2021 Season: McLateral's Week 4 Boom/Bust (PPR)

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Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Editor

[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 4 is here and so are some great games. The sooner I finish this article, the sooner we get to them (that is how time works, trust me). Most of you already know the drill, but the name of the game is Boom/Bust. Booms are players who are currently not projected to be fantasy football starters that will outperform their expectations this week. Busts are players currently projected as fantasy football starters who will ultimately fall short of their projections this week.

So without further ado, let us get to it.

McLateral's Week 4 Boom/Bust (PPR)

Week 4 Booms

Quarterback (QB)

McLateral's Pick: Taylor Heinicke [Washington Football Team] (17.9 projected points)

The Atlanta Falcons are one of the best fantasy football matchups for quarterbacks this season. So it is surprising to see Taylor Heinicke projecting so poorly. For reference, the Washington Football Team quarterback has averaged 21.71 fantasy football points in the two games he has started this season. Theoretically, he should exceed that number in such an excellent matchup.

Running Back (RB)

McLateral's Pick: J.J. Taylor [New England Patriots] (4.7 projected points)

I wrote about J.J. Taylor for ProFootballMania this week, so I recommend reading that for a deeper analysis. In short, if he takes a hold of James White's former role in the New England Patriots offense, scoring only 4.7 projected points will be a shock.

Wide Receiver (WR)

McLateral's Pick: Brandon Aiyuk [San Francisco 49ers] (11.2 projected points)

Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers needed to be a "get right" game for Brandon Aiyuk, and get right is what he did. Aiyuk finished the game with 14.5 PPR fantasy football points from seven total opportunities, one of which was an eight-yard touchdown reception on a pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver feels likely to be the third target on this offense behind wide receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle when all three are healthy. However, the Seattle Seahawks defense is a solid matchup for the 49ers wide receivers, and Kittle's status for the game is in doubt.

Tight End (TE)

McLateral's Pick: Pat Freiermuth [Pittsburgh Steelers]
 (5.6 projected points)

Green Bay is a great matchup for Pat Freiermuth, who is fighting Eric Ebron to be the Steelers starting tight end. Despite the snap count disparity, Freiermuth won that battle in Week 3, nabbing five targets scoring the Steelers' lone touchdown. If he wins that battle again in Week 4, he should beat his low projection. Especially now that wide receiver Chase Claypool is out for Week 4.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

McLateral's Pick: Carolina Panthers DST (6.1 projected points)

I will talk about the Carolina Panthers again later on in this article, but for now, I will just say this: they have been good. In fact, through three weeks they have been the fifth-best fantasy football defense per FantasyPros. Dallas does have a high-powered offense, which is why the Panthers' low projection is not illogical. But the Los Angeles Chargers managed to keep the Cowboys somewhat in check in Week 2, so the blueprint is there. If the Panthers can do the same, they have the potential to beat this projection and remain a top-six fantasy football defense.

Kicker (K)

McLateral's Pick: Rodrigo Blankenship (7.6 projected points)

Rodrigo Blankenship aka "Blank the Tank" aka "The Sexiest Man Alive in RecSpecs" has averaged 11.5 fantasy football points over the past two weeks. This is largely down to the ineptitude of the Carson Wentz-led Indianapolis Colts and has been largely matchup-proof. Week 2 against the tough Los Angeles Rams defense? 12.0 points from three made field goals and an extra point. Week 3 against the awful Tennessee Titans defense? 11.0 points from three made field goals and an extra point (Blankenship missed a field goal). Week 4 against the Miami Dolphins good but not great defense? I am going to go out on a limb and actually predict this one.12.0 points from three made field goals and an extra point.

Week 4 Busts

Quarterback (QB)

McLateral's Pick: Kyler Murray [Arizona Cardinals] (23.2 projected points)

Despite being the top fantasy football quarterback through three weeks, Murray should be in for a rough time on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. Last year the Rams were the toughest fantasy football matchup for quarterbacks, and they have been tougher than average in 2021. That shows consistency and should set an expectation for Sunday. Plus, last year, Murray scored only 17.4 fantasy football points against the Rams in Week 13, and a mere 3.8 points against them in Week 17. Expect disappointment this Sunday in Week 4.

Running Back (RB)

McLateral's Pick: Clyde Edwards-Helaire [Kansas City Chiefs] (13.8 projected points)

Clyde Edwards-Helarie is only averaging 9.9 point-per-reception (PPR) fantasy football points in 2021. That means an average performance would have him bust with this current projection. There are some positive signs for Edwards-Helaire. He finished Week 3 with 16.9 PPR fantasy football points. But to get there, the Kansas City Chiefs running back needed a receiving touchdown and a 100 rushing yard game, neither of which has been the norm for him this year. The Philadelphia Eagles should be a better matchup for Edwards-Helaire than the Chiefs wide receivers, but I expect Kansas City to largely attack Philadelphia through the air.

Wide Receiver (WR)

McLateral's Pick: Amari Cooper [Dallas Cowboys] (15.2 projected points)

It feels like only yesterday that Amari Cooper caught 13 of 17 targets against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unfortunately, that was actually weeks ago, and the results have been bad since. In PPR fantasy football leagues, Cooper scored 11 points in the last two weeks combined, less than a third of his point total in Week 1. The Carolina Panthers are not an ideal matchup for a bounce-back game, especially with CeeDee Lamb now as the Dallas Cowboys' top receiver.

Tight End (TE)

McLateral's Pick: Mark Andrews [Baltimore Ravens (12.3 projected points)

The Denver Broncos defense represents a bad matchup for Mark Andrews, who has been unimpressive outside of last week against the Detroit Lions. Even with wide receiver Rashod Bateman delaying his Baltimore Ravens debut for another week, Andrews feels likely to disappoint despite his target share.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

McLateral's Pick: Tennessee Titans (7.7 projected points)

A bit over a week ago, I said that Zach Wilson would have a good game against the Tennessee Titans in Week 4. While the New York Jets quarterback has not done anything to assure me that I will be correct, the Titans defense has done equally nothing to convince me I will be wrong. Given that their offense will be without two key weapons, the defense may crumble under the pressure on top of not being very good. To quote Admiral Ackbar, it is a trap.

Kicker (K)

McLateral's Pick: Matt Prater [Arizona Cardinals] (8.0 projected points)

Matt Prater is definitely a good kicker. There is no arguing that. However, he is only averaging two field-goal attempts per game, and he is not making all of them. Combine that with a tough matchup in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams, and that inaccuracy could limit the fantasy football points the Arizona Cardinals kicker ultimately scores.

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