2020 Season: Week 11 Boom/Bust (PPR)

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Charles Herrmann (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

This week has been a rather hectic one at The Lateral and with that said, we've already been delayed mightily in the way of publishing this piece on time. In the interest of time, here's a reminder of how this works: we look at the points projections based on the expert consensus rankings on FantasyPros and then pick who we think will hit that mark or fall short. While not exactly the most "sideways" exercise, this is a common practice for a reason. Let's get to it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The FantasyPros ECR projected points listed are those at the time of writing and may change as the week progresses as they are dynamic in nature.]

Week 11 Boom/Bust (PPR)

Week 11 Booms

Quarterback (QB)

CH: Alex Smith (16.3 projected points)

Malcolm wrote his half of this first and I don't know that I have much to say that he isn't about to say below. Between his perspective and the nod I gave to Smith in this week's waiver wire article, you'll get the picture.

MM: Alex Smith (16.3 projected points)

I still have major concerns about Alex Smith's ability to effectively quarterback on a reconstructed leg. We have seen what a significantly less serious injury did to Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo Week 5 against Miami, and it is not like Smith has lit it up since coming back out of the Week 8 bye for Washington. However, he threw the ball 55 times against the Lions in Week 10, scored 16.0 points despite throwing for zero TDs, and he plays the Bengals this week. I like Smith to threaten to break the 20 point barrier in a great matchup, and he should be a borderline QB1 despite being projected at QB21.

Running Back (RB)

CH: Rex Burkhead (9.3 projected points)

While the New England running back corps is always a tricky one to decipher and inexplicably changes all the time, Burkhead has been hot over the last two weeks and the Texans are a cake walk for RBs. It's entirely within the realm of possibility than Burkhead disappears into oblivion as he is prone to do at times, but it seems to me he's surpassed James White as the receiving back in the Patriots offense. Oh, and get this: his rate of fantasy points per 100 snaps is on par with Titans RB Derrick Henry. It's a leap to assume Burkhead will see the workload necessary to produce, but if he gets used enough tomorrow, he'll likely do very well against Houston. 

MM: La'Mical Perine (9.7 projected points)

We have seen what this could look like already. In Week 7 against Buffalo, the only week where Perine hit double-digit rushing attempts, he finished with 13.6 fantasy points. So if Gase really makes Perine the feature back going forward like the rumor mill says, Perine should have a real shot at ≈15 points this week against the Chargers. Los Angeles really is not the strong defense that we thought they would be. Then again, this is the Jets so all bets are off.

Wide Receiver (WR)

CH: Cam Sims (6.6 projected points) 

I tweeted out the case for Sims earlier in the day. The Bengals are pretty soft against opposing receivers and the former Crimson Tide product has been running as the Football Team's WR2 since Week 7. In keeping with the spirit of trusting the team's quarterback, I believe the Washington offense will perform well tomorrow and it would stand to reason there's a more than a non-zero chance Sims plays a big role in that happening.

MM: Michael Pittman Jr. (11.0 projected points)

Green Bay is not the easiest matchup, and as I mentioned in Week 10, the target share for Colts receivers is not the most exciting. However, Pittman is talented and seems primed to continue building a rapport with QB Philip Rivers. Two weeks in a row Pittman has seen 7+ targets, so five points from receptions alone is not a stretch. Combine that with the fact that Indianapolis has been using Pittman in the slot and on the outside in a way that can allow him to shake a tough matchup. I think the Colts continue to lean on him and that he produces in a major way. In fact, I currently have benched A.J. Brown and Tyler Boyd in favor of playing Michael Pittman Jr. this week.

Tight End (TE)

CH: Logan Thomas (8.0 projected points)

Well... it seems as though this has turned into a love fest for the Washington Football Team. The Bengals are also pretty friendly to TEs as they are to WRs as mentioned earlier, so screw it. I guess I'm calling for a huge day from the local football team that I've spent my whole life watching never rise to the occasion. Thank the lord my parents are from the Pittsburgh area and I was indoctrinated into Steelers fandom. I couldn't imagine rooting for this team on a primary basis, but I digress. This all feels a bit too good to be true for the Washington offense but I inadvertently reached this single team trio of picks and I'm not going to go back on it now.

MM: Tyler Higbee
 (6.4 projected points)

This was going to be New Orleans TE Jared Cook, and then Sean Payton decided he needed to play his son at QB rather than win football games. I trust Taysom Hill about as far as he can successfully throw a football. Higbee on the other hand will not have a QB who has only ever been used as a gadget play in his NFL career throwing him the ball (not that Jared Goff is lightyears better), and Tampa is relatively poor against TEs. This could easily be Gerald Everett instead, but the edge in the snap count has me leaning towards Higbee. A Rams TE should end up with double-digit points on Monday night.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

CH: Atlanta Falcons (5.7 projected points)

The fact that Taysom Hill starting at QB alone makes this pick a decent one. The Saints offense is either going to be a Cirque du Soleil-like masterclass of high-flying acrobatics or a train wreck on the level of a kindergarten musical and I see absolutely no in between. 

MM: Atlanta Falcons (5.7 projected points)

Atlanta has one of the better run defenses in the league, which could really limit the effectiveness of RBs Latavius Murray and Alvin Kamara. Good thing Taysom Hill is starting at QB, because all he does... is run the ball. At least it will not be Hill's first game as a starter... oh wait, it is. If Hill does not even manage to finish the game (not impossible), Jameis Winston will take over and throw at least one interception. Love this matchup now for the Falcons, since they should get at least a half where they do not have to worry about giving up a passing TD, and can focus on stopping the run.

Kicker (K)

CH: Matt Gay (6.5 projected points)

I see the game script of this Los Angeles Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers being advantageous for both kickers to be honest. Bucs K Ryan Succop is projected for 7.9 and I could easily see Gay reach that in his own right.

MM: Randy Bullock (7.4 projected points)

Bullock has had three bad games this season, and two were against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Washington is a fairly inept team right now, and while their defense may knock QB Joe Burrow on his ass a bit, it should translate into FG attempts for Dirty Randy. Double-digits or bust.

Week 11 Busts

Quarterback (QB)

CH: Taysom Hill (18.4 projected points)

At best, Hill could be another Tim Tebow and scramble his way into productivity, but there's a high likelihood he does poorly enough as a passer to not reach this projection. Play Hill at QB with caution. Also, for the love of all that is good, please shut up about him being listed as a TE on ESPN. Yes, it's dumb but you had a chance to take advantage of a loophole and all going on about it indicates to me is that you either missed out or have to face him in your matchup.

Somehow, in a society rife with inequality and injustice, people have decided to pick this as their crusade for fairness. If you're really going to get all up in arms about a loophole in a game within a game that we play to indulge our shared joy of low stakes gambling, fine, but have some perspective. In the grand scheme of things, this is of such little importance and I would suggest channeling that energy into something of greater impact.

MM: Aaron Rodgers (19.4 projected points)

Rodgers is a future Hall of Famer. Indianapolis allows the fewest points to QBs of any unit in the league. Both of these are facts, and they are why this projection is so out of whack. I am not saying that a repeat of the Tampa Bay game in Week 6 is on the table, but this is easily the toughest matchup the Packers have had aside from that game. I think Rodgers falls at least five points short of this projection in a tight game.

Running Back (RB)

CH: James Robinson (16.6 projected points)

Look, the Jaguars have a really awful schedule coming up and that starts tomorrow against a Steelers defense that stymies running backs left and right. Robinson is still a reliable RB2 based on volume but he's going to be touchdown dependent for the foreseeable future. Get used to this being a thing.

MM: Alvin Kamara (23.1 projected points)

Remember what I said earlier about Atlanta being really good against the run? Well just copy and paste that over here. Seriously, the New Orleans passing game is in danger of being non-existent this week, which forces attention onto the running game, and that hurts Kamara. Plus, Kamara's usual PPR floor could disappear if Hill runs the option and takes it himself instead of dumping off the ball to the Saints RB. You still start Kamara but do not be shocked if he disappoints this week. It is not his fault.

Wide Receiver (WR)

CH: Michael Thomas (14.7 projected points) 

Yeah, it seems like this week's picks are going to end up being The Lateral hyper-focusing on two games, and you know what? That's fine. We both seem to have strong feelings about the Saints vs Falcons and Football Team vs Bengals games. In keeping with the pessimism around New Orleans, if Taysom Hill is to succeed as a passer, it will likely come through big, high-aDOT downfield shots. As we discussed on Monday, that's not exactly Michael Thomas' game. With a different QB in a different situation, Thomas would carry a decent floor but this doesn't seem likely to go well for him.

MM: Tyler Boyd (16.2 projected points)

Speaking of PPR floors, Boyd is in for a rough time this week against Washington, and without his safe target share, he would probably be unplayable. Washington allows nearly the fewest points to WR groups, and are particularly tough against the slot. Higgins is also seeing an average depth of target nearly five yards deeper than Boyd, which should help keep Higgins relevant from a fantasy perspective but should limit Boyd's upside. I meant it when I said I am benching Boyd for Pittman Jr. this weekend, and the bad matchup is the reason why.

Tight End (TE)

CH: Darren Waller (15.6 projected points)

And here we are again shockingly in concert with one another. I swear to god I'm not phoning this in. Malcolm and I are really on the same page this week. I'll let him take it from here.

MM: Darren Waller (15.6 projected points)

There is no stability at TE this year unless you are Travis Kelce, and Waller has been no exception. In Week 5 at Kansas City, Waller had only 9.8 PPR points if you take away the receiving TD, and from everything we have been hearing, this week seems like a bad situation for Waller and the Raiders. The Chiefs are going to come out swinging, and if Waller fails to find the end zone he will probably fail to hit double-digits. Nine points is not the end of the world from a TE, but it would make Waller a bust based on this projection.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

CH: Cincinnati Bengals (6.2 projected points)

I've made my bed and I'll lay in it with absolutely no level of comfort. Clearly I believe Washington Football Team is going to smoke the Bengals defense through the air and that typically doesn't amount to many fantasy points in the defense's favor. Let's see how this piece ages for me.

MM: Washington Football Team (7.8 projected points)

I totally understand why this projection is so high. The Bengals' o-line is awful, and Burrow is getting sacked on average 3+ times a game. Add to that a fumble, and you have a tasty matchup for Washington. On the other hand, Burrow is averaging 41 passing attempts per game, and if enough of those connect with WR Tee Higgins then it could devolve into a shootout. I think this is a very similar matchup to last week where the Washington Football Team finished DST25 against the Lions.

Kicker (K)

CH: Joey Slye (8.0 projected points)

I see a P.J. Walker-led Carolina offense setting up for more punts than field goals. This doesn't seem like a great week for Slye.

MM: Michael Badgley (8.3 projected points)

The Chargers play the Jets, and while the Chargers defense may end up playing poorly, the Jets defense definitely will. I see this being a five extra-point game for Badgley, but no field goals.

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