Week 4 Fantasy Flames: No more sad country songs for Decker
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 4 Flames in the comments section below.
Alex Smith, KC, QB (23 percent started, $31 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. Was (Game over/under: 49.5)
Wait-on-a-QB backers are already screaming from their pulpits “TOLD YA, SUCKERS!!!” Glance at the current QB1s in 12-team leagues and you can understand their amplified exuberance. Yes, usual suspects Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are listed, but they’re the only widely drafted passers dotting the landscape. Afterthoughts Trevor Siemian, Jared Goff, Blake Bortles and Smith also sit at the big boy table. Considering most believe Smith is the demarcation line for “average,” the Miller Lite of QBs, his spot inside the top-10 is a nutty development. Maybe it’s the pressure applied by Patrick Mahomes or the blazing speed of Tyreek Hill, but something has awakened inside the usually pedestrian QB. Shedding his game manager stereotype, he’s attacked defenses downfield with remarkable efficiency. Through three week’s he’s completed 77.3 percent of his attempts, netted 9.2 yards per attempt and ranked top-10 in true passer rating (136.1). In Week 4, look for Smith to again come out firing. Lobster claw Josh Norman has squeezed assignments, but the rest of Washington’s secondary is anything but restrictive. Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller, for example, have surrendered a combined 65.2 catch rate this season. Meanwhile, Washington, as a whole, has coughed up 8.7 yards per attempt to signal callers. At home, Mr. Smith trashes Washington.
Fearless Forecast: 263 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 turnovers, 11 rushing yards, 19.6 fantasy points
Chris Carson, Sea, RB (37 percent started, $19 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. Ind (Over/Under: 41)
In Fantasyland, it’s the Year of the Rookie RB. Numerous first-year rushers have, and will continue to be, celebrated. Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Tarik Cohen are just a few upstarts taking virtual box scores by storm. Though overshadowed, Carson is another greenhorn making his mark. With Eddie Lacy an afterthought and Thomas Rawls essentially unplugged, the seventh-round pick, a standout from the preseason, has suddenly become Seattle’s workhorse. On 37 carries, he’s bulled his way to an impressive 4.5 yards per carry and ranked inside the top-17 in yards after contact per attempt (2.7) and total tackles avoided (9). His noticeable decisiveness, grind and shifty moves should keep him locked into the ‘Hawks starting gig rest of season. Yes, Seattle’s offensive line continues to be a work in progress (No. 28 in run-blocking efficiency), but volume is king in fantasy, and Carson wears a crown. This week in a primetime contest TV executives are surely regretting, the youngster is practically must-start material in 12-team leagues. Despite constant negative press, the Colts have surrendered only 3.14 yards per carry and 67.0 rushing yards per game to RBs. Still, unfavorable game scripts have worn Jon Bostic and Co. down. It’s why they rank No. 13 in most fantasy points allowed to RBs. In a contest Seattle should control gate to gate, anticipate Carson to roll up top-15 numbers on at least 18-22 touches.
Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 96 rushing yards, 1 receptions, 7 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.8 fantasy points
Duke Johnson, Cle, RB (16 percent started, $13 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. Cin (Over/Under: 40)
No matter what fantasy owners claim, deep down we’re all a little bullheaded. Every year we invest heavily in a particular player or three hoping they deliver on our own self-contrived hype. Duke, a player I broke out the bullhorn for on multiple platforms this past summer, is one example. As witnessed in recent outings, the Brown is more than your run-of-the-mill scat-back. He packs the versatility, explosiveness and toughness of a Chris Thompson or Cohen. In fact, his 5.5 YAC per attempt ranks No. 1 among all RBs according to Pro Football Focus. He’s a greyhound compared to cocker spaniel Isaiah Crowell. Seeing nearly 50 percent of the snap share, the multipurpose back should build off his spectacular Week 3 efforts in Indy. His Week 4 opponent, intrastate rival Cincinnati, has only given up 3.54 yards per carry to RBs, but ranks No. 10 in most receptions allowed to the position. Duke, who deserves to be the featured back considering Crowell’s horrendous inefficiency (1.8 YAC/att, 1 missed tackle forced on 48 touches), should clean up as a receiver, especially given the unreliability of Rashard Higgins and Kenny Britt. Plug him in at the FLEX or RB2 position in 12-team and deeper leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 6 carries, 26 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.9 fantasy points
Kenny Stills, Mia, WR (10 percent started, $21 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. NO (Over/Under: 49.5)
Revenge Street is a popular pathway fantasy owners love to travel down. Every week Player X is bound to ratchet up his effort against a combative opponent or former employer who decided against keeping him around. If you’re one who subscribes to such narratives, Stills is the option for you. Matched against New Orleans, a place he called home for two years, the long-bomb specialist is not only motivated he’s an extremely difficult matchup for an emaciated Saints secondary. Woeful pass defense, like the flow of booze on Bourbon Street, is one of New Orleans’ great consistencies. Ravaged by injuries and ineptitude, the Saints have allowed 9.4 yards per attempt and 19 pass plays beyond 20 yards (2nd most). More specifically, P.J. Williams and Marshon Lattimore, who should return this week after missing last Sunday’s clash in Carolina, have conceded a combined 104.4 passer rating, 70.9 catch rate and 14.9 yards per catch to their assignments. After last week’s disaster in New York, bank on Jay Cutler pushing the envelope downfield with DeVante Parker and Stills. Trust the streaker as a WR3 or FLEX option in 12-team leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 89 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.9 fantasy points
Eric Decker, Ten, WR (8 percent started, $11 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: at Hou (Over/Under: 44)
Dashing. Handsome. Rich. Married to a stunner. In reality, we all want to be the Men’s Fitness model. However, in fantasy, he’s not even worth donning the cover of “Lighthouse Digest” (Yes, it’s a real magazine). Decker’s start in Nashville has been sluggish to say the least. He missed extensive time in August due to a hamstring injury and through three games ranks as WR79 in 12-team standard leagues. His 3.3 receptions and 30.3 yards per game averages induce migraines. But this is the week the once perceived WR3 reenters the circle of trust. Houston, downtrodden by myriad injuries on defense, is a gash-worthy opponent. Kevin Johnson is out with a knee injury and Jonathan Joseph, as evidenced by his 116.7 passer rating allowed, is nowhere close to 100 percent. Whether lined up against Joseph or Kareem Jackson (64.3 catch%; 107.1 passer rating allowed) in the slot on three-WR sets, Decker should be the apple of Marcus Mariota’s eye. On roughly 6-8 targets, the veteran gets back to his typical TD-scoring ways.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.7 fantasy points
WEEK 4 SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Curtis Samuel, Car, WR (0 percent started, $10 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: at NE (Over/Under: 49)
Carolina’s offensive strategy this offseason was pretty simple, upgrade team speed, keep Cam Newton pocket tied and force the QB to release the ball quicker. This is why the organization zeroed in on Christian McCaffrey and Samuel in the draft. The Ohio State product is smothered in lubricant. An open-field blur (4.31 40-yard), he’s a deceptive hybrid equipped with the tools needed to embarrass defenders as a short-field receiver. It’s no surprise he’s one of the league leaders in separation yards gained per route. Eased in over the first couple weeks, the rookie earned a larger role in Week 3. On a season-best 36 snaps, he totaled 36 yards on three touches. No one is doing cartwheels over that level of production, but I suspect his role grows in Week 4. Kelvin Benjamin is questionable due to a bum knee and Cam’s persistent struggles on throws beyond 10 yards imply the staff may feature more high-percentage throws to CMC and Samuel. The matchup, too, is favorable. New England, nearly upended in shocking style by Houston last week, continues to be anemic defensively. Gashed all over the field, the Pats have yielded 7.84 yards per touch to RBs and numerous receptions within 5-10 yards. Just look at what Bruce Ellington achieved in Week 3. If Cam can actually deliver the ball with proper touch, Samuel is in line to rock the fantasy world.
Fearless Forecast: 2 attempts, 23 rush yards, 4 receptions, 41 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.3 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 4 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?
QB Watson, RB Collins, Carson, WR Lockett, Sanu, TE Clay, DEF Bengals
— Sean White (@whiteslither) September 26, 2017
Fan Week 3 results: 1-7 (Season: 8-15)
My Week 3 results: 4-7 (Season: 15-17; W: DeShone Kizer, Tarik Cohen, Ben Watson, DeSean Jackson; L: Joe Mixon, Philly D/ST, Theo Riddick, Devin Funchess, Kenny Golladay, Tyrell Williams, Derrick Henry; DNP: Sam Bradford)
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 Spin.”