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; .5 PPR). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 8 Flames on Twitter @NoisyHuevos.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
(29% started in Yahoo; DK DFS: $6,200)
Matchup: vs. TEN
Vegas line/Total: TEN -5.5, 54.5
Similar to the trials and tribulations his former alma mater, LSU, has endured this unusual college season, Burrow’s entrance into the NFL hasn’t been filled with confetti showers, painless performances and cigar celebrations. His signature needle-threading accuracy hasn’t traveled. Though blessed with an arsenal (Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, A.J. Green, Joe Mixon/Giovani Bernard) Carson Wentz would probably sacrifice a testicle to acquire, the former No. 1 pick currently ranks outside the top-20 in multiple completion percentage categories, including overall adjusted, deep ball and red zone. His cucumber cool remains unchanged, and at No. 16 in fantasy points per game he’s in the process of smoothing out the roughness. Despite his speed bumps, there are encouraging signs percolating under the surface. His No. 2 standing in total air yards, for example, is a harbinger of spectacular efforts to come. He also has five 300-yard games, including a 400-yarder last week against Cleveland, the second-most by a rookie in NFL history.
With the welcoming Titans on the docket in Week 8, one of those brewing eruptions is likely in the offing. For all the notoriety Tennessee has received for its scoring prowess, defensively, it’s almost completely powerless. Through six games, the Titans, miniaturized by the pass, have yielded 7.2 pass yards per attempt, 282.3 pass yards per game, 2.5 air strikes per game and the ninth-most fantasy points to signal callers. More importantly, in a Ghostbusters-cross-the-streams scenario, they rank No. 5 in total air yards allowed per game. Burrow may not morph into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but, as the numbers imply, a giant result is certainly achievable.
Fearless forecast: 303 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 turnovers, 16 rushing yards, 20.7 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. NYJ
Vegas line/Total: KC -20.5, 48
Revenge, they say, is a dish best served cold. For a motivated running back recently cut loose after a tumultuous year-plus in an organization incapable of making the simplest reasoned decision, freezer-burnt chicken smothered in liquid helium is on the menu. Mmmmm, delicious. Bell, who expressed his disdain toward the Jets well known after his departure, is unmistakably exemplary of a certain classic narrative fantasy players steadfastly cling to. This may indeed be the REVENGE GAME! to end all REVENGE GAMES, another sign the rapture is just around the corner.
Even to the most reptilian brain, Bell’s debut with Kansas City went as expected. Very much in the transitional phase, he logged 17 snaps, gripping the pigskin six times for 39 yards in snowy and frigid Denver. Against the Ghastly Gases, you know Andy Reid will dial up multiple packages for the veteran, who is undoubtedly extra motivated to leave an indelible mark on his former franchise, a plan that should be sweatless to execute. The Jets have allowed 4.59 yards per carry, 147.7 total yards per game, eight total touchdowns and the eighth-most fantasy points to rushers. Unable to wrap up a decorative Halloween inflatable, they whiffed on 66 tackles this season, the most of any NFL team. Remarkable incompetence.
Ready for retribution, Bell, similar to Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale, is about to light the whole damn car on fire.
Fearless forecast: 11 attempts, 44 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 25 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.4 fantasy points
James White, RB, New England Patriots
Matchup: at BUF
Vegas line/Total: BUF -4, 44
White has endured unimaginable scarring pain. Last month, just hours before kickoff between the Pats/Seahawks, the RB received catastrophic news his parents were involved in a fatal car crash. His father did not survive while his mother, critically injured in the accident, was immediately hospitalized. It’s a nightmare scenario no person should ever wake up to. For White, greatly respected throughout the league, the sudden tragedy crippled his emotions. Since that horrific day he’s taken a “one day at a time” approach. The memory of his father, who coached him while growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., undoubtedly on his mind.
Traveling to Buffalo to engage a Bills team in a pivotal intradivisional matchup, White could record his finest fantasy performance of the season. Yes, the Patriots appear irreparable. Whether setbacks cognitively or physically, Cam Newton simply isn’t the same QB post-coronavirus. Suplexed by San Francisco last week at home, New England’s worst Gillette Stadium loss in the Bill Belichick era, they’re suffering terribly on offense. White logged just 10 snaps in the defeat recording one catch for three yards. Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris and others will continue to rotate in, but against a Buffalo team suspect in gap (4.41 YPC to RBs) and short-field coverage (4.1 receptions per game to RBs) he could see an uptick in action. Admittedly this is a stretch, however, in another hellish bye week, Kenyan Drake, David Johnson, James Robinson and Antonio Gibson rosterers need a Hail Mary to hit.
Fearless forecast: 4 attempts, 18 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.9 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. MIN
Vegas line/Total: GB -6.5, 55.5
Featuring an elongated name that would make any spelling bee contestant’s heart jump, MVS is sure to put a fright into the Week 8 competition. Largely unreliable this season, the field-stretching wideout, similar to Marquise Brown and other underperforming long-bomb specialists, will eventually bask in numerical glory. So far this season, he’s accounted for 34.0% of Green Bay’s air yards share (WR8) and ranks WR5 in average depth of target (18.3). Given Aaron Rodgers’ howitzer and touch on passes beyond 20 yards (122.1 deep-ball passer rating), it’s inevitable the overlooked target will register a slate-breaking game.
With Allen Lazard likely a week away from returning, Green Bay’s speed demon could post hellish numbers this week against visiting Minnesota. The setup is ideal. MVS has lined up in the slot just over 45% of the time the past two weeks, meaning he’ll battle CB Mike Hughes most often. A Purple People Greeter, the primary slot corner has surrendered a very generous 120.3 passer rating, 75.0 catch percentage and 1.29 yards per snap to his assignments. Throw in the Vikings’ minimized pass rush after dealing Yannick Ngakoue last week to Baltimore and repeated Rodgers-to-MVS attempts come into focus. Replicating his 4-96-1 line Week 1 against the division rival is well within reach.
Fearless forecast: 3 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.9 fantasy points
Matchup: at DEN
Vegas line/Total: LAC -3, 44.5
On a barrier island adjacent to Charleston Harbor in South Carolina, you can find Fort Moultrie, a historic military site built in 1776 where famous horror poet Edgar Allan Poe was once stationed. The original construction consisted of nearby palmetto trees, which, due to their soft and spongy composition, repeatedly repelled British cannon fire during the American Revolution. The tree’s ability to absorb and deflect bombardment provided the inspiration for South Carolina’s nickname today, “The Palmetto State.”
Williams, a nearby Clemson product, is the personification of the famous palm. Long and lanky he bounces off contact, making difficult chunk-gain catches look routine. Currently WR6 in average depth of target (17.9 yards) and WR16 in yards per catch (17.4), he and big-armed Justin Herbert are an ideal match. Off an abnormally dismal 4-1-3-0 week, despite the Chargers hanging 39 on the clawless Jags, the duo should instantly rekindle their on-field love affair.
This week slated to square off against the Broncos in warmer and not-so-snowy Denver, Williams is a firm WR3 with WR1 potential. “Quite mortal” best summarizes Vic Fangio’s secondary. The unit has made strides in recent games. It has allowed 6.8 pass yards per attempt, the 12th-fewest air yards per game and the 13th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. Williams, however, should receive a heavy dose of rookie DB Michael Ojemudia who has allowed a 106.0 passer rating and team-worst 1.43 yards per snap to his assignments.
Fearless forecast: 4 receptions, 73 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.3 fantasy points
Shocker special (under 10% started)
Matchup: vs. DAL
Vegas line/Total: PHI -7.5, 43.5
Forget werewolves, vampires or flesh-hungry zombies, the scariest creature in fantasy folklore is unquestionably the injury imp. Voracious and relentless, it strikes unpredictably, paralyzing fantasy GMs in a flash. In Philadelphia, it’s run amok. Multiple offensive linemen, wide receivers, tight ends and Miles Sanders have suffered from its menacing wrath. The created voids, however, swing open the door of opportunity. With Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert on injured reserve, Rodgers and Travis Fulgham have become instant Carson Wentz favorites. Last week, the former Packer lured eight targets catching six passes for 85 yards. Eligible at a sparse position, he’s a highly startable TE1, even in your family’s ultra-shallow eight-team league.
It’s Little D after all. The Cowboys defense, bucked off a horse then trampled by it, continues to be the laughingstock of the NFL. They have conceded 7.5 pass yards per attempt and the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends, allowing 3.7 receptions and 49.7 yards per game. Using our Advanced DvP tool, TEs are performing 3.4 points above average against them. Rodgers, a standing 100-year old spruce in a forest of fallen trees, and Fulgham will again be peppered with targets. In a primetime matchup everyone is struggling to find reasons to watch, he should keep investors highly engaged.
Fearless forecast: 5 receptions, 62 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.7 fantasy points
Bonus shocker: Rashard Higgins, WR, CLE (Line: CLE -2.5; DK: $4,200) — Banned from LSU football events for two years. Odd coronavirus comments which drew media scrutiny. And a torn ACL. It’s been a tempestuous couple weeks for Odell Beckham. With the receiver unplugged and his 6.3 targets per game up for grabs, the spotlight shines on “Hollywood” Higgins. Jarvis Landry and Cleveland’s bevy of tight ends will draw Baker Mayfield’s attention, but Higgins, off a 6-6-110-0 line against Cincinnati, immediately enters into the WR3 conversation in 12-team leagues. His 91.7% catch percentage, 14.3-yard aDOT and 13.6 yards per target should command your attention. Against a Vegas secondary that’s surrendered 7.8 pass yards per attempt and the ninth most fantasy points, he’s worth sliding into your lineup. His DB specific matchup, Trayvon Mullen, has given up a 123.3 passer rating and 69.7 catch rate to his assignments. (FF: 5-66-1, 15.1 fantasy points)
Bonus super shocker: Tyler Johnson, WR, TB (Line: TB -10.5; DK: $3,500) — Chris Godwin’s broken index finger combined with nagging injuries impacting Mike Evans and Scott Miller could thrust the rookie into the spotlight. A Tom Brady favorite inside the red-zone, the competitive and physical youngster has done a commendable job of winning in contested catch situations when called upon. As showcased during his days with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, he’s a reliable playmaker. This week drawing an overachieving Giants secondary, he could cross the chalk for the third time this season. His primary matchup, slot man Logan Ryan, has yielded a 103.7 passer rating this season. If you’re looking for a WR3 or flex flier in 12-team leagues, the kid is a mighty fine option. (FF: 4-53-1, 13.3 fantasy points)
Bonus flames (under 60% started)
QB: Derek Carr, LV (Line: CLV -2.5; DK: $5,500) — Unheralded, Carr is stringing together his finest season of his seven-year career. He’s the current pacesetter in deep-ball passer rating (140.0), checks in at QB4 in adjusted completion percentage and boasts a sparkling 13:2 TD:INT split over six games. Though his offensive line has failed him more often compared to 2019 (29.0% under-pressure percentage), he’s benefited from Darren Waller’s consistency and the added speed of Henry Ruggs. His 23.9 fantasy points per game average in traditional leagues is identical to Lamar Jackson. This week, Carr dosidos with a Browns defense whose game matches the poopy color. Cleveland has given up 7.5 yards per attempt, 306.1 pass yards per game, 2.3 passing touchdowns and the fourth-most fantasy points to gunslingers. Carr races to his sixth-straight multi-TD performance. (FF: 293-3-0-9, 24.6 fantasy points)
RB: Leonard Fournette, TB (Line: TB -10; DK: $4,900) — Bruce Arians and his treachery knows no bounds. Consecutive 100-yard games from Ronald Jones be damned. After an extended hiatus due to an ankle setback which cost him a couple of games, Fournette forced a noteworthy timeshare last week in Las Vegas. Deployed on 55.7% of team snaps, he was heavily utilized in a dual rusher/receiver capacity. On 17 touches (six receptions) he stacked 97 yards. Jones’ inadequacies as a pass catcher could lead to additional grips for the former Jaguar in the pass game. His 3.51 YAC per attempt denotes his playmaking ability. This week clashing with an overachieving New York Giants defense that’s allowed 3.93 yards per carry, 138.0 total yards per game, 5.7 receptions per game, seven total TDs and the 13th-most fantasy points to RBs, he’s flex-debatable in 12-team and deeper leagues. (FF: 10-42-1-5-27-0, 15.4 fantasy points)
WR: Travis Fulgham, PHI (Line: PHI -7.5; DK: $5,900) — A couple weeks ago, Chase Claypool zealots sprinted to the waiver wire to acquire the upstart’s services. After a four-TD eruption, he was the ‘it’ player, a wide receiver who, if lassoed, would bring instant riches to any virtual franchise. He paid off the following week, but once Diontae Johnson returned to action, it halted the rookie’s momentum. Fulgham, meanwhile, has “only” accounted for 35 targets, 23 receptions, 357 yards and three touchdowns over his past four games. For the mathematicians in attendance, that’s a 92-1,428-12 pace over 16 games. Also netting a 34.3% red-zone target share, 13.3-yard average depth of target and 15.5 yards per catch, he’s greatly impressed. This week gifted Little D, a unit that could turn even the most obscure player into a megastar, the Eagle is must-start material. His primary assignment, Anthony Brown, has allowed a 105.4 passer rating and 1.37 yards per snap in three games. Dallas, as a whole, has also given up the sixth-most fantasy points to WRs. (FF: 7-103-1, 19.8 fantasy points)
WR: A.J. Green, CIN (Line: TEN -4; DK: $4,500) — A decomposed hand penetrating the surface from a settled grave. That’s the image which applies best to Green’s sudden and rather remarkable resurrection. Written off by the fantasy community as a crusty veteran with eroded separation skills, he struggled to register a pulse Weeks 1-5. However, reborn the past couple of weeks, he’s run clean routes, moved fluidly and established a heart-pumping rhythm with Burrow. Against the Colts and Browns, he enticed 24 targets catching 15 passes for 178 yards. His resulting 14.3-yard average depth of target and overall 33.1% air yards share (WR14) point to more positive results. This week, the Bengals exchange body blows with Tennessee, a defense with severe flaws. His projected dance partner, Malcolm Butler, has yielded 1.56 yards per snap to his assignments. Touchdownless through seven games, the streak is about to cease. (FF: 6-68-1,15.8 fantasy points)
WR: Brandon Aiyuk, SF (Line: SEA -4; DK: $5,800) — Cue the Spider-Man twins meme. Aiyuk is a carbon copy of his teammate Deebo Samuel. Equipped with tacky hands, clean routes and slick open-field moves on jet sweeps, the rookie has been employed in creative packages, showcasing occasional explosivity. Oh, the genius of Kyle Shanahan. With Samuel (5.5 targets/game) expected to miss time due to a hamstring injury, the former Sun Devil is about to drive a pitchfork into Seattle’s easily compromisable secondary. This season, the ‘Hawks have surrendered 7.8 pass yards per attempt, the most air yards per game (377.8) and +3.3 in expected fantasy points to wide receivers. In fact, a dozen WRs accomplished FLAME status against them this year. Potentially down CB Shaq Griffin (concussion) and S Jamal Adams (groin), they’re ripe for the picking. (FF: 5-66-1-18-0, 16.9 fantasy points)
Bonus flame: Darnell Mooney, WR, CHI (Line: NO -2.5; DK: $3,500) — Fraudulent. The Bears were the worst 5-1 team possibly in the 100-plus year history of the NFL. Now, they’re likely the most deceitful 5-2 squad ever. Matt Nagy couldn’t call the right play on third-and-inches with an incensed mama grizzly as his quarterback (BTW, it’s a clear sneak). Few bright spots exist, but with Allen Robinson in concussion protocol the rookie speedster could beam brightly. As his 14.3-yard aDOT proves, he’s the best and healthiest downfield threat Nagy has. Hosting a charitable New Orleans defense that’s allowed the second-most air yards and 11th-most fantasy points per game to WRs, Mooney and Nick Foles could make a long-distance call or three. Keep in mind Marshon Lattimore has given up a 155.9 passer rating this season. (FF: 4-57-1, 14.7 fantasy points)
Super bonus flame: Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (Line: TEN -5.5; DK: $5,800) — Joe Mixon, tabbed with the always vague “day-to-day” label, is no guarantee to return this week against the Titans. Dealing with a mysterious foot injury, he could be limited or outright inactive in a premium matchup versus Tennessee. If pushed into the starting lineup once again, bank on Bernard to pick up where he left off in Week 7. By the advanced analytics test, Bernard didn’t earn a snack-size Snickers, forcing zero missed tackles while posting a 1.46 YAC per attempt against Cleveland. But volume masked his under-the-surface dreadfulness. On 18 touches he totaled 96 yards and a touchdown. Boston Scott-like in skill set, he’s a sure-fire RB2, assuming no Mixon, against a Titans unit that’s yielded 5.3 yards per touch, 138.0 total yards per game, seven total TDs and the 10th-most fantasy points to RBs. (FF: 14-46-4-38-1, 16.4 fantasy points)
Week 7 record: 5-8 (Season: 35-51)
W: Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Tannehill, Travis Fulgham, Tee Higgins, D'Andre Swift
L: Cam Akers, Tim Patrick, Latavius Murray, Justin Jackson, Henry Ruggs, Noah Fant, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Zack Moss