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 in the comment section below.
Among non-obvious starts in Yahoo leagues, the loudest BOOM in Week 7 will come from ________.
Brad — ITO SMITH. The treasured waiver wire add is strongly recommended at RB2 or FLEX in 12-team and deeper leagues. He’s No. 1 in missed tackle percentage (28.0) among eligible RBs and has posted 3.16 yards after contact per attempt. Out-touching Tevin Coleman last week, he could emerge as this year’s Kenyan Drake, an overlooked player who explodes down the stretch. Against a Giants defense that’s yielded the 13th-most fantasy points to RBs, he finishes with 60-80 total yards and another touchdown.
Scott — When we last saw the Giants, they were throwing up on themselves in a blowout loss to Philadelphia. It’s difficult to trust — or even watch — this shipwrecked passing game. But STERLING SHEPARD posted 75, 77, and 80 yards in his three prior games, and the Falcons defense is down four key starters.
Sure, Eli Manning looks just about cooked, and yes, Evan Engram is expected back; another mouth to feed. But the Falcons can escort anyone’s passing game down the field. Shepard has seven targets or more in five of six starts, and Monday night in Atlanta, some of those targets should translate into juicy fantasy production. Don’t be tripped up by recency bias.
Dalton — MARQUISE GOODWIN. He finally looked healthy last week for the first time this season, ripping off 126 yards and two scores — and impressing while doing so. Goodwin saw the 11th most Air Yards last week on a modest five targets, and he should be more involved now that he’s healthier and with San Francisco having to throw frequently as double-digit underdogs on Sunday. C.J. Beathard looks competent in Kyle Shanahan’s system and the Rams’ secondary has proven plenty beatable this season, so fire up Goodwin with confidence this week.
Conversely, the brand name set to be the biggest Week 7 BUST is ________.
Scott — DREW BREES has lived an auto-start life for most of his New Orleans career, but he’s not as much fun outside the dome. This week, the Saints travel to the best defense in football. Sorry Jacksonville, and forget it Chicago; it’s the Ravens who crush opposing offenses the most (6.0 YPA allowed, six TDs against five picks, 73.1 rating, just 188 passing yards per game). Brees can’t be paid for in DFS games, and even seasonal players might have a more reasonable punch this week. It’s the toughest mark on the New Orleans schedule.
Brad — DESHAUN WATSON. The high-profiled passer greatly underwhelmed last week and more of the same is in store this time around. The Jags were so embarrassed last week by tepid Dallas, gum-flapper Jalen Ramsey fell mute. Back at home and visibly wounded, Jacksonville rightfully reclaims its position as the most feared secondary in the game. Keep in mind that even including last week’s humiliation, it has allowed the third fewest fantasy points to QBs, surrendering 6.4 yards per attempt, 204.8 yards per game and five TDs. Additionally, Ramsey and A.J. Bouye combined have given up only 0.80 yards per snap. Watson falls outside the top-15 again.
Dalton — SONY MICHEL. He’s been fantastic of late and should be considered a borderline top-five fantasy RB moving forward, but he gets a Bears defense this week that’s allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs and the only team yet to surrender a rushing score. Moreover, Michel has benefitted from a top-five game script this year and New England is favored by less than usual on the road. He’s also not involved as a receiver (just one catch over the last three weeks), so this isn’t the typically favorable situation Michel is used to.
Chuck a Hail Mary, one deeper player you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 7 is ______.
Dalton — MARLON MACK. It’s tough to rely on any Indy back, but Mack impressed during his return last week, and he’s going to be given an opportunity to take the lead in the committee in a home matchup as more than touchdown favorites. Buffalo’s secondary is its team strength, so the Colts should focus on their ground game and defense facing Derek Anderson, who was just signed last week. With running back so barren, it’s a surprise Mack is being started in just 17 percent of leagues.
Scott — JERMAINE KEARSE is owned in just eight percent of Yahoo leagues and started in just three percent. But he’s coming off a tidy 9-94-0 line (10 targets), and Quincy Enunwa is going to be out a few games. Slot reps and throws over the middle; nectar from the fantasy gods.
Brad — WILLIE SNEAD. One of Matt Harmon’s infatuations, Snead has quietly commanded a sizeable target share over the past three weeks. During that stretch, he’s lured 24 passes, catching at least five balls per week in each of his past three games. Expected to battle overly generous slot corner P.J. Williams (148.5 passer rating, 1.92 yards per snap allowed), I suspect Steamboat Willie toots the horn en route to a 6-60-1 line. Plug him in, PPR players.
Handicapping Lounge: If I had to go to the window to punch a Week 7 against-the-spread ticket, my jelly beans would be on ______.
Brad — Baltimore -2.5. Close to 70 percent of the public action is on the Saints. It’s the wrong move. Baltimore and its aggressive defense tarnishes the Yardage King’s crowd.
Dalton — Jacksonville -4.5. The Texans enter riding a rather unimpressive three-game winning streak, whereas the Jaguars enter coming off back-to-back ugly road losses, so look for Jacksonville’s defense to have a “get right” game against a struggling Houston O-line.
Scott — Washington -1. The Redskins offense is not a pretty watch; it’s basically an offense of all pawns. But after seeing Dallas hit the top of its range last week, the emotional-handicapping angle is to fade the Pokes on the follow-up.