Week 8 Fantasy Sleepers: Riddick to rise to occasion in brutal bye week

Yahoo Sports Fantasy Minute
Week 8 Flames: McCown no fantasy McClown in burdensome bye week

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 fpts, RB: 12 fpts, WR: 11 fpts: TE: 10 fpts; .5 PPR). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 8 Flames in the comments section below.

Josh McCown, NYJ, QB (6 percent started, $25 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. Atl (Game over/under: 46.5)

Invariably on Halloween night someone leaves out an unattended candy bowl for little ghouls and goblins to ransack. Sometimes they’re filled with premium candies. Other times, only Necco Wafers and pumpkin Peeps sit and rot. For all intents and purposes, McCown is the unwanted leftover, a quarterback in the twilight of his career who is attached to a rather tepid offense. Incredibly, though, the vagabond, playing for his eighth team in 15 years, has packed statistical sweetness. On a Jets team defying long odds, he ranks No. 10 among all fantasy passers in total points. Crazy. His gunslinger mentality says he often plays with fire, but considering how well his supporting staff has gained space from defenders (No. 5 in separation yards per route), he’s overcome occasional boneheaded mistakes with red-zone accuracy (No. 8 in RZ comp%) and successful scoring plays. What’s nutty? He has two more multi-TD games than his Week 8 adversary, Matt Ryan. Look for him to bank another one against Matty Ice’s Falcons. On the surface, Atlanta presents a yawn-worthy matchup. It’s allowed just 6.5 yards per attempt and rank middle of the pack in fantasy points surrenders to QBs. However, starting DBs Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford have given up a 91.9 passer rating and four touchdowns to their opponents. In a likely negative script, McCown scores a Payday.

Fearless Forecast: 258 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 turnover, 18 rushing yards, 19.1 fantasy points

Theo Riddick, Det, RB (13 percent started, $14 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. Pit (Over/Under: 44.5)

Lost in the Week 6 carnage, Golden Tate suffered a nasty shoulder injury, a setback expected to keep him on the sidelines for multiple weeks. The receiver’s reliability and rhino mentality after the catch impacts the Lions passing attack dramatically. His absence provides increased looks for Marvin Jones, TJ Jones, Kenny Golladay (if healthy) and Eric Ebron, but it’s really Riddick who stands to benefit most. Long grouped with similar pass-catching specialists Chris Thompson, James White and Duke Johnson, the Lion hasn’t roared with the ferocity of his late-round bedfellows. On 29.4 percent of the opportunity share, he’s totaled a useless 36.5 total yards per game and landed in the end zone once. Still, his elusiveness in space (No. 3 in Juke Rate), RB2-level fantasy points per opportunity output and sticky hands (88.5 catch%) say he’s better than the surface data. Due to the resurgent play of Joe Haden and Artie Burns, quarterbacks have relied on the short vertical game to move the chains against Pittsburgh. As a result, the Steelers have surrendered 5.7 receptions per game to RBs. Ameer Abdullah should again dominate the rushing workload, but Riddick, too, will be very active as Matthew Stafford’s top screen/flare option.

Fearless Forecast: 3 carries, 13 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 48 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.1 fantasy points 

Buck Allen, Bal, RB (28 percent started, $15 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: vs. Mia (Over/Under: 37.5)

If John Harbaugh were Dr. Frankenstein, he would gladly piece together the finest qualities of his RBs. Buck’s hands. Alex Collins’ powerful legs. Terrance West’s … Ok, he would probably prefer fusing only Allen and Collins together. Unfortunately, reality hasn’t afforded him such an opportunity. In this murderous bye week, both backs have starter appeal in 12-team and deeper leagues, but Allen is most trustworthy. To be fair, he possesses the efficiency of a toothless vampire. His 1.79 yards after contact per attempt ranks third-to-last among RBs who’ve played on at least 25 percent of team snaps and he’s forced just nine missed tackles on 112 touches. Most damning, his 89-reception, 326-yard receiving pace, if sustained, would be the worst catch-yardage tally by a RB in NFL history.  Essentially, Allen is the Wario version of Chris Thompson. Still, he’s a viable candidate for 15-plus touches in a game that should trend in a favorable direction. Because of Ndamukong Suh’s presence Miami has allowed only 3.90 yards per carry to RBs. However, pass-catching backs have logged a decent amount of success, averaging 5.3 receptions and 43.3 yards per game. It won’t be pretty, but considering Joe Flacco has limited pass-catching options (Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman and Jeremy Maclin could all sit) Allen and his tacky mitts (92.0 catch%) find a way to penetrate the Week 8 RB2 class.

Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 38 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 41 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.4 fantasy points 

Marquise Goodwin, SF, WR (2 percent started, $11 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: at Phi (Over/Under: 47.5)

Bungles by the Bay have become an all too common occurrence this season. Winless on the season, San Francisco is battling Cleveland and, of all teams, the New York Giants, for ultimate futility and next year’s No. 1 overall pick. Though largely unexciting for fantasy purposes outside Carlos Hyde and Pierre Garcon, the 49ers have a hidden gem on roster, Goodwin. The speedster, targeted eight times by C.J. Beathard last week against Dallas, has quietly amassed useful production the past three weeks. Over that stretch he’s enticed 24 targets, catching 11 passes for 222 yards. Additionally, he ranks inside the top-20 among all wide receivers in yards per route (17.4) and contested catch rate. Goodwin has yet to cross the chalk this season, but his fixed WR2 role on a team constantly in the hole should lead to continued WR3 tallies in 12-team and deeper leagues. This week will be no exception. The Eagles are extremely forgiving against the pass. Jalen Mills alone has conceded 41 receptions for 400 yards and four touchdowns. As a flock, they’ve given up the seventh-most fantasy points to the position. Tyrell Williams and J.J. Nelson are two deep threats who detonated against them earlier this year. Assessing the facts, Goodwin has a good chance to clean up in garbage time.

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

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pit, WR (4 percent started, $14 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: at Det (Over/Under: 44)

Last Sunday night, Martavis Bryant briefly took to his Instagram account to express his disgruntled feelings about a reduced role. Though the posting was up only temporarily, he basically confirmed his desire to get the heck out of dodge. His low targets yield and absent production have caused him to fall out of favor. Pin the blame on Smith-Schuster’s ascension. The rookie, whose TD celebration game is already on point, is a blossoming talent immersed in a favorable environment. His ideal size (6-foot-1, 219 pounds), dependable hands (83.3 catch%) and ability to gain breathing room (No. 8 in separation yards per target) boast tremendous upside. Already seeing abundant action (64.9 snap%), his presence shifting between the slot and outside should only increase, possibly with or without Martavis. With many willing to drink the dregs of the keg at WR3 this week, Smith-Schuster presents considerable appeal. Yes, Ben Roethlisberger’s road struggles are well-documented and Antonio Brown typically dominates targets, but with Darius Slay draped on the All-Pro and given the Lions’ vulnerabilities on slot defense, good JuJu is sure to make an appearance. According to Pro Football Focus, slot corner Quandre Diggs has allowed a 104.4 passer rating to his assignments. Suit him up, assuming he passes concussion protocol.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 54 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.4 fantasy points 

WEEK 8 SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)

Jalen Richard, Oak, RB (8 percent started, $13 in Yahoo DFS)
Matchup: at Buf (Over/Under: 45)

From jubilant injury cart rides to celebratory crotch grabs to bicycle travels through the Scottish countryside, Marshawn Lynch is the stuff of legend. His physical altercation with a referee last Thursday wasn’t one of his finest moments, but his post-ejection appearance in the stands and BART ride home only added to the lore. With the Beast caged this week, DeAndre Washington will likely draw the start in a difficult tilt in Buffalo, but the underrated Richard is the Raiders rusher to FLEX. The plucky RB is the definition of “lethal in small doses.” He’s versatile, surprisingly tough after initial contact (5-foot-8, 207-pound frame) and has notched 0.55 fantasy points per opportunity in PPR leagues, which ranks top-10 at the position. He’ll work in tandem with Washington, but his 11-13 touches could be quite explosive. His Week 8 opponent, Buffalo, is a rather unyielding opponent. On the season, the Bills have conceded a mere 3.9 yards per carry to RBs. Working away from Kyle Williams, I suspect Richard will break a long play or two in the underneath pass game. Keep in mind Buffalo has conceded a 90.0 catch percentage and 8.6 yards per catch to RBs this year. Don’t be a fretful Richard. Start the man with confidence in PPR leagues.

Fearless Forecast: 11 carries, 62 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 33 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.0 fantasy points 


Each week one fortunate guest prognosticator will have a chance to silence the Noise. Following the rules stated above, participants are asked to submit their “Flames” (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?

Fan Week 7 results: 3-4 (Season: 19-32)
My Week 7 results: 3-9 (Season: 30-47; W: Tyrod Talyor, Nelson Agholor, Bills D/ST; L: Brett Hundley, Orleans Darkwa, Dion Lewis, Tevin Coleman, Josh Doctson, Robert Woods, George Kittle, Marlon Mack)

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also check out his TV show, “The Fantasy Football Hour,” now available in 75 million households on Fox Sports Regional Networks, and his new podcast, “The Fantasy Record.”