Week 15 Flames: Latavius Murray to issue proper SKOL-ding to Cincy
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 15 Flames in the comments section below.
Blake Bortles, Jax, QB (8 percent started, $28 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. Hou (Game over/under: 38.5)
Place your trust in the hands of Bortles and uncreative owners will predict you pull a “Fuller.” You remember. He’s the Pepsi-chugging kid from “Home Alone” famously known for wetting the bed. The much-maligned quarterback is very familiar with that warm feeling. Outside of garbage-time explosions, he’s failed to live up to his exorbitant 2014 NFL Draft price. But owners, especially those looking to replace Carson Wentz, should proudly and confidently don a pair of rubber pants. Bortles is a viable stream option that could catapult gamblers into the championship round. His Week 15 matchup is nothing short of spectacular. As advertised in this space repeatedly this season, the Texans defense has repeatedly flopped. As a unit, they’ve surrendered 8.0 yards per attempt, 254.2 passing yards per game, 27 total touchdowns and 19.9 fantasy points per game (in Yahoo leagues). Only the New York Giants have been friendlier. Mining data, starting DBs Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph have coughed up a 103.0 passer rating and 66.9 catch percentage. Bortles, who is a sneaky multidimensional contributor (21.8 rush yards per game), is a strong candidate to record his third multi-TD output in four games. Without much applause, he’s displayed significant improvement in several advanced categories, including completion percentage (’16: 58.0; ’17: 60.2) and yards per attempt (6.2, 6.9). His spark is pretty amazing considering Allen Robinson was lost Week 1. Credit to Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole. Believe in Blake.
Fearless Forecast: 253 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 turnovers, 19 rushing yards, 19.0 fantasy points
Mike Davis, Sea, RB (11 percent started, $18 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. LAR (Over/Under: 47.5)
It never ceases to amaze when castoffs receive a second lease on life and unpredictably catch fire. Prime example, Alex Collins, kicked to the curb by Seattle, is now thriving with Baltimore. So is Davis. Buried behind Carlos Hyde and Matt Brieda in San Francisco, the former Niner, thrown on the rubbish heap earlier this season, has remarkably become Pete Carroll’s primary rusher, the coach’s fourth option since Chris Carson exited Week 4 with a broken leg. Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and J.D. McKissic simply couldn’t seize the opportunity. Davis, however, grabbed the bull by the horns. He didn’t electrify last week against Marcell Dareus and Co., but his bob-and-weave efforts versus Philadelphia still resonate. So does his very attractive volume (36 touches lats two weeks). He owns the size (5-foot-9, 224 pounds), break-tackle ability (2.94 YAC/att) and versatility to boost box scores. His Week 15 opponent only enhances the profile. The Rams are terrible when it comes to defending the run. No club has yielded more fantasy points to rushers. On the year, they’ve allowed 4.67 yards per carry, 154.8 total yards per game and 14 touchdowns. In total, eight running backs have reached double-digit points against them in .5 PPR formats. Seattle’s line is still a major weakness, but if Davis registers at least 15 touches, he tucks inside the RB top-20.
Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 70 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.3 fantasy points
Latavius Murray, Min, RB (53 percent started, $20 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. Cin (Over/Under: 42)
Interchangeable backfields are the ruin of fantasy. This season, a discouragingly high number of teams have employed full-blown committees. As a result, unpredictability has become the norm. Some roles are defined, but pinpointing how coaches will deploy a specific timeshare RB and for how much ranks up there with nailing lottery numbers. Oh how we yearn for the days of volume monsters Larry Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Shaun Alexander. Minnesota, featuring Latavius and Jerick McKinnon, is one hair-pulling tandem. Over the past two weeks, Murray’s diminutive tag-team partner has proven more valuable. Still, Latavius, who was RB7 from Weeks 7-12 and has tallied a rock solid 2.58 yards after contact per attempt, is the more desirable option of the pair in Week 15. His downhill style should play nicely against a banged up Cincinnati defense that was steamrolled by a resurgent Jordan Howard last Sunday. In fact, the Bengals, turned into cabin rugs the past five weeks, have surrendered the second-most fantasy points to RBs. Over that stretch, they’ve served up 4.65 yards per carry, 125.6 rush yards per game and five rushing TDs to the position. Back at home and ticked after last week’s late meltdown in Charlotte, the Norsemen, commanded by Murray, ground and pound the Bengals into submission, even if Vontaze Burfict returns.
Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 74 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 9 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.3 fantasy points
Ted Ginn, NO, WR (35 percent started, $17 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. NYJ (Over/Under: 47)
When Alvin Kamara exited barely 10 minutes into last Thursday’s game against Atlanta, an explosion of four-letter words not fit for innocent ears echoed throughout Fantasyland. His shocking departure erased thoughts of victory belts, trophies, bonus cash and bragging rights. Due to Kamara’s concussion and with Mark Ingram nursing a sore toe Sean Peyton reverted to an old school game plan, feature Drew Brees. The QB’s 35 attempts was his second-highest contribution in the category since Week 8. Initial indications arrow to a Kamara return, but Brees is sure to be the point of emphasis again this week against the hapless Jets. New York, unforgiving in the trenches has given up just 3.57 yards per carry to RBs. Due to the major shortcomings of Morris Claiborne, Darryl Roberts and Buster Skrine in coverage – they’ve allowed a combined 93.1 passer rating and nine total TDs to assignments – Ginn should excel. Collectively, the Jets rank No. 6 in fantasy points surrendered to WRs. The quick-footed weapon has lured only five targets the past two games (13.5 target% on year) and hasn’t scored since Week 9, but the paper matchup is certainly exploitable. Pour a Ginn and tonic.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 58 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.8 fantasy points
Jordy Nelson, GB, WR (30 percent started, $25 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: at Car (Over/Under: 45)
For the past nine weeks, Nelson has wandered aimlessly, a lost soul aching for his on-field compadre. With Aaron Rodgers shelved, last year’s most valuable wide receiver fell destitute. A lack of targets and chemistry with Brett Hundley led to one penniless performance after another, forcing owners to consider the unthinkable, bench until further notice. After Rodgers’ exited with a broken collarbone in Week 6, Jordy’s stock dipped to unforeseen depths. From Weeks 7-14, he tallied a useless 23-153-0 line over seven games. His resulting 15.3 fantasy points accumulated in standard leagues ranked WR98 during that stretch, one spot ahead of Andre Holmes and one spot behind Louis Murphy (WHO?!). Woof. But with his hero back in the saddle this week in Carolina, a rapid turnaround is likely. Davante Adams is Green Bay’s WR1 fixture, but Nelson, who is still gaining considerable distance from defenders (WR17 in separation yards per target), is hardly cooked. Recall with Rodgers firing off rounds Weeks 1-6 he compiled a top-10 output totaling 25 receptions (On 38 targets) for 290 yards and six touchdowns. Against a flammable Panthers secondary, the pair should pick up where they left off. No secondary has allowed more fantasy points to WRs since Week 9 than Carolina. Suspect safety play combined with James Bradberry’s weak execution (92.7 passer rating allowed) have led to numerous double-digit WR fantasy efforts. It’s strange seeing Jordy in the “Flames,” but the under-started outcast needs to be trusted again.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.3 fantasy points
WEEK 15 SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Rod Smith, Dal, RB (2 percent started, $16 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: at Oak (Over/Under: 45.5)
After everyone and their grandmother, me included, talked up Alfred Morris last week, it was Smith who thumped the pathetic Giants. Displaying the skill set of throwbacks Herschel Walker and the Denver Ring of Famer with the same name, the rusher plowed, juked and sprinted his way to a galactic line, doing most of his damage in the pass game. A superb receiver, the big-bodied back (6-foot-3, 226 pounds) isn’t a flash in the pan. Yes, Morris will continue to dominate the between-the-tackles grunt work, but Smith could be the second “receiver” Dak Prescott has sorely needed. He’s powerful (3.4 YAC/att in Week 14), sure-handed (81.3 catch%) and has become a trustworthy asset near the goal line. Because he was underutilized early in the season with Zeke Elliott on the field, Smith is also fresh. It’s no stretch to project another 11-13 touches for him this week on roughly 30-35 snaps. Oakland, penetrable in all facets, has given up the seventh-highest yards per carry (4.34) and eighth-most receptions (44) to running backs since Week 7. The Raiders’ defensive inadequacies combined with Dallas’ formidable offensive line suggests Morris and Smith deliver a stinging 1-2 combo punch. Roll the dice. FLEX Smith.
Fearless Forecast: 8 carries, 34 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.5 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 15 FLAMES
#TEAMHUEVOS PICKS OF THE WEEK
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?
Jimmy G, Rod Smith, Riddick, Sanu, Hogan, Ebron and New Orleans
— Jason (@jasoncummings_) December 12, 2017
Fan Week 14 results: 4-3 (Season: 38-61)
My Week 14 results: 5-6 (Season: 65-92; W: Jimmy G, Josh Gordon, Marquise Goodwin, Rex Burkhead, Dallas D/ST; L: Alfred Morris, Jay Ajayi, Mike Davis, Josh McCown, David Njoku, Martavis Bryant; DNS: Peyton Barber)
Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also check out his TV show, “The Fantasy Football Hour,” now available in 75 million households on Fox Sports Regional Networks, and his new podcast, “The Fantasy Record.”