falcons @ Panthers (Iyer). Carolina is a much tougher matchup than Tampa Bay with Jaycee Horn in the mix, so the Drake will immediately cool off on the road where his QB struggles.
Calvin Ridley, Jaguars vs. Ravens (Lutovsky). It’s tempting to think Ridley will step up and have a big game with Christian Kirk (core) out, and while he did have 13 targets last week, he caught just four for 53 yards. Zay Jones (14 targets) and Evan Engram (12 targets) are also heavily involved for the Jags, and against Baltimore’s fourth-ranked pass defense, it’s tough to trust the up-and-down Ridley to come through with a big game.
Fantasy TE Busts Week 15
Cole Kmet, Bears @ Browns (Piva). Kmet has finished with 11-plus half-PPR points in two straight contests, but the Browns have been so stingy against tight ends this season we don’t dare bet on a third straight. Even with Evan Engram’s massive 32.5-point Week 14 performance, Cleveland has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to the position. Pursue better options at TE this weekend.
Dalton Kincaid, Bills vs. Cowboys (Iyer). You will probably still start him in most leagues based on target volume, but Dawson Knox is cutting into high-leverage looks and Dallas can contain him with its back-seven.
Kyle Pitts, Falcons @ Panthers (Lutovsky). Pitts got back into the end zone last week for the second time this season, but his overall body of work is still lacking. The Panthers might seem like a defense to pick on, but they’re still a top-10 TE defense even after allowing a short TD to Jimmy Graham last week. Desmond Ridder is tough to trust in general, especially outdoors. That worry carries over to Pitts, who once again has a low floor.
Fantasy Defense Busts Week 15
Detroit Lions vs. Broncos (Piva). Earlier in the season, Detroit looked like the breakout D/ST of the year. Three months in, they look like a bust. Against the Bears and Saints the past two weekends, the Lions have surrendered 28 points — the same amount they have allowed on average since Oct. 22. Russell Wilson and the Broncos’ offense, unlike Detroit’s defense, has looked 100 times better than it did in September. Shy away from the Lions.
Baltimore Ravens at Jaguars (Iyer). They got lost vs. the Rams’ passing game last week, and prime time on the road doesn’t feel so promising.
Buffalo Bills vs. Cowboys (Lutovsky). Buffalo held its own against Kansas City last week, but it resulted in just one sack and two takeaways. That’s not enough to help you in the fantasy playoffs, and Dallas’ offense is playing at an even higher level than Kansas City’s. There’s no need to risk it with Buffalo when there are so many options with better matchups available.