Some of you are definitely the manager in your league who started Joshua Kelley for the last few weeks. I’ll admit it. I am also that guy. Regardless, it’s time to move on to Week 5 and avoid the same mistakes.
Even if you have avoided these weekly busts, it could happen to any player on any week. Evaluating matchups and projections for your starters is very important so busts can be left on your bench.
That said, you should consider other options if you plan to start these players on Sunday…
CHRISTIAN KIRK, WR JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
At Buffalo Bills, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (London)
It seems that each week, one Jacksonville receiver thrives while the other struggles. Recently, Christian Kirk has been successful, providing quality performances in three consecutive games. However, a Week 5 matchup against the Bills does not bode well for Kirk.
Kirk has been the Jaguars’ primary threat from the slot. So far this season, Kirk has run 70 percent of his routes and seen 25 of his 34 targets from the slot.
Unfortunately for Kirk, the Bills have been one of the league’s best at defending slot receivers. Buffalo ranks 29th in fantasy points allowed to slot receivers, allowing just 11.8 points per game to players in the slot.
Kirk’s successful games have also come against teams that highly use man coverage. Buffalo runs man at a league-average rate, making them more difficult to attack for Kirk.
Kirk is probably a difficult player to bench for most teams. But if you have a deep WR room, consider putting another player in your lineup.
JONATHAN TAYLOR, RB INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Vs. Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. Eastern
It appears that star running back Jonathan Taylor is set to make his season debut in Week 5 after a stint on the PUP list.
Taylor’s return comes with one of the most difficult matchups for any running back. Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel has built a defense that can completely shut down even the league’s best ball carriers.
In 2023, the Titans rank 4th in yards per carry, allowing just 3.1 yards per carry. It shouldn’t shock anyone that they also hold RBs to very few fantasy points. The Titans allow 13.2 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs– third-best in the league.
Aside from a difficult matchup, we still don’t know what we’re getting from Taylor. He hasn’t been on the field since Week 13 of last year, and he’s almost guaranteed to show signs of rust in his debut. Not to mention that Taylor is at odds with the front office, which could easily impact his role on the field.
I would take it slow with Taylor. Watch the game this week, see how he is used and how he plays, and start him next week if all goes well.
ROMEO DOUBS, WR GREEN BAY PACKERS
At Green Bay, 8:15 p.m. Eastern (Monday Night)
The Packers’ second-year wideout Romeo Doubs has been a late-round pick that worked out nicely in the season’s early weeks. Doubs has finished as a WR2 or better three times in the first four games.
Doubs’ production for the rest of the season will take a hit with the return of Christian Watson. The speedster technically returned in Week 4 but was on a snap count to ease him back into things following a hamstring injury.
Doubs has maintained a nearly 26 percent target share. With Watson back on the field, expect this target share to drop, hurting his fantasy production. Although both Watson and Doubs are both in their sophomore seasons, Doubs’ production has been hurt with Watson on the field.
A full three points fewer per game is very significant. This should not be ignored and Doubs should hit the bench until there is more clarity on how targets will be distributed from Jordan Love.
BROCK PURDY, QB SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Vs. Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m. Eastern (Sunday Night)
Another player who has succeeded after being selected late in fantasy drafts, Brock Purdy, is due for a down week. Purdy has been a starting fantasy QB most weeks, finishing as the QB13 or better in three games this season.
However, Purdy’s best performances have come against some very favorable matchups. Purdy’s two best games of the season have come against teams (Cardinals and Steelers) that rank in the bottom 12 teams in terms of passing yards and fantasy points allowed (to QBs) per game.
Purdy now faces his toughest matchup yet, the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas is among the league’s best defenses against the pass. The Cowboys rank second in both passing yards and fantasy points allowed (to QBs) per game.
It takes an elite performance for a quarterback to overcome this Dallas defense. Not to discount Brock Purdy, but I am not betting on him as the QB that takes down this defense. I prefer to play things safer and avoid this potential disaster.
DRAKE LONDON, WR ATLANTA FALCONS
Vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m. Eastern
After two touchdowns over the last three weeks, it appeared that Drake London’s fantasy outlook may not be as scary as we originally thought. I wish this was true, but it is simply not. With the current state of the Falcon’s offense and Desmond Ridder at the helm, London’s fantasy outlook is bleak.
Arthur Smith is a run-first coach to begin with. When the Falcons do throw, Ridder has made it very difficult for pass catchers to succeed. London has a frightening 13 catchable targets this season, 64th among all wide receivers. This has resulted in just 11 catches this season for 126 yards and two trips to the endzone.
Don’t expect things to get better in Week 5. Atlanta faces a Houston defense that has been very effective against WRs this season, limiting them to just 122 yards and 25.8 fantasy points per game. It’s important to note that those numbers refer to full WR rooms, not just individual receivers.
The matchup does not help by any means but London should remain on the bench in the future if possible until Ridder improves or is replaced.