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% of Yahoo! leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week (Scoring thresholds – QB: 18 fantasy points, RB: 12 fantasy points, WR: 11 fantasy points: TE: 10 fantasy points; 0.5 PPR). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 12 Flames on Twitter @NoisyHuevos.
(6% started in Yahoo; DK DFS: $5,500)
Matchup: at CIN
Vegas line/Total: NYG -4.5, 43
The dreaded sophomore slump. In all sports it’s a common occurrence, at times an unexplainable devolution for an athlete. For Jones, his Year 1-to-Year 2 unraveling is a prime example. Last fall, after decleating Eli Manning toward retirement, the much lampooned first-round pick quickly ascended up the fantasy ranks. His prolific turnover rate somewhat blackened otherwise rosy numbers, but for the most part he delivered instant starter-worthy numbers in challenge fantasy formats. The former Duke-y executed well under duress and on play action, padding the bottom line with occasional splashy runs. Finishing QB16 in points per game, he was a prime late-draft target for many, this clamorous cuck among that group. With Jones currently 12 spots shy of where he finished in 2019, he’s unquestionably in a rut. Blame Saquon Barkley’s absence all you want, but much of the QB’s deterioration is on him.
This week, however, the uneven passer is worth your consideration. Off the bye week, he should flourish against a Bengals front that applies little to no pressure (No. 31 in pressure percentage). When provided time, Jones has proven effective. He’s QB14 in adjusted completion percentage, No. 1 in deep-ball passer rating (142.4) and No. 4 in rush yards per game (38.4). Matching wits with a spiritless Bengals D the gunslinger’s scoring duality will be on full display. This season, Cincinnati has ceded 7.4 pass yards per attempt, 258.3 passing yards per game, 2.2 touchdowns per game and 120.6 rush yards per contest. Even in a bye-free week, he’s a top-15 option
Fearless forecast: 223 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 turnover, 46 rushing yards, 20.5 fantasy points
Matchup: at DET
Vegas line/Total: HOU -2, 50.5
As we gather around the table this Thanksgiving to pass succulent turkey, buttery potatoes and viral loads of COVID-19, it’s important to pause and reflect on just how awful Lions/Texans really will be. That is, from a real-life football perspective. With a combined 6-11 record, both franchises, wallowing in underperformance, are jockeying for NFL draft rather than a postseason position. When paired with Washington/Dallas, it’s matinee football crafted impeccably as a backdrop for a tryptophan-induced nap. For some, betting and fantasy purposes, however, are sure to stimulate the senses, particularly for Duke diehards.
With David Johnson on IR, Duke , though clearly the featured back and logging 90% of the opportunity share Weeks 10-11, has only performed marginally. Against the Browns and Patriots, he totaled 89 combined yards on 23 touches, netting a paltry 2.00 yards after contact per attempt. His ardent supporters will disagree, but the rusher isn’t constructed for three-down work. No, he’s best suited in a satellite role, gripping the pill 10-12 times per game.
Still, with the volume cranked, he’s easily a top-24 option against a hapless Lions front that would likely get gashed by your overweight uncle in a rollicking backyard Turkey Bowl game. Detroit, No. 29 in adjusted line yards allowed, has yielded 4.68 yards per carry, 172.8 total yards per game, 19 total touchdowns and the most fantasy points to RBs. In what will likely be a high-scoring affair, look for Johnson to gobble up multiple gargantuan gains.
Fearless forecast: 15 carries, 62 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 17 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.4 fantasy points
J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team
Matchup: at DAL
Vegas line/Total: DAL -2.5, 48
The obsession Alex Smith has for McKissic borderlines on compulsion. Suffice it to say, this holiday season if Smith bumped into the pint-sized rusher under mistletoe, he would not only violate social-distancing ordinances, he would likely slip McKissic the tongue. Over the past three weeks, “Alligator” Alex has targeted the scatback a mind-blowing 33 times, hooking up on 19 passes for 143 yards. Though the yardage total isn’t earth-shattering, the ceaseless feedings undoubtedly raise the RB’s floor in 0.5 or full PPR. In the latter format he’s the 24th-most valuable RB since Week 9. Additional love connections are in the fearless forecast for Thanksgiving.
Describing the football climate in Dallas as “rough” would be the understatement of the century. The combination of catastrophic injuries and defensive under-performance has left Jerry Jones scurrying to acquire little blue pills to generate appropriate levels of arousal. Allowing a staggering 4.74 yards per carry, 145.3 total yards per game and the ninth-most fantasy points to RBs, ‘Little D’ is indeed shrivelly. To be fair, Mike Dolan’s unit has held pass-catching backs in check, surrendering just 33 receptions for 193 receiving yards. Seemingly, it doesn’t bode well for McKissic, but Smith’s unwavering willingness to checkdown can conquer any matchup. Another RB20-RB24 level effort is likely for the rising scatback.
Fearless forecast: 4 carries, 13 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 42 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.5 fantasy points
Matchup: at MIN
Vegas line/Total: MIN -4.5
In normal years, every adventurous Black Friday shopper is equipped with a special skill set. Cunning, dexterity, mobility, awareness and determination — all are fully utilized when attempting to track down those must-have doorbuster deals. Whether juking soccer moms for scented candles or baseball dads for $3 waffle irons, eluding obstacles is paramount to acquire the reward. Samuel, similar to those brave bargain hunters, owns quite the arsenal of multidimensional tools. He’s a phenomenal pass catcher, whether short, intermediate or deep, and a slashing rusher on jet sweeps and classic draws. Percy Harvin revisited? There are resemblances.
Sunday, Samuel and the Fighting Sir Purrs square off against an emaciated Vikings secondary, a group down several starters. This season, Minnesota has coughed up 7.5 pass yards per attempt, the seventh-most air yards per game and the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs. Whether working inside, outside or from the backfield, Matt Rhule’s Swiss army knife should brandish a sharpened blade. Throw in the strong probability Teddy Bridgewater suits up and it becomes abundantly clear Samuel likely finishes within the WR2 range in 12-team formats.
Fearless forecast: 5 receptions, 62 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13 rushing yards, 16.0 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. ARZ
Vegas line/Total: ARZ -2.5
Already better than at least a handful of full-time NFL quarterbacks, Meyers, too, is marching up the ranks at his natural position. The inseparable bond he’s built with Cam Newton is akin to this scribe and a tequila bottle when in the presence of extended family. Over six games, he’s drawn north of a 26% target share hauling in 75.6% of his intended looks. His refined route running, versatility and knack for finding soft sports in zone coverage has added a much-desired element to New England’s conservative offense. Currently inside the top-five in fantasy points per route and No. 1 in air yards share (43.3%), the upstart will continue to straddle the WR2/WR3 line in 0.5 PPR leagues even if/when Julian Edelman returns. Repeatedly the wideout has deflected notions his production is only a mirage. It’s time to accept his realness.
This week, Arizona makes the long cross-country trek to Foxboro. The Cardinals, quite torchable underneath, have given up the ninth-most slot yards to wide receivers. Overall, they’ve surrendered 6.9 pass yards per attempt and the 10th-most fantasy points to the position. Whether against Byron Murphy (1.26 yards/snap; 67.9 catch% allowed) or Dre Kirkpatrick (1.55; 75.4%), look for the ascending star to snag at least five receptions for the fourth-straight week.
Fearless forecast: 5 receptions, 57 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.2 fantasy points
Shocker special (under 10% started)
Henry Ruggs, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
Matchup: at ATL
Vegas line/Total: LV -1
Wally West. Quicksilver. Speedy Gonzalez. Sonic the Hedgehog. Ruggs, who blazed an eyebrow-singeing 4.27 40-yard dash at the combine, was supposed to be Vegas’ version of Tyreek Hill. Pitch, catch and burn — many anticipated a multitude of explosive synchronizations with Derek Carr. However, highlight plays have been infrequent for the rookie. Unsurprisingly, he ranks near the top in several standout categories including air yards share, average depth of target, yards per catch and YAC per reception. But Ruggs’ WR96 slotting in catchable target rate clearly shows he and Carr have spoiled opportunities. This week, however, unrealized production could finally convert. Purple walruses everywhere agree.
Documented often in this space, the Falcons are a 12-piece bucket defending the pass. Almost impossibly they’ve surrendered more fantasy points per game to the QB position than Seattle. Overall, Atlanta has given up 8.4 yards per attempt, 210.8 yards per game to WRs and the second-most air yards. Slapping a pat of butter on the matchup, Ruggs will square off primarily with Isaiah Oliver (127.8 passer rating allowed) in slot situations and Kendall Sheffield (2.74 yds/snap allowed) when shuttled outside. Mash it all up and the tastebuds tickle.
Fearless forecast: 3 receptions, 62 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.7 fantasy points
Bonus flames (under 60% started)
QB: Taysom Hill, NO (Line: NO -6; DK: $6,200) — Sean Payton is every cackling, eye-patched movie villain overly confident about his own self-proclaimed genius. His unwavering commitment to Hill as his QB of the future, or, right now, the present. Much to the chagrin of Jameis Winston piggy bank smashers, Payton turned to his favorite crush against Atlanta. Fanalysts, scattered in their viewpoints, were quite divided on how he would perform. Some stated a top-10 finish. Others outside the top-20. When the final whistle blew, the answer was closer to the former as he tallied 233 passing yards, 51 rushing yards and two ground scores. He displayed excellent zip on intermediate throws and, of course, sensational rushing ability. Tim Tebow the sequel? Nah, he’s closer to Lamar Jackson 2020. Battling Denver on the road, he automatically enters into the QB1 conversation. The Broncos have given up a mere 6.7 pass yards per attempt, but they struggled to neutralize versatile passers Ryan Tannehill, Cam Newton and Justin Herbert earlier this season. Hill runs wild. (FF: 193-1-0-58-1, 23.5 fantasy points)
RB: Ronald Jones, TB (Line: KC -3; DK: $6,100) — Bruce Arians’ indecisiveness is maddening. When Jones is handed the ball, he often makes spectacular runs (See the Carolina game). His leg churn, pad level and emphatic finishes are light years ahead from where he was the past couple seasons. Showcasing a top-10 rank in YAC per attempt (3.58) and 15.1 missed tackle rate, he deserves the majority of early-down work with Leonard Fournette only occasionally supplanting him on pass downs. Exchange memories with KC this week in a Patrick Mahomes-Tom Brady QB showdown, Jones, in the end, could steal the show. The Chiefs are most beatable against effective run-heavy teams. On the year they’ve allowed 4.46 yards per carry, 151.0 total yards per game, seven total TDs and the 13th-most fantasy points to rushers. As long as he doesn’t commit an egregious error banishing him to Arians’ doghouse, Jones should slide into the Week 12 top-20. (FF: 14-64-1-2-8-0, 14.2 fantasy points)
RB: Kenyan Drake, ARZ (Line: ARZ -2.5; DK: $5,400) — After Drake trudged his way to vacuous returns and exuded a limited pass-down role for much of the early season, the majority of fantasy GMs lumped the Cards RB in with David Montgomery, a volume-dependent rusher with minimal upside. Finally worked in as a receiver last week he earned 15-plus balls to the belly. He, however, isn’t on the same plane as Mr. Mediocre (Mandatory no longer applies), though his 2.54 YAC per attempt and 13.6 missed tackle rate leaves much to be desired. This week, the AZ RB is highly employable. New England’s D, a remnant from its heyday, only rarely ratchets up pressure. Most noteworthy, it contains the run poorly. Through Week 11 the Pats have yielded 4.42 yards per carry, 130.7 total yards per game and eight total touchdowns. They also rank No. 28 in adjusted line yards allowed. If his receiving presence continues, Drake flirts with top-12 production. (FF: 17-68-1-3-15-0, 15.8 fantasy points)
WR: Allen Lazard, GB (Line: GB -7.5; DK: $4,600) — If polled, the majority of fantasy GMs would rather slam shots of Purell than remotely entertain a receiver one game removed from a lengthy IR stint against Chicago’s unrelenting pass defense, but this tequila enthusiast says bring it all on, hand sanitizer sips included. Hey, it smells like the love juice. On his 36 snaps played against Indy, Lazard was clearly rusty. Unsynchronized with Aaron Rodgers he caught two balls on four targets for 18 yards. With the joints again greased, the wideout is primed to rediscover his earlier season form, one on par with what his 13.6 yards per target and 18.1 yards per catch imply. Explosive downfield weapons (e.g. Justin Jefferson and A.J. Brown) torched the Bears earlier this season. Davante Adams, naturally, will be Aaron Rodgers’ main squeeze, but don’t be surprised if Lazard secures a long bomb or two. (FF: 4-68-1, 14.8 fantasy points)
TE: Dallas Goedert, PHI (Line: SEA -5.5; DK: $4,200) — In an offensive predicated on 12-personnel formations, Goedert’s contributions have been terribly unexceptional. Whether due to rust accumulated from the extended injury layoff or absent chemistry with Carson Wentz, his suffering production generated skittish feelings. Until last week. In rainy Cleveland he hauled in five of six targets for a season best 77 yards and a TD. The unlocking could be the boost Goedert needs. Look for him to build off that marquee effort. It’s Seattle for the love of the fantasy gods, a defense Nathan Peterman could probably chuck 250-2 against. No defense has given up more air yards this season. They’ve also allowed 8.7 pass yards per attempt. The ‘Hawks, to their credit, have ceded the seventh-fewest fantasy points to TEs, but Goedert may currently be Wentz’s most reliable option. (FF: 5-60-1, 14.5 fantasy points)
Bonus flame: Gus Edwards, RB, BAL (Line: PIT -3; DK: $4,000) — The snail’s pace it’s taken John Harbaugh and Greg Roman to draw a conclusion fantasy onlookers, even those with blurry vision, surmised weeks ago is beyond frustrating. Yes, J.K. Dobbins is the best rusher in the Ravens backfield, by a wide margin. The eye test and analytics profile (3.18 YAC per attempt; 22.5% missed tackle percentage) verify. However, this week, the Gus Bus, with Dobbins and Mark Ingram on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, will flatten the competition. The last clash with Pittsburgh Roman devised a ground and pound game plan, which will likely be followed again. Mike Tomlin’s D has softened considerably over the past several weeks. In their last five contests, they’ve ceded 4.63 yards per carry, 124.0 total yards per game and two ground scores to RBs. Buy a ticket on Baltimore’s Greyhound. (FF: 17-67-1, 1-6-0, 13.8 fantasy points)
Super bonus flame: Wayne Gallman, RB, NYG (Line: NYG -4.5; DK: $5,000) — Talk about the turkey, stuffing and various deserts. The most underrated, and unrivaled, Thanksgiving treat is the twice-baked potato. Sour cream, chives, melted cheese, whipped potato — it’s delightful. Gallman, in many ways, is equally undervalued. He’s a volume running back with a nose for the end zone, an unsung waiver wire hero who steadily and consistently slots inside the weekly top-20. Pre-bye, he averaged an unsatisfying 63.3 total yards per game but scored five times in four contests. His 2.96 YAC per attempt during that stretch is also commendable. This week facing an unenergetic Bengals defense he’s a viable RB2 in 12-team leagues. Cincy has surrendered a sultry 5.24 yards per carry, 146.6 total yards per game, eight combined TDs and the 12th-most fantasy points to RBs. In a clash where goal-line opportunities are sure to be frequent, he’s a dark horse for a multi-TD game. (FF: 15-63-1-1-6-0, 13.4 fantasy points)
Week 11 record: 6-6 (Season: 53-82)
W: Michael Pittman, La'Mical Perine, Cam Newton, Tim Patrick, Kalen Ballage, Jonathan Taylor
L: Adrian Peterson, J.D. McKissic, Jalen Reagor, Christian Kirk, Hayden Hurst, Salvon Ahmed
DNP: Jameis Winston