Week 5 Fantasy Flames: Smallwood leads under-started lineup options

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 5 Flames in the comments section below.

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Brian Hoyer, Chi, QB (3 percent started, $27)
Matchup: at Ind
Seeing Hoyer in the QB top-10 is akin to watching Bill Belichick be openly warm and loquacious during a post-game presser, pretty much a nonexistent occurrence. But it happened. In the topsy-turvy world of fantasy football, Hoyer’s No. 9 standing among QBs over the past two weeks is positively dumbfounding. After all, this was a quarterback who was grossly incompetent in several categories last season with Houston, including yards per attempt (7.1), red-zone efficiency, fantasy points per dropback and every completion percentage imaginable. His shiny, barren dome yielded more fruits. But, to give credit where credit is due, he’s done an about face since taking over the controls from injured Jay Cutler. He’s completed 69.1 percent of his attempts, notched a 93.3 passer rating and eclipsed 300 yards with multiple TDs in back-to-back games. Spreading around the love, he’s proven to be well-oiled, a description that will certainly apply to his Week 5 performance. Indy, even with top corner Vontae Davis on the field, has routinely been picked apart by the opposition. The My Little Ponies have surrendered 7.9 pass yards per attempt and just over 285 passing yards per game this season. Because of the Bears’ dreadfulness on defense, Hoyer will again chuck it some 35-40 times, with or without Kevin White. With Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Blake Bortles on bye, take Hoyer home tonight.

Fearless Forecast: 302 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 19.1 fantasy points

Wendell Smallwood, Phi, RB (2 percent started, $10)
Matchup: at Det
Doug Pederson has hearts in his eyes. The head coach’s adoration spouted about the rookie is well documented. Just before the bye, the Eagles’ skipper showered Smallwood with praise and revealed the rusher had earned an increased role moving forward. Ryan Mathews’ tender ankles and marginal effectiveness (3.3 ypc) swung open the door for Smallwood. Netting nearly 50 percent of the opportunity share Week 3 versus Pittsburgh, the kid compiled 79 yards on 17 touches with a TD. His 0.61 fantasy points per opportunity were fantastic. The West Virginia product was a highly productive collegiate back. His between-the-tackles brawn, sharp vision and precise cuts are why he led the Big 12 in rushing a year ago. Admittedly, Philadelphia’s backfield is a spice rack of sorts. A pinch of Mathews, who is still technically the starter, here and Darren Sproles/Kenjon Barner there should be anticipated. Still, the tarot cards suggest Smallwood will head up the committee in short order, possibly logging some 13-15 touches per game starting Week 5. Facing a toothless Lions front that’s yielded 5.0 yards per carry, he could accumulate similar numbers fellow 2015 NFL draftee, Jordan Howard, accomplished against it last Sunday. Sure he may sound like a character from a Dickens novel, but if you scored the Eagle off waivers, let him fly.

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 60 rushing yards, 1 reception, 6 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.1 fantasy points

Wendall Smallwood is a bargain basement buy at $10 in Yahoo DFS. (Getty)
Wendall Smallwood is a bargain basement buy at $10 in Yahoo DFS. (Getty)

Wendell Smallwood is a bargain basement buy at $10 in Yahoo DFS. (Getty)

Jerick McKinnon, Min, RB (47 percent started, $22)
Matchup: at Hou
The Viking, who possesses a leprechaun-like name, could generate a pot of fantasy gold this week. Post-Adrian Peterson knee-shredding, the metrics darling is starting to live up to the hype. After getting stonewalled against the Panthers, he shined brightly Monday night versus New York, totaling 95 yards and a touchdown on 21 touches. His eye-popping burst, shake ‘n bake (totaled nine evaded tackles last two games) and versatility enhance his potential long term. Though he’ll relinquish a few touches to bulldozer Matt Asiata, his appetizing 69.8 percent opportunity share the last two weeks has him firmly in the driver’s seat. Look for him to leave skid marks all over the field Sunday. Houston, down J.J. Watt the rest of the season, sports a permeable defensive line. On the year, the Texans have yielded 100 rush yards per game, 4.5 yards per carry, 1.3 rushing touchdowns per game and the 11th-most fantasy points to RBs. Though the Vikings offensive line has dealt with various injuries, it should win the battle up front, springing McKinnon for a handful of big gainers. He is undoubtedly my favorite DFS option at the RB position this week. Pour a bowl of Lucky Charms.

Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 68 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 19 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.2 fantasy points

John Brown, Ari, WR (35 percent started, $18)
Matchup: at SF
In a statistical coma the first couple weeks of the season, Brown emerged from the fog in Weeks 3 and 4, tapping into his WR2 promise. Though end-zone boogies have yet to occur, his rapid targets share increase and boosted confidence arrow to more profitable outputs. Utilized in multiple receiving capacities – streak, slants, screens – against the Bills and Rams, he attracted 27 targets for 16 receptions and 204 yards. Because of Michael Floyd’s general inconsistencies and Larry Fitzgerald’s fixed slot role, Brown should again bust a move, especially when weighing the opponent. Arizona’s QB situation remains in flux given the short week, but whether it’s Carson Palmer (concussion) or Drew Stanton under center, bank on Brown delivering a top-30 line. The receiver, who is one of the quickest cutters in the game, would be fast and elusive riding a penny farthing bicycle, a major challenge for a below average pass defense. San Francisco has played respectable D at times this season, particularly at home, but its secondary is largely torch-able. On the season, the Niners have conceded 7.4 pass yards per attempt and the 12th-most fantasy points to WRs. To be fair, Tramaine Brock has shadowed well this year (47.2 passer rating allowed), but he’s just one dude. Brown, who’s averaged 16.5 yards per route versus the Gold Panners in his career, is a hot hand worth employing.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.8 fantasy points

Quincy Enunwa, NYJ, WR (10 percent started, $18)
Matchup: at Pit
Ryan Fitzpatrick is suffering from a debilitating disease known simply as the Cutler Condition, an illness where a quarterback repeatedly chucks passes into the heart of defenses. Forget Harvard, Fitzpatrick looks like he graduated from a now defunct online ‘university.’ His perplexing decision-making, which has resulted in a 4:10 TD:INT split and 57.2 passer rating, have him spiraling toward a demotion. In a contest with a ‘Last Stand’ feel, however, gut says he’ll exhibit some competency, a projected outcome that can only help Enunwa. The elevated third option is slated for another opportunistic workload with Eric Decker presumably sidelined (shoulder) for another week. Though he took a backseat to workhorse Brandon Marshall in Week 4, Enunwa still registered an appreciable seven targets. In a game in which Ben Roethlisberger will surely uncork – the Jets are giving up 9.7 yards per attempt and 304.8 pass yards per game – a more vigorous volume is on deck for the receiver. Pittsburgh ranks top-10 in fewest fantasy points allowed to WRs, but in a game with substantial garbage-time potential, Enunwa cleans up.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 71 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.1 fantasy points

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WEEK 5 SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10 percent started)

Chris Hogan, NE, WR (3 percent started, $12)
Matchup: at Cle
After hitting the links, playing pitch and catch with his supermodel wife and, infamously, tanning on the Italian coast, Tom Brady is finally back in business. For Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Hogan, the multi-time MVP’s return conjures jubilant feelings. While Brady was vacationing in exotic locales, the Patriots, almost impossibly, found creative ways to win, even after fellow cologne model, Jimmy Garoppolo, succumbed to a shoulder injury. Almost every time the Hoodie presses the slot machine button, it seems, a string of lucky sevens adorn the screen. His genius is undeniable. Hogan decorated the box score with a 3-60-1 line Week 1, but slipped into an abyss in follow-ups totaling five receptions for 63 yards (on 11 targets) and zero scores. However, in a bye-heavy week, he’s a certifiable WR3, especially given the forgiving opponent. The Chihuahuas, who could be down Joe Haden for the third-straight week, are extremely vulnerable downfield. On the year, they’ve surrendered 7.3 yards per attempt, 270.5 pass yards per game and 2.5 vertical touchdowns. Five WRs have also crossed the 11 fantasy-point line against them. With the defensive attention Edelman, Gronk, Martellus Bennett and LeGarrette Blount coax and given the ‘Angry Tom’ narrative, New England’s lightning bolt is sure to strike. If/when he lines up against CB Jamar Taylor (20.6 yards per route allowed), bank on No. 12 to connect with Hogan deep.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 66 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.6 fantasy points



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: 11-17

Noise season record: 18-30 (Week 4: 5-7; W: Jordan Howard, Terrelle Pyror, Phillip Dorsett, Kyle Rudolph, Blake Bortles; L: Andy Dalton, Dwayne Washington, Spencer Ware, Jeremy Hill, Cameron Artis-Payne, Kevin White, San Diego 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).