2020 Season: Week 5 Boom/Bust (PPR)


(Photo Credit: Erik Drost)

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 5 Boom/Bust (PPR)

Week 5 Booms

Quarterback (QB)

CH: Teddy Bridgewater (18.5 projected points)

Reference what I said in the Week 5 waiver wire article about Bridgewater and then consider the fact that the Falcons are quite literally the worst defense in terms of points allowed to QBs in fantasy. Pretty simple logic here and while the pick is somewhat of a gimme, there's always room to be wrong considering that Bridgewater has been inconsistent to date. How's that for intrigue?

MM: Kyle Allen (10.0 projected points)

Okay, so this is sort of a free space. I do not advise starting Kyle Allen, but 10.0 points is ridiculously low. It is rare for a QB to play an entire game and finish with less than 10 points. Sure, you get one or two a week, but given there are 32 starting QBs each week, 6.25% is still pretty rare. In fact, Dwayne Haskins just got benched despite averaging 13.89 PPG so far this season. Is that bad? Sure. Significantly better than 10.0 points? Also yes.

Want further proof? As a starter last season with Ron Rivera as head coach on a team comparable to this Washington team, Kyle Allen averaged 14.88 points over 13 games. The Rams are admittedly solid against QBs this season, holding them a middle of the pack 17.84 PPG, but that is still plenty of room for Kyle Allen to get to his 14-15 points in Week 5, which is a boom given the projected 10.0 points.

Running Back (RB)

CH: Devonta Freeman (9.8 projected points)

While he has not been great since signing with the Giants, Freeman did walk in off the street in the midst of regular season play with no familiarity with the team's offense. There's still room for the optimism around Freeman to be proven worthless but any victory lap with the "sEe I kNeW hE wAs GoNnA sUcK" energy is unproductive. Any reasonable person knew it would take time for him to ramp up usage and gain familiarity, and we've already seen a huge jump in usage from Week 3 to Week 4.

The Cowboys' defense has been fairly friendly to RBs to this point, it may be a week early, but I could see this game being a good one for Freeman. I'd play him comfortably as a flex option.

MM: Chase Edmonds (9.0 projected points)

NOTE: This was written prior to the positive COVID-19 test for the New York Jets, so bear in mind that Arizona may not even play this week.

This one is a little complicated, but the low point threshold leaves me confident. Let us start with the positives for Edmonds: despite being the 2nd RB on the depth chart, he has managed to have the same 9.6 PPG as lead back Kenyan Drake. He has nearly the same run efficiency at 3.7 Y/A vs 3.8 Y/A, and is much more active in the passing game, trailing only WRs DeAndre Hopkins (by a country mile) and Larry Fitzgerald (only just) in targets. The New York Jets are also not particularly good against RBs, giving up 24.275 PPG. Divided evenly, this would give Edmonds a real shot at 12.14 points, which would be a boom compared to 9.0 points, and puts him in solid flex consideration. 

Unfortunately, Edmonds is not entitled to equal share of the points, and as the Jets are weaker against the run than the pass when it comes to RBs, he may end up well behind Drake in the box score. Still, given that Drake has performed a full 4 PPG behind Edmonds over the past two weeks, Edmonds time as the second RB may be getting closer to the end.

Wide Receiver (WR)

CH: Curtis Samuel (10.1 projected points) 

Basically apply the logic behind my Bridgewater pick and take a look at how successful WRs have been against Atlanta. Plus let's keep in mind the fact that Samuel also has seen a small handful of carries on the ground week-to-week with RB Christian McCaffrey out of the mix.

Samuel has yet to eclipse double digits PPR points this year, but if there's a time for that to happen, it would be this week.
MM: Olamide Zaccheaus (7.9 projected points)

First the bad news: The Panthers have been pretty good through four games at limiting WRs. So far in 2020, they have only conceded around 76 points in standard format, which is towards the bottom of the league. Even looking at PPR, where that shifts to around 125 points, but those 49 receptions are also in the bottom half of the league. So this looks like a tough match-up for Atlanta's pass-heavy offense, who will likely be missing future Hall of Fame WR Julio Jones.

Which actually bodes well for WR Zaccheaus, who used the lack of attention from opposing defenders to finish WR19 last week, ahead of fellow WRs Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, and Julio Jones (who left early with his injury). The WR3 in Atlanta doing well this season is not new either; Gage had 13.9 PPG and was WR23 through three games until the poor performance against GB in Week 4. Zaccheaus is now Gage, and I expect QB Matt Ryan to lean on him and the weaker coverage he will receive from the Panthers defense.

Tight End (TE)

CH: Eric Ebron (8.9 projected points)

I spoke about Ebron as a good add off the waiver wire last week. Nothing about why he's a good bet to do well has changed and the Eagles aren't good against TEs. The matchup is great and the usage has been solid for Ebron. Give him a whirl.

MM: Mo Alie-Cox (7.3 projected points)

At this point I have lost track of where I first started talking about Antonio Gates 2.0, but you can go here to start following the bread crumbs. But I will speed round this for you. On the Colts, he is: 4th in targets, 3rd in receptions, 1st in receiving TDs, QB Philip Rivers loves TEs, and the Cleveland Browns defense loves giving TEs lots of points. Start Alie-Cox, especially with the TD upside, and expect him to exceed expectations yet again.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

CH: Arizona Cardinals (7.3 projected points)

NOTE: This was written prior to the positive COVID-19 test for the New York Jets, so bear in mind that Arizona may not even play this week.

They play the Jets (feat. Joe Flacco at QB)

MM: Carolina Panthers (5.6 projected points)

I already made most of this case when talking about Atlanta Falcons WR Olamide Zaccheaus, but the one thing I will add is that the Panthers defense is 6th in the NFL in takeaways. This should be a good match-up for a young team that is already flashing its potential in 2020.

Kicker (K)

CH: Dan Bailey (7.5 projected points)

Over/unders and whatnot tells me that Vikings K Dan Bailey (10.3% owned on ESPN) is the move.

MM: Randy Bullock (7.4 projected points)

Picked Bullock last week, and I am confident in picking him again. Click here to get my expanded take on the Bengals kicker, who has been a stud in 2020.

Week 5 Busts

Quarterback (QB)

CH: Matt Ryan (19.8 projected points)

I'm going to do a little homework copying here and agree with Malcolm on Ryan. The Panthers are easily beaten on the ground and given the fact that the Falcons' WR corps is banged up, this could be more of a week for RB Todd Gurley II to go off. My other vote would be Chargers QB Justin Herbert against the Saints who should be healthier this week and might get CB Marshon Lattimore back given the Monday night slate leaving more wiggle room for clearance to play from the New Orleans medical staff.

MM: Matt Ryan (19.8 projected points)

Between Charles covering why the Falcons may benefit from relying on the run, and how I have talked about how the Falcons may benefit from not relying too heavily on their passing offense, it is pretty easy to see how Ryan adds up to a bust. However, I will leave you with one more stat, which is that Green Bay is a worse pass defense than Carolina, and those Packers held Matt Ryan to 12.4 points last week.

Running Back (RB)

CH: Kareem Hunt (18.5 projected points)

I feel pretty good about the FantasyPros projections to be honest. This pick is another case of liking the player, basically agreeing with the projection, but wanting to temper expectations. This is really a matter of my optimism surrounding RB D'Ernest Johnson finding a comfortable role with Nick Chubb out and saying that while 18.5 is a genuinely reasonable projection, expecting Hunt to go the 'eff off and drop 30 for you is unwise. It's much more of a hubris check than a bust prediction more than anything else. Don't assume you can be flippant with your flex this week because you have Hunt. 

MM: Miles Sanders (16.2 projected points)

I could analyze the player, or the struggling Eagles offense, or that this projection seems a little inflated despite that Sanders has been good so far in 2020. Or I could just mention that the Pittsburgh Steelers are the best defense in fantasy against RBs, allowing on 47.8 PPR points through three games. That is 15.9 PPG, which is just behind the San Francisco 49ers for the best in the league. That Niners team held Sanders to 9.6 PPR points last week, and I do not expect this match-up to go much better.

Wide Receiver (WR)

CH: Keenan Allen (17.1 projected points) 

I mentioned earlier that the Saints defense might get Lattimore back, and should that happen, Allen is going to struggle. Much like Hunt, I would still play Allen but at the same time remember that he's reliant upon a rookie QB who's going up against one of the NFL's best defenses when healthy. This whole thing hinges on the Saints defense being at full strength, but assuming they are you ought to be more conservative in your expectations for the veteran WR.

MM: Michael Gallup (14.1 projected points)

I took a deep dive on Michael Gallup in the "Week 4 Recap," but I will summarize it here. He does not get enough targets, and the ones he gets he does not catch, including both of his 2 end zone targets so far in 2020. I know the Giants are bad, but it ain't happening.

Tight End (TE)

CH: Mike Gesicki (9.5 projected points)

Once again copying homework, I'm sure Malcolm's reasoning for not liking Gesicki echoes mine.

MM: Mike Gesicki (9.5 projected points)

Bold strategy Cotton, assuming you will agree with my reasoning before I have it even figured out.

In short, Gesicki has really fallen off since a hot start to the season. Through two weeks he was TE6 and averaging 16.5 PPR points. Week 3 and Week 4 combined he was TE29 and averaging 5.5 PPR points. I looked through all of Miami's games and the conclusion I have reached is RB Myles Gaskin starts to happen in Week 2 against Buffalo and then never goes away, leapfrogging over Gesicki for targets in Week 3 and Week 4. There is definitely some TD upside there with the proportion of red-zone targets Gesicki receives, but the QB situation and the emergence Gaskin should be enough to cripple Gesicki's effectiveness. It also does not help that Week 5 opponent San Francisco is the second best team in the league against TEs.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

CH: San Francisco 49ers (8.0 projected points)

There's a huge chance this is a bad call considering how volatile Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick can be, but the Niners D is still pretty banged up. I'm not particularly confident with this call, but on the off chance Fitzpatrick plays like Fitzmagic, 8.0 ain't happening.

MM: Baltimore Ravens (8.7 projected points)

I really could not decide between the Ravens and the Los Angeles Rams, but ultimately it came down to who plays the better QB. While I think Washington QB Kyle Allen will be better than the abysmal expectations for this week, he is no Joe Burrow, so the upside for the Rams to create some turnovers prevented me from picking them. I still expect Baltimore to win against Cincinnati, but the passing volume from Burrow makes me think this will be a closer game than people expect, and the Ravens are struggling to generate interceptions so far in 2020. They will play well on the field, but fall short of expectations in fantasy.

Kicker (K)

CH: Rodrigo Blankenship (8.7 projected points)

Over/unders and whatnot tells me that while I would not necessarily advocate against Colts K Rodrigo Blankenship, that game could be a fairly low scoring affair considering both teams' weaknesses are the inverse of the others' strengths.

MM: Jason Myers (8.8 projected points)

I took a swing at Jason Myers to bust in Week 4, and while he did not bust, he beat his projection by just 0.1 points. Everything I said in Week 4 still holds true in Week 5, and Myers has only kicked 2 field goals through 4 games, so he is boom/bust by nature.

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