Welcome to Breakout Live’s Fantasy Finals Edition: Breakout or Bust.
Normally, this is a Start/Sit column. But with only two teams per league left battling it out for fantasy supremacy, we’re going to switch things up a bit.
In this week’s edition, we’ll aim to help the most players take home a title by taking the top 4 players at each position who are on the most fantasy playoff rosters this season and tell you who’s poised to Breakout or Bust on Championship Weekend.
Breakout: Players who will exceed their composite PPR points projections.
Bust: Players who will fall short of their composite PPR points projections.
Read on and reap the rewards a hard-earned 2018 fantasy title for THE TRUTH ERTZ or ZEKE AND DESTROY
Patrick Mahomes (59% of playoff rosters – Composite projection: 22.6 pts)
A pronounced tip of the cap to anyone with the stones to bet on Mahomes in the early rounds of your fantasy drafts. And if you got him later on, congrats: the rest of your league has no idea what they’re doing. The MVP front-runner has been nothing short of spectacular this season, and he’s carried nearly 60% of you into the playoffs. As you go down this list, you’ll see a Chief at every single position, but you’ll also see that I’m not all that high on any of them this week in Seattle. But while individually none of them will carry you to a fantasy title, collectively they’ll all do their part, which directly benefits both the QB who’s throwing to them and the owner who’s rightfully hoisting the fantasy hardware with said QB. A projection of 22.6 pts for Mahomes? Child, please.
Jared Goff (54% – Projection: 18.5 pts)
Owners who’ve been riding high with Goff this entire season have face-planted over the last 3 weeks. If Goff is your QB and you’re playing in the finals, it’s highly likely you’ve got a stacked squad. Better hope you’re as magical of a GM as you think, because it may be time to call on your backup this week. Goff has the worst QB rating of any starter IN THE LEAGUE these last 3 weeks, and Arizona is not a good matchup for him. This game has Gurley-Gurley-Gurley written all over it.
Drew Brees (50% – PPR projection: 19.8 pts)
What on Earth has happened to Drew Brees and the Saints? Once an unstoppable force, they’ve now become an unfathomable disappointment for fantasy owners. Brees still has the 2nd highest projection of any QB this week, but he hasn’t even topped 14 points since Week 12. Now, he’s looking at his toughest matchup yet over that span in a playoff-hungry Steelers bunch. Don’t expect Brees to be your ‘x’ factor this week.
Cam Newton (45%) – OUT
Cam has officially been ruled out for the rest of the season. Hope you’ve got a decent backup!
Deshaun Watson (45% – PPR projection: 18.2 pts)
Experts have been quick to criticize Watson’s inconsistencies this season, but I look at his points from the last 4 and they read: 29-16-18-22. Inconsistent? A little. But I’ll take a floor of 16 any day, especially when the ceiling is 30+. Philly’s secondary has been ravaged by injuries, and frankly having Watson as the 13th highest projection is a total slap in the face. He’s going to kill the Eagles and your finals opponent in one fell swoop.
James Conner (76%) – Doubtful
The biggest steal in most drafts for 2018 has told reporters he’s “not ready” to return in Week 16, which is a huge blow to owners of the #1 most common player on fantasy rosters. Here’s hoping you snagged Jaylen Samuels off waivers.
Spencer Ware (68% – PPR projection: 9.7 pts)
Odds are, you grabbed Ware off waivers after Kareem Hunt was let go by the Chiefs. If you did, good on ya. But let’s hope you went a step further and grabbed Damian Williams as well. Ware looks like he’ll be back this week, but he’s nursing shoulder and hamstring injuries, so be sure to monitor his status closely. I’m seeing a lot of experts recommending a Start based on volume, but with a tough matchup in Seattle and a potential timeshare with Williams (who looked incredibly explosive vs. the Chargers), I’d rather have Williams than Ware in my lineup this week – especially with a measly 9.7-point expectation.
Phillip Lindsay (63% – PPR projection: 17.6 pts)
An undrafted rookie in both real life and fantasy, Lindsay has been a revelation for just about everyone. The Broncos are out of the playoff race and Lindsay’s last two games have been disappointing; and even though I like him against Oakland, I don’t love the PPR projection. The rook has officially hit the wall, so don’t expect him to carry you to a championship.
Nick Chubb (61% – PPR projection: 18.6 pts)
The rookie has been one of OC Freddie Kitchens’ favorites, and as such he’s helped a lot of fantasy owners make the late push to the playoffs. Chubbs’ production has taken a dip of late with PPR totals of 16-18-10 in his last three, but if those numbers can be seen as “dips,” then you’re in great hands with Chubb against an awful Cincy D.
Christian McCaffrey (60% – PPR projection: 24.8 pts)
With SuperCam shut down for the year, it’ll be Taylor Heinicke at QB for the Panthers in week 16. That’s scary for anyone relying on McCaffrey this week, as is his immense 24.8-point projection (2nd highest among RBs). Even scarier, though, is McCaffrey’s skill set. Carolina will still lean on the run and he’s shown time and again he’s capable of running between the tackles. Plus, it’ll be check-down city for Heinicke as the coaching staff looks to get him in the groove. All signs point to a huge day for your RB1.
Tyler Boyd (66% – PPR projection: 14.2 pts) – Questionable
Boyd is an interesting case as he began the season as really the 3rd best receiving option on his own team behind A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert. But he’s blossomed into the kind of threat Cincy had hoped for, and a whopping 66% of you have ridden that wave into the playoffs. That ride might end abruptly though, as Boyd missed practice Wednesday with a low-grade MCL strain. The Bengals have nothing to play for, so they may shut him down for the season. Even if he does play, though, he’ll find it difficult to reach his reasonable projection of 14.2 pts facing a stingy Browns secondary. Check back prior to game time, but I’d have a backup ready to rock regardless.
Tyreek Hill (58% – PPR projection: 21.1 pts)
Hill is a burner with a bad wheel, which is never good. He’s also hit double digits in PPR leagues just once in the last 3 weeks. That’s a troubling pattern, and the matchup in Seattle will not be kind to the Chiefs’ top deep threat.
Adam Thielen (57% – PPR projection: 17.5 pts)
Normally the thought of sitting Thielen is never in question Thielen, however he is no longer the can’t-miss stud he was during the first half of the season. The Vikings’ offense has been as up-and-down as they come, but if last week vs. Miami was any indication, they’re trending upward. Thielen may see a lot of Pro Bowler Darius Slay, but Detroit’s secondary as a whole is exploitable. With the real-life playoffs on the line, 17.5 pts seems like a realistic expectation as Kirk Cousins looks to feed his top WR.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (56% – PPR projection: 19.3 pts)
Great name, better game. It came out this week that Bill Belichick compliments JJSS’ game, and I concur. It’s a difficult matchup at New Orleans this week, but JuJu is too good not to roll with and 19+ PPR pts is well within his range.
George Kittle (59% – PPR projection: 15 pts)
Anybody who paid attention to Kittle’s usage at the end of last year knew this was coming, so big ups to you if you drafted him. Kittle hasn’t dipped below 50 yards in 8 games, and he’s topped double-digit PPR points in 7 of those. Kittle has quickly become Nick Mullens’ best friend, and he’ll be yours, too, once he surpasses his 15-point projection with flying colors.
Eric Ebron (57% – PPR projection: 14.3 pts)
Ebron has made me eat my words more than once this season, and I have to give him credit for a great season. That said, he reminded fantasy owners last week that having too much trust in him can kill you, scoring just 2 PPR points. For all their faults, the Giants have been very good against TEs and I expect Luck to look elsewhere for production. You should consider it, too.
Travis Kelce (55% – PPR projection: 19.7 pts)
Kelce is a certified stud, but I’ll say it again: KC’s matchup in Seattle is one of the worst you could hope for as the proud owner of a Chiefs’ offensive player. Seattle is middle of the road vs. TEs and Kelce will get his looks, but that projection is way too inflated given the matchup, even for an All-Pro like Kelce.
Zach Ertz (52% – PPR projection: 14.5 pts)
Ertz’s usage will Nick Foles under center last week was concerning, and apparently he’s dealing with a slight ankle issue. But he’s too good for Foles to ignore, and so is his matchup with Houston, who allow 63.5 yards/game with 7 TDs allowed to TEs. Buy into Ertz and raise that trophy, my friends.