Week 7 Fantasy Flames: Patience to pay off for hungry Michael owners

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 Every Wednesday the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, un-obvious 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 using the scoring system shown here (Thresholds – QB: 18 fpts, RB: 13 fpts, WR: 11 fpts: TE: 10 fpts). If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 7 Flames in the comments section below.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ, QB (6 percent started, $35 in Yahoo Daily)

Matchup: at NE
Not only does the NFL's 'Lorax' speak for the trees, he also brings fantasy opponents to their knees. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but Fitzpatrick has profited handsomely in favorable matchups this season. Three times he's surpassed 20 fantasy points using Yahoo default scoring, including last week's top-five effort against Washington. Overall, he's the 13th-best signal caller in the virtual game. Fitzmagic's familiarity with Chan Gailey's aggressive vertical system, rushing ability and dynamite weapons in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker have raised his fantasy profile. Chris Ivory, who has ground opponents into dust, has also greatly assisted his production by lightening secondaries. Big picture, the Jets are an underrated offense. If Fitzpatrick maintains his current  3,779 passing yards, 29 passing TD pace, he would establish a new career-best in fantasy points per game. This week, he'll get one step closer. New England's secondary is average at best. It's surrendered a modest 7.03 pass yards per attempt, but three QBs (Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles and Andrew Luck) tossed two or more scores against it. Digging deeper, corners Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan have allowed a 63.2 catch rate to their assignments. Collectively, the Pats have conceded the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs. In a game with shootout appeal (49.5 over/under in Vegas), Fitzpatrick is the perfect one-week remedy for Aaron Rodgers enthusiasts. 

Fearless Forecast: 29-44, 284 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 21 rushing yards, 20.5 fantasy points

Christine Michael, Dal, RB (3 percent started, $13)

Matchup: at NYG
The hype surrounding Michael is the stuff of fantasy lore. His zealots believe he could out-run a plutonium-powered DeLorean at top speed or deflect an apocalyptic asteroid with one punch. Heck, even the Most Interesting Man in the World probably finds him fascinating. But in reality, he's a one-dimensional rusher who's visibly deficient in pass protection and pass catching. Still, as Dallas RBs coach Gary Brown said last week, the team, desperate to establish a consistent ground game, is preparing to "take the reins off" Michael and "let him rock." The former TAMU standout is an explosive, thickly built (5-foot-10, 220-pounds) athletic specimen with solid cutting and yards after contact skills. He's shown his ability to break big gainers in the preseason, though his off-the-page numbers were accomplished against future insurance salesmen. However, with Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden floundering, his time is now. He should log upwards of 15 touches this week in New York. The Giants, compared to previous seasons, are rather unyielding defending the run. They've given up just 3.77 yards per carry and 61.7 rush yards per game to RB1s. But six backs, including DeMarco Murray last week, have scored at least 12 fantasy points against them (.5 PPR). If Matt Cassel isn't a dumpster fire, Michael should deliver a RB2 line in 12-team league running behind the league's best offensive line. 

Fearless Forecast: 15 attempts, 77 rushing yards, 1 receptions, 4 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.6 fantasy points

Ryan Mathews, Phi, RB (11 percent started, $14)

Matchup: at Car
If Mathews wants to recreate the famous scene from 'Ghost,' I will gladly be Demi Moore. As stated repeatedly in this space, I can't quit the guy, despite the seemingly endless trail of heartache and un-obtained fortune. Though he's outperformed DeMarco in several categories including missed tackles percentage (21.6 vs.18.3), yards after contact rate (66.8 YAC% vs. 56.6) and yards per carry (4.8 vs. 3.4), Mathews continues to play the role of Robin in Chip Kelly's split backfield. When on the field, usually 20-25 snaps per game, he's shown impressive decisiveness, quickness and versatility. Due to the light workload (10.0 touches per game), he's been deployed most often in the FLEX for fantasy purposes, but with Matt Forte,Gio Bernard/Jeremy Hill, Eddie Lacy and Denver's unpalatable RBs on bye, Mathews is worth employing as a RB2 in deeper formats. Because of Carolina's ridiculous efforts versus the pass, teams are running on it early and often. The Panthers have given up a mere 3.61 yards per carry to tugboats, but four RBs have crossed the 12 fantasy point threshold against this unit over the past three weeks, including Doug Martin and his TD thrice in Week 5. Unlike sorrowful Sam Bradford, the Philly ground game has established some consistency. Given the matchup, it will undoubtedly be the featured component in Kelly's game plan. Don't bank on a massive uptick in touches, but Mathews should produce a borderline RB2 line on roughly 11-13 grips. 

Fearless Forecast: 10 carries, 54 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.6 fantasy points

Tavon Austin, StL, WR (12 percent started, $21)

Matchup: vs. Cle
Austin's burst and quick-twitch are prairie dog-like. He's an undersized, versatile weapon who's surprisingly cracked the WR top-30 in per game average through six weeks. According to Pro Football Focus, his 0.33 fantasy points per opportunity ranks No. 14 among WRs. He's recorded just one 40-plus yard game, but his 24.8 rushing yards per game have padded the bottom line. Crazily, he's outpaced such receiving luminaries as Jarvis Landry, T.Y. Hilton and Jordan Matthews. He could further establish his WR3 presence this week against Cleveland. With or without Joe Haden, the Browns present an advantageous matchup. Tramon Williams has performed marvelously (45.0 catch% allowed), but Haden replacement, Pierre Desir, has underachieved. On 205 snaps, he's surrendered a 100.1 QB rating to his assignments. In total, seven wideouts have tallied double-digit fantasy point performances versus the Browns. Off the bye and on the slightly charred track in St. Louis, Austin finds the end zone for the fourth time in his past three games. 

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 43 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 19 rushing yards, 14.7 fantasy points

[Week 7 rankings: Quarterback | Running Back | Receiver | Flex | Tight End | All Positions]

Stefon Diggs, Min, WR (2 percent started, $16)
Matchup: at Det
Whenever the rookie's name is mentioned, the Rock's famous line naturally reverberates in my head. Dropping an elbow on the competition over the past two weeks – he's totaled 13 receptions (on 19 targets) for 216 yards – Diggs is not only a must-add, but near must-play this week at Detroit. Standing at 6-feet, 190-pounds, the youngster is a slender, smooth target who's sailed past underwhelming Mike Wallace as Teddy Bridgewater's main man. His suddenness in space, body control and respectable speed (4.46 40-yard dash) are reminiscent of his former college coach Keenan McCardell's. After Diggs' thrashing of KC, Terrance Newman, obviously drunk on recency bias, went as far to declare him a "potential Hall of Famer down the road." Wallace also compared him to Antonio Brown. Bold. This week Diggs will take one step closer to Canton. The Hello Kitties are extremely exploitable versus the pass. Starting DBs, Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis have allowed a combined 64.2 catch percentage. More disastrous, Slay is giving up 15.8 yards per catch and a 124.3 QB rating. Overall, Detroit has conceded the ninth-most fantasy points to WRs. Bridgewater has disappointed massively even against charitable defenses, but Diggs is a trustworthy WR3 based on his recent efforts. 

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 96 receiving yards, 0 touchdown, 12.4 fantasy points

SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10 percent started)

Robert Woods, Buf, WR (1 percent started, $11)

Matchup: vs. Jax (in London) 
If Woods were James Bond, he would be Roger Moore, a drab figure who typically churns out low-quality lines. But in the Land of Shaken Martinis, he's a reasonable WR3 option in a bye-heavy week. Buffalo's wide receiver corps is depleted, to say the least. Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin could miss multiple games with various ailments. Their absence paves the way for Woods and Chris Hogan to earn more looks behind top target Charles Clay. In 36 career games, the former Trojan has accumulated 10 ore more fantasy points in a game an uneventful seven times. Still, the friendly matchup and projected generous workload (8-10 targets) are alluring. Jacksonville has made strides defensively under Gus Bradley, but remains leaky. Five wideouts have eclipsed 75 yards against it this season. More specifically, corners Davon House and Aaron Colvin have surrendered a combined 97.2 QB rating to their assignments. It's doubtful he'll go all DeAndre Hopkins, but he could meet or exceed Jerricho Cotchery's effort (4-45-1) against the Jags Week 1. If you're actively seeking an upside WR3/FLEX play in 12-team leagues, don't be afraid to venture into the Woods. 

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.9 fantasy points



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?

Reader Record: 18-26

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here).