Week 6 Fantasy Sleepers: Bucs should be treasure troves behind juicy matchup

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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 6 Flames in the comments section below.

Andy Dalton, Cin, QB (27 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $35)
Matchup: vs. Pit
Vegas line/total: Cin -2.5, 53.5

Cincinnati’s “Great Pumpkin” has risen. Dalton, currently the 14th-most valuable signal caller in the virtual game, has abandoned last year’s water pistol and fired off several red-rifle rounds. He ranks top-12 in multiple critical analytics: every major completion percentage category, air yards per attempt (4.4), pass yards per attempt (7.7) and fantasy points per dropback. The emergence of Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon combined with A.J. Green’s usual prodigiousness explain why he’s resembled the passer from two seasons ago. A multi-TD contributor in every game this season, Dalton could log his season-crowning achievement Sunday against Pittsburgh. The “Soft Curtain” refuses to stiffen against the pass. Joe Haden has performed admirably, but his cohorts continue to roll out the red carpet for the opposition. Artie Burns and Cameron Sutton combined have surrendered a 142.9 passer rating and 1.88 yards per snap to their assignments. As a group, the Steelers rank No. 3 in fantasy points allowed to QBs, giving up 7.8 yards per attempt, 320.4 pass yards and 2.6 touchdowns per game. Bank on him vaulting pass the 300-yard mark for the third time this season.

Fearless Forecast: 347 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 8 rushing yards, 21.7 fantasy points

Mike Davis, RB, Sea (3 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $15)
Matchup: at Oak (London)
Vegas line/total: Sea -2.5, 47.5

Maddeningly so, backfield timeshares are all the rage these days. They’re trendy, and in a copycat league coaches find rotating chess pieces advantageous. Yes, specialization royally sucks. Though ineffective in some locales due to moronic coaches (See Green Bay and Denver), the RB carousel in Seattle has finally propelled the ground game forward. Chris Carson’s presence as the committee leader is no surprise. He’s top-three in yards after contact per attempt (3.83) according to Pro Football Focus. However, how Davis has performed — he ranks just three spots behind Carson in YAC per attempt (3.50) — has altered the earth’s tilt. The San Francisco castoff has greatly impressed as a power runner. Not only has he compiled dynamite YAC numbers, he’s also forced a missed tackle on 19.4 percent of his rushes. Pete Carroll would speak glowingly about a dilapidated one-room shack, but the superlatives he’s mouthed about Davis apply. The ‘Hawks, who reconfigured their offensive line three weeks ago, are committed to pounding the pill. Roughly 11-13 touches per game should become routine for Davis, particularly this week. Seattle travels across the pond to face a Raiders defense ill-fit to contain the run. This year, Oakland has allowed 5.06 yards per carry, 156.2 total yards per game, seven total touchdowns and the eighth-most fantasy points to RBs. Without a single representative inside the top-75 in run-stop percentage, Jon Gruden’s club is woeful in the trenches. Davis is FLEXy-sexy in a week sans Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and Kerryon Johnson.

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 58 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 10 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.8 fantasy points

Isaiah Crowell, NYJ, RB (27 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $18)
Matchup: vs. Ind
Vegas line/total: NYJ -2.5, 45

The 1-2 rushing punch of Crowell and Bilal Powell is one of the true unheralded developments over the season’s first five weeks. New York’s offensive line, which ranks No. 17 in run-blocking efficiency according to Pro Football Focus, shoved the Broncos around last week, opening up Grimace-wide holes for the duo to shoot through. The result was a franchise record 219 rush yards for Crowell. Currently No. 1 in total yards created (51.6 per game) and RB1 in YAC/att (4.40), what he’s accomplished in generally unfavorable situations is remarkable. Per NFL’s NextGen stats he’s seen a stacked box 33.3 percent of the time. This week, Crowell is easily a top-15 option no matter the league format. The Colts rank No. 11 in most fantasy points yielded to the position, giving up 3.85 yards per carry, 153.8 total yards per game and four touchdowns. Piling on, Indy’s Darius Leonard is less than 100 percent (ankle) and Anthony Walker is the only Colts defender to rank inside the top-50 in run-stop percentage. With Sam Darnold’s confidence growing with each start and downfield threat Robby Anderson suddenly revived, it’s likely Crowell will be gifted more attractive fronts moving forward. Insert the freshly-signed Dude Wipes pitchman into your starting lineup and score a clean victory.

Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 66 rushing yards, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.8 fantasy points

Courtland Sutton, Den, WR (1 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $10)
Matchup: vs. LAR
Vegas line/total: LAR -7, 52.5

Vance Joseph and Bill Musgrave are so out of touch with reality they both probably cinch up their jeans with “fashionable” leather braided belts. The Broncos offense, despite featuring a talented cast, is sputtering. Overt misuse at running back (Royce Freeman needs the rock 12-15 times per game. Phillip Lindsay needs more touches in the pass game.), Case Keenum’s inefficiencies and a sagging defense have stoked anger and frustration among Denver’s proud fanbase. With only four red-zone looks and 13.4 percent of the target share overall on his resume, Sutton, too, has fallen victim to outdated coaching. Reportedly unstoppable in training camp, the 6-foot-3, 218-pound rookie has yet to deliver on his enormous potential. His 6.2 yards per target and 56.6 passer rating when thrown to are ghastly. Yes, Keenum shoulders some of the blame, but the lack of creativity in play calling is also deserving. More vertical shots to the rookie are warranted, especially anywhere close to the end zone. If heads are pulled from posteriors, Sutton has an excellent shot of scoring six for the second straight week. In a game with a likely negative script for Denver, he should lure appreciable targets when lined up outside against Sam Shields. Aqib Talib’s fill-in has conceded the second-highest yards per snap (2.52), three TDs and a 130.3 passer rating to his assignments. Ride the pony.

Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.0 fantasy points

DeSean Jackson, TB, WR (19 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $20)
Matchup: at Atl
Vegas line/total: Atl -3.5, 57.5

Gazelle. Cheetah. Fleet-footed, sombrero-wearing cartoon mice from Mexico. Whether seen in reality or fantasy, speed often kills. Jackson, alongside fellow “demons” Tyreek Hill, Jakeem Grant and John Ross, knows the feeling. Over the past 11 seasons, D-Jax has often accelerated past DBs, leaving defensive coordinators vexed. What’s transpired this year is par for the course. Sprinting off the blocks, the veteran tallied three 100-yard games over the first four weeks, finding the end zone three times. He also ranks No. 1 in yards per pass route (5.05), yards per target (19.3), yards per reception (24.9) and average depth of target (20.1); deadly fast. Most of those numbers were acquired with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the controls, but Jameis Winston isn’t shy when it comes to unleashing downfield. In 13 games last season, he tallied the ninth-most pass attempts beyond 20 yards. Due to Tampa’s dreadful secondary, long bombs are sure to be a featured menu item most weeks, including Sunday in Atlanta. The Falcons — extra crispy defensively due to mounting injuries — present an ideal matchup. Extremely thin at safety and highly assailable at corner, Atlanta doesn’t have the personnel to contain D-Jax the entire game. His primary defender, Robert Alford, has given up 0.93 yards per snap and a 108.2 passer rating to his assignments. Fire the cannons and start D-Jax confidently.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 109 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.9 fantasy points

Tampa wide receiver DeSean Jackson is set to do an end-zone jig on the fast track in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Tampa wide receiver DeSean Jackson is set to do an end-zone jig on the fast track in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

WEEK 6 SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10 percent started)

Josh Reynolds, LAR, WR (1 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $10)
Matchup: at Den
Vegas line/total: LAR -7, 52.5

Concussions, unfortunately, are contagious among Los Angeles wide receivers. Brandin Cooks (8.2 targets/game) and Cooper Kupp (8.2 targets/game) traveled to Seattle unharmed only to leave the field prematurely Sunday. Now in a race to successfully pass the league’s protocol, both targets are extremely questionable for this week’s contest in Denver. Robert Woods obviously becomes Jared Goff’s default No. 1 option in the event his associates are inactive, but in an imaginative offense predicated on exploiting mismatches downfield, Reynolds could be this week’s version of Marques Valdes-Scantling: an elevated dark-horse blessed with a golden opportunity. At 6-foot-3 and 194 pounds, the Texas A&M product is a long and wiry wideout. He’s barely registered a pulse in his brief two-year career, playing roughly 30 percent of team snaps during that span. Compared to Marvin Jones by NFL.com draftniks in 2017, he was praised for his competitiveness, high-point abilities, ball-tracking and “eye-popping deep speed.” In other words, he should slide into the Cooks role without much difficulty, especially based on the opponent. The Broncos, once the most feared pass defense in the league, have become pet food. If lined up against warm-welcomer Bradley Roby, Reynolds should feast. The beleaguered corner has allowed an appalling 132.9 passer rating and 1.79 yards per snap to his assignments. For deep thinkers, Reynolds is an excellent dice roll at WR3 or the FLEX, again, assuming Cooks or Kupp sits.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.9 fantasy points

BONUS WEEK 6 FLAMES (Under 50 percent started)

QB: Baker Mayfield, Cle (vs. LAC; $26) – Mostly smooth in the pocket and savvy with his decision making, the rookie is finally the answer at QB Cleveland fans have sacrificed Slyman’s corned beef sandwiches for. Over three games he ranks No. 10 in deep-ball passer rating, No. 4 in pressured completion percentage and No. 6 in air yards per attempt. Missing Rashard Higgins hurts, but against a woefully underproducing Chargers secondary allowing the ninth-most fantasy points and 8.6 yards per attempt to QBs, he’s in position to record his second-straight 300-yard game. (FF: 313 yds, 2 tds, int, 14 rush yds, 20.9 fpts)

RB: Alfred Morris, SF, RB (at GB; $18)Matt Breida’s presumed absence (knee, ankle) vaults Morris into lead back duties. San Francisco is largely anemic in all facets, but ignoring Alf’s expected volume is difficult. Yes, inserting him into your lineup is like ordering vanilla at Baskin Robbins, but he’s tallied 2.89 YAC/att and five goal-line carries. If the Niners sniff the end-zone, he’s getting the rock. Also keep in mind the Packers have surrendered 4.43 yards per carry to RBs. (FF: 19 atts, 73 yds, 2 recs, 8 yds, td, 15.1 fpts)

RB: Wendell Smallwood, Phi, RB (at NYG; $13) – When it comes to rest-of-season upside, there’s little shrinkage attached to Smallwood, unless LeSean McCoy rejoins the cause. Jay Ajayi’s departure due to a torn ACL paves the way for the rotational back to stake his claim as Doug Pederson’s primary goal-line option. Corey Clement, Darren Sproles and hulky rookie Josh Adams will enter the mix, but Smallwood’s prior red-zone success rate (69% since 2016) and strong YAC/att numbers (3.12) imply he’ll get first crack. Since the Giants have allowed seven TDs to RBs already this season, his odds of crossing the chalk Thursday are significant. (FF: 10 atts, 42 yds, 3 recs, 24 yds, td, 14.1 fpts)

WR: Josh Gordon, NE (vs. KC; $18) – Flashing lights. Jackpots. Jubilation. Drop a quarter in any player Sunday night and instant riches are bound to occur. Gordon’s snap share has steadily increased since joining the Pats. Though he may not exceed 40 percent in the category this week, he’s a sound bet to finish well inside the WR top-30. His likely assignment, Steve Nelson, has given up a 93.4 passer rating and 16 receptions for 193 yards and a score this year. (FF: 4 recs, 71 yds, td, 15.1 fpts)

TE: Cameron Brate, TB (at Atl; $15) – With Winston under center last year, Brate churned out a top-five tight end line averaging 5.1 targets, 3.5 receptions and 43.3 yards per game. Most importantly, he scored six touchdowns in 13 games. Atlanta has allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points to TEs this year, but its injury-ridden roster should surrender over-the-middle voids for Brate to exploit. Assuming O.J. Howard sits, he’s a fantastic start at a largely barren position. (FF: 4 recs, 52 yds, td, 11.2 fpts)

DST: Dallas Cowboys (vs. Jax; $13)Blake Bortles made Kansas City’s highly penetrable defense look like the Great Wall of China. Dallas, featuring one of the game’s nastiest pass defenders in Byron Jones and a rather unbendable front (3.30 ypc allowed to RBs), is a fine field and stream option. The ‘Boys should add to their 15-sack total against a Jacksonville line that’s placed its QB under pressure 32.9 percent of the time. (FF: 19 PA, 358 YDSA, 4 SCK, 2 TO, 11.0 fpts)

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: 13-24

Brad record: 23-33 (WK5: 3-8; W: Josh Gordon, Cincinnati D/ST, Nyheim Hines; L: Alex Smith, Kerryon Johnson, Dion Lewis, Chris Thompson, Michael Gallup (SS), Dede Westbrook, Nelson Agholor, Vance McDonald)

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also check out his TV show, “The Fantasy Football Hour,” now available in 91 million households on various regional sports networks, and his award-nominated podcast, “The Fantasy Record.”

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