I’m not normally one to brag, but after Spin’s Fantasy Football Factory churned out five correct boom/bust predictions out of six, with the other prediction a tie, I’ll take this moment to give myself a pat on the back. Perhaps after my boom predictions from last week finished Week 8 as fantasy football’s WR1, RB5 and TE1, and my bust predictions finished as the WR27, RB33 and TE16 (my only “tie” of the week), I’ve earned your attention as a person to consult if you’re unsure of who to start or sit every week. That’s why I’m here to help you to determine which players you should be optimistic about starting in Week 9, and which players you should taper your expectations for. Without further ado, here are my boom or bust predictions for Week 9 of the NFL season.
Boom – Hunter Renfrow, WR, LV at NYG
Following Henry Ruggs’ release on Tuesday, the Raiders will need to find a way to distribute his 5.1 targets per game and 469 receiving yards among their other receivers. Bryan Edwards and Zay Jones may emerge as more prominent figures in the Raiders’ passing attack, but neither can be trusted for fantasy purposes right away. Renfrow, on the other hand, has been Las Vegas’ most steady receiver other than Darren Waller over the last few seasons, and he is second on the team in total targets this season behind only Waller. He’s already a PPR machine, catching at least five passes in all but one game this season. He’ll have the opportunity to solidify himself as the top wide receiver in Las Vegas against a Giants defense that is in the bottom-third of the league in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers this year. He’s not known for being a big-play type of player, but I’d be willing to guess that the 12.6 points that he’s projectected to score in ESPN PPR formats will be topped with ease on Sunday.
Bust – D.J. Moore, WR, CAR vs. NE
The Panthers started 3-0, but after doing their best impression of the 2017-18 Browns and losing four games in a row, Carolina is lucky to be 4-4 when they take on New England this Sunday. Carolina’s offense has been on and off, but even if star Christan McCaffrey can suit up for the first time since Week 3, it’ll definitely be off with turnover machine P.J. Walker filling in at the helm for the concussed Sam Darnold. The Patriots have played in some tight games this season, holding the Buccaneers to only 19 points, taking the Cowboys to overtime and scrapping a win away from the Chargers earlier in the season. They can hang in with any opponent, and quite frankly, they’re trending in the opposite direction as the Carolina Panthers. Bill Belichick knows how to take away an opponent’s best players, and you know he’ll try to do that with Moore on Sunday. With Walker leading the charge, Moore’s ceiling will be severely limited.
Boom – Aaron Jones, RB, GB at KC
At first, I wanted to put Jonathan Taylor in this spot for a cakewalk matchup against the Jets, but with news that Jordan Love will start at quarterback following a positive COVID-19 test from Aaron Rodgers, there is reason to believe that the Packers offense will operate through Jones for a midday matchup in Kansas City this Sunday, giving Jones perhaps the biggest ceiling in fantasy football this week. Despite ranking among the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs, they’ve been obliterated by opposing quarterbacks, giving up the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. There’s no real reason to think that Love will be taking a ton of downfield shots on Sunday, so most of his passes will be checked down to his running backs, giving Jones a solid floor. Jones is already a PPR machine, and we’ve seen games where he’s scored two, three, even four touchdowns in the past.
Bust – Jeremy McNichols, RB, TEN at LAR
The Titans now have a Derrick Henry-sized hole to fill on offense, and it will be up to younger Jeremy McNichols and veteran Adrian Peterson to fill the gap. With Peterson, who hasn’t played an NFL snap this season, getting back up to speed, McNichols will likely draw the start against the Rams this weekend. The Rams run defense has not been outstanding, but still ranks among the top half of the NFL in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. They also just acquired All-Pro edge Von Miller, adding to an already formidable front seven. It’s impossible to predict how the Titans offense will operate without Henry, but one thing seems clear: they won’t be running the ball as much as they had been, especially in a game against the Rams, where the Titans could be playing catch-up and the ball will be in the air more often than not. I’d wait and see what McNichols can do before he can claim a starting spot in your fantasy lineup.
Boom – Dallas Goedert, TE, PHI vs. LAC
The Eagles finally figured it out last week against the Lions, scoring 44 points while quarterback Jalen Hurts only threw for 103 yards, but where three players eclipsed 50 rushing yards. Assuming the Eagles take a similar approach into their Week 9 matchup against the Chargers, how exactly could an Eagles pass-catcher be expected to boom in fantasy? Well, combining 103 yards passing yards from Hurts and the 11 from backup Garner Minshew, Goedert actually caught 63% of the Eagles passing yards on the day. He has a clear-cut role in this offense, which has grown ever since the departure of Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals. The Chargers will be a tougher test than the lowly Lions, so expect more than 11 total completions to be made by Eagles quarterbacks this week. Also expect an even bigger game from Goedert.
Bust – Dalton Schultz, TE, DAL vs. DEN
Schultz has been a solid fantasy contributor all season, but is coming off of a 3.1 point dud despite Cooper Rush attempting 40 passes in a primetime matchup against the Vikings last weekend. Schultz did manage to see seven targets in that game, but Dallas already has a ton of mouths to feed on offense, and they are expecting to activate Michael Gallup from the injured reserve list and have him return to the lineup very soon. When it comes down to it, I wouldn’t expect major production from Schultz against a Broncos team that is seventh in the NFL in points allowed to opposing tight ends. Although he and quarterback Dak Prescott have clear chemistry on the field, his upside will be capped upon Gallup’s return and his floor may fall. There are better options with more upside to turn to this week.