Week 7 Fantasy Flames: Meredith enters must-start territory

Every Wednesday the Noise highlights 12 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 using the scoring system shown here (Thresholds – QB: 18 fpts, RB: 13 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.

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Andy Dalton, Cin, QB (19 percent started, $31)
Matchup: vs. Cle
Despite Terrelle Pryor’s ongoing virtual game heroics, the winless Chihuahuas are indeed a doormat in virtually every other facet, particularly through the air. With or without the services of corner Joe Haden, they’ve conceded an appalling 8.3 pass yards per attempt, 295.3 pass yards per game and 2.7 pass touchdowns per game. More specifically, Haden’s replacement, Brien Boddy-Calhoun is giving up 20.2 fantasy points per game to his assignments. Look, when Ryan Tannehill compiles a stat line worthy of a top-10 ranking against you, that sums up your putridity. Reaching the 20-point threshold only twice this season, the Red Rifle has largely fired blanks. Though his air yards per attempt and passer rating are trending in the wrong direction compared to last year, he remains a highly recommended stream option/DFS purchase. A season ago in a pair of Buckeye State battles he totaled six touchdowns (one rush) and averaged just shy of 23 fantasy points per game. Stack the heck out of Dalton and A.J. Green.

Fearless Forecast: 298 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 8 rushing yards, 20.7 fantasy points

Spencer Ware, KC, RB (15 percent started, $23)
Matchup: vs. NO
In the late 80s/early 90s, the Chiefs featured a 1-2 thunder-punch in their backfield. During that time of hair metal, “Die Hard” flicks (Yippee ki yay!) and big-eared, demonic talking fur-balls, Christian Okoye and Barry Word rolled would-be tackers on traditional and pixilated fields (Tecmo Super Bowl!). Flash forward nearly three decades later and another KC rushing duo has defenses cowering in fear. Jamaal Charles and Ware are well on their way to flattening the opposition on a weekly basis. Last Sunday inside the sloppy Coliseum, the pair totaled 210 yards and two touchdowns versus Oakland. Ware, though, dominated snaps (39-to-15), workload (26-to-11 touches) and efficiency (6.3 ypt to 4.3 ypt), showing the power, burst and versatility that rocketed him out of the gate Week 1.

Some will contend Charles was merely getting his feet wet, but he’s a near 30-year-old RB with a high odometer reading off his second major knee procedure who might be best served playing second fiddle. It’s clear based on recent comments muttered by offensive coordinator Brad Childress and Andy Reid, a rotational backfield is a preferred strategy in order to maintain RB freshness. With KC rushers netting just over 30 attempts per game, a 60-40, or maybe 70-30, Ware-JC distribution is a predictable outcome. No matter how the scale tilts both have sound odds of landing inside the position’s top-15. The Aints are living down to their nickname yielding chunk play after chunk play. On the year, opposing RBs have netted 153.2 total yards per game, 4.5 yards per carry and scored 11 total TDs, good for the most fantasy points allowed. Ware, who ranks No. 2 in total yards per game (129.2) and inside the RB top-10 in numerous secondary measurements including yards per touch, yards after contact per game and breakaway runs, is a near unrivaled start.

Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 118 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 17 receiving yards, 1 touchdowns, 20.5 fantasy points

Matt Jones, Was, RB (28 percent started, $18)
Matchup: at Det
Necco Wafers. All menu items from Pizza Hutt. A one-eyed basset hound with a thyroid condition. Over the past few months, these are descriptions this hair-challenged loudmouth applied to Jones and his generally lethargic profile. Mea culpa. Pulverizing watered-down expectations, the bruising back has regularly thrashed the competition. His minimized pass-game role (8 receptions in 8 games) and ongoing ball-security concerns (two fumbles lost) still has his supporters on edge, but, for the most part, Jones has trucked over would-be tacklers. Totaling 62.6 percent of the opportunity share, he’s averaged a commendable 4.9 yards per carry and 2.9 YAC. Most terrifically, he’s juke rate standing has jumped from No. 71 last year to No. 24. Overall, he’s an improved, more polished product from the occasional catastrophe witnessed last year. Props. This week, the Jones Jamboree is ready to rock Ford Field. Though the Lions tuck inside the top-10 in fewest fantasy points allowed to RBs, it sorely lacks quality on a per carry basis surrendering 5.0 ypc to the position. In other words, their outward reputation of being an unforgiving matchup is completely misleading. It’s time we, as a fantasy community, respect the 28 percent started rusher. In Week 7, he needs to be employed with the utmost confidence. Jones is a preferred option over LeGarrette Blount (at Pit), Mark Ingram (at KC) and Matt Forte (vs. Bal).

Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 93 rushing yards, 1 reception, 6 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.5 fantasy points

Cameron Meredith, Chi, WR (31 percent started, $22)
Matchup: at GB
Saying Brian Hoyer is efficient is comparable to saying Tim Tebow is a top baseball prospect. Though the divine healer doesn’t remotely measure up to his description, the Bears quarterback, almost impossibly, does. The anti-Cutler, Hoyer has spread the ball around effectively and accurately focusing on moving the chains instead of force feeding Alshon Jeffery. In four starts, the results are nothing short of remarkable. He’s eclipsed 300 passing yards in each contest, played mistake-free football and totaled six touchdowns. Under the surface, his metrics are even more surprising as he ranks top-10 in deep-ball attempts, competition percentage and passer rating. Part of the reason for Hoyer’s sudden ascension is Meredith. A converted quarterback from Illinois St., the previous unknown has stolen the “A” stage. Attracting 27 targets (29.9 percent of the team’s share) over the past two weeks, he’s hauled in 20 receptions for 243 yards and a score. Equipped with a wide catch radius, defender-miffing agility and highly reliable hands (74.3 catch percentage), the youngster is quickly developing a WR2 reputation. More fruitful results are on tap Thursday. Much has been said about Green Bay’s dysfunctional offense, but it’s secondary is equally bankrupt. Injuries and ineptitude at defensive back have established an open door policy for any and all QBs. As a result, the Packers have conceded 8.3 pass yards per attempt. Also alarming, corner Ladarius Gunter is yielding 25.8 fantasy points per game. Hello opportunity! Meredith is a high-ceiling, low-floor option in Week 7.

Fearless Forecast: 8 receptions, 103 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 20.3 fantasy points

Meredith's string of 100-yard games will extend to three says Brad Evans. (Getty)
Meredith’s string of 100-yard games will extend to three says Brad Evans. (Getty)

Tavon Austin, LA, WR (38 percent started, $16)
Matchup: vs. NYG (London)
On pace for over 1,300 yards, Kenny Britt is the brightest starlet currently in the Rams wide receiving corps. But the team’s version of Kevin Hart – Austin is a pint-sized dude – is about to take the lead role. Though he’s garnered 26.9 percent of LA’s target share and has been utilized in various capacities, the plucky wideout simply isn’t bestowing many fantasy gifts. His No. 77 rank in fantasy points per snap and No. 54 standing in points per game among WRs has many owners debating to cut him loose. Austin, though, should rediscover his game across the pond. By and large, the Giants secondary has performed admirably this season. It’s surrendered just 6.4 yards per attempt and only one 100-yard receiver. However, it has struggled bottling up underneath, slot-oriented receivers. Cole Beasley, Brandin Cooks, Jamison Crowder and Randall Cobb each posted starter-worthy lines against the Giants. According to Player Profiler, slot corner Leon Hall has given up an appreciable 13.2 fantasy points per game. Austin is undoubtedly a grazer, a high-volume receiver who merely nibbles on defenses, but thrust into an exploitable situation this will be one of the rare instances he swallows the competition whole, especially with DCs now fixated on handling Britt.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 59 receiving yards, 13 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 16.2 fantasy points

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WEEK 7 SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10 percent started)

Colin Kaepernick, SF, QB (2 percent started, $24)
Matchup: vs. TB
Unquestionably, Kaepernick is the most divisive figure in sports. His Anthem kneels and ongoing fight against social injustice has sparked much conversation on both sides, the motivation. No matter where you stand on the controversy, one thing is for certain, the newly installed starter is a fantastic plug ‘n play option, especially for crestfallen Ben Roethlisberger owners. Back under center for the first time since Week 8 last year, the protein-deficient passer was fantasy viable in a lopsided loss at Buffalo. His 44.9 completion percentage and 6.4 pass yards per attempt were reprehensible, but his scoring duality (187-1-66, 18.1 fantasy points) certainly left riverboat gamblers satisfied. Because of Chip Kelly’s desire to feature his QB as a running threat and due to San Francisco’s persistent defensive inadequacies, he should continue to mimic Tyrod Taylor in production terms. This week, however, he may resemble Cam Newton. Tampa’s D is an abomination, vertically speaking. The Bucs are allowing 8.4 yards per attempt and 289.9 pass yards per game. At a granular level, Alterraun Verner has hogtied his assignments, but Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves, who’ve been far more forgiving, are giving up a combined 12.0 fantasy points per game. Admittedly, it’s a reach, but in a matchup based game and given his bottom basement price, it’s wise to call on Kap.

Fearless Forecast: 208 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 51 rushing yards, 21.4 fantasy points


Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 7.02.34 PM
Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 7.02.34 PM

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: 15-27

Noise season record: 25-47 (Week 6: 4-8 – W: Dak Prescott, Spencer Ware, James White, Lance Kendricks; L: Trevor Siemian, Ryan Mathews, Will Fuller, DGB, John Brown, Jalen Richard, Brandon LaFell, Houston D/ST)

Follow Brad on Twitter (@YahooNoise) and check out his new TV show, ‘The Fantasy Football Hour,’ Wednesdays on Altitude TV (Channel 681 on DirecTV, 412 on DISH).