2021 Season: Week 3 Boom/Bust (PPR)


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Herms (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Editor

We at The Lateral extend our condolences to the family of FantasyPros Fantasy Football Analyst Mike Tagliere. Please consider contributing to this GoFundMe page for his family.

RIP Tags. 

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 3 Boom/Bust (PPR)

Week 3 Booms

Quarterback (QB)

Herms: Daniel Jones [New York Giants]
 (19.2 projected points)

Look, it's not that Jones has not been impressive through two weeks. The rushing floor is solid, it is evident that the connection between he and WR Sterling Shepherd is strong, the matchup against the Atlanta Falcons is quite literally the easiest to date. Am I really going to do this?

[ominous voice]: No, Daniel Jones does not have a good track record.

Oh! That's right! Through the help of FantasyData, you'll notice that a quick glance at Jones' previous seasons' game logs that up until 2021, he has one instance of two back-to-back weeks with 15+ fantasy points. Regardless of this fact... *sigh* ... fine. I'll bite. I'll do it. I'm giving the nod to the QB5 overall in fantasy to be able to defy the self-imposed odds for just one more week.

McLateral: Jared Goff [Detroit Lions] (16.0 projected points)

Whether fantasy football managers want to admit it or not, Jared Goff is currently a top-12 fantasy football quarterback. It has not always been pretty, and a late-game almost comeback against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1 helped Goff pad his stats. Still, the Detroit Lions quarterback has not scored less than 19.46 fantasy football points in a game this season. The Baltimore Ravens have been a positive matchup for quarterbacks this season, particularly through the air. Deflated expectations plus a positive matchup? Sounds like a boom performance waiting to happen.

Running Back (RB)

Herms: Michael Carter [New York Jets] (7.1 projected points)

Straight up, Tevin Coleman is out. That's it. That's all I need to say. This is an easy smash.

McLateral: Latavius Murray [Baltimore Ravens] (9.0 projected points)

This is a tough one. On the one hand, Latavius Murray is seeing just shy of 10 touches per game and is finding his way into the end zone regularly. On the other hand, the Baltimore Ravens running back sees zero work in the passing game. That is a big problem in point-per-reception (PPR) fantasy football scoring. Still, the Detroit Lions are a great matchup for opposing running backs. Double-digit PPR fantasy football points feel like a lock for Murray in Week 3. 12+ would be a boom with his current projection of nine PPR points.

Wide Receiver (WR)

Herms: Van Jefferson [Los Angeles Rams] (7.7 projected points) 

*copy homework* but also I talked about this on Rumboyz After Dark last night around the 1:56:42 mark.

McLateral: Van Jefferson [Los Angeles Rams] (7.7 projected points)

Van Jefferson has the perfect storm brewing to be a boom performance. First, the matchup. The Los Angeles Rams get the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3, and the Buccaneers are as good against the run as they are bad against the pass. That makes it a great fantasy football matchup for wide receivers. Second, Darrell Henderson is trending in the wrong direction to play on Sunday against Tampa Bay. This should further incentivize the Rams to throw the ball. Finally, Jefferson has locked into the role of WR3 for the Rams. Between the snap counts and targets, it is clear that he is the third wide receiver for quarterback Matthew Stafford, and is in contention to be the third target overall for the Rams. All this should combine for a situation that allows Jefferson to have a great day both on the field and for fantasy football rosters.

Tight End (TE)

Herms: Kyle Pitts [Atlanta Falcons] (12.2 projected points)

The Falcons offense will be without its WR2 in Russell Gage for Sunday's action, thus it is well within the realm of possibility that the Giants attempt to neutralize WR Calvin Ridley and force QB Matt Ryan and the Falcons to look elsewhere. Enter rookie TE Kyle Pitts. Sure, picking 2021's TE8 to boom this week feels lazy, but given the absurd hype surrounding the former Florida Gator it feels okay to make an exception. This feels like the big Kyle Pitts week.

McLateral: Pat Freiermuth [Pittsburgh Steelers]
 (5.2 projected points)

As I mentioned in this week's waiver wire article, Pat Freiermuth is trending in the right direction. There is a good chance he has already overtaken Eric Ebron as the Pittsburgh Steelers starting tight end. FantasyPros expert consensus ranking (ECR) seems to have missed that, as Ebron is currently ranked at TE31, two spots ahead of Freiermuth at TE33. Combine this with Steelers starting wide receiver Diontae Johnson sitting out this Sunday, and Freiermuth should have enough targets to crush this projection.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

Herms: Tennessee Titans (6.3 projected points)

Despite being torched the last couple weeks, the Titans shaky defense finds itself in opposition to the even shakier Indianapolis Colts offense that will evidently see an incredibly hobbled QB Carson Wentz under center. If your team needs a Hail Mary at DST, this is an intriguing option.

McLateral: San Francisco 49ers (6.0 projected points)

The San Francisco 49ers have had two good performances despite almost blowing it against the Detroit Lions in Week 1 and a tough matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. Currently DST7 per FantasyPros, the home matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers does not scare me any more than the Eagles did last week, and the 49ers still finished top-10 that week. It is definitely a risky choice to make them my pick, but one I am comfortable with nonetheless.

Kicker (K)

Herms: Jason Sanders [Miami Dolphins] (6.6 projected points)

The beginning of the season has been rough for last year's kicker breakout/2021's K32 in fantasy, but a Dolphins offense sans QB Tua Tagovailoa figures to be just good enough to get down the field periodically and stall out in field goal range. The potential game script feels right to eek over 6.6 points.

McLateral: Dustin Hopkins [Washington Football Team] (6.8 projected points)

I picked Dustin Hopkins as the waiver wire add for Week 3 all the way back in Week 2. I am standing by that pick, even with inexperienced quarterback Taylor Heinicke under center for the Washington Football Team. Best case, the Washington Football Team performs like they did against the New York Giants and Hopkins finishes top-five at the kicker position. Worst case, Washington struggles against the Bills like they struggled against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1 and Hopkins finishes top-three. When the worst-case scenario is potentially better than the best-case scenario, that is a pretty good scenario.

Week 3 Busts

Quarterback (QB)

Herms: ??? (??? projected points)

Admittedly it is difficult to find a QB in the top 12 I expect to do poorly. Odds are one of them will, but I genuinely do not have a good answer for this week.

McLateral: Aaron Rodgers [Green Bay Packers] (20.0 projected points)

Could betting against the future Hall of Fame quarterback be a mistake? Maybe. But Rodgers has already been beaten up once this season, and as I said before, the Green Bay Packers just do not scare me. Yes, on paper the San Francisco 49ers present a good matchup. However, a closer look shows that San Francisco is middle of the pack in terms of passing yards and touchdowns allowed. They have been much worse against the run, which despite Rodgers's mobility, is not something he does primarily. Fantasy football managers, expect a slight disappointment in this matchup.

Running Back (RB)

Herms: Ezekiel Elliott [Dallas Cowboys] (16.1 projected points)

...can I just use me inadvertently jinxing Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey as my bust? No? Ugh, fine.

Just check out this piece I wrote about Zeke instead.

McLateral: Joe Mixon [Cincinnati Bengals] (16.2 projected points)

Joe Mixon has a terrible matchup this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also has been known to struggle with efficiency at times. Over four yards per carry? With that level of efficiency, Mixon can do wonders, like the 25.0 PPR fantasy football points he scored in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. But if that efficiency dips, like it did in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears, Mixon can put up a dud. With a matchup this bad, expect the dud.

Wide Receiver (WR)

Herms: Calvin Ridley [Atlanta Falcons] (19.1 projected points) 

Much of what I said about Kyle Pitts applies inversely here. Already down WR Russell Gage for Sunday's action, it is conceivable that the Falcons could see the Giants defense take Ridley out of the game by way of esteemed CB James Bradbury. Nearly 20 points feels lofty.

McLateral: Tyreek Hill [Kansas City Chiefs] (20.9 projected points)

And you thought the Rodgers take was going to be the one that makes me look stupid after this Sunday. 

But seriously, last week we saw Tyreek Hill put up a meager 5.9 PPR fantasy football points against the Baltimore Ravens. The Los Angeles Chargers present a much worse matchup in Week 3. Plus, they have held the Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver in check in the past. Yes, there have been some electric performances by Hill against Los Angeles. Week 1 in 2018, Hill scored 36.3 PPR fantasy football points against the Chargers, and in 2020 he put up 21.8 PPR fantasy football points despite only catching five of 11 targets. But in Week 15 of 2018, he only scored 8.1 PPR fantasy football points, and in Week 11 of 2019 Hill literally, put up zero fantasy football points. In summary, Hill can be held in check by this Chargers team, who happen to be pretty good at keeping wide receivers in check to begin with.

Tight End (TE)

Herms: Mark Andrews [Baltimore Ravens] (14.0 projected points)

A wild tweet has appeared!

McLateral: Logan Thomas [Washington Football Team] (11.1 projected points)

The Buffalo Bills are not a great matchup for tight ends. Logan Thomas also did not have a great fantasy football performance with quarterback Taylor Heinicke under center in Week 2 against the New York Giants. For the record, you still have to start Thomas, whose targets actually increased in Week 2 from Week 1. Just do not be surprised if the Washington tight end has a poor performance in Week 3 against the Bills.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

Herms: Cleveland Browns (7.1 projected points)

Came in to say the same thing as McLateral. Fields is unknown, very talented, and it could be a solid debut for him. Additionally, I can forgive being torched by Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes II but a mediocre performance against the Houston Texans in Week 2 does not inspire much confidence for me in what was supposed to be a stout Browns defense. 

McLateral: Cleveland Browns (7.1 projected points)

Quarterback Justin Fields will be making his first start for the Chicago Bears in Week 3. This makes me want to stay away from the Cleveland Browns defense and Fields this week. The Browns are a good defense and the Bears have a bad offensive line. However, the Browns have been bad at preventing quarterbacks from scoring touchdowns, and they have very little film on Fields. It could go either way, so I am picking the Browns as my likely bust among the defenses currently top 12 for Week 3 in FantasyPros ECR.

Kicker (K)

Herms: Ryan Succop [Tampa Bay Buccaneers] (8.3 projected points)

My read on the Bucs vs Rams game script shows a shootout and mostly extra point opportunities for Succop. Pass.

McLateral: Jason Myers [Seattle Seahawks] (8.2 projected points)

Did I fade Myers last week? Yes. Am I fading him again this week for the same reason? Yes.

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