When I’m in a fantasy football draft and constructing my teams, I like to balance out my “safe” players with some guys who are more volatile. The cliche “boom or bust” guys most tell you to avoid are some I actually enjoy targeting. These aren’t players I’m drafting early and I’m not viewing them as weekly starters by any means. Frankly, you’re more than likely going to feel queasy when you put them in your lineup. Whenever you’re going up against the juggernaut of your league or you’re in a 30-point hole after Thursday Night Football, however, safe options/floor plays ain’t cutting it. Below are three “boom or bust” players I’m targeting for 2020 fantasy football redraft leagues.
*Note: The following ADP is from BestBall10s since the beginning of July.
Brandin Cooks: WR38/86.44
Honestly, the entire Houston Texans receiving group could have been featured in this article. I’m rolling with Cooks here because I believe he is the most talented, well-rounded receiver in Houston. He is also being selected almost an entire round after Will Fuller while having the same concern as far as being able to stay on the field. We all know the deal with Cooks. He’s a boom or bust asset on two levels: weekly production and injury. His concussion issues are a major concern and any sort of impact to his head could put his career in jeopardy. If Cooks is able to avoid any issues or long-term absences, however, he could be in for a massive year. Since entering the league in 2016, Cooks has averaged a 22% deep target rate. Deshaun Watson has been in the top 3 of adjusted deep ball completion percentage twice in the last three years (among QBs with at least 40 attempts). Add in the possibility of Fuller missing time and the Texans projecting to be playing from behind fairly often? Oooooo weeeee.
Henry Ruggs: WR50/126.81
While it may be too early to declare Ruggs a boom or bust fantasy producer, I do believe Derek Carr will hold him back from his true ceiling. Over the past two years since Jon Gruden became the Raiders’ head coach, Carr has ranked 22nd and 25th in deep-ball attempts. To Carr’s credit, he was 5th and 12th in adjusted completion percentages those years. The other concern with the Raiders’ offense is their pace and overall play volume. Oakland (Las Vegas?) ranked 25th and 30th in seconds per play while running the ninth-fewest plays both seasons. With Ruggs, his trump card and defining asset is his speed. I’m not saying he’s *just* a speed guy (contrary to all the comments on our Ruggs YouTube video), but I don’t want a receiver like Ruggs being held back by a quarterback who is going to be a low-volume deep-ball passer. The one saving grace which may lead to more plays and passing volume is the Raiders’ projected strength of schedule for 2020. According to Sharp Football Stats, Las Vegas has the 4th most difficult schedule. Ruggs is the kind of talent where if Carr can connect with him on a couple of deep balls, he could easily give you a 5/100/2 kind of performance. If those shots miss, however, it could be ugly that week.
John Ross: WR75/202.84
I know, I know. Hear me out first. Ross isn’t reliable whatsoever. Out of a possible 48 games, Ross has appeared in 24. Not great, Bob. Here is my case for him (I also talked about Ross on our latest podcast). First off, he’s absolutely free. You’ll be able to snag Ross in the last round of your drafts. If he gets hurt early on or simply isn’t being involved, you simply drop him and move on. Second, under second-year head coach Zac Taylor, Cincinnati projects to be a fast-paced, pass-heavy offense. Last year, the Bengals were sixth in seconds per play and fifth in pass rate. Even if you want to say those numbers were due to game-script, I don’t think anyone is looking at Cincy as a team who completely turned it around this offseason. My third and final point? John Ross was actually off to a nice start through the first two games in 2019. Small sample size, I know, but it lends a window into what his “boom” weeks could look like. Through the first two weeks, he put up statlines of 7/158/2 and 4/112/1 with Andy Dalton at the helm. With Joe Burrow upgrading the quarterback position and John Ross offering a trait nobody else on the Bengals has (speed), he’s absolutely worth his near-17th round price tag.
*Quick-hit: I’m also digging Marquise Brown this year though he’s going a bit earlier than the three above. His BestBall10 ADP is WR28 in the mid-sixth round. While Lamar Jackson’s touchdown rate is certainly dropping from his absurd 9% in 2019, I could see the entire team regressing and leading to more passing attempts. When you consider Brown wasn’t even fully healthy the entire year, he’s a lock to expand upon his 71 targets from last year. What places him into the boom or bust category, however, is we shouldn’t expect Jackson to ever be a “premiere” pure quarterback talent.
Thanks for checking out my article! Want to see where we have every fantasy relevant wide receiver ranked for 2020? Check out our half-PPR rankings for 2020.