Week 7 Flames: Ageless wonders ready to shock the fantasy world

Yahoo Sports

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). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 7 Flames in the comments section below.

Rookie Jones to show veteran moxie vs. Arizona

Daniel Jones, NYG, QB (8 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $26)
Matchup: vs. Ari
Vegas Line/Total: NYG -2.5, 49

On a chilly October night in Foxborough with gusty winds and the threat of rain, Jones trotted onto the field to face Goliath, the New England Patriots. Favored by a whopping 17 points, the Pats, naturally, handled business. Outside of an explosive downfield TD strike to Golden Tate, the rookie showed his youth tossing three interceptions while notching an unsightly 55.6 adjusted completion percentage. Don’t blame the QB. Without Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard and Wayne Gallman, he tossed balls to dudes who appeared to have crossed a strike line. Against the stingiest defense in the land, the woeful outcome was entirely predictable.

Expected to have almost his entire battery back — Shepard remains very questionable — Jones should again resemble the dazzling greenhorn who captured fantasy hearts and minds Week 3 in Tampa.

New York’s opponent, Arizona, will receive its own boost. Patrick Peterson is set to return form a six-game suspension. The former All-Pro corner, who allowed an 82.5 passer rating and 57.7 catch percentage a season ago, is a desperately needed upgrade for a unit ravaged by the pass. Without Peterson, the Cardinals surrendered 8.5 yards per attempts, 296.0 pass yards per game, 2.7 passing TDs per game and the most fantasy points to signal-callers.

Arizona’s soft exterior may be hardening but given New York’s presumed returnees and Jones’ multi-dimensional capabilities, he’s a likely top-half contributor in Week 7. He and Engram smother the Birds in sauce.

Fearless Forecast: 258 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 18 rushing yards, 18.1 fantasy points

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Buffalo’s elder statesman to mash Miami

Frank Gore, Buf, RB (15 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $18)
Matchup: vs. Mia
Vegas Line/Total: Buf -16.5, 39.5

Despite predating Niagara Falls and Nosferatu, the Betty White of running backs, Franklin Delano Gore, continues to truck through various whippersnappers. The man, who will one day have a bust displayed in Canton, is showing no signs of slowing down at 36 years young. With 3,918 total touches and over 15,000 rush yards to his name, it’s amazing how he’s stiff armed Father Time. On pace for his 10th 1,000-yard season, he’s consistently carried the mail for the Bills, notching an impressive 3.05 yards after contact per attempt. Rested off the bye he may surrender more work to Devin Singletary, who’s battled a hamstring injury for weeks, but even if his share is reduced to 13-15 touches, he’s easily a top-20 option in Week 6.

Why? It’s the Filet ‘o Fish. When it comes to next-level incompetence, only Freddie Kitchens’ decision-making is in the same realm.

Outside of LB Raekwon McMillian, Miami doesn’t boast a single defender inside the top-115 in run-stop percentage. Not one. Considering they’ve allowed 4.8 yards per carry, 150.2 rush yards per game, nine total touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to the position, it’s an unsurprising factoid. According to Football Outsiders, the ‘Fins also rank hellishly in average line yards surrendered per game.

Bottom line, Gore, similar to fellow relic Adrian Peterson last week, may not need his usual Centrum Silver dosage to crack the top-20.

Fearless Forecast: 19 attempts, 101 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 0 receptions, 16.1 fantasy points

A dream matchup against Miami should only add to Frank Gore's Hall of Fame resume. (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A dream matchup against Miami should only add to Frank Gore's Hall of Fame resume. (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Royce to finally roll into end zone

Royce Freeman, Den, RB (21 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $14)
Matchup: vs. KC
Vegas Line/Total: KC -3.5, 49

For your grandmother, it’s her Precious Moments figurines. For your middle-school aged niece, it’s anything and everything Shawn Mendes. For you, it’s an In ‘n Out double double with a side of fries, animal style. Obsessions come in all forms. For yours truly, it’s not only smooth anejos, but a strange craving for young NFL running backs with a penchant for disappointment.

Call me a masochist.

Entangled in a full-blown timeshare with Phillip Lindsay, Freeman has performed better than his surface numbers may indicate. Yes, he’s not yet found the end zone, but his 20-plus broken tackle percentage, 3.13 yards after contact per attempt and 61.7 elusive rating (RB19) continue to rank handsomely at the position. Convincing the stubborn he isn’t a bust is a fruitless task, but the sensible understand his efficiency.

This week, Lindsay and the Rolls Royce should flatten the competition. Their opponent, Kansas City, is a rickety screen door defending the run. As Carlos Hyde and countless others have proven, the Chiefs have struggled thwarting power backs. They’ve also allowed 4.8 receptions per game to RBs. In total, they’ve yielded 5.2 yards per carry, 177.5 total yards per contest, five combined touchdowns and the third-most fantasy points to rushers.

Freeman’s plowing, fall forward style and expanded contributions in the pass game suggest he could post his finest effort of the 2019 season.

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 64 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 31 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.5 fantasy points

Gallup a likely shining star against Philly

Michael Gallup, Dal, WR (58 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $26)
Matchup: vs. Phi
Vegas Line/Total: Dal -3, 48.5

When crunching college tape on Gallup in the weeks leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft a particular skill leapt off the screen — route running. People can talk up straight-line speed, physical stature and burst scores, convinced they’ll translate seamlessly to the next level, but a receiver’s ability to deceive through footwork is the most transferable characteristic. On film, Gallup undoubtedly possessed it.

He occasionally flashed sharp cuts last season, but wet behind the ears it wasn’t until this past offseason he tapped into his potential. Throughout August, Gallup made acrobatic catches seem routine. His route-selling and high-point abilities befuddled Dallas’ above average secondary. Carrying over into the regular season, he’s amassed the 15th-most valuable WR line in points per game, averaging 2.80 yards per route (WR5) and 10.8 yards per target. With Amari Cooper likely sidelined by a quad injury, he’ll see bigger challenges against more talented DBs, but expect the sophomore to take full advantage of the expanded opportunity.

This week, the star will emit more luminosity. The rival Eagles, who generously resurrected Stefon Diggs from the fantasy grave last week, present a superb matchup. On the year, Philly has given up 8.9 pass yards per attempt and the most fantasy points to WRs. Gallup’s presumed assignment, Sidney Jones, has conceded a 104.4 passer rating and 1.76 yards per snap. A top-20 play in Week 7, the sophomore needs to be saddled up in just about any sized league.

Fearless Forecast: 7 receptions, 109 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 20.4 fantasy points

(GIF by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)
(GIF by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

MVS last man standing in Green Bay

Marques Valdez-Scantling, GB, WR (29 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $16)
Matchup: vs. Oak
Vegas Line/Total: GB -6.5, 46.5

Sourcing WebMD, turf toe is an extremely painful ligament sprain around the big piggy. It’s crippling for any athlete whose business emphasizes sprinting and cutting. Davante Adams, affected by the setback, has openly confessed he won’t return until the hinderance is fully healed. Due to his vague timetable, he remains highly questionable for this week’s tilt against visiting Oakland. Primary slot receiver Geronimo Allison, too, is a wildcard due to a concussion.

With other marquee names Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham and JuJu Smith-Schuster on a one-week vacation, taking the risk on the inconsistent MVS is a recommended move. Only WR48 in overall production, he’s surpassed 10 fantasy points in a single contest just once. Equally profitless, he’s logged a bland 7.8 yards per target and 1.34 yards per route, each placing him outside the WR top-50 in both categories. His length and deep-ball rapport with Aaron Rodgers, though, indicate he’s a bankable WR3 in 12-team leagues.

So does the matchup.

Oakland has made strides defensively under Jon Gruden, but defending the pass continues to be a bugaboo. As a unit, the Raiders have allowed 8.0 pass yards per attempt and the fifth-most fantasy points to WRs. CB Daryl Worley, MVS’ expected assignment, has been a bright spot allowing a 79.8 passer rating and 0.99 yards per snap. Still, likely without Adams, who’s netted 9.0 targets per game, the receiver’s possible workload surge is worth the emotional investment. Whether it’s him, Jimmy Graham, Allen Lazard or Jake Kumerow someone has to catch the ball.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 67 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 14.7 fantasy points

SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10% started in Yahoo leagues)

Dante Pettis, SF, WR (3 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $11)
Matchup: at Was
Vegas Line/Total: SF -10, 42

Remember this guy? Exiled on Alcatraz after a horrendous preseason, Pettis has become an afterthought. The once popular “sleeper” in early fantasy drafts is wading in over 80 percent of Yahoo free agent pools. In a crushing bye week and off a game in which he a recorded a season-high 47 snaps and set new 2019 benchmarks in targets (six) and yards (45), the castaway is worth tossing a line for. Burrowed in Kyle Shanhan’s doghouse for weeks, is he starting the regain the coach’s trust?

Washington might as well be renamed the Labradors. It greets every opposing wide receiver with a friendly tail wag. Past the halfway mark of the fantasy regular season, the lovable defense has allowed 7.4 yards per attempt, the second-most touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points to WRs. In total, eight receivers have crossed the 10-point fantasy point threshold against it. Pettis, who’s lined up in the slot 44.7 percent of the time, will see a mixture of Fabian Moreau (101.4 passer rating, 88.9 catch% allowed) and Josh Norman (134.2, 73.5) in coverage, the two most exploitable DBs the club has to offer.

Slowly and quietly, Pettis is on a path to save fantasy face.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 62 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 13.7 fantasy points

BONUS FLAMES (Under 60% started)

QB: Jared Goff, LAR (LAR -3; $33) – The “it” team in the NFL last season, the Rams have affixed a “sh” prefix since. Embattled by injuries, an unreliable ground game, inefficient offensive line and various glaring miscues, Sean McVay’s system, predicated on play-action, has emitted a foul odor. As a result, Goff’s numbers have fallen off a cliff, most notably in yards per attempt (‘18: 8.3 ypa; ‘19: 7.0). With only a pair of multi-TD performances to his name, many have damned him to the stream-only ranks. However, this is the week he rebounds. With or without CB Desmond Trufant, the Falcons serve up platefuls of points. This year, they’ve surrendered 8.6 yards per attempt, 276.0 pass yards per game, 15 total pass TDs and the third-most fantasy points to QBs. (FF: 303-3-1, 23.1 fpts)

RB: Jordan Howard, Phi (Dal -3; $20) – Philadelphia’s road grader, who Doug Pederson said earned a larger role entering Week 6, is the ultimate TD or bust back. Yes, he registered a season-high 63.1 snap percentage last week, but with only 49 yards on 13 carries, he led buyers to the poorhouse. Against soft opponents, he’s raked, evidenced by the five TDs logged against Detroit, Green Bay and the Jets. Dallas, terribly mortal against the run, could again have the veteran cashing pay dirt multiple times. On the year, the Cowpokes have given up 4.5 yards per carry and the most rushing TDs to RBs (7). Howard, working behind the most efficient run-blocking line in the league, powers his way to at least one score. (FF: 14-66-1,1-7-0, 13.8 fpts)

RB: Carlos Hyde, Hou (Ind -1; $23) – The trickle down impacts of Houston’s explosive vertical attack have certainly benefited Hyde. Once believed to be washed, the journeyman is bubbling with reinvigorated juice. He’s notched modest numbers in YAC per attempt (2.77) and missed tackle percentage (18.0), but attached to a multi-dimensional passer and shouldering a hefty workload (16.5 att/g), he’s transformed into a somewhat dependable RB2 in 12-team leagues. This Sunday, in a contest with a 50-plus total, he encounters the Colts and their bendable run defense. Indy ranks top-10 in fewest fantasy points allowed to RBs, but that placement is deceiving. It’s given up 4.7 yards per carry to the position. Bank on Hyde finding the end zone for the fourth time in five games. (FF: 18-67-1-1-4-0, 13.6 fpts)

WR: Christian Kirk, Ari (NYG -2.5; $19) – A late scratch last week after practicing on a limited basis, Kirk, barring a setback, should return from an ankle sprain. If active, he demands your attention. When on the field this season, the wideout has cranked the volume. He’s totaled 37 targets in four games, the same number of looks Brandin Cooks and Emmanuel Sanders lured in six contests. If gifted DeAndre Baker, expect him to tee off. The rookie corner has allowed 17.9 yards per catch and the second-highest passer rating of any CB (148.6). This very well could be the week Kirk finally splashes six. (FF: 6-77-1, 16.7 fpts)

TE: Jason Witten, Dal (Dal -3; $14) – No longer sporting spray-on hair and dropping pearls of wisdom like “pulling a rabbit out of the head,” Witten has returned to his zone-gashing ways. Though he lumbers like Mr. Larson from Happy Gilmore, the advanced aged tight end has made a noticeable impact. His TE10 standing is not only a sign an apocalyptic asteroid is nearing, but it’s exemplary of how unproductive the position has been. Still, as discussed with Gallup above, any Dak Prescott targets are worth starting against Philly. Yes, the Eagles have surrendered just 4.6 receptions per game, 48.7 yards per game and two scores to TEs, but with 26.1 percent of the target share available, someone will pick up the slack with Cooper likely out. Witten, who’s crossed 50 yards in three of the past four weeks, is a sound bet to fill the void. (FF: 4-52-1, 13.2 fpts)

DST: Green Bay Packers (GB -6.5; $16) – San Francisco and Buffalo, if available, are obvious must acquires, but Green Bay also warrants your streaming consideration. Just inside the top-12 in DST output, the Pack has successfully attacked the pocket (18 sacks) and forced numerous turnovers (11). They will need to stiffen in the trenches to marginalize Josh Jacobs, but with Derek Carr under center overloading the box is a safe calculation. Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith and Kyler Fackrell, who each rank top-15 in pass rush productivity per PFF, will consistently breathe down Carr’s neck. (FF: 16 PA, 328 YDSA, 4 SCK, 2 TO, 11.0 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?

Reader record: 17-21

Brad’s record: 31-38 (Week 6 results: 6-5; W: Curtis Samuel, Kirk Cousins, Duke Johnson, Tevin Coleman, Terry McLaurin, Denver DST; L: Gardner Minshew, Mohamed Sanu, Josh Gordon, Preston Williams, Noah Fant, Gus Edwards; DNP: Christian Kirk)

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also check out his TV show, “The Fantasy Football Hour,” now available in 91 million households on various regional sports networks, along with his work on the “Yahoo Sports Fantasy Podcast” and his award-nominated podcast, “The Fantasy Record.

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