Each week the Noise highlights under-started names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. To qualify, each player must be started in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week (Scoring thresholds – QB: 18 fpts, RB: 12 fpts, WR: 11 fpts: TE: 10 fpts; .5 PPR).
Chase to earn crumpets in London
Chase Daniel, Chi, QB (2 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $20)
Matchup: at Oak (London)
Vegas Line/Total: Chi -5, 41
Constant failures. Persistent inconsistency. Missing the mark when dudes are WIDE OPEN. Trubisky is such a Mitch. The passer, who locals ceaselessly, and appropriately, deride Bears GM Ryan Pace for picking in the 2017 draft instead of Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson, has regressed. Outside of a warm and fuzzy confidence booster in Washington, he’s struggled with inaccuracy, reads, and overall execution. Last season, Matt Nagy brilliantly masked the QB’s flaws by implementing routes — screens, curls and outs — which accentuated the passer’s strengths. The smoke and mirrors deceived. However, based on his 72.3 adjusted completion percentage (QB25) and 81.0 passer rating, the league, with Washington the exception, has figured out the gimmick. Is the jig up?
After Daniel, in relief of Trubisky (shoulder), guided the Bears to an impressive smackdown of rival Minnesota last week, it very well could be.
The promoted backup was the antithesis of bad Mitch when pressed into action last season. He released the ball quickly, completed 69.7% of attempts and snacked on opponents in small chunks (6.8 ypa). Against the Vikes, he resembled the same passer completing 23-of-30 attempts for 195 yards and a score. Boris Johnson’s hair may seem a less likely fantasy mess, but this week Daniel could comb smoothly through the competition.
The Raiders performed predictably last Sunday versus the T.Y. Hilton-less Colts, giving up three Jacoby Brissett scores. On the year, they’ve surrendered 8.1 pass yards per attempt, 287.5 yards per game, 2.3 touchdowns per contest and the 10th-most fantasy points to QBs. Most damning, every Oakland defensive back with the exception of Daryl Worley has allowed a 105-plus passer rating to their assignments.
Nagy tends to miscalculate with unnecessarily complicated schemes, but he and Daniel could have a jolly old time in England.
Fearless Forecast: 262 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 turnovers, 7 rushing yards, 19.2 fantasy points
Steady Williams a hidden gem for KC
Darrel Williams, KC, RB (15% started; Yahoo DFS: $16)
Matchup: vs. Ind
Vegas Line/Total: KC -11, 57
For weeks, fantasy Darwinists theorized Damien Williams, LeSean McCoy, or the glossed over other Williams would eventually relinquish their grip as the lead Chiefs back. It appears that the notion was beyond their scientific understanding. Darrel, tabbed “our new Mr. Consistent” by Andy Reid has emerged as a poor man’s Priest Holmes. His multipurpose skill set, deployed by land and air, has set rosters ablaze. On only 34.2% of the opportunity share the past two weeks, Williams has notched 165 total yards and two touchdowns. His wretched 1.89 yards after contact per attempt and 0.68 yards created per carry (RB48) evoke upchucks, but it’s hard to argue against the favorable environment.
It’s time to accept the facts, Darwin Thompson zealots: Williams is rendering the rookie useless, a development which should continue to unfold Week 5 against Indy. Anyone who believes otherwise deserves an intense Patrick Mahomes stare.
The Colts, possibly down tackle-compiler Darius Leonard again, are a highly exploitable defense. This season, they’ve conceded 4.9 yards per carry, 144.8 total yards per game, four total touchdowns and the 10th-most fantasy points to rushers. Knowing Williams will see action against frequent undermanned fronts (4.5 stack% this year), he’s a likely top-20 candidate at his position.
Fearless Forecast: 9 carries, 33 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 40 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.8 fantasy points
Recharged Gordon needs to be reinserted against Broncos
Melvin Gordon, LAC, RB (36% started; Yahoo DFS: $20)
Matchup: vs. Den
Vegas Line/Total: LAC -6.5, 43.5
An ax encased in glass last week in Miami, Gordon was relegated to emergency use only. Considering the Dolphins are the Dum-Dum pops of the NFL, understandably, the veteran stayed fixed on the sideline. Austin Ekeler and Troymaine Pope shouldered the load, coasting to 152 combined yards and three touchdowns. As long as Gordon doesn’t experience a hamstring eruption in practice this week, the once-revered RB should take center stage.
There is some debate within the fantasy community about just how good Gordon really is. Cursory observers argue his suboptimal career 4.0 yards per carry is undeniable proof that, if not for volume, he would be a middling producer. However, evidenced by his 156 total avoided tackles in four seasons, an entirely different picture is painted. As an advocate for MGIII for years, the latter is closer to the truth. Yes, Ekeler will continue to command at least 11-13 touches per game, but whether it’s this week or beyond, the incumbent is bound to recapture at least 65-70% of the opportunity share.
Denver, reeling from an 0-4 start, has gone from feared to feeble defensively. The transformation is rather astonishing. Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Chris Harris are elite defenders. Head coach Vic Fangio was also widely labeled a defensive genius during his tenure in Chicago. But the reality is bitter. Last week, Leonard Fournette, running behind a line which ranks No. 27 in run-blocking efficiency, bulled his way to 220 rush yards against the My Little Ponies. On the year, the Broncos have allowed 4.7 yards per carry, 162.0 total yards per game, six touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points to RBs. Derek Wolfe rates well in run-stop percentage, but without Chubb (ACL) and due to the club’s weak LB corps, they continue to spiral downward. Bank on the Bolt.
Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 65 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 26 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.6 fantasy points
Heavily targeted Dorsett has WR2 potential in Washington
Phillip Dorsett, NE, WR (32% started; Yahoo DFS: $21)
Matchup: at Was
Vegas Line/Total: NE -15, 44
With Antonio Brown filing grievances against the Patriots off the field, Dorsett’s target share continues to grow on it. The former All-Pro’s expulsion has vaulted the once-buried speedster into a featured role. Zeroed in by Tom Brady 16 times in his past two games, he’s performed unevenly, catching a TD against the Jets while tallying a meatless 2-10-0 line in Buffalo. But his underlying data continues to project a rosy outlook. His 13.0 aDOT and 13.1 yards per route are fair indicators another explosive performance similar to what he achieved Week 1 versus Pittsburgh could be in the offing.
Why? Everyone marches on Washington.
To put it mildly, Josh Norman is straight booty juice. He and fellow DB Jimmy Moreland have allowed a combined 126.6 passer rating and 1.66 yards per snap to the opposition. Collectively, the Redskins have given up 7.9 pass yards per attempt, eight touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to WRs. Follow the volume and count the crooked numbers. Dorsett and his overdue tag-team partner, Josh Gordon, should clothesline the competition on the road.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 76 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.6 fantasy points
Back from the dead, Diggs deserves a start
Stefon Diggs, Min, WR (58% started; Yahoo DFS: $20)
Matchup: at NYG
Vegas Line/Total: Min -5, 45.5
Before Minnesota traveled to the Windy City to square off against the Chicago Bears, trade rumors involving Diggs swirled on local sports radio. Nearly lifeless in his previous three games, Diggs, arguably one of the sharpest route runners and most sure-handed receivers in the league, had become an afterthought in Gary Kubiak’s run-centered scheme. His WR63 fantasy standing and 12 total targets led his investors to internally contemplate whether or not he would ever recuperate value lost.
Diggs, however, is far from six-feet-under.
Against the normally rigid Bears, he resembled the player of yesteryear, grabbing all seven of his targets for 108 yards. His fumble lost squandered an otherwise resourceful fantasy day, but his involvement was at least promising. If Kirk Cousins again tosses the rock at least 30 times, Diggs should command WR3 numbers, at a minimum.
The Giants have rolled out the red carpet this season. Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins greatly assisted in reducing their production allowed last week, but they’ve still surrendered 9.3 pass yards per attempt and the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Diggs’ projected assignment, Janoris Jenkins, has given up a 101.7 passer rating and 2.09 yards per snap thus far. Elevate him back into your lineup.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.8 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10% started in Yahoo leagues)
Jeff Wilson Jr., SF, RB (1% started; Yahoo DFS: $11)
Matchup: vs. Cle
Vegas Line/Total: SF -3.5, 48
T.J. Duckett, Mike Tolbert, John Kuhn — these are some of fantasy’s greatest goal-line gremlins, heartbreakers who triggered tirades filled with unmentionable words. Wilson is the virtual game’s latest edition, a man who’s repeatedly stolen the glory from Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert.
Shanahan gonna Shanahan.
San Francisco’s unpredictable RBBC isn’t going to sharply change anytime soon. A thrice of rushers, even when Tevin Coleman returns from a high-ankle sprain, will be steadily deployed. Behind an offensive line that ranks No. 13 in run-blocking efficiency according to Pro Football Focus, rotating fresh legs is a sound strategy. With the Niners averaging 175.0 rush yards per game, No. 4 in the NFL, it’s clearly working.
Wilson, a fixture inside the red zone, is an interesting plug-n-play option for Kerryon Johnson enthusiasts seeking a one-week rental. His opponent, Cleveland, has contained the run adequately, yielding 4.1 yards per carry, 85.3 rushing yards per game and one rushing touchdown to RBs. Joe Schobert and Sheldon Richardson each rank highly at their respective positions in run-stop percentage. However, due to Wilson’s remarkable success rate around the goal-line (72.2 red-zone%, 4 TDs on five carries inside the five), he’s a viable candidate to post his third-straight multi-TD game. If Coleman plays, ignore the words above.
Fearless Forecast: 8 carries, 24 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 0 receptions, 14.4 fantasy points
BONUS FLAMES (Under 60% started)
QB: Andy Dalton, Cin (Cin -4.5; $29) – The #GingerFist reared its ugly knuckle last Monday in Pittsburgh. Anyone who placed their faith in the QB’s hands surely took one on the chin. Primetime Dalton lived down to expectation. Thankfully blessed with an afternoon kick in Week 5, he’s worth consideration as a bye week or stream filler. It’s Arizona after all, a permeable defense made of cheesecloth. On the year, the Cards have surrendered 8.5 pass yards per attempt, 289.5 yards per game, 2.5 pass TDs per game and the third-most fantasy points. Cincinnati’s rickety offensive line must sustain its blocks to keep Dalton clean, but he should provide a respectable return. Keep in mind, he’s averaged 41.5 pass attempts per game this year. (FF: 288-2-1-9, 19.4 fpts)
RB: Ronald Jones, RB (NO -4.5; $13) – A bald eagle swooping in from seemingly nowhere and depositing a present on your freshly washed car. Folks, that’s the random, real-life equivalent of a Jameis Winston-led Tampa team going into Los Angeles and hanging 55 points (!!!) on a Rams defense with a sterling reputation for defending the pass. It happened, along with RoJo’s breakout. The much-panned RB’s 82 total yards and a score on 20 touches was unquestionably one of his finest performances to date. His added muscle, pass-catching discovery and all-around advanced game goes to show good things come to those who wait. Spectacularly, he’s forced a missed tackle 26.4% of the time. The Saints’ front is far from forgiving. On the year it’s surrendered 4.3 yards per carry, 112.0 total yards per game and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Still, Jones’ pumped volume combined with Tampa’s white-hot play arrow to RB2-level production. (FF: 15-69-1-8-1, 14.2 fpts)
WR: Parris Campbell, Ind (KC -11; $10) – If you’re one of those insane individuals, like some hair-challenged person I know, who plays in a deep league, Campbell is a dark horse worth saddling. He hasn’t shown off his electric 4.31 speed this season, but the short-field weapon (4.8 yards per target) continues to see consistent action, averaging 29.2 snaps per game. His eight targets last week were a season high. With T.Y. Hilton expected to return and thrust into a game with a 57-point total, the rookie could convert a screen or three for big gainers while working against Kendall Fuller (156.8 passer rating allowed) out of the slot, assuming an abominable setback doesn’t derail his availability. (FF: 5-43-1, 12.8 fpts)
WR: Golden Tate, NYG (Min -5; $15) – Off a four-game suspension, one of the game’s greatest after-the-catch receivers should hit the ground running in his return. Daniel Jones was humbled somewhat last week against Washington, but despite the intense pressure he’s been placed under (51.2 clean pocket%), he’s delivered the ball confidently and accurately, especially on play action (117.2 passer rating). Sterling Shepard has built a nice rapport with the rookie, but a Tate force-feeding is very possible. In order to expand the offense’s reach, getting the veteran involved immediately is warranted. Presumably drawing Trae Waynes in coverage (116.1 passer rating allowed), Tate is a good bet for a handsome PPR yield. (FF: 6-62-1, 15.2 fpts)
TE: Tyler Eifert, Cin (Cin -4.5; $15) – When a tight end sees Arizona on the schedule a giant ear-to-ear grin likely adorns the face. It’s mind-blowing the production plus-sized targets have recorded against the deep-fried Desert Birds. Astoundingly, they’ve yielded 23.9 fantasy points per game to the position. To put that into perspective, it’s 7.9 points per game more than No. 2 Tampa and ranks ahead of all QBs’ per game averages except Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson. Yes, Eifert’s tendons are held together with Gorilla Glue and Big League Chew, but this is a classic example of maximizing the matchup. (FF: 5-57-1, 14.2 fpts)
DST: Tennessee Titans (Ten -2.5; $19) – Josh Allen and turnovers are as synonymous as frat boys and White Claws. If the starter is unable to escape concussion protocol, his backup, Matt Barkley, would be equally tasty. As a group, the Bills have recored a pair of 10s in takeaways and surrendered sacks. The Titans, the seventh-best DST in fantasy, have collapsed numerous pockets, dragging down QBs thirteen times in four games. Look for Harold Landry and Cameron Wake to wreck havoc. (FF: 16 PA, 323 YDA, 4 SCKs, 3 TO, 13.0 fpts)
BONUS: Auden Tate, Cin, WR (Cin -4.5; $10) – With speed demon John Ross down and out for the next month with a shoulder injury, Tate immediately enters into the WR3 conversation in 12-team leagues. Netting 13.1 yards per reception, he should absorb the 8.0 available targets per game in a supreme matchup versus Arizona. His primary assignment, rookie Byron Murphy, has allowed a 108.5 passer rating this season. Off a 5-4-50-0 tally in a blowout loss to Pittsburgh, he could be this week’s low-dollar diamond in the rough. (FF: 5-61-1, 14.6 fpts)
SUPER BONUS: Rashaad Penny, Sea, RB (Sea -1.5) – Hampered by a hamstring the past two weeks, Penny, who’s practiced in full this week, is on track to return against the reeling Rams. Chris Carson reapplied a stranglehold on the RB1 spot thanks to his outburst last Sunday in Arizona. Still, Penny, who’s averaged just 8.5 touches per game, should provide a strong second punch. LA, battered in the trenches, has given up 4.1 yards per carry, 91.5 rush yards per game, five TDs and the eighth-most fantasy points to rushers this year. FLEX him. (FF: 10-47-1, 1-4-0, 11.6 fpts)