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 fantasy points; RB: 12 fantasy points (10 for shockers), WR: 11 fantasy points: TE: 10 fantasy points; .5 PPR.
If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 11 Flames on Twitter @NoisyHuevos.
Justin Fields, Bears, QB
- Started in Yahoo: 7%
- DraftKings DFS: $5,700
- Matchup: vs. Ravens
- Vegas line: Ravens -6
- Total points: 45.5
After years of comical failures at quarterback — How could we all forget the Jimmy Clausen or Matt Barkley eras? — the Bears have found their guy. As is predictable with almost any inexperienced passer not named Mac Jones, it’s been a slow buildup for Fields. Uncomfortable, inaccurate and placed in uncompromising situations by a coaching staff which initially refused to play to the youngster’s strengths, Fields has grown by leaps and bounds in recent starts. Matt Nagy’s installation of moving pockets and increased reliance on play action, combined with Fields’ willingness to run, has turned heads and captivated the attention of the fantasy community. He’s no Lamar Jackson, but he’s quickly becoming Jalen Hurts, a passer (though a work-in-progress in many areas) who is a weekly upside start because of his duality. Over his last four contests, he’s tallied an 11.2 average depth of target (QB2), run for 57.3 yards per game and totaled the 11th-most fantasy points among signal callers.
Revitalized after a one-week siesta, Fields clashes with the aforementioned Jackson, a player he could soon resemble statistically. This isn’t your older brother’s Baltimore Ravens defense. Littered with holes and inept execution, the Fighting Poes are rather paltry. This season, they’ve given up 8.14 pass yards per attempt, 298.6 pass yards per game, 1.6 passing touchdowns per game and the 11th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Fields’ ramped up reliance on his legs, along with his improved accuracy, suggest he’s a likely candidate to record his third-straight 20-plus fantasy-point effort.
Fearless Forecast: 231 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 1 turnover, 56 rushing yards, 20.2 fantasy points
Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots, RB
- Started in Yahoo: 17%
- DraftKings DFS: $5,200
- Matchup: at Falcons
- Vegas line: Patriots -6.5
- Total points: 46.5
Brandon Funston and I are a pair of donkeys. It’s inarguable. Those who choose to take in our hijinks daily on SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports Radio (Monday through Friday, from 2 to 4 p.m. ET) receive an education in buffoonery. Random musical references, sophomoric quips and occasional ear-ringing pontifications about Nagy’s incompetence intersect with all things fantasy football and sports betting. Embedded recently in the show is the sequence from the Lady Gaga classic, “Bad Romance,” a playful gesture coined by Funston in honor of his infatuation with Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah-mondre. Again, we’re morons. However, we do think highly of the tackle-busting rookie and for good reason.
Coming off a breakthrough week in which he slammed his way to 114 total yards, two touchdowns and a 3.20 YAC per attempt mark on a needle-moving 24 touches, Stevenson has carved out a robust role for the remainder of the season, even with Damien Harris possibly available Thursday in Atlanta. It’s Bill Belichick, a treacherous individual who would steal your lunch money if given the opportunity. Best guess is that Rhamondre receives anywhere between 11 to 14 touches per game henceforth, rotating in occasionally near the goal line. Behind a top-10 run-blocking line, he should inflict at least FLEX-worthy damage against the Falcons, who have yielded a mere 3.85 yards per carry but have allowed 145.8 total yards per game, 11 combined TDs and the fifth-most fantasy points to RBs.
Fearless Forecast: 11 carries, 46 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 19 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.0 fantasy points
D’Onta Foreman, Titans, RB
- Started in Yahoo: 4%
- DraftKings DFS: $4,900
- Matchup: vs. Texans
- Vegas line: Titans -10
- Total points: 44.5
Adrian Peterson is a stegosaurus with one leg in the tar pit. His spin move still mystifies would-be tacklers, but he’s resembled every bit a 37-year-old RB with over 3,200 career carries. His mojo from yesteryear evaporated long ago. Foreman, 11 years Peterson’s junior, has exhibited more across-the-board juice. The former 2,000-yard rusher in college at Texas is the best fit for the power scheme Tennessee continues to employ sans Derrick Henry. Through two games with the Titans, he’s racked 107 combined yards on 18 touches, flashing as a rusher and receiver. He’s also chipped in an eye-opening 2.94 yards after contact per attempt. Mike Vrabel will likely continue to stick with some semblance of a RBBC, but 12-plus Foreman per game grips should be common down the homestretch.
This week, in a classic REVENGE! narrative, the bulky rusher is sure to pulverize his former employer. Lovie Smith’s defense, unsurprisingly, is a unit that always leaves the door wide open. This season, the Texans have surrendered 4.85 yards per carry, 144.4 total yards per game, 11 combined touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. In a contest in which the Titans are favored by double figures, Foreman is a foregone RB2 even in 12-team formats. Unlike his beloved Longhorns, the well-traveled rusher won’t wilt against a Kansas-caliber team.
Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 57 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 16 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.3 fantasy points
Brandin Cooks, Texans, WR
- Started in Yahoo: 48%
- DraftKings DFS: $6,000
- Matchup: at Titans
- Vegas line: Titans -10
- Total points: 44.5
Practice. We’re talking about practice, man. Practice. … For sports fans of a certain generation, those lines instantly conjure memories of NBA legend Allen Iverson who famously rambled on and repeated the word “practice” 22 times as an indignant response to Larry Brown’s handling of the 76ers during an unforgettable 2002 press conference. Recently, Cook’s rant about Houston’s pregame preparation didn’t receive national attention — Why would it for a team with a miserable 1-8 record? — but for the outspoken wide receiver, it isn’t so much about training as it is execution. Evidenced by his in-game performance, Cooks isn’t the issue. In fact, considering the quagmire he’s played in, his efforts are Herculean. He ranks WR6 in contested catch rate, WR4 in completed air yards and WR19 in fantasy points per snap. The surrounding parts, however, deserve all the finger points, especially among those barking orders from the ivory tower.
Coming off the bye, Cooks is bankable in nearly every league. The slick-footed wideout faces off against a Tennessee secondary most would deem “charitable.” This season, the Titans have allowed 7.18 pass yards per attempt, 13.1 yards per catch and the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Cooks’ projected do-si-do partner, Jackrabbit Jenkins, is a middling veteran who’s surrendered a 69.5 percent catch rate to his assignments. With Tyrod Taylor back and the Texans sure to scoreboard chase, the Gordon Ramsey of wide receivers will have defenders shouting expletives.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.3 fantasy points
Rashod Bateman, Ravens, WR
- Started in Yahoo: 29%
- DraftKings DFS: $4,500
- Matchup: at Bears
- Vegas line: Ravens -6
- Total points: 45.5
If you peruse Bateman’s Twitter page, it’s obvious he’s embraced his Batman alter ego. Similar to the Caped Crusader, he owns several tools on the belt, cumbersome grappling hooks not included. He’s smooth in his routes, decisive on beaks, sure-handed and multidimensional. Blossoming before fantasy managers’ eyes, he has flourished when healthy, evidenced by his steady increase in routes, targets, receptions and yards. Even with Sammy Watkins re-entering the equation last week in a snoozefest against Miami, Bateman hauled in six of eight targets for 80 yards. Since Week 6, he’s WR17 in yards per target (8.93) and WR23 in YAC per reception (4.50) among wide receivers with at least 50 percent of snaps played. In other words, as the temperatures plummet, he’s only warming up. What else would you expect from a kid who played his college ball outdoors in Minnesota?
With the bitterness of last week’s underperformance still on the tongue, the Ravens are sure to find their offensive groove against Chicago. The Bears, more Mice than Monsters of the Midway, have struggled mightily in coverage. Bateman’s projected dance partner, CB Kindle Vildor, has posted the second-highest passer rating allowed (145.9) of any eligible corner this season. He’s also coughed up 17.0 yards per catch. Lamar Jackson will continue to spread the ball around, but Bateman, who’s comfortable working outside the hashmarks or undaunted across the middle, is quickly becoming a No. 8 favorite. The fantasy masses should pay attention to the illuminated signal in the sky.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 65 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.0 fantasy points
Shocker Special (Under 10% started)
Adam Trautman, Saints, TE
- Started in Yahoo: 1%
- DraftKings DFS: $3,300
- Matchup: at Eagles
- Vegas line: Eagles -1.5
- Total points: 44
Somewhere resting in a Bourbon Street gutter resides Trautman’s fantasy value. Only months ago, he was a popular deep sleeper among industry pundits, a player who possessed the skills and opportunity to take a quantum leap forward in production. Soon kicked to the curb after Juwan Johnson busted out for two TDs in Week 1, the presumed ascending star had his luster quickly dulled. However, running at least 22 routes in his last three games and with 13 targets to his name in his last two, Trautman may be awakening from his sophomore slumber. His uptick in red-zone usage is also a positive sign.
Whether due to coverage whiffs by safeties, linebackers or both, Philadelphia is clearly allergic to containing tight ends. Through 10 games, the Eagles have surrendered a staggering 7.5 receptions per game, 73.3 yards per game, eight touchdowns and the most points to the position. In total, six TEs have crossed the 11 fantasy point mark against them. Given Trevor Siemian’s growing confidence in the youngster and due to the salivating matchup, Trautman is a plug ’n’ play option for those in deep formats, especially for the Noah Fant and Tyler Higbee backers in attendance seeking a one-week stopgap.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 43 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 12.3 fantasy points
QB: Cam Newton, Panthers, QB (vs. Washington; 5% started in Yahoo; $5,100 on DraftKings) — As the jubilant passer repeated at high volume last week in Arizona, he’s back, way back. Many house unfond feelings toward the former MVP, believing he’s a washed and terribly inaccurate thrower. No doubt, he did appear to chuck weighted footballs during his brief time in New England, but the analytics indicate otherwise. Last season, Newton ranked QB13 in adjusted completion percentage and QB4 in deep-ball completion percentage. If he produces similarly in his second tour of duty with Carolina, he could consistently finish inside the QB top 15 over the rest of the fantasy season. Keep in mind, no passer rushed more times inside the red-zone than Newton in 2020. This shouldn’t be a hot take, but he’s the most efficient runner in the league, regardless of position, at the goal line. Battling a Washington defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to QBs, Newton is a divine streaming option for Matthew Stafford gamers. (FF: 188-1-1-42-1, 22.6 fantasy points)
RB: AJ Dillon, Packers, RB (at Vikings; 44% started in Yahoo; $6,200 on DraftKings) — One of the supreme backups in the league, Dillon, post Aaron Jones MCL sprain, is now Green Bay’s lead guitarist. Similar to his position-pacesetting effort last week against Seattle, expect him to command a rockin’ stage presence on par with Jack White. The “High Ball Stepper” is a rusher blessed with pad-cracking power and underrated versatility. His RB8 standing in yards after contact per attempt (3.22) and 88.9 catch percentage provide all the statistical evidence needed. Now with the spotlight cast on him, he should benefit massively from the light fronts Aaron Rodgers creates. Essentially, Dillon is must-start material in every sized league, even in two-person NFC-North-only formats. His Week 11 foe, rival Minnesota, has allowed 4.48 yards per carry, 133.2 total yards per game, 10 combined TDs and the 11th-most fantasy points to RBs. On what should be a minimum of 17 to 18 touches, the bruising back smashes to a top-five output. (FF: 19-89-2-3-14-0, 23.8)
RB: Jeff Wilson Jr., 49ers, RB (at Jaguars; 3% started in Yahoo; $5,100 on DraftKings) — Let the record show, Elijah Mitchell is the primary option for Sean McVay owner, Kyle Shanahan. In the Niners’ thrashing of their downstate rival, the rookie handled a season-high 27 carries, rushing for 91 yards. In his first action of 2021, Wilson spelled Mitchell sporadically, registering 15 snaps, 10 carries and 28 yards. Knowing Shanny’s affinity for RBBCs, the separation in touches between the two backs will shrink somewhat starting this week in Jacksonville, especially with the rookie nursing a surgically repaired broken digit. Pending game script, Wilson should finish in the 10 to 12 touch range, at a minimum, enough to warrant FLEX consideration in challenging formats. The Jags, though showing improvement, continue to offer plush accommodations for opposing backs. This season, seven RBs have scored at least 10 fantasy points against them in .5 PPR. San Francisco, predicated on ground and pound, should generate a favorable push behind its No. 4 ranked run-blocking line, paving the way for Mitchell and Wilson to land devastating 1-2 blows. (FF: 10-41-1-2-9-0, 11.0)
WR: Kadarius Toney, Giants, WR (at Buccaneers; 27% started in Yahoo; $5,000 on DraftKings) — Since he was acquired in droves off waivers a few weeks back after posting 10 catches for 189 yards against Dallas, fantasy fanatics haven’t experienced many feel-good moments with Toney. Various nicks and scrapes combined with Daniel Jones’ persistent ineptitude has limited him to eight catches for 71 yards over the last three games. Most discouraging, he has two red-zone targets and zero touchdowns. Still, his otherworldly 7.32 YAC per reception lends insight into his potential. Refreshed off the bye, Toney owns massive upside in an exploitable matchup against a Buccaneers secondary that’s taken on water. This season, Tampa Bay has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to WRs. Digging deeper, primary slot DB Ross Cockrell has given up a 131.4 passer rating to his assignments. Even if Sterling Shepard returns (which is doubtful after not practicing earlier in the week), Toney is a usable WR3 in 12-team settings. (FF: 5-59-1, 14.4)