2020 Season: Week 4 Boom/Bust (PPR)

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Charles Herrmann (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

Boom/Bust (or Love/Hate if you are the Talented Mr. Roto) is a fantasy football classic, but in case you are new to the game, here is the gist:

Every week, we will look at the FantasyPros ECR projected points, and pick a player at each position that we think will outperform their projections (boom), or fall short of expectations (bust), during Sunday's games. [EDITOR'S NOTE: The FantasyPros ECR projected points listed are those at the time of writing and may change as the week progresses.]

That is really all there is to it. Largely, this is based on match-ups, but we could potentially see a projection that seems flawed and factor that in as well. No need to re-invent the wheel on this one.

Week 4 Boom/Bust (PPR)

Week 4 Booms

Quarterback (QB)

CH:  Baker Mayfield (16.8 projected points)

I'm not particularly fond of the idea of being optimistic about the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, but the Cowboys passing defense has been fairly generous through three weeks. Despite the Browns run-heavy approach, it is reasonable to anticipate a scenario in which the Cowboys high-flying offense forces Mayfield to throw the ball more than normal (under 30 times) and volume prevails. Do I see him scoring significantly more than 16.8? No, not really, but given all the hoopla going on around the league with COVID-19, you could do worse than Mayfield as one week fill-in.

MM: Ryan Fitzpatrick (18.4 projected points)

With the removal of Cam Newton and Patrick Mahomes for consideration due to Newton coming down with COVID-19, Fitzmagic technically is projected as a borderline starter at QB13. However, he was my pick (and The Lateral's waiver wire pick) here even before all the madness of this morning. The match-up against Seattle who has an NFL-worst pass defense, and that is when healthy... which they are not. Could Fitzmagic turn into Pickspatrick? Always a possibility, but I like him to have a good game against this awful secondary.

Running Back (RB)

CH:  Brian Hill (5.7 projected points)

Candidly this is more of a slight against Todd Gurley II. His middling production to this point and lack of involvement in the passing game has relegated him being viewed as a worse version of his 2019 self; he is nothing more than a TD dependent RB2. One thing we have learned to this point about the Packers defense is that their largest vulnerability is pass-catching backs, and while no Falcons RB has technically emerged in that role, Brian Hill has been the most efficient guy.

What happens Monday night is going to determine a lot about the Falcons offense (and in a non-fantasy sense HC Dan Quinn's future) and hopefully they've learned from what's happened so far and integrate Hill into the lineup more. Admittedly this may be too soon to call, but I anticipate an expanded role for Hill to continue to form. I've already stashed him in a couple leagues.

MM: Adrian Peterson (7.8 projected points)

There may be zero passing game upside, but 22 carries against Arizona are nothing to complain about. Especially since all indications are that Darrell Bevell and the Detroit Lions want to continue to feed him the ball, as the successful rushing attack is boosting the team's performance from an NFL standpoint (i.e. they look better on the field than in fantasy). I like Peterson's chances to continue having a heavier workload, and if he scores his first TD of the season in Week 4 against New Orleans, he will be a lock to perform well above his projected points.

Wide Receiver (WR)

CH:  Jarvis Landry (12.9 projected points) 

This writeup from PFF further highlights why this Browns offense is one to target against the Cowboys for Week 4. I understand that Landry's target share has not been tremendous so far, but he has been efficient as hell with the targets he has received. In a matchup against a defense potentially without CB Trevon Diggs, both Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. should have pretty solid games. 

MM: Julio Jones (12.7 projected points)/Tee Higgins (10.4 projected points)

First thing first: Julio is going to play this Monday. I know he has been listed as questionable, but he is going to play. If he plays, he should beat this projection. Moving on...

Tee Higgins looked like the real deal last week, finishing WR14 with 21.0 PPR points. However, his performance was overshadowed by fellow rookie standouts Justin Jefferson (Week 3 PPR WR2) and Brandon Aiyuk (Week 3 PPR WR13). The fact that Higgins is barely rostered in over 30% of Yahoo leagues (and under 25% in ESPN!) is absurd, and fantasy managers will come to regret that come Week 5 when Higgins has another good week against a bad Jacksonville JAGs pass defense

Tight End (TE)

CH: Dalton Schultz (10 projected points)

This one is fairly simple: the man's getting work (literally) thrown his way. Volume is king in fantasy football and even more so at this position. The Browns defense has been friendly to opposing TEs so far and I would expect that continue tomorrow.

MM: Mo Alie-Cox (7.8 projected points)

I cannot control the Mo Alie-Cox hype at this point. That train has left the station, and I benched Evan Engram for him in one league this week, and Austin Hooper for him in another, so trust me when I say my money is where my mouth is. I expect another TD this week as Philip Rivers passes the ball to him with tears of joy in his eyes, knowing that he has found Antonio Gates 2.0. Should be an easy "boom" in Week 4 against Da Bears.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

CH:  New Orleans Saints ( 6.9 *nice* projected points)

Given how stingy this defense has been against the run, this is going to be a game where the Saints are going to have to force Matthew Stafford to beat them. While I disagree with Malcolm about Adrian Peterson/the clarity of the Lions' backfield, you'll find here soon that neither of us feel particularly great about the Lions' passing offense even with the Saints top pair of corners slated to miss tomorrow's action

MM: Cincinnati Bengals (6.4 projected points)

Full disclosure, this was going to be the Kansas City Chiefs DST, but with that game now in doubt, I had to pull a Ross Geller and pivot.

The Bengals looked decent in Week 3 against Philadelphia, but Philadelphia has also looked awful. Luckily, Jacksonville also looked awful against Miami, a defense that is fine, but nothing special. If you feel confident about Minshew like we do at The Lateral, then you think he will bounce back in this match-up, but given his team is a bunch of JAGs, there is always a shot they will underperform.

Kicker (K)

CH:  Cody Parkey (7.4 projected points)

Over/unders and whatnot tells me that Browns K Cody Parkey the move. He is only owned in 0.4% of ESPN leagues.

MM: Randy Bullock (7.7 projected points)

Bullock has been talked about once this week and twice is more than a kicker needs to be talked about. Check out Movers & Shakers from this week if you want the scoop on the Bengals' kicker.

Week 4 Busts

Quarterback (QB)

CH:  Drew Brees (18.4 projected points)

Honestly, I feel pretty decent about all of the top 12 QBs, so I'm just going to fall back on Brees' remarkably low aDOT and reference his underwhelming performances thus far without WR Michael Thomas. The matchup is attractive but until Thomas returns to action, playing Brees isn't the wisest choice. I'm sure this isn't news to anyone who has played fantasy long enough, but sometimes stating the obvious doesn't hurt.

MM: Matthew Stafford (19.3 projected points)

I love Stafford, but this season has not been the best for him. To be fair, a lot of that comes down to the fact that the Lions are not that good, but those are the conditions that Stafford has to operate within. It also does not help that the Lions seem to love Adrian Peterson, as I mentioned above. Finally, despite having Kenny Golladay back in Week 3, Stafford still did not manage a Top-12 performance and finished QB15 with 18.5 points. New Orleans' secondary should be a tougher match-up than Arizona was in Week 3, so until this offense is firing on all cylinders, or switches to the Air Raid, I expect Stafford to continue to underperform.

Running Back (RB)

CH:  Todd Gurley II (13.6 projected points)

Reference what I said before. It's going to take a TD for Gurley II to do well. It's totally possible, but this is really less about the point total necessarily and more about appropriate expectations.

MM: Devin Singletary (15.2 projected points)

This one is pretty simple: If Zack Moss is healthy, Singletary's ceiling lowers dramatically. Even if Moss is out, Singletary barely managed to crack 16 points last week, so his ceiling when he is not competing for touches seems to be around his projected points for this week, which is a major red flag. Given that Moss seems likely to play this week, as he was a limited participant all week, I would bet on Singletary to struggle for 10 points, let alone 15 points.

Wide Receiver (WR)

CH:  Cooper Kupp (16.2 projected points) 

Given the high likelihood that the Rams are able to put away the Giants relatively early and lean on the run game to drain the clock, there is likely only room for one WR to do well. I'll place my bets on Robert Woods, who prior to last week in a big comeback campaign that saw Kupp haul in 10 targets, has been the more utilized guy for the Rams offense.

MM: Terry McLaurin (15.9 projected points)/A.J. Green (12.7 projected points)

This was going to be a longer take on figuring out how on earth experts thought Terry McLaurin would play well against a Ravens defense that has only looked poor against the superhuman Patrick Mahomes, but with McLaurin's injury, that felt like a hat on a hat. Avoid playing him if you can, because I am not sure he will even play.

A.J. Green will certainly play on Sunday though, likely attracting WR1 attention despite having a worse catch rate than anyone on the Cincinnati Bengals besides future former NFL WR John Ross. Whether it was age or the injuries, Green clearly has lost a step and is more valuable as a decoy than as an expected top receiver. Expect him to have another poor outing to the benefit of fellow WRs Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, who are sure to start to gain more and more of Burrow's trust as Green continues to not catch the ball.

Tight End (TE)

CH: Tyler Higbee (13 projected points)

Apply the logic above and couple that with the fact that the Giants, who despite being a less-than-stellar defense, have not been kind to TEs

MM: Darren Waller (13.6 projected points)

Waller has had a rollercoaster 2020 to date, and to be fair, I do not think it is possible to say any of it is his fault. Week 1 was fine, Week 2 was amazing, and then Week 3 almost did not merit making his game logs. The logic here is that the loss of Las Vegas WRs Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs III mean more targets for Darren Waller, but I think it will translate into more work for Josh Jacobs against a below-average Bills run-defense, and more attention from the under-performing but talented Buffalo secondary. Do not be surprised if Foster Moreau and Hunter Renfrow manage to be the better fantasy bets among the Raiders receivers. 

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

CH: Los Angeles Chargers (6.5 projected points)

They haven't been that good and at some point the Buccaneers ought to click.

MM: Seattle Seahawks (6.9 projected points)

See the Ryan Fitzpatrick bit earlier in this piece. Awful pass defense and injuries galore are not a recipe for success. This is not a terrible defense overall, but this is not going to be their week.

Kicker (K)

CH: Robbie Gould (8.7 projected points)

Over/unders and whatnot tells me that Niners K Robbie Gould isn't the move for Week 4.

MM: Jason Myers (8.9 projected points)

Myers' best finish so far in 2020 is K12 in Week 1 and is currently K25. This offense is all about letting Russ cook, and that is not going to change in Week 4 against Miami. I honestly have no idea how anyone is projecting him to finish this high, as Miami has not proven a particularly juicy match-up for kickers thus far.

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