Week 6 fantasy flames: Edmonds to take advantage of Little D


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 [10 for shockers], WR: 11 fantasy points: TE: 10 fantasy points; .5 PPR). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, send your Week 6 Flames via Twitter @NoisyHuevos

Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings

(12% started in Yahoo; DK DFS: $6,100) 
Matchup: vs. ATL
Vegas line/Total: MIN -3.5, 55.5

Nearly botched gender reveals aside, Cousins is widely regarded as one of the league’s most accurate passers. Last season, he cracked the top-five in adjusted completion percentage. However, barely grazed iron through five weeks, he’s currently QB25 in the category. Blessed with praiseworthy targets Adam Thielen and rookie sensation Justin Jefferson, he’s delivered plentiful passes on time and on the numbers. A sharp increase in dirty pockets (58.6% clean pocket percentage), however, has placed the signal caller in uncompromising positions. As Cousins pointed out earlier this year, channeling Ivan Drago no less, he isn’t afraid of the coronavirus. Considering the number of hits he’s absorbed, danger is heightened elsewhere.

Atlanta, just inside the top-15 in blitz percentage, can dial up the heat, but deep-fried and drowning in Frank’s Red Hot, the bumbling Birds present a flavorful matchup. Multiple injuries have decimated interim HC Raheem Morris’ secondary, leaving it defenseless against the pass. Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Aaron Rodgers and Teddy Bridgewater each scored at least 21 fantasy points against them. Heck, wounded duck thrower Nick Foles tossed three touchdowns, cold off the bench, in Atlanta Week 3. Allowing a ridiculous 8.5 pass yards per attempt, 345.6 pass yards per game, 3.0 pass TDs per contest and the most fantasy points to QBs, the Falcons will surely lead Cousins to a top-12 finish. He’s undoubtedly the answer to, “Hey Alexa, who do I plug in for Mr. Unlimited this week?”

Fearless forecast: 277 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 3 rushing yards, 23.4 fantasy points 

Devonta Freeman, RB, New York Giants

(33%; $4,900) 
Matchup: vs. WAS
Vegas line/Total: NYG -3.5, 44.5 

Most sensible fantasy gamers would rather watch Idina Menzel annoyingly sing about “taxidermy” on loop than remotely entertain a Giant, any Giant. However, after New York’s season-best showing against Little D, Freeman, and really multiple blue-clad products, are worth employing in 12-team formats. 

As expected, the rusher has overtaken lead duties. On 54% of snaps played last week, he amassed 87 total yards and a score on 19 touches. His 1.56 YAC per attempt triggers the upchucks, but the veteran has looked shifty and, as usual, exhibited baby soft hands. Fifteen-plus touches should become routine from here on out, particularly given his script agnostic skills. 

Matched against a Washington team pushing out a marginal defense, Freeman is a borderline top-20 option at RB. The Fighting Footballs have done a respectable job plugging the run, slotting at No. 14 in adjusted line yards allowed and No. 17 in fantasy points per game surrendered to rushers. Overall, they’ve conceded 4.03 yards per carry, 123.2 total yards per game and six combined scores to backs. With Chase Young and Montez Sweat collapsing pockets off the edge and LB Jon Bostic slamming into gaps (10 tackles for loss vs. run), Washington is far from woeful. Still, Freeman’s now cemented 15-20 touch per game volume implies his fantasy worthiness. 

Fearless forecast: 15 carries, 58 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.4 fantasy points 

Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(59%; $6,000) 
Matchup: vs. GB
Vegas line/Total: GB -1.5, 52.5 

Record-setting hurricane frequency in the Atlantic basin. Terrifying insects, venomous caterpillars the latest. Uncontrollable fires. COVID-19 spikes. This hazardous datapoint on the timeline of life is unprecedented, which perfectly explains why RoJo has become a fantasy gem. Bulked up and running with the downhill conviction of an enraged rhino, he officially applied a stranglehold on the Tampa timeshare (we think) with a riveting display of power in Chicago. On 20 touches, he posted 125 combined yards and an absurd 5.29 YAC per attempt. Leonard Fournette is likely to return and occasional drops complicate his upside, but make no mistake, Jones will be the lion’s-share carrier this week against Green Bay. He’s earned that right. 

With Alvin Kamara, Josh Jacobs and Chris Carson on siesta, Jones is unquestionably a top-15 RB play. Unless Bruce Arians callously screws GMs by trotting out Fournette 40-50% of the time, the incumbent should again flirt or exceed the century mark in total yardage. His foe, Green Bay, is quite forgiving in the trenches. Thus far, the Pack has allowed 4.76 yards per carry, 163.0 total yards per game, seven total touchdowns and the third-most fantasy points to RBs. Behind an offensive line getting decent push (No. 16 in adjusted line yards), the Buccaneer earns his Bacardi. 

Fearless forecast: 16 carries, 71 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.4 fantasy points 

Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals

(23%; $5,200) 
Matchup: at DAL
Vegas line/Total: ARZ -2.5, 54.5 

At the moment, the contempt fantasy GMs have toward Kenyan Drake is equivalent to feelings toward lima beans, eating White Castle sober and anything related to the Patriots, outside of New England of course. Their disdain is warranted. A popular top-20 overall pick just seven weeks ago, Drake checks in at RB46 in YAC per attempt (2.27) and RB14 in fantasy points per opportunity. Underutilized in the pass game and only a sporadic TD scorer, Drake, even when matched against the pregnable Jets, is completely untrustworthy. His loss, however, is Edmonds’ gain. 

The backup is picking up steam. As Drake continued to display the explosiveness akin to the Rock of Gibraltar, Edmonds, on a limited workload, sprinted upfield and effortlessly weaved through traffic. In total he compiled 92 yards on just eight touches, hitting the pylons for the third time in five games. Thus far, Drake has averaged a pedestrian 3.7 yards per touch, Edmonds 6.1. At some point Kliff Kingsbury needs to undergo an epiphany and evenly distribute the workload or outright promote the second fiddle. Drake is the tortoise; Edmonds the hare. Slow and steady, however, won’t win this race.

Even if Edmonds continues to chew up yardage in a complementary role, he’s at a minimum flex-deployable in 12-team leagues. HIs opponent, Dallas, is offended by basic defensive principles. Little D ranks No. 27 in adjusted line yards allowed. It’s also yielded 4.41 yards per carry, 146.2 total yards per game and five combined scores to rushers. In a pinball game with much electricity, Edmonds, a fixture in most red-zone packages, has excellent odds of crossing the chalk yet again. 

Fearless forecast: 8 carries, 43 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 29 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.2 fantasy points 

Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

(12%; $4,400) 
Matchup: at BUF
Vegas line/Total: KC -3, 55

Aw, Aw, Mecole Hardman. Love me long time. Heightened arousal levels toward the Chiefs wide receiver have been few and far between. When you have Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Clyde Edwards-Helaire — among others — at your disposal, it’s easy for Hardman to get lost in the shuffle. It explains why he’s logged only 9.8% of the target share. However, Watkins’ hamstring strain, suffered in the first half of KC’s shocking home loss to Las Vegas in Week 5, is the mechanism needed to spring the speedster loose. Inside the position’s top-10 in YAC per reception (8.62) and yards per target (11.41), he’s an intriguing dart throw for those in challenging formats. 

When firing on all cylinders, Tre'Davious White is one of the league’s most redoubtable corners. He’s badgering. He’s pesky. He’s damn good. With the prized DB expected to shadow Hill, his fleet-footed colleague should have a heyday against usually forgiving corner Josh Norman (100-plus passer rating allowed). Yes, Patrick Mahomes and his socialist tendencies will continue to spread targets around, but Hardman is worth the slot machine pull. Sprint and separate once and it could lead to instant riches. Gamble in deeper formats.

Fearless forecast: 4 receptions, 72 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.2 fantasy points 

Shocker special (under 10% started)

Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos

(1%; $4,500) 
Matchup: at NE
Vegas line/Total: NE -10, 45.5

When Courtland Sutton succumbed to an ACL injury in Week 2, it started what became an unfortunate series of events for many fantasy managers, this real-life “cooler” included. His demise, however, swung open the door of opportunity for a personal darkhorse favorite, Patrick. The sinewy 6-foot-4, 208-pound wideout is a tweener target equipped with a wide catch radius, smooth routes and reliable hands. Though most would deem rookie Jerry Jeudy as the thoroughbred in Denver’s WR corps, the overlooked former Ute is better than what common perceptions may suggest. Over the past two games, he’s notched 11 targets, snagged 10 receptions for 156 yards and scored two touchdowns. Impressively, he’s also WR22 in average depth of target among WRs with at least 20 looks. 

Finally slated to face the Pats after the game was rescheduled from last Monday to this Sunday, he’s far from a must avoid. Feared corner Stephon Gilmore (COVID-19) isn’t guaranteed to return. New England has suitable talent to fill the DB’s enormous shoes. Jason McCourty (118.5 passer rating allowed) should slide over from safety to personally escort Patrick in most situations, a matchup upgrade for the Bronco. With Drew Lock (shoulder) presumably back and given the wideout’s field-stretching skills (13.3 average air yards intended), he’s a player to debate if you’re a Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Mike Thomas backer seeking an upside bye-week filler.

Fearless forecast: 4 receptions, 57 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.7 fantasy points 

Bonus flames (under 60% started)

QB: Matthew Stafford, DET (Line: DET -3; DK: $6,300) — Fresh off a bye week presumably filled with legendary beer chugs and relaxation, a recharged Stafford is a highly recommended play no matter league size. He hasn’t quite delivered on the deafening hype some (this bloviator included) cranked, but averaging 18.5 fantasy points per game in Yahoo leagues, he’s at least been serviceable. Outside the top-22 in adjusted completion percentage and deep-ball passer rating, the franchise passer has struggled at times. Kenny Golladay’s absence combined with subpar protection (31.3% under-pressure percentage) are the culprits. However, this week could be his finest 2020 performance to date. Jacksonville has yielded 8.8 pass yards per attempt, 284.2 pass yards per game, 2.2 passing touchdowns per game and the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs. Raise a pint. (FF: 307-3-1-8, 24.1 fantasy points)

RB: Myles Gaskin, MIA (Line: MIA -8; DK: $5,400) — Originally slated to face Denver this week, the NFL front office’s juggling act has presented Gaskin with the mother of all matchups — the hysterically awful Jets. Whether in DFS, season-long or via props, Haskin is bound to make you cash money. New York is a malfunctioning ATM that spits out $100 bills. This season it's allowed 4.57 yards per carry, 153.0 total yards per game, eight total touchdowns and the seventh-most fantasy points to the position. With Ryan Fitzpatrick waving his magic wand and given the rusher’s multidimensional assets, he’s a sound bet to meet or exceed what he accomplished in Week 5. Ignore his bland 19.5 missed tackle percentage and 2.72 YAC per attempt, he’s a sure-handed top back on a Miami team moving in a positive direction. (FF: 15-61-1-5-28-0, 17.4 fantasy points) 

RB: Raheem Mostert, SF (Line: LAR -3; DK: $6,200) — Mostert, running as though a knife-wielding Michael Myers was chasing him down last week against Miami, returned to action with a vengeance. On 14 touches he blazed his way to a fiery 109 total yards. After what occurred last Sunday versus Miami, QB controversy, O-line incompetency (No. 31 in adjusted line yards) and defensive ineptitude will dominate the headlines in San Francisco, but the former Boilermaker is quietly proving he isn’t a one-year wonder. More involved in the pass game and ingenious in the open field (3.77 yards created per touch), he’s an undoubtable RB2 henceforth. In a Golden State showdown with the Rams, he needs to be in your lineup. L.A. has yielded 4.54 yards per carry and the seventh-most receptions to rushers. Jerick McKinnon will spell him sporadically, but bank on Raheem netting dream-worthy numbers in a multipurpose role. (FF: 14-76-1-3-28-0, 17.9 fantasy points)

WR: Andy Isabella, ARZ (Line: ARZ -2.5; DK: $4,300) — Wrinkly Larry Fitzgerald. Inconsistent Chrstian Kirk. No dependable tight end. Within Kingsbury’s Air Raid scheme, Kyler Murray is searching for a dependable No. 2 option. Why can’t Isabella be that guy? He’s caught 76.9% of his intended looks and posted a healthy 12.5 average targeted air yards. It’s plausible in a game expected to malfunction Jerry Jones’ scoreboard, the plucky receiver leaves an indelible mark. Registering 80.6% of snaps played out of the slot he’ll lock horns with DB Jourdan Lewis, who’s allowed a 112.7 passer rating to his assignments. It’s hard trusting a receiver who plays on roughly one-third of the team snaps, but take a leap of faith. It’s Dallas after all, a dysfunctional defense capable of turning waiver wire afterthoughts into slate-breaking stars. (FF: 4-61-1, 14.1 fantasy points) 

TE: Robert Tonyan, GB (Line: GB -1.5; DK: $5,100) — Mark Chmura, Bubba Franks and Jermichael Finley all rolled into one. Tonyan resembled precisely that versus Atlanta in Week 4 netting the TD hat trick. His emergence also answered the question of who would step up as the club’s No. 2 target with Allen Lazard sidelined. Davante Adams is set to return post-bye, but it’s doubtful Tonyan’s role shrinks, especially near the goal line. He’s lured 22.2% of the red-zone target share, chipped in a notable 8.6 average depth of target and totaled 12.2 yards per target (TE2). Against a Tampa defense which has given up a 3.8-47.8-0.4 average line to tight ends, he’s irrevocably a TE1, even in 10-team formats. (FF: 4-48-1, 12.8 fantasy points)

Bonus flame: David Montgomery, RB, CHI (Line: CAR -2.5; DK: $5,800) — Oh, featuring the divisive RB somewhere in this space is mandatory. Yes, his K-pop dance moves and lack of straight-line explosion are bothersome, but you can’t dispute his volume and increasing pass-down presence. Script will determine how his touches will be distributed, but he’s locked in for at least 15-17 grips each week. His improvements in YAC per attempt (‘19: 2.33; ‘20: 2.78) and missed tackle rate (20.1%; 24.1%) offer additional encouragement. So does his Week 6 opponent. Carolina has surrendered 5.12 yards per carry, 170.2 total yards per game, 9 combined TDs and the second-most fantasy points to RBs. Admonish Monty all you want, but he’s an RB1 performer this week in 12-team leagues. (FF: 15-67-4-26-1, 17.3 fantasy points)

Super bonus flame: Alexander Mattison, RB, MIN (Line: MIN -3.5; DK: $7,200) — With Dalvin Cook nursing a strained love muscle, Mattison elevates into fantasy starting lineups. He doesn’t pack the burst of the incumbent, but assertive in his downhill running style, he meshes perfectly with Gary Kubiak’s one-cut-and-clobber scheme. This season, he’s compiled a laudable 2.98 YAC per attempt mark, forcing a missed tackle on 17.3% of his touches. Mike Boone will supplant him occasionally, but he should rack 15-plus touches this week against Atlanta. The Falcons, though highly torchable through the air, are fairly rigid versus the run allowing 3.8 yards per carry, 139.0 total yards per game and six touchdowns to RBs. Still, with a ramped-up workload, Mattison is undeniably RB2 material in Week 6. (FF: 19-88-3-19-1, 18.2 fantasy points)

Week 5 record: 5-8 (Season: 25-35)

W: Justin Herbert, Chase Edmonds, Jamison Crowder, Devonta Freeman, Robby Anderson
L: Joshua Kelley, Antonio Gibson, Deebo Samuel, Hunter Renfrow, Brian Hill, Daniel Jones, Justin Jefferson, Mo Alie-Cox

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