Diving Into the Numbers of Boom or Bust Players

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Boom or bust type players can be some of the most frustrating yet rewarding players to have on your team. We pop champagne bottles when they catch that 60-yard touchdown, but swear to drop them to the waiver wire when they have three catches for 15 yards.

Their up and down performances make some feel worrisome to plug them into their weekly lineup. Diving into the numbers, there are some key stats to look at when thinking about drafting them for the upcoming season.

QB Kirk Cousins

Despite finishing as the ninth highest scoring quarterback last season, Cousins was much more of a boom or bust candidate than a reliable gun-slinger week to week. Cousins scored over 35 fantasy points an impressive four times, however, he also finished with less than 15 points six times.

Diving into the numbers, it’s clear why he was productive in comparison to when he struggled. Cousins feasted on poor defenses. All of his “boom” performances came against defenses that were ranked in the bottom half of the league against quarterbacks. When he busted, it was against defenses that were ranked in the top half of the league.  

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Cousins also played much better at home averaging 25.5 points per game compared to 19.5 on the road. He also achieved three of his four 35+ point games at FedEx Field.

So what does this mean for this season? Well, much of the same from the former Michigan State Spartan. Look for him to rip apart poor secondaries while struggling against the tougher ones, to finish right in the middle of the pack. He would be great to pair with another quarterback, or even a suspended Tom Brady as the Washington Redskins open the season with six great matchups:

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And yes Kirk, we like that. We like that.

RB Doug Martin

Finishing 3rd in standard scoring last year, “Dougie Fresh” bounced back from two tough seasons, and was just 83 yards shy of the rushing title. Although he had an abundance of yards, touchdowns were hard to come by. Martin scored just seven times last season, tied for the lowest touchdown total of the top 10 running back finishers.

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Starting all 16 games, Martin finished under 10 standard points in seven different weeks, while eclipsing 15 points five times, and hitting the 20 point threshold twice, with a 33 point performance in Week 5.

The up-and-down weeks from the former 1st Round draft pick could be attributed to many factors: Touches and touchdowns going to running mate, Charles Sims, Martin’s newfound fumbling problem, and the inconsistency of rookie Jameis Winston.

With so much for Martin to solve to become consistent, he won’t have to think twice about his schedule as he has one of the easiest for running backs. In order to stop having up-and-down performances and jump into that next tier, Martin will have to find the end zone more often.

RB Danny Woodhead

Rocking the same long hair and creepy goatee that I did my sophomore year of high school, Woodhead finished 10th last year in standard scoring, 3rd in PPR leagues. Woodhead was a PPR monster throughout the year and quickly became Philip Rivers’ favorite target, leading the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. The 5-foot-8 running back crossed the goal line nine times with a league leading 81 receptions at the position. 

Scoring double-digits six times in standard scoring, Woodhead failed to reach even a mere 7 points during eight different weeks throughout the season. With second-year running back Melvin Gordon taking the bulk of the carries, Woodhead will remain just a change of pace back on passing downs.

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His targets will go down with a healthy Keenan Allen on the field and if Gordon improves from last year, Woodhead will see even less playing time. When both Allen and Woodhead were on the field, Woodhead had more targets and receptions just once. Woodhead should absolutely be targeted in any and all PPR leagues, as his catches will make up for the lack of rushing attempts and targets. In standard leagues, his year will fluctuate on how productive his other pass catching teammates are.

WR DeSean Jackson

Jackson has been the Mayor of “Boom or Bust Town” for years now. An injury-plagued season last year saw him only play in eight games. To no one’s surprise, half of his games were booms, and the rest were busts. 

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The trend can be seen in his 2014 campaign where he had seven games under 7 fantasy points, and in the rest he had no less than 12. 

There is no real telling stat to predict when the California native will leave his defender in the dust and catch a 70-yard bomb. Last season he burned the 2nd worst secondary of the New York Giants, but also the likes of the Carolina Panthers’ strong secondary.

His schedule is middle of the pack when it comes to fantasy WRs, and owners who draft Jackson will have to ride the wave of his performances. The ups-and-downs will put him outside the top 20 with a chance of winning you some weeks with his big play ability.

The case of DeSean Jackson is one that can’t be solved, as he lives and dies with the deep ball.

WR Ted Ginn Jr.

If DeSean Jackson is the Mayor of “Boom or Bust Town”, then Ginn Jr. has to be the Chief Administrative Officer (didn’t think you’d get a local government lesson, did you?). Ginn has the speed to burn almost any defender out there, but unfortunately can sometimes have bricks for hands.

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He reached double-digit points six times last season, getting over 20 points three games in a row, towards the end of the season. On the other end of the spectrum, he also scored less than 6 points five times. His surprising 10 touchdowns were just one shy of his career total of 11. He finished 25th in standard scoring despite having far less targets, receptions, and yards than those who finished around him.

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Ginn will be back to his old role as the third target in Carolina behind a now healthy Kelvin Benjamin and stud Greg Olsen.

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While he has breakaway speed, he doesn’t have DeSean Jackson speed who can beat any secondary he pleases. Most of Ginn’s big games came against bottom half defenses (Tampa Bay, New York Giants, and New Orleans).

Ginn will be a risky roll of the dice every week next season, and might be found on the waiver wire as he loses a lot of volume to Benjamin.

TE Tyler Eifert

If you were to look up “Touchdown Dependent” in the dictionary, you might see a picture of Eifert. This Notre Dame product had a breakout year for the Bengals, and was a steal for anyone who took him late in drafts. He scored more than 14 fantasy points four times last season, getting over 20 points three different times. He also had 6 or less points five times. 

What do all of his double-digit games have in common? Say it with me now… touchdowns.

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His highest score without a touchdown was a mere 6 fantasy points, and only eclipsed 60 yards three times all season.

Coming into the season, there’s good and bad news. Good news is that the Bengals receiving corps has been somewhat depleted. Wide receivers, Marvin Jones (one of Jason’s sleepers), and Mohamed Sanu both skipped town leaving 152 targets for the Red Rifle, Andy Dalton, to spread around.

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Bad news is the health of his ankle. Eifert underwent surgery over the offseason that will leave Week 1 in question. Eifert’s targets will go up, he just has to be healthy.

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