Spin’s Fantasy Football Factory: Booms & busts for week ten

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Last week, Spin’s Fantasy Football Factory correctly inferred three boom/bust predictions out of six, with the other three resulting in two ties and one incorrect prediction. Throughout the season, my boom/bust predictions have been correctly predicted or have resulted in at least a tie for well above two-thirds of my predictions. So, if you’re unsure of which players deserve a starting spot in your fantasy lineup this week, chances are that you’re in the right place. There’s very few things in this world that I truly love: steak dinners, puppies and correctly predicting which NFL players will boom or bust in fantasy each week. Without further ado, here are my boom or bust predictions for Week Ten of the NFL season. 

Boom – Terry McLaurin, WR, WAS vs. TB 

Through nine weeks, Scary Terry McLaurin ranks as only the 20th best wide receiver in all of fantasy football. In his most recent game, a Week Eight matchup against the Denver Broncos, McLaurin recorded a pedestrian three catches for 23 measly yards in what was a lifeless performance from Washington’s offense. Despite the lackluster performance, McLaurin has seen at least seven targets in all but one game this season, and fill-in quarterback Taylor Heinicke has proven that he is capable of getting the ball to McLaurin at will. Although he’s been inconsistent, McLaurin has recorded some of the best fantasy performances at the wide receiver position this season. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their bottom-12 defense to opposing wide receivers come to Washington on Sunday, McLaurin will be in position to record yet another elite fantasy performance. As the only reliable receiving threat on a Washington offense that will likely be chasing points, McLaurin’s Week Ten upside may be unrivaled by all other wide receivers in fantasy football. 

Bust – Tyreek Hill, WR, KC at LV 

The Chiefs are all out of sorts right now, as the once offensive-juggernaut has stumbled to a 5-4 record. All-World quarterback Patrick Mahomes hasn’t exactly been an All-World talent, leading the Chiefs to an average of 12 points per game over the last three weeks. As a result, the outputs of fantasy superstars Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce have become way harder to predict, especially for Hill, who is known for his historic, albeit very inconsistent, fantasy performances. One week he may record four catches for 30 yards but the next he may record 15 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns. It’s already hard to predict how Hill will play, but since that’s what boom/bust predictions are all about, I’ll predict that Hill records another dud on Sunday Night Football. I hate to bet against Hill in what could be a tight game against the Las Vegas Raiders, but it seems that wherever Mahomes goes, Hill goes, and right now, Mahomes has been trending down. It also doesn’t help that Las Vegas boats the third-best defense against wide receivers in all of fantasy football. 

Boom – Najee Harris, RB, PIT vs. DET 

Among all running backs in the NFL, only three have compiled 150 or more rushing attempts: Derrick Henry, Joe Mixon and Najee Harris. Henry may miss the remainder of the season after a Week Eight injury, and both Mixon and Harris have attempted exactly 150 rushing attempts, though Mixon’s Cincinnati Bengals have played one more game than Harris’ Pittsburgh Steelers. That means of all NFL running backs, no one is on pace to surpass the workload of Najee Harris. Not to mention that Pittsburgh’s second-string running back, Benny Snell, has only recorded 10 rushing attempts this season, a measly one-fifteenth of what Harris has managed, making Harris the alpha in Pittsburgh’s backfield. His workload makes for a dream scenario when Harris takes on the Detroit Lions and their second-worst run defense against fantasy running backs. 

Bust – D’Ernest Johnson, RB, CLE at NE 

Cleveland’s backfield is a mess right now: Nick Chubb and Demetric Felton were both placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week. With Kareem Hunt still on the injured reserve and not expected to return this week, D’Ernest Johnson is the only running back on Cleveland’s active roster. Assuming Chubb and Felton aren’t cleared for Sunday, Johnson will draw a start against the New England Patriots. Although New England is a middling team in terms of run defense, they’ve only given up two rushing touchdowns all season, tied for the best mark in the NFL, despite opponents attempting the ninth-most rushes against them. When healthy Cleveland’s offense operates through their running backs, with Baker Mayfield throwing only the 25th most pass attempts among all quarterbacks. It’s in the Patriots best interest to try to make Mayfield beat them himself by forcing the ball into his hands, and to do that, they’ll need to take away Cleveland’s run game. In ESPN PPR leagues, Johnson is currently projected to score 17.4 points. To me, that number is way too high. 

Boom – Mike Gesicki, TE, MIA vs. BAL 

Ever since a Week One dud against the Patriots in which Gesicki recorded zero catches on three targets, he has only seen fewer than six targets in only one game, and has quietly been averaging 7.5 targets per game, which would rank fifth in the entire NFL among tight ends. Also, among tight ends with at least 30 catches this season, Gesicki ranks third in yards per reception. Due to his combination of volume and his ability to gain yardage when the ball is in his hands, Gesicki will enter a Thursday Night matchup against the Baltimore Ravens as fantasy football’s third-best tight end. Meanwhile, the Ravens will enter Thursday supporting the second worst defense in terms of fantasy points allowed to tight ends this year. They are bottom-five in terms of receptions, targets, yards and touchdowns allowed to opposing tight ends. At this point, Gesicki should already be a set-and-forget option at the tight end position, but if he isn’t already, fire him up with confidence for this short-week matchup on Thursday. 

Bust – Dallas Goedert, TE, PHI at DEN 

One week after he was my boom prediction at the tight end position, Goedert slots in as a bust this week when the Eagles face the Denver Broncos in mile-high Colorado. Goedert enters Sunday a top-12 option at the tight end position, and would rank higher if he hadn’t missed Week Six due to a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list. However, Goedert is yet to eclipse 17 fantasy points in any game in PPR leagues, and has seen more than five targets in only two of the eight games that he has played in thus far. He will be taking on a Denver defense that ranks third in terms of fantasy points per game allowed to opposing tight ends. They are at least top-nine in terms of receptions, targets and yards allowed to tight ends and only one of three teams that has yet to give up a touchdown to an opposing tight end. Goedert is usually one of fantasy’s high-upside players, but I’d be skeptical to expect much upside in this subpar matchup. 

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