Fantasy booms, busts, breakouts: Wendell Smallwood set to deliver

Yahoo Sports Fantasy Minute

Each week our gaggle of Yahoo analysts show their hands and reveal their top booms, busts and breakouts. Gaze into the crystal ball and list your picks, using the strict rules set, in the comment section below.

Among players under 50 percent started in Yahoo leagues, the loudest BOOM from Week 7 comes from ________.

Andy – JALEN RICHARD is an obvious call here, as the presumptive head of a two-man Oakland backfield committee. Marshawn Lynch will serve his one-game suspension in Week 8, leaving the rushing workload to Richard and DeAndre Washington. Richard delivered 76 scrimmage yards on 13 touches last week, and he’s averaging a healthy 5.5 YPC for his career. Sunday’s matchup isn’t ideal (at Buffalo), but, in a brutal bye-week, I’m happy to take a shot with a dynamic player who’s in line for 15-18 touches.

Brad – WENDELL SMALLWOOD. Stuck much of the year functioning as LeGarrette Blount’s backup and netting 32.7 percent of the opportunity share, Smallwood should rise to the occasion this week in a possible lopsided affair against winless San Francisco. The Niners have given up the most fantasy points to the RB position this season. Assuming Carson Wentz carves up San Fran’s weak secondary and builds an insurmountable early lead, it could be the sophomore rusher, and not Blount, who salts away the clock after halftime. Roughly 70 combined yards with a TD is completely achievable.

Scott — Respect has been slow to come for JOSH MCCOWN — heck, the entire Jets roster. McCown has posted a rating over 100 in four of his starts, and he’s accounted for multiple touchdowns in three straight games (making him the QB4 over that period). Atlanta is a neutral matchup for a quarterback; either way, McCown is too hot to sit right now. He’s going to be a great coach someday; he’s seen it all, knows how to matriculate the ball down the field.

Conversely, among players started in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the biggest Week 7 BUST will be ______.

Brad – T.Y. HILTON. At what point will fantasy owners accept Hilton, a WR1 fixture the past several seasons, is a colossal bust? Whether matched against formidable or feeble opponents, the wideout simply hasn’t moved the meter. His past two contests, versus Jacksonville and Tennessee, he totaled a useless three catches for 46 yards and no scores. No matter where you pin the blame – Jacoby Brissett, the coaching staff, Indy’s ghostlike offensive line – Hilton is hard to trust. Now slated to square off against a Cincinnati secondary that’s allowed the lowest catch percentage in the league to WRs (47.7), the 80-plus percent started Colt is worthy of pine time.

Andy — It’s tough to be optimistic about DEANDRE HOPKINS this week, on the road at Seattle where he’ll see plenty of Richard Sherman. The Seahawks have allowed only three receiving TDs to wideouts so far, and no receiver has reached 90 yards against them. Hopkins owners have grown accustomed to double-digit fantasy performances, but Nuk isn’t likely to carry anyone to a win in Week 8.

Scott – DOUG MARTIN looked terrific in his season debut against New England, but he’s stumbled since, making just 102 yards on 34 carries (3.0 YPC). Carolina presents a daunting matchup in Week 8; the Panthers are the third-stingiest unit when it comes to handing out RB fantasy points, and star linebacker Luke Keuchly is expected back. I do expect Tampa to do some things on offense this week, but it’s likely to come through the passing game.

Chuck a Hail Mary, the one deep player (under 15% started) you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 7 is ______.

Scott — Things might be coming together for BRANDON COLEMAN in New Orleans. Michael Thomas is dinged up this week (check his status before you commit Sunday) and Coby Fleener is on the outs. Thomas is getting 38.5 percent of the team’s end-zone target share, which explains his three touchdowns on a modest 12 catches. He’s not going to run away from anyone, but those 6-foot-6 targets are handy in the red area. With a six pack of teams on holiday, Coleman makes a lot of sense as a Week 8 dart throw. (I also like Tyler Kroft in this vein, but he’s owned a little too heavily to qualify here.)

Andy – Here’s hoping THEO RIDDICK finally returns to the end-zone. He’s hauled in nine passes on 12 targets over Detroit’s past two games, and his receiving services will be desperately needed this week. Golden Tate (shoulder) isn’t expected to play, and Pittsburgh’s defense has locked down pretty much every receiver on the schedule. Riddick has a clear shot at 5-7 catches on Sunday night.

Brad – DEONTE THOMPSON. The former Bear, obviously motivated by no longer being connected to an unpolished rookie QB in a terribly unexciting offense, responded with an out-of-nowhere 4-107-0 line last week against Tampa. His long-range ability paints him as Buffalo’s newest Marquise Goodwin. Against an Oakland D featuring the league’s worst corner in passer rating allowed, David Amerson, the upstart has a great chance of blazing a trail to the end zone. As a unit, the Raiders have conceded 8.2 pass yards per attempt. Go deep.

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