Week 8 Fantasy Flames

Stream-worthy Tannehill to sink Buccaneers

Ryan Tannehill, Ten, QB (5 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $22)
Matchup: vs. TB
Vegas Line/Total: Ten -2.5, 46.5

Forget Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers or the demonic nuns from “The Conjuring,” the most bone-chilling villain to grace television screens this Halloween season is the injury imp. The insatiable, blood-thirsty beast, a constant menace who terrorizes Fantasyland, has feasted on numerous body parts, leaving nothing but crushed souls in its wake. Just look at the QB position. Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton and Patrick Mahomes are just a few prominent names who were victimized by the creature’s sinister wrath.

As a result of the various demises, new value sources have emerged, Gardner Minshew the most notable. Though Tannehill earned his starter stripes for a different reason — Marcus Mariota’s ineptitude — he, like Jacksonville’s jorts sensation, is a viable stopgap for those trapped in QB hell. The veteran didn’t light the world on fire last week against the Chargers, but he certainly fanned the flames, completing 23-of-29 passes for 312 yards (10.7 ypa) and two scores.

This week, Tannehill and the Titans are blessed with a divine matchup against Tampa. The Buccaneers, shipwrecked by the pass this season, have given up 7.7 pass yards per attempt, 318.5 pass yards per game, 1.8 passing touchdowns per game and the fifth-most fantasy points to signal-callers. They’ve also allowed the 10th-highest amount of total air yards, even with the bye. Digging deeper, Vernon Hargreaves and M.J. Stewart have surrendered a combined 113.7 passer rating and 1.60 yards per snap.

Tally it up and Tannehill should be the chainsaw, not the massacred, in Week 8.

Fearless Forecast: 293 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 9 rushing yards, 20.6 fantasy points

Packers’ Williams to cut through KC’s Swiss Cheese D

Jamaal Williams, RB, WR (24 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $16)
Matchup: at KC
Vegas Line/Total: GB -3.5, 48

Sloth-like, a belly-dragging Vietnamese pig, Tom Brady pulling a sled through mud — over the years these are descriptions yours truly applied, probably unfairly, to Williams.

The twisting thorn in the side of Aaron Jones managers, the Packers’ complement has carved out an expanded role the past two weeks. Against the Lions and Raiders he played on 46.4 percent of Green Bay’s snaps averaging 167 total yards and an impressive 3.65 yards after contact per attempt while scoring twice.

“Fleet of foot” is a phrase that doesn’t apply to the rusher, but his versatility, blitz deflection and underrated power are plus attributes. On roughly 40-45 percent of Green Bay’s backfield touches, he should showcase all his wares under the prime-time lights.

Consider KC’s defensive thumping of Denver an aberration. Even with its containment of Philip Lindsay, it’s allowed 5.0 yards per carry, 169.4 total yards per game, six total touchdowns and the seventh-most fantasy points to RBs. At or near the basement in stuffed percentage (No. 31), adjusted line yards (No. 32) and second-level runs (No. 32) conceded, the Chiefs D-line is sure to get manhandled by a Packers front that’s excelled of late. Weigh Williams at RB2 in 12-team leagues.

Fearless Forecast: 9 carries, 33 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 35 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.8 fantasy points

Last stand for Montgomery against Chargers

David Montgomery, Chi, RB (44 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $17)
Matchup: vs. LAC
Vegas Line/Total: Chi -5.5, 40.5

Is future Tampa Bay Viper Mitchell Trubisky really better than Chase Daniel? What about a random Walmart greeter from Streator, IL? If “earmuffs” Matt Nagy were Alabama’s head coach, could he actually formulate an effective game plan to defeat Rutgers? Speaking as a member of the media, is that too divisive, Matt? Is Montgomery expendable in 12-team leagues?

When it comes to the Bears, and their broken offense, these are legitimate questions.

After a bye week, typically the time coaches reassess and recalibrate, Nagy drew up a blueprint akin to the Hindenburg. Trubisky missed high-school level throws, the offensive line leaked persistently and Montgomery was given a confounding four touches. Four? Nearly 10 weeks removed from the head coach publicly professing his adoration for the rookie, he was a footnote. When it comes to criminal misuse, Nagy really is “The Devil in the White City.”

Admittedly, Monty is Royce Freeman 2.0. The intervention has occurred. I have an addiction and have accepted reality. The Bears’ flappable offensive line is to blame, but the rushers 2.16 YAC per attempt leaves much to be desired. His 19.2 missed tackle rate, however, is his lone saving grace.

If he can’t put it together this week, against a Chargers defense allowing 4.5 yards per carry, 144.9 total yards per game, seven total TDs and the eighth-most fantasy points to RBs, then he deserves a place on the scrapheap. This is Monty’s last chance to gain respectability, if Nagy is willing to get him involved 15-17 times.

Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 66 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.4 fantasy points

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Light the wick? Dynamite Diontae potential vs. Miami

Diontae Johnson, Pit, WR (3 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $15)
Matchup: vs. Mia
Vegas Line/Total: Pit -14.5, 43

Before arsenic poisoned the QB well, the story of the fantasy football season was the impact of several rookie wide receivers. Marquise Brown, Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown each blazed a fiery trail early. Overlooked, the newbie from Toledo also made his name known. After Ben Roesthlisberger added his name to the primary theme, promoted backup Mason Rudolph established an instant chemistry with Johnson, spurning those who believed his former college buddy, James Washington, was going to be that guy.

Ballyhooed for his quick twitch, playmaking explosion and knifing cuts, Johnson drew comps to Emmanuel Sanders during the draft process. He isn’t the biggest (5-foot-10, 183 pounds) or the fastest (4.53 40-yard) guy around, but his route savvy and reliable hands (66.7 catch%) have overcome any physical limitations. He’s caught just seven passes for 41 yards in his past two games, but with Rudolph supplanting Devlin Hodges under center, he should return to the WR3 ranks.

His opponent, Miami, has yielded the sixth-most fantasy points and third-highest average depth of target (9.5) to wide receivers. Overall, seven wideouts have eclipsed 10.0 fantasy points against them. Projected to line up against CB Ken Webster (117.7 passer rating, 1.43 yards per snap allowed) most often, the former Rocket is in a spot to launch to starter-level numbers in 12-team formats. Give yourself an excuse to watch Monday Night Football.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.4 fantasy points

Stills far from stationary against Oakland

Kenny Stills, Hou, WR (4 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $17)
Matchup: vs. Oak
Vegas Line/Total: Hou -6.5, 50.5

Pulled hamstrings might be the most common soft tissue issue to fell NFL players. They’re sapping, slow-healing, prone to re-injury and generally costly. Will Fuller, a man who would find a way to randomly combust making smores, is the latest wide receiver to suffer from the setback. His expected weeks long absence is unfortunate. Houston’s Week 8 matchup, home against Oakland’s skewered secondary, is an ideal blow up spot.

Enter Stills.

The former Saint/Dolphin, limited by physical derailments of his own this season, could shred harder than Sturgill Simpson on “The Fastest Horse in Town.” His long-range speed, budding relationship with Deshaun Watson and usability whether in the slot (66.2% of snaps) or outside labels him a matchup problem for the Raiders. Similar to what Marquez Valdes-Scantling achieved last week against Oakland, Stills, who is No. 1 among all WRs in yards per target (15.4), could catch a bomb or three. Slot corner Lamarcus Joyner and peripheral DB Daryl Worley have allowed a combined 103.8 passer rating and 1.33 yards per snap to receivers. Cherry on top, Oakland, as a whole, has given up the fourth-highest aDOT (9.2) to WRs.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 83 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.3 fantasy points

SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10% started in Yahoo leagues)

Alexander Mattison, Min, RB (2 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $16)
Matchup: vs. Was
Vegas Line/Total: Min -16, 41

In a place appropriately named Treasure Valley, a prolific football factory lies. It’s steadily churned out NFL ready running backs in recent years — Doug Martin and Jay Ajayi most notably. Mattison is the latest professionally engineered rusher from Boise to graduate to the next level.

The sidekick to stud Dalvin Cook, the rookie has performed admirably underneath the incumbent’s shadow. He hasn’t exactly boomed in the box score, but his secondary analytics suggest he possesses ample spark. On 56 grips, he’s blasted his way to 3.16 yards after contact per attempt, forcing a missed tackle on 17.9 percent of those touches. However, he’s notched a lowly 38 percent success rate according to Sharp Football Stats.

This is the week the Mattison posts princely numbers. Pay attention, bargain shoppers. Yes, it’s #TequilaThursday, a night when the unexpected usually becomes reality, but Washington, which has allowed 4.1 yards per carry, 153.0 total yards per game, six total TDs and the ninth-most fantasy points to RBs, is a predictable opponent. Against a forgiving front that ranks dead last in power-run defense, Mattison and his bruising style should rack chunk gains. He’s FLEX-y sexy at a minimum in 12-team leagues.

Fearless Forecast: 9 carries, 56 rushing yards, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 12.8 fantasy points

BONUS FLAMES (Under 60% started)

QB: Matthew Stafford, Det (Det -7; $32) – Clearly the best beer chugger among NFC North QBs, Stafford is hardly foamy for fantasy purposes. Quietly QB12 in fantasy points per game, he’s on pace to establish new career benchmarks in pass yards per attempt (8.0) and air yards per attempt (8.6). Many shied away from the passer due to Matt Patricia’s conservative lean, but with Kerryon Johnson very iffy for this week’s matchup, Stafford is a strong candidate to log his fifth multi-TD performance of the season. His opponent, the Giants, have shown improvement defending the pass in recent battles, but, for the most part, they’re an undisciplined army. They’ve surrendered 8.9 pass yards per attempt, 275.1 pass yards per game, 10 total passing TDs and the 11th-most fantasy points to the position. Adding fuel to the Stafford fire, New York slots inside the bottom-eight in aDOT allowed (8.8). Toss the Lion a steak. (FF: 279-3-0-7, 23.9 fpts)

RB: Chase Edmonds, Ari (NO -9.5; $16) – In hindsight, what Kliff Kingsbury pulled with David Johnson last week in New Jersey was a Richard move, one pulled from the Bill Belichick playbook. Admitting post game DJ was “need-based” only, Kingsbury dialed up work for Edmonds who delivered sensational numbers — 150 total yards and three scores on an exhaustive 29 touches. As witnessed against the Giants, don’t let the backup’s 5-foot-9, 210-pound fool you. He packs quite the wallop (3.25 YAC/att) despite his diminutive frame. It’s conceivable even if Johnson returns to the lead role, Edmonds has earned more opportunities. New Orleans has stiffened on defense in recent weeks, conceding 3.9 yards per carry and the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Still, in a game with a healthy total (48) and knowing the Saints have given up 6.1 receptions per contest to rushers, the dynamo oozes with FLEX-y sexiness. (FF: 6-29-4-38-1, 14.7 fpts)

RB: Austin Ekeler, LAC (Chi -4.5; $19) – On social media channels, outspoken Ekeler proponents have stated their stance clearly — he’s better than Melvin Gordon. The supportive evidence is mounting. Gordon, still in preseason mode, has lumbered, dragging his way to an uncomfortable amount of minimal gains. On 27 touches he’s managed an embarrassing 2.0 yards after contact per attempt. LA’s No. 26 run-blocking line has exacerbated the situation, but, as it stands, Ekeler is the more explosive RB. In a role reminiscent of Larry Centers, he’s flourished. Operating exclusively as a receiver late against Tennessee, he was nearly un-coverable whether in the slot or outside. He’s a major matchup headache for a dismayed Bears defense, down Akiem Hicks, which has allowed 7.5 receptions and 58 receiving yards per game to RBs. On another 7-9 targets, Ekeler finds the end zone for the fourth time in five games. (FF: 5-18-0, 5-52-1,15.5 fpts)

WR: A.J. Brown, Ten (Ten -2.5; $16) – Stacking Titans ratchets up the risk on par with consuming a dairy product well past its expiration date, but when your matchup is against Tampa, it’s well worth the possible indigestion. As discussed above, Tanny performed terrifically the past two weeks, taking shots downfield while displaying composure in the pocket. Brown, who reminds one of an unrefined Andre Johnson, is big-bodied target who’s made occasional noise. Among wideouts with at least 20 targets, he ranks top-10 in yards per catch (19.5), RAC per reception (8.57) and yards per target (11.9). In a ripe matchup against Tampa, he could set Hargreaves (120.8 passer rating, 1.64 yards/snap allowed) ablaze. Tampa, as a whole, has coughed up the third-most fantasy points to WRs. (FF: 4-72-1, 15.2 fpts)

TE: Jimmy Graham, GB (GB -4.5; $14) – Once viewed as an indispensable starter, Graham now has fantasy managers hemming and hawing week-to-week. The accumulated nicks and scrapes may have diminished his dominance, but in these lean TE times, believe it or not, Graham is still a back-end TE1. He’s No. 7 in overall target separation and continues to be a sore thumb for Aaron Rodgers inside the red zone. With the QB playing at a superhuman level, the goal-post dunker is worth plugging in against Kansas City. T.J. Hockenson is the only tight end to cross the chalk versus the Chiefs this year, but the AFC West reps rank inside the top-five in total receptions and yards allowed to the position. With or without Davante Adams in uniform, odds are substantial Rodgers locks, loads and fires at Graham some 5-7 times. (FF: 4-39-1, 11.9 fpts)

DST: Pittsburgh Steelers (Pit -14.5; $21) – Straight from the “No (expletive) Sherlock” handbook, the Steelers are this week’s ultimate stream defense. Surging before the bye, they’ve yielded a bumper crop of fantasy points, ranking No. 4 in points per game. In six contests, they accumulated 20 sacks and forced 15 turnovers. Miami surprised last week with Ryan Fitzpatrick back at the helm, but against a team he actually hasn’t played for, the REVENGE GAME! narrative doesn’t apply. Dolphins passers have been sacked 4.0 times per game this season. As a unit, Miami has gifted defenses 13 total turnovers while netting a mere 10.5 points per game. Pittsburgh is pricey, but it’s worth the wallet slap. (FF: 10 PA, 5 SCKs, 2 TO, TD, 20.0 fpts)

Each week one fortunate guest prognosticator will have a chance to silence the Noise. Following the rules stated above, participants are asked to submit their “Flames” (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?


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