2020 Season: Week 15 Boom/Bust (PPR)

Charles Herrmann (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

Well, if you've made it this far in the fantasy playoffs, good for you! For many, the championship is a mere week away and the decisions you make are more important than ever. Thank you to all who watched our livestream show that accompanies this piece. In case you didn't, you can always find the replay on The Lateral's Twitter page or the link above, but even if you don't want to, here are our boom/bust picks of the week. For this exercise we have not included any games that take place on Saturday and will only be focusing on the Sunday/Monday games.

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 15 Boom/Bust (PPR)

Week 15 Booms

Quarterback (QB)

CH: Mitchell Trubisky (16.8 projected points)

I don't have much to add that Malcolm didn't already say. The only thing I have to say is that the Minnesota DST has been pretty bad over the last three weeks or at any point during this season for that matter. Look at where they rank season-long as well. Trubisky is always Tru-risky (nope, no regrets) but with his rushing floor and the premium matchup, roll him out there and see what happens.

MM: Mitchell Trubisky (16.8 projected points)

As I mentioned in our mailbag article this week, I like Trubisky as a high-upside play against Minnesota. On paper, Minnesota does not seem like a plus matchup if you look strictly at points allowed to the QB position, but once you delve into the stats they are pretty vulnerable. They do not give up a ton on the ground (3.175 yards per attempt), but Trubisky traditionally gets more than double that every time he runs. Somewhere in the middle gives Trubisky an extra 1.4 to 1.5 points on the ground and every little bit counts if Mitch wants to repeat his QB7 finish from last week against Houston. Luckily, Minnesota gives up 2 TDs through the air each game, so finding an extra TD on the ground or the air should lock Trubisky into that top-10 tier.

Running Back (RB)

CH: Jeff Wilson Jr. (9.9 projected points)

We talked about him on the livestream last night and my opinion hasn't changed. The Cowboys are a cakewalk of a matchup and who knows how healthy his teammate RB Raheem Mostert is? It's not always consistent with Wilson Jr. but when he's primed to go off, it usually ends well. I'm going with my gut on this one. I sense a good day coming from Wilson Jr.

MM: Gus Edwards (9.5 projected points)

All aboard the Gus bus! Despite seeing only seven rushing attempts and one target (an improvement from Week 13 where he was not even targeted) he finished with 10+ points for the second week in a row on the back of two rushing TDs against the Browns. He is also seeing nearly as many red zone touches as the (theoretical) lead back J.K. Dobbins. Jacksonville is an excellent matchup and I expect Edwards to see at least another opportunity or two in the red zone, and if that translates into a score then he likely beats this projection. He is basically a poor man's Jeff Wilson Jr.

Wide Receiver (WR)

CH: Rashard Higgins ( projected points) 

No James Bradberry for the Giants. That's a big thing for me right out of the gate. On top of that, over the past pair of weeks, Higgins finds himself at WR9 in PPR scoring with nine and ten targets in those games respectively. At this point in the year, you're looking for players on hot streaks with heavy usage and Higgins fits the bill. I'm putting my money where my mouth is and rolling him out personally.

MM: Lynn Bowden Jr. (7.1 projected points)

FantasyPros ECR may list Bowden as an RB, but he carries both designations and was lined up as a WR more than anyone on the Dolphins last week, I am calling him a WR. If Devante Parker and Jakeem Grant (both questionable) sit this week against New England, Bowden would be a lock for most-targeted Miami WR. In PPR that makes a huge difference, so he could beat this projection on receptions alone despite the bad matchup. Even if Parker and Grant play, Bowden has seen his targets and snap count increase each of the past three weeks, so he seems to be a now permanent fixture in the offense. The lack of red-zone targets is concerning, but this is boom/bust and this projection is just too low.

Tight End (TE)

CH: Irv Smith Jr. ( projected points)

This is one is pretty simple for me. No Kyle Rudolph this week? Good news for Smith Jr. and his prospects there right out of the gate. The issue here is that Smith Jr. has not seen more than 5 targets at any point this season, but when he gets looks, he scores. He's a solid playmaker and has been juuust outside TE1 range over the last month as it is. I would roll with Malcolm's pick if you're looking for safety and a floor, but the upside play for me is Big Irv.

MM: Cole Kmet
 (7.8 projected points)

I think Kmet sees another seven targets this week. We love the Bears rookie TE here at The Lateral, and the Bears love him too. Sure, Minnesota is not a great matchup on paper, but nobody targets the TE against them either. 5/50/1 would not be a shocking line for Kmet, but even without the TD that is still a 10 point performance at TE, which is good enough for me. I am personally starting him over Goedert this week.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

CH: San Francisco 49ers (6.7 projected points)

C'mon, they play the Cowboys. That offense is hot garbage.

MM: Washington Football Team (6.3 projected points)

I am about to talk about Washington's DST a lot here because I think Chase Young and the current DST6 in fantasy are simply not getting enough respect this week. This team went into Pittsburgh and ended their undefeated streak, absolutely threw the Niners around last week, and are always a threat to create fantasy points. Especially with 40 sacks on the year so far. They should finish ahead of DST15, which is their current projection.

Kicker (K)

CH: Dustin Hopkins (7.0 projected points)

See below.

MM: Dustin Hopkins (7.0 projected points)

Charles has mentioned Hopkins more than once this week, so I will let you read his thoughts on the matter. With QB Dwayne Haskins under center, I am not so sure how else Washington will score points. Maybe the DST?

Week 15 Busts

Quarterback (QB)

CH: Drew Brees (17.6 projected points)

As I said in the livestream, this has everything to do with the fact that he's returning from a brutal rib injury and the fact that he'll be missing WR Michael Thomas this week and the remainder of the year. If you absolutely have to, Brees is a fine play, but I'd pivot to some of the guys we mentioned like Eagles QB Jalen Hurts or Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky.

MM: Russell Wilson (20.7 projected points)

From Week 10 to 13, Wilson was the QB18 in fantasy football, scoring less PPG than Andy Dalton. Maybe last week against the Jets was the good performance he needed to shake off this recent malaise, or maybe it was just another QB beating up on the Jets. Washington is currently about as tough a matchup as it gets right now, sitting at DST2 since Week 10. In that same period, only Lions QB Matthew Stafford in Week 10 finished as a QB1, and the average finish for QBs has been QB18. Take out that Stafford performance and the average finish in that period drops to QB21. Russ is certainly above average, but this feels like a 17 point performance at best.

Running Back (RB)

CH: J.D. McKissic (13.2 projected points)

For me this is all about the fact that the starting QB is going to be Dwayne Haskins on top of splitting work with RB Peyton Barber. You can play McKissic but I feel icky about it.

MM: D'Andre Swift (13.7 projected points)

For the record, I like Swift, and the Titans are a great matchup. However, their points allowed figure is decently skewed due to a third-worst five receiving TDs to RBs. In terms of rushing yards allowed, they are middle of the pack. Still, this seems to work in Swift's favor, since last week he only saw seven rushing attempts, but was targeted five times. So wait, why am I so down on Swift? Two reasons. One, the game script may not favor Swift if they go down early to Tennessee, but he seems to have a set target share of around five targets per game, which helps a lot in PPR. More important though, is that health matters, and Detroit is incredibly unhealthy. Swift only returned last week from a concussion and illness that possibly resulted in limited touches. Matthew Stafford is going to play apparently (!), but will he exit early if he reaggravates this rib-injury? Will, he and Swift be at a greater risk of re-injury with starting center Frank Ragnow out with a fractured throat? This just feels like an offense on its last legs, and that does not inspire confidence in me.

Wide Receiver (WR)

CH: Tyler Lockett (16.0 projected points) 

Malcolm has it locked down below.

MM: Tyler Lockett (16.0 projected points)

The Washington Football Team is top-5 in terms of points allowed to WRs. That already is bad enough for Lockett, but the three red zone targets since Week 9 are not thrilling either. It is no surprise that over that same period Lockett has only scored 11.5 PPR PPG. This simply does not feel like the matchup where Lockett plays above average. Especially if Russell Wilson also struggles.

Tight End (TE)

CH: Dallas Goedert (10.8 projected points)

What we said in the livestream covers it on top of what Malcolm says below.

MM: Dallas Goedert (10.8 projected points)

Goedert finished TE19 last week with QB Jalen Hurts running the show. Yes, he was the most targeted member of the Eagles, but at only six targets is that a special claim to make? Especially if none of them were in the red zone? Fellow TE Zach Ertz is back as well, and while Goedert will remain the top Eagles TE, the competition is not a positive factor in a position that is so boom/bust. Especially since Arizona does not give up much to TEs to begin with.

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

CH: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6.8 projected points)

I've harped on how much I dislike the Bucs secondary and believe that even without WR Julio Jones, the Atlanta Falcons air attack is prime. Sit the Bucs DST and start WR Russell Gage.

MM: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6.8 projected points)

Tampa gives up plenty through the air, and the Falcons are one of the least efficient run offenses in the league. Add in some negative game script, and you have a recipe for a high scoring game where the Atlanta receivers shine against the Tampa DST. That is enough for me to want to stay away from the Bucs this week.

Kicker (K)

CH: Jason Myers (7.8 projected points)

As we discussed, I think it's a case of the Washington Football Team DST being able to occasionally stymie the Seahawks offense and keep them out of field goal range just enough to ruin Myers' day. This is a call based on game script.

MM: Stephen Gostkowski (8.2 projected points)

The field goals have been hit or miss for Gostkowski this season, and that is when they have even been there at all. He kicks plenty of extra points, but that is not enough at the kicker position. The projection is not absurd, but the risk is. I do not trust a kicker who kicking 68% and has had one or fewer field goal attempts in six games.

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