Week 5 Fantasy Sleepers: Duke Johnson 'Won't Back Down' vs. Jets

Yahoo Sports Fantasy Minute
Week 5 Fantasy Flames: Allison an ideal plug ‘n play bye-week filler

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 5 Flames in the comments section below.

*Editor’s Note: Paying tribute to the late, great Tom Petty, Brad referenced many of his memorable cuts in this week’s column. Enjoy! 

[Enter the $100K Baller football contest. $10 to enter and $10K to 1st place]

Jacoby Brissett, Ind, QB (2 percent started, $22 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. SF (Game over/under: 43)

From the top down, Indianapolis severely fumbled its handling of Andrew Luck’s shoulder recovery. As a result, his exact timetable to return is unknown, with some doubting he won’t see the field until after Halloween. The Scott Tolzien experiment briefly blew up the lab, but quietly Brissett hasn’t added insult to injury. In fact, the overlooked passer has become a practicable option for the stream crowd. A Daunte Culpepper doppelganger, Brissett is big-bodied, surprisingly agile, multidimensional and a respectable downfield thrower. He’s averaged 7.3 yards per attempt, found the end zone twice with his legs and netted o.44 fantasy points per dropback (QB15). With Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins on siesta he’s an instant plug ‘n play against he Niners. San Francisco DBs Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson have allowed a combined 113.9 passer rating and four touchdowns to their assignments. T.Y. Hilton, suppressed way too often this season, should strike it rich. As a whole, San Fran has given up the 11th-most fantasy points to passers (254.5 yards per game, 7:2 TD:INT). Brissett is still learning to fly, but inside Lucas Oil, a venue in which he torched another weak secondary (Cleveland) a couple weeks ago, he will find his wings.

Fearless Forecast: 209 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 19 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 22.3 fantasy points

Duke Johnson, Cle, RB (29 percent started, $13 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. NYJ (Over/Under: 39)

Through four weeks, Johnson is a show quality hound compared to Isaiah Crowell, who has the look of a mangy cocker spaniel. Disagree? Whether via the eye test, intense statistical research or both, Duke is indisputably the more efficient RB. He ranks No. 1 among all eligible RBs in yards after contact per attempt (5.4) and elusive rating according to Pro Football Focus. Where does Crowell stand in each category? Second to last. Only Paul Perkins, who owns the shiftiness of Lake Erie, ranks worst on both fronts. In other words, he’s a walker in the zombie zoo. Yes, Cleveland’s bolstered offensive line has underwhelmed (No. 30 in run-blocking), but Johnson deserves more run. He simply possesses a hotter spark and more versatility. His 14 snaps advantage over Crow last week may have marked the changing of the guard. The incumbent won’t vanish completely, but 14-plus touches per game could soon become the norm for No. 29. This week will be no exception. The Jets, described as “Paper Airplanes” not long ago by yours truly, are impossibly 2-2 on the season. Demario Davis and Steve McLendon, who rank inside the top-15 in run-stop percentage at their respective positions, are two reasons why. Collectively, though, New York has allowed 4.05 yards per carry, 6.3 receptions per game, 166.5 total yards per game and the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs. Don’t do Duke like that. In a contest only a fantasy owner could love, he’s a highly employable RB2.

Fearless Forecast: 7 carries, 24 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 65 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.4 fantasy points

[Week 5 fantasy rankings: Overall | PPR | QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Ks]

Jerick McKinnon, Min, RB (4 percent started, $13 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: at Chi (Over/Under: OTB)

Through the blood, sweat and beers last Sunday in Minnesota, tears streamed down sauce-stained checks as prized rookie Dalvin Cook crumbled to the ground with a dreaded non-contact knee injury. Despondent feelings immediately polluted minds as fears of a long-term injury increased. Sadly, tests Monday revealed a torn left ACL. The frying of Cook, who was on pace for a mammoth inaugural campaign, places the Vikings into an all too familiar position. Arguably the worst ground team in the league last year, Minnesota will now turn to human glacier Latavius Murray and McKinnon to shoulder the load. Due to Murray’s slow-creeping style and balky ankle, the former college QB is the organization’s only hope. He exhibited sporadic flashes previously, but McKinnon, heavier and more muscular compared to last year, has the hands and explosiveness to bear occasional fruits. His uneventful 2016 scares easy, but recall he ranked favorably in total evaded tackles (No. 17) and juke rate (No. 23). He likely won’t go bananas in Chicago, but in a bye-heavy week he’s at least serviceable. Bears interior defender Akiem Hicks has gobbled up RBs. Largely due to his effort the Mice of the Midway have given up just 3.61 yards per carry, 105.3 total yards per game and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to rushers. Despite the difficult matchup, McKinnon is an employable RB2/FLEX. Stop dragging my heart around, SPARQ god. It’s now or never.

Fearless Forecast: 9 carries, 46 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 32 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.3 fantasy points

Tyrell Williams, LAC, WR (32 percent started, $13 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: at NYG (Over/Under: 44)

Pulled off the scrapheap post-Keenan Allen knee combustion last year, Williams certainly charged up all who gave him a chance. His 69-1059-7 line proved quite valuable for those in 12-team and deeper leagues. Many told Williams “don’t come around here no more” after a sluggish start, but the downfield threat detonated in Week 4. His 75-yard dusting of Philly corner Rasul Douglas lifted investor spirits and reestablished his place among the league’s most dangerous long-bombers. More than just a streaker, Williams is a more complete receiver than most believe. He’s tough in traffic and typically outmaneuvers undersized defensive backs with his high-point abilities and smooth routes. This week, he owns a distinct upper hand. With Janoris Jenkins draping Keenan Allen, Williams is likely to square off against ultra-forgiving DB Eli Apple. On the year, the rotten corner has surrendered a 129.6 passer rating, 67.7 catch rate and league-high four touchdowns to his assignments. If Philip Rivers has enough pocket time (37.5 pressure% in Week 4), Williams crosses the chalk in consecutive weeks.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 91 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.6 fantasy points

Geronimo Allison, GB, WR (6 percent started, $11 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: at Dal (Over/Under: 52.5)

Last Thursday, viewers who witnessed the violent helmet-to-helmet collision between Davante Adams and Danny Trevathan audibly gasped. The malicious hit levied by the linebacker dislodged Adams’ mouth guard and left him with a concussion. Thankfully, the receiver escaped the worst possible scenario, but the concussion suffered is sure to keep him sidelined for some time. Enter Allison. Built like Jack Skellington from “A Nightmare Before Christmas,” the former Illini is long (6-foot-3, 202 pounds), lanky and dependable. Though he’s mostly seen only limited action, his hard breaks, sharp footwork and precise routes have helped him gain breathing space from defenders. According to the NFL’s NextGenStats, his 3.2 separation yards per route ranks No. 12 among all receivers, tight ends included. Keeping that in mind and knowing he’s sure to draw favorable coverage working opposite Jordy Nelson, he’s a recommended WR3 in Week 5. His matchup, at Dallas, is an advantageous one. Orlando Scandrick, Jourdan Lewis and Nolan Carroll, who may return to action this week, have allowed combined a 66.7 catch percentage, 98.2 passer rating and two touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers’ complete trust in him and expanded role say he could be a fantasy saving grace. If it all clicks, it’s possibly he matches the 6-122-0 output notched Week 3.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.3 fantasy points

WEEK 5 SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)

Alex Collins, Bal, RB (7 percent started, $12 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. Oak (Over/Under: 40)

Edgar Allan Poe’s scariest nightmare pales in comparison to this year’s Ravens offense. Though light years better than fellow AFC participant Miami (ZERO points scored against the Saints?! Pigs are flying!), it’s a chuckle-worthy unit that’s clearly failed to grasp the meaning of “execution.” Pin the blame on the offensive line’s inefficiency (No. 28 in run-blocking per Player Profiler) or Joe Flacco’s elite suckitude, but this is a franchise that’s lost its ground-and-pound identity from Jamal Lewis’ heyday. Collins, however, could be the magic cure. Last week on a season high 17 snaps, the Seahawks castoff compiled 82 yards on nine carries. His game-best 50-yard scamper, in which he showcased excellent speed, power and balance, greatly impressed. Overall, he tallied a ridiculous 5.6 YAC per attempt and forced three missed tackles. Buck Allen dwarfed him considerably in actual playing time (46 snaps played), but due to Terrance West’s downfall – it’s clearly the end of the line for the veteran – Collins’ role is bound to grow. Bottom line, the Ravens need his brawn and play-making ability. Drawing a Raiders defensive line that’s yielded 4.20 yards per carry, Collins could run with the fervor of an incensed boar, provided he doesn’t suffer another mental gaffe. He’s been a bit fumble prone as a Raven. Still, bye-week plagued owners looking for a one-week stopgap should give him a long look.

Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 63 rushing yards, 1 reception, 4 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.2 fantasy points

BONUS WEEK 5 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?

Fan Week 4 results: 3-4 (Season: 11-19)
My Week 4 results: 6-4 (Season: 21-21) (W: Deshaun Watson, Jordan Matthews, Cameron Brate, Duke Johnson, Alex Smith, Jacksonville D/ST; L: Eric Decker, Kenny Stills, Allen Hurns, Joe Mixon; DNP: Curtis Samuel)

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 Record.”