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 3 Flames in the comments section below.
“Famous” Jameis to reappear against giving Giants
Jameis Winston, TB, QB (23% started; Yahoo DFS: $23)
Matchup: vs. NYG
Vegas Line/Total: TB -6.5, 48
A popular fixture on undervalued draft lists, Winston was expected to gift his investors sizable capital. Diamond necklaces, exotic sports cars, pet tigers wearing diamond necklaces — those who waited on a QB and grabbed the Buc in the double-digit rounds were already counting their profits. After all, it was a foregone conclusion he would flourish in a vertical-happy Bruce Arians offensive scheme. Tampa’s projected rock-bottom defense only increased the odds.
Maybe we shouldn’t have counted our chickens before they hatched.
Through two weeks, Winston has left many in the red. Against the Niners and Panthers, he wallowed in a self-driven misery. His 10.7 average depth of target (aDOT) was commendable, but his 67.2 adjusted completion percentage (QB29), 201.0 pass yards per game, and 2:3 TD:INT split were funny-bad. A bloated, cake-fattened Ryan Fitzpatrick would’ve proven more efficient. Off-track with perceived No. 1 WR Mike Evans and wasted TE talent O.J. Howard, the signal caller’s rough start is perplexing. The Bucs’ alleged sieve of a defense also hasn’t helped. Todd Bowles the DC >>>> Todd Bowles the HC.
Despite Winston’s shortcomings, he’s a QB worth considering this week, particularly in DFS. After he was dropped en masse two weeks ago, only family members remain on the bandwagon. He’s a true contrarian play based on matchup alone. The Giants secondary executed horrendously in its first two games surrendering 10.6 (!!!) yards per attempt, 329.0 pass yards per game, and five passing touchdowns. Point the finger at CB DeAndre Baker. Cowboys and Bills receivers piled up 11 receptions, 272 yards, and two touchdowns against him. This Sunday, Winston earns his crab legs.
Fearless Forecast: 303 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 2 turnovers, 10 rushing yards, 19.1 fantasy points
Broncos to drive Rolls Royce at Lambeau
Royce Freeman, Den, RB (11% started; Yahoo DFS: $15)
Matchup: at GB
Vegas Line/Total: GB -8, 43
Impaled on a skewer and grilled like a jumbo shrimp on social media for my endless Royce love last season, this tasty crustacean doubled down on the Broncos back this preseason. All of the evidence pointed to an emergence. Sapped by a high-ankle sprain, excessive stacked fronts (36.2% of the time) and an uncreative coaching staff, he still managed to post laudable yards after contact and break-tackle numbers. Still, Phillip Lindsay earned all of the accolades.
Placed in a friendlier environment this time around, Freeman is rising rapidly. He’s bulled through traffic (4.00 YAC/att), shed defenders and ramped up his contributions in the pass game. Over the first two weeks, he totaled 81.5 combined yards on 13.5 touches, gaining 76.4% of his yards after initial contact. Most unbelievably, he’s yet to face a single 8-plus overloaded box through 21 attempts. Lindsay, meanwhile, has regressed, ranking in the bottom-third in several critical advanced analytics. Vic Fangio will stick to a timeshare, but Freeman may have seized the heavier side. If his ascension continues, 15-plus per game touches could become the new norm.
Freeman’s trip to Green Bay won’t be an ice cream social. However, if the Packers run defense that surrendered 7.5 yards per carry and 154 rush yards to Dalvin Cook and the Vikings in Week 2 makes a cameo, Royce licks ‘em. Denver’s offensive line — a strength in the run game — executed at a high level last week against the vaunted Bears. The backfield takeover is well underway. Flex Freeman at a minimum.
Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 59 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 17 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.1 fantasy points
Well-fed Montgomery a necessary play in D.C.
David Montgomery, Chi, RB (47% started; Yahoo DFS: $18)
Matchup: at Was
Vegas Line/Total: Chi -4, 41.5
As Hannibal from the A-Team would mirthfully cheer, “I love it when a plan comes together!” Shouted from the rafters and on Twitter throughout the preseason my daily “MANDATORY MONTGOMERY!” updates stoked the fires and the rookie’s ADP. Matt Nagy repeatedly gushed. Bears beat reporters penned glowing stories. Fantasy fans bought in. He, like Oakland’s Josh Jacobs, was on a path paved with gold. The setup was perfect: Top-10 offensive line, elite defense, meek competition...
Then Week 1 happened.
He was deployed a comical seven times versus the Packers, evaporating the hype in an instant. Naturally, impatient fantasy players took to social media and hurled verbal grenades. The troll feedings were glorious. Though Monty logged 3.50 yards after contact per attempt and forced a pair of missed tackles in his debut, a full-blown RBBC with Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen formed. Nagy became the primary subject of my ire.
However, last week in Denver, all expectations were realized. Taking a sharp left from the previous week’s game plan, Nagy served Montgomery with generous spoonfuls. Touching the rock 19 times, he finished with 68 yards and a TD. His surface YPC may point to inefficiency, but his 10 successful total plays ranks top-10 among RBs. The Bears offensive line, though, needs to advance.
Washington’s supposed improved defensive front hasn’t lived up to the promise through two weeks, conceding 124.5 rush yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry to RBs. LB Cole Holcomb and DE Montez Sweat rank top-20 in run-stop percentage, but the rest of the defensive interior hasn’t plugged many gaps. Bear ... UP.
Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 71 rushing yard, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.3 fantasy points
Quiet MVS to ignite spark against visiting Broncos
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB, WR (7% started; Yahoo DFS: $14)
Matchup: vs. Den
Vegas Line/Total: GB -8, 43
Against the Bears and Vikings, the NFL’s alphabet soup hasn’t quite satisfied the tastebuds. Outside of a long-bomb grab in Week 1, he’s barely made a peep, overshadowed by Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, and Jimmy Graham. MVS has played on 65.2% of Green Bay’s snaps, but targeted 12 times he caught an uneventful seven passes for 71 yards. No surprise many in shallow leagues have cut ties. Over the past couple days, he was prematurely dropped in over 500 Yahoo leagues.
However, it’s entirely too early to extend the hook.
This is the week MVS rewards the patient. With Adams likely to exchange salutations with lock-down cover man Chris Harris, the second-year wideout should take advantage of corner Isaac Yiadom, a DB who’s allowed 2.79 yards per snap and a 114.1 passer rating. His breakaway speed and outstanding step-ahead skills — he ranked No. 2 in separation rate in 2018 — could lead to a long connection or three from Aaron Rodgers. Bank on a breakout.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 60 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.0 fantasy points
Slippery Samuel to catch fire in the desert
Curtis Samuel, Car, WR (20% started; Yahoo DFS: $17)
Matchup: at Ari
Vegas Line/Total: Car -2.5, 46.5
Half-joking and a measurable amount of Casamigos in, I tweeted out “Cut Cam” last #TequilaThursday. Driven by bitter fantasy-gamer-attitudes, the tongue-in-cheek reaction was retweeted over 400 times. Undoubtedly, frustration over the QB’s mediocre execution has mounted considerably.
Newton’s early struggles were obvious against the Bucs, but Samuel, alongside D.J. Moore, saw an upward surge in production. Targeted 13 times, he snared five balls for a career-high 91 yards. If not for a couple of open-field errant throws by Newton, a touchdown or two would’ve been added. Still, his volume upswell points to continued WR3 outputs, at a minimum. With a matching 16.2 in aDOT and yards per catch, the Panthers speedster is sure to rise through the ranks as Cam improves.
This week, Samuel is a borderline top-20 WR play, whether with Cam or Kyle Allen. Arizona, grounded by Detroit and Baltimore to start the season, has yielded 8.2 yards per attempt, 328.5 pass yards per game and five passing touchdowns. Without Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford, it’s a predictable result. CBs Tramaine Brock and Byron Murphy, targeted 25 times, have given up 14 receptions for 247 yards and two TDs. Samuel sizzles.
Fearless Forecast: 7 receptions, 94 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.9 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10% started in Yahoo leagues)
Deebo Samuel, SF, WR (1% started; Yahoo DFS: $14)
Matchup: vs. Pit
Vegas Line/Total: SF -7, 44.5
In the village of the damned, Dante Pettis resides as chieftain. Prickly remarks doled out by Kyle Shanahan throughout August, widely believed to be a tough-love motivational tactic, were not weightless. Pin the blame on Pettis’ worth ethic all you want, but Samuel’s presence also explains why the receiver is wandering in football purgatory.
The rookie’s multidimensional deployment and voluminous snap count has him climbing the fantasy ladder. Trotting out on 88.2% of the Niners’ snaps through two games, he tallied 104 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions. Whether on jet sweeps, quick slot hits or downfield connections, Samuel has displayed show-stopping speed and excellent break-tackle ability. His 12.1 YAC per reception ranks No. 3 at the position. He’s one of many examples why this season is quickly becoming the Year of the Rookie Wide Receiver.
This week, matched against a reeling Steelers secondary, Samuel is worth your WR3 consideration. Look for Shanahan to creatively shift him about to maximize matchups, primarily working him away from Joe Haden. Assuming he does mostly square off against Mike Hilton (158.3 passer rating allowed) or Steven Nelson (100.4), he’s destined to accumulate chunk gains. It may not be Friday, but Deebo knocks the (bleep) out of the competition.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 62 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.2 fantasy points
BONUS FLAMES (Under 60% started)
QB: Jacoby Brissett, Ind (Ind -2.5; $26) – With Andrew Luck pitching hay on the family farm, Indy’s new Captain has picked up the sword, and the slack. In his first two battles, he’s averaged 168.0 pass yards, connected on five touchdowns and completed 69.1% of his attempts. Well-protected behind Indy’s inflexible offensive line (26.2 under pressure%), he should sit back and fire bullets Week 3. His opponent, Atlanta, has given up only 6.1 yards per attempt and 16.4 fantasy points per game to signal callers. Drilling down, expect him to pick on corners Isaiah Oliver (116.4 passer rating allowed) and Damontae Kazee (97.6). Everyone scrambling for alternatives for Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger need to give Brissett a long look. (FF: 233-2-0-21-0, 19.4 fpts)
RB: Carlos Hyde, Hou (LAC -3.5; $17) – Sporting a 76% run success rate (RB1), 3.97 yards after contact per attempt, and 74.8 elusive rating (RB17), Hyde has clearly been possessed by the football ghost of Earl Campbell. There’s no other explanation. On the fast track to the XFL after Kansas City cut him in August, the veteran has shockingly flourished with Houston. According to Sharp Football, he’s registered the highest run success rate of any rusher through two weeks. Matched against a Chargers front which has yielded 5.1 yards per carry, he’s a top-20 RB in Week 3. (FF: 18-81-1-5-1, 15.1 fpts)
RB: Frank Gore, Buf (Buf -6; $15) – It’s well documented Gore began his athletic career somewhere in the Fertile Crescent. Seemingly at the age for prostate exams, he — somehow, someway — continues to chug along. His 83 total yards, one-TD performance on 21 touches against the Giants presented visual proof. Buffalo’s terrific lane creation (No. 5 in run-blocking efficiency) combined with Devin Singletary’s potential limitations (hamstring) arrow to another highly employable afternoon. Better yet, the matchup is glorious. Cincinnati has coughed up 5.4 yards per carry and 38.1 Yahoo fantasy points per game to RBs thus far, the most of any team. (FF: 18-73-2-12-1, 15.5 fpts)
WR: Marquise Brown, Bal (KC -6.5; $24) – What tender hip? Hollywood has been a box office smash thus far. Catching 12-of-17 targets, he’s amassed 233 yards with two touchdowns. His ridiculous 19.7 yards per catch and No. 8 standing in YAC/rec according to Pro Football Focus have him firmly in the WR3 weekly conversation. Given the massive Vegas total in Ravens/Chiefs (56), you want as much action tied to it as possible. Brown, who will generate targets both inside (48.9 slot%) and out, matches up well but more so against slot corner Kendall Fuller (80.0 catch%, 147.1 passer rating allowed). Get your popcorn ready. (FF: 5-89-1, 17.4 fpts)
TE: Greg Olsen, Car (Car -2.5; $16) – Whether he resembles He-Man or a more muscular Hopper from Stranger Things, Olsen is once again attracting the limelight. Highly active last week against Tampa, he crossed the 100-yard mark for the first time since the 2017 Wild Card round. It’s clear; the play-by-play booth will have to wait. This week, Olsen is unquestionably a top-five TE. Arizona, blitzkrieg-ed by T.J. Hockenson and Mark Andrews, has surrendered a whopping 17 receptions for 273 yards and three touchdowns to tight ends. It should shock no one if he winds up being the most valuable TE in Week 3, even if QB Allen draws the start. (FF: 6-104-1, 19.4 fpts)
DST: Seattle Seahawks (Sea -4.5; $17) – The downgrade from Drew Brees to Teddy Bridgewater is akin to checking out of the Ritz-Carlton and into the Bates Motel. In relief of bum-thumbed Drew Brees, the backup completed just 56.7% of his attempts and posted a 5.5 YPA in L.A. Seattle has certainly wallowed in mediocrity against the pass (7.1 YPA allowed), but it has often collapsed pockets, recording six sacks. Toss in the always intimidating home environment and the ‘Hawks are a sneaky stream in Week 3. (FF: 16 PA, 344 YDSA, 4 SCK, 2 TO, 12.0 fpts)
BONUS: Mack Hollins, Phi (Phi -7; $10) — Hey, someone in Eagles green has to catch the ball. With DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery sidelined, Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor are expected to pick up the mantle, but Hollins will also be very much in the mix. Jumping into action last week in Atlanta, he caught 5-of-8 targets for 50 yards, tallying a 12.60 aDOT. When squaring off with Rashaan Melvin (1.63 yards per snap allowed), he will lure numerous targets from Carson Wentz. (FF: 5-64-1, 14.9 fpts).
#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?
Reader record: 7-7
Brad’s record: 12-13 (Week 2 results; W: Josh Allen, DK Metcalf, Mecole Hardman, Andy Dalton, Curtis Samuel, Darren Waller; L: LeSean McCoy, Rex Burkhead, Jamison Crowder, Latavius Murray, Miles Sanders, James Washington, NYJ D/ST)
Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also check out his TV show, “The Fantasy Football Hour,” now available in 100 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.