Will and Declan’s Booms and Busts: Week 3

Declan McDaniels and Will Baker

Will and Declan’s Booms and Busts is a weekly fantasy football column. We focus on helping you decide who to start and sit in your lineup, and we base our projections on ESPN standard scoring.



DK Metcalf (WR) – Seattle Seahawks (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

Metcalf is looking to repeat his strong Week 2 performance after scoring 19.2 ESPN points per reception (PPR) Fantasy points against cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
(Courtesy of National Football League)

This upcoming game Metcalf faces the Cowboys who are currently, in terms of Fantasy, the seventh worst at defending wide receivers. Adding onto their struggling defense, the injury to Cowboys starting cornerback Chidobe Awuzie will likely force them to lean on rookie Trevon Diggs in their defensive coverage. DK Metcalf was excellent in the first two weeks of Fantasy averaging 23.4 yards per reception, the second most in the league. This includes a Week 2 matchup against the New England Patriots, where Metcalf was covered by reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore. According to Next Gen Stats, Metcalf was shadowed by Gilmore on 26 of 30 routes (87 percent), and Metcalf still racked up three receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown on five targets. Metcalf’s astonishing 54-yard touchdown connection with quarterback Russell Wilson was the highlight of the night, and this was the first touchdown Gilmore has allowed in coverage as the nearest defender since 2018. With Atlanta Falcons’ struggling defense, Seattle passed the ball on 66 percent of plays in Week 1. Anticipate seeing a similar game plan against Dallas this weekend, as well as a big week for Metcalf.

ESPN PPR Scoring Projection:14.8 points


Hayden Hurst (TE) – Atlanta Falcons (vs. Chicago Bears)

Hayden Hurst is positioned for a big Week 3 as he acclimates to the high frequency passing attack of coach Dan Quinn.
(Courtesy of National Football League)

After a mediocre start to Week 1, Hurst notched five receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys in a high scoring affair, completing a strong Week 2. Offensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s high-frequency passing offense that ranks fourth in the NFL in total yards per game, meaning Hurst is poised for a big game. This is especially true against a Chicago team that lacks adequate defensive backs to cover the Falcons’ plethora of vertical threats. Julio Jones, who injured his hamstring, is a game time decision for Sunday’s game which will further help Hurst’s targets. The matchup for Hurst this week is phenomenal, as the Bears defense has a strong inside presence. This will stall running back Todd Gurley II and force Matt Ryan and the Falcons to pass to the middle of the field to the slot and to Hurst. Hurst is a great value pick this week for George Kittle owners as Hurst’s rostered in just 77 percent of ESPN leagues (small for his production value) and is on the lower end of the cost spectrum in Daily Fantasy formats.

ESPN PPR Scoring Projection: 11.1 points


Austin Ekeler (RB) – Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

Coming off of a nice Week 2, Austin Ekeler is looking to capitalize against the Panthers subpar rushing defense.
(Courtesy of National Football League)

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert will start again Week 3, a welcomed sight to Austin Ekeler owners. Ekeler ramped up his production from Week 1with Herbert leading, rushing 16 times for 93 yards and adding four receptions for 55 yards. As a rookie quarterback, Herbert should be checking down to Ekeler a lot in the passing game. What makes Ekeler a Boom candidate for this week is not his playmaking ability, but his matchup against the worst Fantasy rushing defense in the league. The Panthers’ defense has been abysmal in the past two weeks, allowing breakout games for Josh Jacobs and Leonard Fournette to occur. Ekeler should see a lot of carries this week and is poised to have his first touchdown of the year with this favorable matchup.

ESPN PPR Scoring Projections: 16.8 points



Devonta Freeman – New York Giants (vs San Francisco 49ers)

Devonta Freeman faces a tough matchup with arguably the worst offensive line in football in his debut game with the New York Giants.
(Courtesy of National Football League)

Devonta Freeman was a popular waiver wire add in Fantasy leagues (+52.9 percent in ESPN leagues this week) after Saquon Barkley’s season ended with an ACL tear and the Giants brought Freeman in to help fill the void. This week, the odds are against Freeman. For starters, the Giants’ offensive line is dysfunctional, giving Barkley, arguably the best back in the league, trouble finding holes. This will not help the veteran legs of Freeman. Secondly, although banged up, the Niners’ defense is still one of the best in the league with Fred Warner and company excelling in defending the run game. Fantasy managers should also be careful putting too much value on Freeman’s role in the Giants’ offense as he will be splitting reps with Dion Lewis, who had a respectable game after Barkley went down. The hype from Fantasy players surrounding the Giants’ signing of Devonta Freeman is understandable, but Week 3 surely will not be his week.

ESPN PPR Scoring Projections: 5.9 points


Deshaun Watson (QB) – Houston Texans (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

Watson is looking to overcome a 0-2 start on the season for the Texans, but this will be hard against the impressive Steelers defense.
(Courtesy of National Football League)

After losing wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in a trade for running back David Johnson this past off-season, the Texans’ offense has struggled in the passing game the first two weeks of the season. This will not get any easier in Week 3 against a Steelers team that is ranked 10th best against the quarterback position this year, and fourth-best against quarterbacks at the end of last season in terms of Fantasy points per game. According to Next Gen Stats, the Steelers’ defense has three players currently ranked in the top five in quarterback pressures, and two more just outside the top 10. Their defensive unit also ranks first in the NFL in pressure rate (45.6 percent) and blitz rate (57.8 percent). This tough defensive matchup for Watson will likely lead to a decrease in Fantasy points this week. 

ESPN PPR Scoring Projections: 19.3 points


A.J. Green (WR) – Cincinnati Bengals (at Philadelphia Eagles)

AJ Green’s tough matchup against Darius Slay and his unproductive start to the season indicates he’s much better kept on your bench
(Courtesy of National Football League)

After an ankle injury took him out of almost the entire 2019 season, A.J. Green is finally back to full health with the young and talented rookie Joe Burrow as his new quarterback. Despite this, Green’s performance through the first two weeks of the season has been inadequate, as he has eight receptions on 22 targets for a 36 percent catch rating, which is by far the worst amongst wide receivers with more than 10 targets. Green will be playing against an Eagles defense that ranks seventh best in fantasy points against wide receivers, and he will likely be shadowed by Darius Slay on Sunday. In 2019, a receiver shadowed by Slay averaged six targets for 3.2 receptions and 42 yards a game. Green’s inconsistency along with the difficult matchup indicates that he should definitely stay on your bench this week.

ESPN PPR Scoring Projections: 12.7 points