Every Wednesday the Noise highlights 12 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 using the scoring system shown here (Thresholds — QB: 18 fpts, RB: 13 fpts, WR: 11 fpts: TE: 10 fpts; .5 PPR). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 3 Flames in the comments section below.
Marcus Mariota, Ten, QB (18 percent started, $29)
Matchup: vs. Oak
Aloha nui loa. In Hawaiian that means “very much love,” precisely the feelings yours truly houses for Mariota after his impressive first two weeks. The sophomore passer is blossoming right before owner eyes. Against the Vikings and Lions he pieced together consecutive 19-plus fantasy points performances. Though he’s currently on the outside looking in among the QB1 class in 12-team leagues, a couple of his advanced metrics paint a pretty picture. He ranks №8 in completions per aimed throws among passers and has connected on 61.5 percent of his red zone attempts (QB4). Chip in his ability to tuck and run and supportive one-two punch of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry and the arrow is pointing up in Nashville. This week, his statistical promise could reach stratospheric heights. The Raiders, much like their color scheme suggests, leave opponents in the black. Corners Sean Smith and David Amerson are nuns wearing helmets. They’ve allowed numerous Hail Marys already this season. Due in large part to big gainers tallied by Brandin Cooks (Week 1) and Julio Jones (Week 2), the pair has surrendered 17.4 yards per route and a 74.9 catch percentage. Overall, the Raiders have conceded 10.8 pass yards per attempt. Sweet baby Hey-Zeus! If their struggles continue on the road, Mariota is sure to post banner results. Count on him to deliver a top-10 line.
Fearless Forecast: 279 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 19 rushing yards, 21.1 fantasy points
Theo Riddick, Det, RB (27 percent started, $18)
Matchup: at GB
If Riddick were a cartoon character he would be Speedy Gonzalez. He’s incredibly nimble, decisive in his cuts, versatile and generally evasive, a nightmare matchup for any linebacker corps. Through two games, he ranks top-10 in targets, YAC (2.8), tackles avoided per attempt (0.17), run after catch (9.2) and fantasy points per opportunity (1.37). Money. With Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve with a foot injury, the scat back should take on a larger role. Yes, Dwayne Washington and Zach Zenner will be involved in certain formations, but in a contest with shootout appeal (48 Vegas Over/Under), Riddick is sure to be a fixture in most sets. In its first two games, Green Bay’s blockade thwarted Jacksonville and Minnesota backs. Combined, rushers netted 1.9 yards per carry against it. Because of the Packers’ inflexibility in the trenches, it seems predictable Jim Bob Cooter will employ spread tactics to feature Riddick and Golden Tate in the short to intermediate field. If that is indeed the blueprint, it’s conceivable the sure-handed rusher hauls in six-plus receptions. Given the blood spilled at the RB position last week, Riddick is practically must-start material even in standard leagues. He’s more employable than Jeremy Hill (vs. Den), LeSean McCoy (vs. Ari) and Carlos Hyde (at Sea). Ariba! Ariba!
Fearless Forecast: 9 carries, 44 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 56 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 19.5 fantasy points
Chris Ivory, Jax, RB (3 percent started, $12)
Matchup: vs. Bal
Ailed by a mysterious and reportedly painful medical condition which required hospitalization, Ivory, by some accounts, may return to action this Sunday. Because of the Jags’ woeful efforts on the ground thus far, his activation is sorely needed. “Total Junk” Yeldon has lived down to his nickname. Though the Jags offensive line provided him with little operating space, he was dreadfully unassertive and timid between the tackles in matchups versus Green Bay and San Diego. In those contests Yeldon ran with the conviction of Betty White, averaging 2.7 yards per touch despite seeing light fronts 85.7 percent of the time. He’s a docile runner no defense is afraid of. Enter Ivory. An absolute bruiser between the tackles, the braid-haired back is the antitheses of his running mate. Recall last year with the Jets he tallied an appreciable 4.3 yards per carry, 2.6 YAC and evaded 5.3 tackles per game. With the Jags already reeling, he is exactly what Gus Bradley needs, especially against a Ravens front that’s allowed 5.0 yards per carry to RBs on the young season. If Ivory practices in full throughout the week, count on at least 14–15 carries and, presumably, a very employable RB2 line in 12-team leagues.
Fearless Forecast (If he’s active): 15 carries, 76 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 7 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.3 fantasy points
Devante Parker, Mia, WR (6 percent started, $18)
Matchup: vs. Cle
Tossed on the rubbish pile throughout August due to ongoing hamstring/foot complications, the talented second-year receiver was largely a forgotten man. But now healthy and involved in a high-flying Miami attack spearheaded by Adam Gase’s aggressive play calling, Parker is once again showcasing the same arousing downfield skills that activated salivary glands over the slate’s second half a season ago. Last Sunday, in a clash that had the scoreboard operator sweating, the youngster lit up New England’s exploitable secondary. On 13 looks he grabbed eight passes for 103 yards, good for a mouthwatering 16.6 average depth of target. More of the same is on tap this week versus visiting Cleveland. On defense, the Browns, collectively, haven’t earned their Milkbones. After a deplorable 2015, Joe Haden has elevated his game giving up a 33.3 catch rate in early action. However, his tag team partner Jamar Taylor has yielded a 104.2 passer rating to his assignments. Also because of weak safety play, the Browns rank №11 in most 20-yard pass plays allowed (8). No matter the matchup, Gase will attack vertically, meaning another double-digit workload is probable for Parker. Allow him back in the circle of trust.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 91 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.1 fantasy points
Tyrell Williams, SD, WR (16 percent started, $13)
Matchup: at Ind
Detractors obtuse to measureables, opportunity and sheer basic comprehension said gushing over Williams’ breakthrough Week 2 was “a knee jerk reaction.” Nonsense? Check my Twitter feed. Numbskulls that believe he’s only a flash in a pan are sorely mistaken. Williams is about to establish himself as a sure-fire WR3, at a minimum, in 12-team formats. Not exactly Malcom Floyd the sequel, the Western Oregon product is long, athletic, highly explosive and pugnacious after the catch, a multi-dimensional playmaker who’s recorded an insane 26.4 yards per route thus far. The shallow cross he converted for a 44-yard score against Jacksonville, a haul in which he showcased blazing speed and break-tackle toughness, exhibited his assets. Due to the absences of Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead and because of San Diego’s overly forgiving defense — last week’s showing against Jacksonville was likely a mirage — targets will be plentiful for Williams moving forward. He should see a regular 7–9 looks per game, including this week. Set to tango with a Colts secondary crippled by various injuries, he’s a trusted top-30 option. Indy, possibly down five defensive backs, might have to trot out Mike from accounting. Realize the potential. Maximize the matchup.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 79 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.4 fantasy points
WEEK 3 SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10 percent started)
Sammie Coates, Pit, WR (1 percent started, $10)
Matchup: at Phi
Saints/Giants totaled a minuscule 29 points. Bills/Jets resembled a video game on ‘rookie.’ Matt Jones actually scored a touchdown. And Cam Newton dressed as a 1920s vaudeville entertainer. Every week in this wild and wacky league the unexpected reigns supreme. This Sunday, Coates, a player hated, then loved, then hated again by the fantasy community this past summer, will be the next starling twist in an already nonsensical season. The second-year wideout has always possessed an alluring profile. His wide wingspan, plus height and streaking speed are sterling qualities. However, dampened by a combination of the dropsies and imprecise routes he temporarily fell into Todd Haley’s doghouse toward the end of August. But after a pair of noteworthy efforts, his stock is quietly climbing. He hasn’t dominated the box score, but his four receptions for 153 yards (on seven targets) shouldn’t be ignored. Neither should his 21.3 yards per target. Functioning as Ben Roethlisberger’s version of Terrelle Pryor, he’s the team’s preeminent deep threat. Matched against a banged up Eagles secondary that’s yielded 7.7 yards per attempt, he could detonate on an explosive pass play or three. Concerned Donte Moncrief or Doug Baldwin owners looking for a Week 3 filler should strongly consider the Steelers’ sprinter.
Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 82 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.7 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 3 FLAMES
#TEAMHUEVOS PICKS OF THE WEEK
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?
Reader Record: 7–7
Noise season record: 10–14 (Week 2 results. W: Jimmy Garoppolo, Tevin Coleman, Dennis Pitta, Kirk Cousins, Travis Benjamin; L: T.J. Yeldon, Tajae Sharpe, Michael Thomas, Arian Foster, Rashad Jennings, John Brown, New York Jets D/ST)