Week 12 Fantasy Flames: Dion Lewis to gobble up yards in New York

Every week 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 12 Flames in the comments section below.

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Dak Prescott, Dal, QB (36 percent started, $34 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. Was
Drew Bledsoe to Tom Brady. Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers. Transitions are rarely seamless. It’s during these turbulent times feelings are often hurt, grudges form and uncertainty sets in, especially if the person replaced still believes he/she can execute at a high level. Dallas is just the latest example. Tony Romo’s eloquently stated acceptance of his backup position was a difficult pill for him to swallow. Though supportive of Prescott, his disappointment in last week’s presser was apparent. But Jerry Jones’ decision to stick with the rookie was the appropriate action. The Dak Attack has feasted on defenses. His remarkable poise, accuracy and football I.Q. are rather extraordinary. Including his three-TD thumping of Baltimore last week, he’s topped 20 fantasy points in a game five times. If he maintains his current pace, he’ll join Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III as the only first-year passers to total at least 300 fantasy points. That’s how special the MVP candidate’s season has been. On Turkey Day, expect him to get one step closer. Josh Norman has lived up to his lock-down billing, often making QBs and WRs uncomfortable. He’s yielded a 29.7 passer rating to his assignments. However, Bashaud Breeland and Washington’s flimsy safeties have allowed passing attacks to often work uninhibited. On the year, Washington has given up 7.5 passing yards per attempt and 277.1 passing yards per game. In his first Thanksgiving Day tilt, Dak deep-fries the NFC East rival.

Fearless Forecast: 269 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 19 rushing yards, 20.7 fantasy points

[Week 12 rankings: Overall | FLEX | QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF | K]

Tim Hightower, NO, RB (18 percent started, $16)
Matchup: vs. LA
The look on your face when grandma passes the cranberry sauce and strongly encourages you to eat up as there’s another can in the kitchen … That expression, #TeamHuevos, is the typical reaction fantasy owners have when forced to insert Hightower into their lineup. In terms of baseline talents, the rusher possesses few redeeming qualities. He’s no gazelle in the open field, owns only average power (2.4 YAC in ’16) and is almost entirely volume dependent. Still, his tacky hands, respectable 4.2 yards per carry and trust from Sean Payton suggests he’s a mostly reliable option in Week 12. Mark Ingram, who was concussed last Thursday in Carolina, is no guarantee to play. Even if available, he could play second fiddle, elevating Hightower into the driver’s seat in New Orleans’ timeshare. If named the starter, Timmay should be considered a borderline top-20 option, particularly in PPR formats. Los Angeles’ front is more vulnerable than most believe. Yes, it extinguished a white hot Jay Ajayi last week, holding him to 84 total yards, but over 11 games seven bulldozers pushed their way over the 10-fantasy point mark against it. The Rams have also surrendered 4.5 yards per carry to RBs since Week 4. Running behind one of the league’s nastiest offensive lines, Hightower should deliver succulent numbers inside the Superdome. Weigh his RB2/FLEX upside in 12-team leagues.

Fearless Forecast: 16 attempts, 69 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 26 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.5 fantasy points

Dion Lewis, NE, RB (9 percent started, $13)
Matchup: at NYJ
One of the biggest surprises of 2015 was undoubtedly Lewis. Kicked to the curb by the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts prior, the spirited RB signed with the Pats and became an instant impact player. Metaphorically covered in Crisco, he was the most elusive RB in the league last fall, evading an absurd 6.8 tackles per game. His nimble feet, quick twitch and reliable hands made him almost impossible to cover in the short field. Over seven games, he averaged 14.8 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues, good for the eighth-best output at the position. Now fully recovered from a torn ACL and with a game under his belt, he’s on the verge of returning to the RB2 class. He saw only sporadic action last week in San Francisco logging eight touches and 49 total yards on 21 snaps, but his tackle-shaking form was clearly on display. Niners safety Jaquiski Tartt, who Lewis completely fooled for a 12-yard gain, probably thought he was a ghost. This week, bank on an uptick in playing time. The Paper Planes have flown straight into the trash bin. Woes on offense and in pass coverage have them wallowing in the AFC East’s basement. However, New York sports a formidable run defense, a unit that’s surrendered just 3.9 yards per carry. Due to the Jets’ rigidity up front, offensive coordinators have often employed RBs as receivers, evidenced in the 5.4 receptions and 41.7 receiving yards they’ve allowed to the position. James White and LeGarrette Blount will still be heavily involved, but gut says this is the week Lewis resembles the incredibly dangerous rusher of last fall.

Fearless Forecast: 7 carries, 29 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 40 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.4 fantasy points

Lewis is about to shake and bake his way to solid RB2 numbers in Week 12. (Getty)
Lewis is about to shake and bake his way to solid RB2 numbers in Week 12. (Getty)

James Starks, GB, RB (49 percent started, $15)
Matchup: at Phi
Upright. East-West. A corpulent shopper struggling through the Black Friday scrum in an attempt to land a $3 waffle iron. These are common descriptions attached to Starks’ running style. Though he isn’t the most fluid rusher in the league, at least by most accounts, the veteran is largely misunderstood. In actuality, his blend of elusiveness and power is better than advertised. How so? Believe it or not, he ranks No. 1 in juke rate, a statistic tracked by that “isolates a player’s elusiveness and tackle-breaking power.” He’s also a phenomenal screen RB, a receiver with dependable hands, sharp vision and decisive open-field cuts. Ignore the detractors. Starks is actually a quality rusher and likely RB2 rest of season, especially this week in Philly. Fletcher Cox and Friends aren’t exactly stonewalling the opposition. On the year, they’ve surrendered 4.5 yards per carry and since Week 5 have given up 103.7 rush yards per game to the position. Yes, there are offensive line concerns and game flow certainly hasn’t favored the ground game, but distancing himself from Ty Montgomery, Starks, who’s totaled 115 combined yards and two scores the past two weeks, is an underrated asset available at a very affordable price. Another 12-15 touches seem inevitable.

Fearless Forecast: 10 carries, 40 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 33 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.8 fantasy points

Tyler Boyd, Cin, WR (4 percent started, $15)
Matchup: at Bal
Last Sunday, when A.J. Green dropped to the ground and immediately grabbed his leg, his owners immediately began to mourn. Diagnosed with a hamstring strain, the revered receiver is expected to miss several weeks, a devastating outcome for the almost irreplaceable commodity. But backers very much in the playoff hunt must shake off the dejection. Though there are a number of widely available stopgaps available (e.g. Adam Thielen, Tajae Sharpe or Marqis Lee), Green’s teammate is likely the best remedy. Though the 6-foot-1, 195-pound rookie desperately needed to pound protein shakes, he stepped on the practice field Day 1 and impressed. His wide route tree, precision and sure hands tickled Marvin Lewis and his staff. So did his surprising ability to beat press coverage. Boyd has only stood out sporadically in the regular season, but it’s clear his opportunity to shine is now. When Green exited last week, he was Andy Dalton’s preferred weapon. Working primarily underneath, he was targeted eight times grabbing six passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. Because Green accounted for 11 targets per game, another sizable share is in the cards for Boyd this week against the Ravens. When Jimmy Smith has suited up, Baltimore has proven somewhat difficult to throw on. The 6.8 pass yards per attempt it’s allowed supports that. But that number is deceiving. Only San Francisco and Green Bay have conceded more TDs to WRs. Dalton has to throw to someone and considering how unreliable Brandon LaFell is and the attention Tyler Eifert draws, Boyd should seize the moment.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.4 fantasy points

WEEK 12 SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10 percent started)

Bilal Powell, NYJ, RB (2 percent started, $14)
Matchup: vs. NE
When “Bilal Powell” rolls off the tongue it sounds as though you tried to utter “Ball Pound” with a heaping spoonful of stuffing in your mouth. Though his name isn’t the smoothest in the world, his game certainly is. In spurts this season, New York’s backup plan has been more than serviceable. In PPR environments, he’s crossed the 11 fantasy-point line five times – two of those efforts coming in his past three games. Ultimately, the Jets’ flimsy defense and first half offensive ineptitude have dug deep holes. In those situations, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has favored Powell’s dependable hands, explosion and open-field shiftiness over Matt Forte. When trailing this season, Powell has averaged a robust 5.9 yards per touch. Checking in at No. 9 in fantasy points per opportunity among RBs, he’s definitely taken advantage when gifted the football. Week 12 could mark his best effort to date. Tom Brady’s relentlessness and ridiculous efficiency has assaulted the league. Against a Jets secondary that’s yielded 7.6 yards per attempt and over 273 pass yards per game, Tom Terrific is sure to tee off. If that transpires, Powell should rack considerable touches after halftime, possibly gripping the pigskin some 11-13 times. Versus an exploitable New England D that’s given up 6.7 receptions and 56.8 receiving yards per game to pass-catching backs, he can inflict plenty of damage in small doses. Risk takers in full PPR leagues with sketchy FLEX options should definitely debate BOOM BOOM’s services.

Fearless Forecast: 5 carries, 22 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.2 fantasy points


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Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 9.33.49 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: 25-52

Noise season record: 45-74 (Week 11 – 3-9; W: Colin Kaepernick, Rob Kelley, Adam Thielen; L: Duke Johnson, Kenneth Dixon, Eli Rogers, Kendall Wright, Theo Riddick, Thomas Rawls, Blake Bortles, Vernon Davis)

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).