Week 9 Fantasy Flames: Drive down narrative street with Howard

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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 9 Flames in the comments section below.

Minshew mania reaches the shores of England

Gardner Minshew, Jax, QB (35 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $28)
Matchup: vs. Hou (London)
Vegas Line/Total: Hou -2, 47.5

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. As witnessed in last Sunday’s Halloween edition of “Fantasy Football Live,” the adage most certainly applied. In an epic battle of dueling Minshews, Andy Behrens and yours truly channeled our inner Gardner. His gregarious personality, flamboyant wardrobe choices, and entertaining flair fit the show’s loose nature. Who wore it best? We’ll leave that up to you.

Walking the walk and backing it up with consistent box score feats, Minshew is one of fantasy’s biggest surprise sensations. Whether glancing at his surface production or deep-dive analytics, he’s become a weekly lineup staple in challenging formats. QB15 in per game average, he ranks inside the position’s top-15 in adjusted completion percentage, red-zone success, and yards per target. Boosting the bottom line with 25.1 rush yards per game, the undrafted passer has defied the odds while morphing into a contemporary Jeff Garcia.

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This week, he’s in the top-10 QB conversation as the Jags travel to Jacksonville East (London) to face friendly Houston. The Texans clamp down on the run but are unhinged in downfield coverage. This season, they’ve allowed 293/4 pass yards per attempt, 7.7 pass yards per game, 2.3 pass touchdowns per game, 319.6 total air yards per game and the fifth-most fantasy points to signal callers.

Stroke the ‘stache — score oodles of fantasy points.

Fearless Forecast: 273 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 21 rushing yards, 21.0 fantasy points

Revenge on Howard’s mind against Chicago

Jordan Howard, Phi, RB (40% started; Yahoo DFS: $19)
Matchup: vs. Chi
Vegas Line/Total: Phi -5, 43.5

Revenge is a dish best served cold. For the triggered, seeking and exacting it is often all-consuming. In Hollywood, it’s the emotion that drives a central character to ensure antagonists receive their much-deserved comeuppance. The Loser’s Club (It), Carrie White (Carrie) and Laurie Strode (Halloween) are prime examples that immediately come to mind.

For Howard, who was shipped from Chicago to Philadelphia in March for a sixth-round pick, November 3 is a date circled on the calendar months ago.

Currently at RB23 in .5 PPR leagues, Howard has barely budged from his place among 2018 fantasy rushers. On an Eagles team featuring a premier offensive line, he’s bulldozed his way to 2.88 yards after contact per attempt, becoming Doug Pederson’s primary option inside the red zone (19 atts; RB12). Miles Sanders has blossomed of late, but the veteran isn’t going to relinquish much work, if any, down the homestretch.

REVENGE GAME!!! Jordan Howard is a viable RB2 against his former employer, Chicago. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
REVENGE GAME!!! Jordan Howard is a viable RB2 against his former employer, Chicago. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Chicago, down hole-plunger Akiem Hicks, has unspooled versus the run. Since Week 5, only the Cleveland Browns have allowed more fantasy points to rushers. During that four-game stretch, the Bears — turned into a rug fit for a cabin — have given up 105.3 rush yards per game and six rushing touchdowns to RBs. Start the man.

Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 63 receiving yards, 1 reception, 5 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.3 fantasy points

Coleman’s backfield companion to spook Cards on Halloween night

Raheem Mostert/Matt Breida/Jeffery WIlson Jr., SF, RB (1, 39, 1% started; Yahoo DFS: $11, $16, $10)
Matchup: at Ari
Vegas Line/Total: SF -9.5, 44

On a night when ghouls and ghosts wander the streets in search of sweet sustenance, heroes emerge. When the doorbell rings these modern-day chevaliers leap to their feet, rush to the door and happily greet whatever goblins await, a bowl of full-sized candy bars in hand.

On All Hallow’s Eve, Mostert, assuming Matt Breida’s wrenched ankle keeps him sidelined, will channel that spirit. Instead of placing PayDays in collection bags, the rusher is sure to reward his supporters with king-sized production.

Tevin Coleman, off a four-touchdown eruption versus Carolina, is San Francisco’s clear-cut No. 1. However, on a team predicated on ball control and defense, other red-and-gold-clad rushers have contributed meaningful fantasy production — Breida, Jeff Wilson Jr. and Mostert. Whoever Kyle Shanahan plugs in at RB2, that player usually provides bountiful riches.

This week, the Purdue product should drive nails into a wounded Arizona club. The Cards rank middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed, but have yielded 4.5 yards per carry, 141.9 total yards per game and nine combined scores to the position. More importantly for the speedy rusher, they check in at No. 23 in second-level rush yards surrendered. Given the back’s open-field explosiveness and break-tackle ability (3.43 YAC/att, RB8) along with what should be a positive game script, he’s very much in the running for a top-24 finish in .5 PPR. With four teams on bye (ATL, CIN, LAR and NO), squirt a little Mostert on your sandwich.

(Note: Same logic above and forecast below applies to Breida if available. If neither he or Mostert are available then Wilson Jr. becomes a tasty Halloween treat. Bottom line, pay attention to practice reports.)

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 64 rushing yards, 0 receptions, 1 touchdown, 12.4 fantasy points

Tyrell to tear up weakened Detroit secondary

Tyrell Williams, Oak, WR (33% started; Yahoo DFS: $20)
Matchup: vs. Det
Vegas Line/Total: Det -2, 52

There are several common tenets fantasy managers typically live by. Focus on drafting running backs in healthy offensive environments. Invest in target share. Maximize matchups. Always #FadeTheNoise.

It’s a long list of commandments.

If there’s one roman numeral to implicitly abide by it has to be listening to Vegas. Oddsmakers know what they’re doing. It’s in their best financial interest to set markets and attract bettors in an effort to boost the house’s bottom line. Game totals, calculated by advanced algorithms that crunch multiple variables, give us a glimpse into how a game could potentially unfold. The higher the number, naturally, the fantasy friendlier. They’re incredibly insightful.

In a contest with the Lions featuring a total in the low-50s, Oakland, due to its terribly forgiving secondary and above-average offense, could again be thrust into a high-scoring affair. Matched against a Lions secondary coming unraveled after the dismissal of Quandre Diggs, Williams is in a prime blow-up spot after kicking off the rust last week in Houston (6-3-91-1). He’s darn near must-start material, especially if Darius Slay sits or is limited. Over the past five weeks, Detroit has allowed 8.5 pass yards per attempt and the second-most fantasy points to WRs. On the year, no team has yielded a higher aDOT (10.4) or more total air yards than the Kitties.

The receiver, who’s tallied 10.2 yards per target, should detonate on a long bomb or three.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 96 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 19.6 fantasy points

Crowder to rediscover PPR chops in Miami

Jamison Crowder, NYJ, WR (24% started; Yahoo DFS: $14)
Matchup: at Mia
Vegas Line/Total: NYJ -5, 41

Forget ghosts — it’s clear that poltergeists have overtaken Sam Darnold. He committed seven turnovers against the Pats and Jags, absorbing nine sacks. Blame the missed time due to mono. Blame his withering under pressure. Blame Adam Gase. All have played their part in the QB’s deconstruction. The possessed passer needs to visit a voodoo priestess to rid his body and mind of pollutants, stat.

Miami, however, is the ideal witch’s brew to snap any spell. The Dallas version of Darnold is about to resurface. He and Crowder, who’s accounted for 25.2% of the Jets’ target share, should connect early and often. The Dolphins have surrendered 8.9 pass yards per attempt, the second-highest average depth of target (10.0) and the sixth-most fantasy points to receivers. Crowder’s projected shadow, slot corner Jomal Wiltz, has yielded a 119.6 passer rating and 1.47 yards per snap.

Placing your faith in any Jet, especially one who’s yet to score a touchdown, is akin to blindly believing your neighbor’s homemade Halloween brownies aren’t laced with hallucinogens, but this week consume both and you just might float on air.

Fearless Forecast: 7 receptions, 65 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.0 fantasy points

SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10% started in Yahoo leagues)

DaeSean Hamilton, Den, WR (1% started; Yahoo DFS: $13)
Matchup: vs. Cle
Vegas Line/Total: Den -1.5, 42.5

If you caught the Week 8 edition of my nationally syndicated TV show, “The Fantasy Football Hour,” you probably watched co-host Nate Lundy blow a gasket over, of all players, Hamilton. For once not the loudest voice in the room, I glanced at my colleague in amazement as he drove the bus over the receiver again and again and …

His vitriol was understandable. Hamilton, merely a footnote in Denver’s wayward season, has underachieved. Outplayed by breakout teammate Courtland Sutton, he’s labored through sloppy routes and glaring drops. After opening eyes with a 38-25-182-2 line Weeks 14-17 last year, he’s clearly regressed. But with the Broncos jettisoning Emmanuel Sanders to San Francisco, the sophomore was presented with a golden opportunity to save face.

Last Sunday in Indy he played on 61.6% of Denver’s snaps but responded with a string of unsweet donuts. Still, the opportunity is there. Will the youngster elevate his game?

Week 9 provides an excellent chance. Yes, even with Brandon Allen under center.

Cleveland, off another shellacking this time at the hands of New England, comes to snowy Denver in disrepair. Its secondary received an arm shot with the return of Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward, but even with its talented DBs reunited, it remains vulnerable, particularly in slot coverage. On the year, SCB T.J. Carrie has given up a 113.0 passer rating and 1.97 yards per snap to his assignments.

Consider Hamilton a sneaky streamer in deep PPR formats.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.6 fantasy points

BONUS FLAMES (Under 60% started)

QB: Philip Rivers, LAC (GB -3; $27) – Similar to Matthew Stafford, Rivers is a perennial Rodney Dangerfield All-Star. Simply put, the man doesn’t get enough respect. Though QB17 overall in fantasy points per game, Rivers has registered five games with at least 300 yards and two touchdowns. More alluring, he trails only Jameis Winston in total air yards. This week he should again crack the 20 fantasy point mark as his Chargers host Green Bay. The Packers, off allowing 267 yards and two TDs to reconstituted Matt Moore, are an exploitable pass defense. On the year, they’ve coughed up 7.8 pass yards per attempt, 269.8 pass yards per game and four multi-TD performances to QBs. In a contest with plenty of high-scoring appeal, Rivers flows over his banks. (FF: 301-2-0-0, 20.0 fpts)

RB: Devin Singletary, Buf (Buf -10; $16) – As stated before, Frank Gore isn’t from Florida originally. His roots stretch back centuries to the Transylvanian Alps. He’s Vlad Dracul reincarnated, a blood-drinking conqueror blessed with immortality. The rookie did outpace Gore in snaps 42-18 last week against Philly, but the ageless veteran will continue to force at least a 50-50 split. Due to the meek opponent in Washington, both Bills could prove serviceable. It’s surrendered 4.2 yards per carry, 163.4 total yards per game, seven total touchdowns and the eighth-most fantasy points to rushers. Singletary, who’s compiled 3.10 yards after contact per attempt is well within the RB2 conversation. (FF: 7-49-3-22-1, 14.6 fpts)

WR: Danny Amendola, Det (Det -2; $15) – The Motor City’s version of Crowder or Jarvis Landry, Amendola has very stealthily grabbed 16 receptions (on 19 targets) for 200 yards the past couple weeks. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones have stolen the spotlight, but it’s impossible to ignore the slot man’s consistent volume. He and Stafford, who himself is quietly stringing together a phenomenal fantasy season, have connected 75.7% of the time this season. Amendola rarely ventures beyond 10 yards (8.70 aDOT), but his small bites are sure to add up against a Raiders secondary allergic to defending the pass. Oakland ranks inside the top-five in fantasy points allowed to WRs. They’ve also given up a healthy 8.8 aDOT and 8.6 yards per attempt. Troy Aikman would even agree that they’re beatable. Against slot DB Lamarcus Joyner (117.3 passer rating, 1.58 yards/snap allowed), Amendola again piles up the catches. (FF: 8-94-0, 13.4 fpts)

WR: Christian Kirk, Ari (SF -9.5; $14) – A team trotting out recently exhumed fantasy corpses Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner alongside system-green Kenyan Drake against the NFC’s most terrifying defense is an ideal plot for a Stephen King novel. In a contest that could turn ugly in a hurry for Arizona, Kirk could attract a monster-sized target share. If not for a slow-healing ankle injury, the crafty WR would be near the top in total targets. On a per-game basis, he’s netted 9.2 per game, nearly identical to boss hog Julio Jones. The Niners rank No. 4 in fewest fantasy points allowed to WRs and have given up only four 55 yard-plus efforts. Emmanuel Mosley and Richard Sherman combined have conceded a 60.0 passer rating and 0.62 yards per snap. The matchup is daunting, but workload and garbage time potential suggest Kirk is a contrarian WR3. (FF: 7-72-1, 16.7 fpts)

TE: Cameron Brate, TB (Sea -6.5; $12) – The downfall of O.J. Howard is arguably the biggest surprise of the 2019 fantasy season. He’s young and insanely talented, but Bruce Arians’ refusal to feature him has left many, including this blathering idiot, vexed. As a result, Brate continues to be a Winston favorite. Over the past two weeks, the pair connected five times (on 10 targets) for 79 yards and a score. On the year, Brate has been targeted five times inside the red zone. This week against a Seattle defense which has rolled out the red carpet for opposing TEs, the Harvard grad could post scholarly results. On average, the ‘Hawks have yielded 5.4 receptions and 71.0 yards per game to the position. They’ve also surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points. (FF: 4-52-1, 13.2 fpts)

DST: Denver Broncos (Den -1.5; $12) – From costly Nick Chubb fumbles to Baker Mayfield underhand tosses to D lineman, Cleveland was a comedy of errors, once again, last week in Foxborough. The Broncos, the fifth-worst DST in fantasy, aren’t in the same zip code as New England, but considering the Browns proneness for mistakes, they’re worth a plug-n-play. After recording just five sacks in its first five games, Denver has pulled passers to the turf 12 times over the past two weeks. Expect Mayfield, kept clean in the pocket on 63.7% of his dropbacks, to be badgered early and often against Von Miller and Co. (FF: 17 PA, 358 YDSA, 5 SCKs, 3 TOs, 13.0 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: 24-27

Brad’s record: 42-48 (Week 8 results: 7-3; W: Ryan Tannehill, David Montgomery, Jamaal Williams, Diontae Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Austin Ekeler, Pittsburgh DST, A.J. Brown; L: Kenny Stills, Alexander Mattison, Jimmy Graham)

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, along with his work on the “Yahoo Sports Fantasy Podcast” and his award-nominated podcast, “The Fantasy Record.

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