Updated: Jun 13, 2020
Fantasy football players value consistency. In redraft formats, I’ll take a consistent 14 points a week over 20 points every other week. In dynasty formats, I’ll take the guy who is so talented that the team can’t go away from him, therefore his workload and production will remain consistent.
Consistent producers usually get taken in the first two rounds, but those players who breakout after being drafted in round 3 and beyond (Booms) are typically the ones on league-winning rosters. The players drafted in round 3 and beyond who fail to breakout, and sometimes even regress (Busts), are players that are on teams in the consolation bracket.
There are scenarios where most players are an injury away from being a “league-winner” but who has a chance to provide a league winning boom, or a league losing bust?
For the 2020 fantasy football season, we’ll define Boom or Bust as this: a player who has an incredibly wide range of realistic outcomes, without injury to the players around them.
Here are 10 of the most Boom or Bust options for 2020:
Devante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins (ADP:57)
Through 16 weeks, Devante Parker was the WR11 on the season. After a disappointing first four years in Miami, what changed for Parker? Fitzmagic. Before Ryan Fitzpatrick stepped in at QB. Devante Parker never had a quarterback who was willing to routinely throw the 50/50 ball. With Fitzpatrick as the starter, Parker got the 50/50 balls, and he got them often, garnering a career high 128 targets!
Fitzpatrick has aged into a gunslinger and that is great for Parker’s fantasy outlook, so where's the downside? The potential QB change. This is no knock on Tua Tagovailoa, he is super talented and will be really good in the NFL. With that being said, Tua is notorious for finding and targeting the guy who is open. We don’t see Tua throw 50/50 balls often, because he’s never had to, he’s had receivers like Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Devonta smith to throw to, all speedsters. The idea of Parker not seeing as many targets because Tua opts to throw to guys who “separate” more is very real. Tua won’t become a 50/50 ball expert in his first game in the NFL, that could potentially hurt Parker’s outlook for 2020.
Boom: Devante Parker finishes in the top 8 WR’s with Fitzpatrick starting all 16 games
Bust: Devante Parker finishes outside of the top 30 as Tua takes over midseason and never clicks with Parker.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP: 29)
In 2019, Leonard Fournette saw 265 carries and 100 targets (76 receptions), yet he only scored 3 touchdowns on the year. Fournette was 2nd in the NFL in touches per game, trailing CMC (19 TD’s) and ahead of Derrick Henry (18 TD’s.) Naturally, Fournette would be expected to score at least 6 or 7 more touchdowns based on the workload he was given. If the workload remains close to the same, and Fournette “balls out” in his contract year, we could be talking about Fournette as a first round pick next season.
The problem with Fournette's situation is coming directly from Washington D.C. The Jaguars added Chris Thompson into the backfield, and hired Jay Gruden as their OC, a pass catching back and coach who typically uses a running back-by-committee approach? Yikes. Fournette’s claim to fame is his top-tier usage, but if that goes down and his average efficiency doesn’t improve, things get ugly in Jacksonville. The Jaguars also showed their hand by declining Fournette’s 5th year option and then attempting to trade him in April. The lack of commitment to Fournette this offseason is disappointing to say the least, and gives him a melancholy outlook if Gruden decides to use Chris Thompson as the team’s receiving back.
Boom: Fournette maintains his touches, and scores 12+ TD’s en route to becoming the RB1 overall.
Bust: Fournette only gets a third of his 2019 receiving work and doesn’t regress positively on TD’s while finishing outside of the top 20.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills (ADP: 55)
After complaining about playing with Mr. Conservative Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs was sent to Buffalo to play with Josh Allen, Mr. Inaccurate. After taking 94 targets (63 catches) for 1130 yards and 6 TD’s in 2019, Diggs has cemented himself as one of the premier deep threats in the NFL. From a talent standpoint, Diggs is a sure-fire top 10 talent, so the question with him isn’t talent, it is whether the Bills will target him like a true WR1 or not. If the targets are there, the Diggs superstar talent will shine!
Despite his talent and the draft capital the Bills gave up (1st, 4th, 5th and 6th), The Bills are still a run-first team with a defense that allows them to do so. If the Bills are good (which we can reasonably expect) then Diggs will need incredible target share percentages to achieve the volume that his talent demands.
Star wideouts typically never perform well in their first year on a new team, and Diggs situation will surely be an uphill battle given that he is transitioning from Minnesota to Buffalo during a global pandemic (less offseason preparation)
Boom: Diggs gets 130+ targets and finishes inside the top 12 at WR
Bust: Diggs doesn’t see 100 targets and finishes outside of the top 30 at WR
D.K Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks (ADP: 56)
If we were given fantasy points based on how physically imposing your players look, D.K Metcalf would be the best WR for fantasy. Sadly, we get points through production; luckily, D.K does that too. On 100 targets (58 catches) D.K saw 900 yards and 7 TD’s, a respectable rookie statline. If he truly becomes Russel Wilson’s WR1, then we could see D.K blossom into a slightly lesser version of year 2 Josh Gordon (159 Targets, 87 receptions, 1646 yards, 9 TD’s) These numbers may seem far fetched but given D.K’s physical abilities and Russel Wilson’s ability to maximize every receiver he plays with, there is a scenario where we see a fantasy explosion in Seattle.
A run-first offense where Metcalf isn’t guaranteed to lead the team in targets, what could possibly go wrong? Volume is expected to increase, but by adding in Phillip Dorsett, Greg Olsen and a (hopefully) healthy Will Dissily, targets could become scarce in Seattle. If D.K sees 100 or less targets in 2020, he could still be productive, but history is not on his side to become a good fantasy asset.
Boom: D.K is Josh Gordon 2.0 and finishes in the top 5 WR’s
Bust: D.K loses targets in 2020 and doesn’t crack the top 35 WR’s
Todd Gurley, RB, Atlanta Falcons (ADP 42)
In 2017 and 2018 having Todd Gurley on your team meant you could expect 22+ points every single week. Last year when he played behind a bad OL and wasn’t given the same target share he was accustomed to, everything fell apart. This year, with the Falcons he will be playing in a high-powered offense that could score a lot of touchdowns. If Todd Gurley proves 2019 was a fluke, he will be a league-winner. His track record for elite production when given opportunity is undeniable.
Is Todd Gurley going to be Todd Gurley? Legend has it that Gurley finished as the RB1 in 2017 and 2018. That Gurley seems like a distant memory as his knee arthritis slowed him down in 2019, and won’t spontaneously go away in 2020. Injury aside, there is still worry for Gurley in the efficiency department. In Dirk Koetter’s last 4 years coaching in the NFL, his rushing offenses have finished 24th or worse in: yards per attempt, yards, and touchdowns. Being a running back that needs open lanes to pick up speed, behind a subpar OL, with a coach that seemingly can’t get the running game right? This could be a tough scene for Gurley in 2020.
Boom: Gurley overcomes Koetter and returns to being a top-5 RB
Bust: Gurley posts career low efficiency across the board and finishes outside of the top 25 RB’s
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (ADP 63)
A legendary last 9 games after a lackluster first half of the season, Raheem Mostert was nothing short of incredible once Kyle Shanahan entrusted him as the lead back of his offense. Could Shanahan change his “hot-hand approach” and give Mostert 14-16 touches each game? After what we saw last year, it definitely could happen. Mostert, despite being 28 and having failed everywhere else in his career, is the best running back for this offense. He has a balance of vision, burst, and elusiveness along with homerun speed. If given the workload, watch out for Mostert in 2020.
A career-long benchwarmer with a legendary playoff run, no true competition added in the offseason, and in an elite offense: Raheem Mostert sounds alot like this year's Damien Williams. Even without injury, Williams underwhelmed in every department as he struggled to be more productive than the other guys on the team. Mostert could fall into this same trap, especially with a coach who loves to share the load at the RB position. Once his fall starts, it could be a free-fall to a healthy scratch for the 28 year old Mostert.
Boom: Mostert is the lead-back and finishes top 10 for RB’s
Bust: Mostert is the 3rd best RB in SF and finishes outside the top 40
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP: 89)
The greatest tight end of the modern era returns. The upside with Gronk is simple, be Gronk. This will be the least attention he has ever received from defenses and he’s had a year off to get healthy and not run like Frankenstein. If Brady targets Gronk the way we’ve seen him do in the past (7 targets per game) then Gronk could easily finish inside the top 3, potentially as the TE1 overall.
If Gronk isn’t himself, we will see him fade into oblivion, just like OJ Howard did in 2019. Bruce Arians is a smart coach, if Gronk is his dominant self, Arians will get him the ball. If Gronk isn’t himself, then Arians will simply ask Brady to lean on Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Already competing with O.J Howard and Cameron Brate for snaps and targets, Gronk could easily find himself phased out of the Bucs high-powered offense in 2020.
Boom: Gronk is Gronk, a top 3 TE in 2020.
Bust: Gronk isn’t Gronk, finishes outside of the top 15 TE’s
Clyde Edwards Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP: 30)
C.E.H was a surprise pick at the end of the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. Despite being picked “early”, the sentiment behind this pick is that Andy Reid finally has a workhorse again. After shuffling between Damien Williams and whoever else was on the roster, C.E.H is clearly the best back on this team. Any touches in this Chiefs offense are incredibly valuable, and C.E.H leading the team in touches could see him instantly become a top 10 option.
C.E.H is 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighs 207 pounds. While this won’t be a problem as a runner / receiver, it could become an issue in two key areas: pass blocking, and the endzone. One of C.E.H’s true weaknesses as a prospect is his pass-blocking, particularly in the technique area. If C.E.H cannot protect the face of the NFL in Pat Mahomes, then he will cede snaps to Damien Williams, who allowed 0 sacks and 0 hits in 2019. Along with that, it is hard to deny Damien Williams size advantage on C.E.H, about 20 pounds. When in position to score, every pound and every inch matters. C.E.H will need to capitalize on his goal-to-go opportunities early in order to secure the most valuable role in the most potent offense the NFL has to offer.
Boom: C.E.H lives up to his draft capital and finishes Top 10 for RB’s
Bust: C.E.H struggles both in pass protection and near the goal line on his way to a finish outside of the top 25.
Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos (ADP: 40)
We’ll start with this: Courtland Sutton is really good at football.In year 2, Sutton posted a 1,112 yard season and led all wide receivers in broken tackles (12). Year 3 is typically when wide receivers truly breakout, and Sutton is in an offense that could not be trending in a better direction. Drew Lock is an exciting quarterback and now there are weapons to take attention away from Sutton (Jeudy, Hamler, Gordon, Year 2 Fant). Leaving Courtland Sutton in one on one coverage isn’t a great bet, and if Sutton sees the same 124 targets or more in this offense, Sutton is going to put himself in line for a big second contract.
As good as Sutton may be, is he going to be the best receiver on his team? Drafting Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler could help take attention off of Sutton, but the route running savants could also take Drew Lock’s attention off of Sutton as well. The Broncos now have weapons galore and if Sutton’s targets go down to the 95-100 range, it will be an uphill battle for him to post another 1000 yard season.
Boom: Sutton expands on his breakout and finishes inside the top 10 WR’s
Bust: The Broncos spread the ball around and Sutton finishes outside the top 25 WR’s
Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins (ADP: 77)
The heir to Leonard Fournette's throne at LSU and a breakout darling to those who watch preseason football, Derrius Guice was really good before getting hurt. Going into year 2 after his torn ACL, Guice is in prime position to shake the injury bug and begin his upward trajectory towards stardom. Currently slotted as the lead back in Washington, Guice has a fast track to 200+ touches. If Guice can come out from his past injuries unscathed, the talent and opportunity will surely lead to production.
While Guice will get the first crack at leading this backfield, there are 3 other formidable options that can take away touches from Guice. Antonio Gibson and Bryce Love are two pass-catching backs that fit Scott Turner’s “playmakers in space” scheme and Adrian Peterson is a downhill runner that can keep defenses honest, similar to Guice. If Guice doesn’t run away with this job right out of the gates, he could lose it all together and disappoint on his already discounted price tag in the 8th round.
Boom: Guice returns to LSU form and finishes inside the top 20 RB’s
Bust: Guice doesn’t regain form and bottoms out of the top 50 RB’s
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*All ADP’s are taken from https://www.fantasypros.com/nfl/rankings/half-point-ppr-cheatsheets.php