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Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Rejuvenated Peterson enters must-start territory

Brad Evans
Yahoo Sports

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 fantasy points, RB: 12 fpts, WR: 11 fpts, TE: 10 fpts; .5 PPR). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 2 Flames in the comments section below.

Tyrod a top stream option for Wentz owners

Tyrod Taylor, Cle, QB (4 started; Yahoo DFS: $30)
Matchup: at NO
Vegas line/total: NO -8, 50

In conditions one would consider not quite pristine, “Tuh-Rod” fought through steady falling rain and pushing wind to drive the Browns into, appropriately enough, the…tie column. Chains draping Bud Light victory fridges outside FirstEnergy Stadium didn’t unlock. Cleveland’s botched ending was inexcusable, but it was a valiant effort nonetheless. For the passer, it was far from a polished performance. Misreads. Errant throws (37.5 completion percentage). Unnecessary mistakes. He needs to improve to keep the Baker Mayfield-zealots at bay. Still, Taylor, who finished QB7 totaling 197 passing yards, 77 rushing yards and two total touchdowns, went down the hatch smoothly for fantasy purposes. Expect the buzz to carry over this week against New Orleans. The Saints were widely pegged as a top-10 defensive unit. Then Week 1 happened. Miniaturized by Tampa’s Dumbledore, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marshon Lattimore and Co. surrendered 417 total yards and 14.9 pass yards per attempt (!!!). Equally unsightly, Lattimore and Ken Crawley gave up a combined 153.8 passer rating to their assignments. It could’ve been an uncharacteristic opening stumble, but considering its lackluster linebacker corps and questionable run defense, maybe New Orleans was overestimated. With Josh Gordon sure to see a sharp rise in targets from last week’s reduced role (three total looks) and given Cleveland’s overall offensive improvements, Taylor is the tourniquet Carson Wentz owners need to apply.

Fearless Forecast: 207 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 63 rushing yards, 21.6 fantasy points

Peterson likely to reverse aging effects against Indy

Adrian Peterson, WAS, RB (44 started; Yahoo DFS: $18)
Matchup: vs. Ind
Vegas line/total: Was -5, 46

An oasis in the desert last week against Arizona, Peterson hopped in the DeLorean, cranked the flux capacitor to 1.21 gigawatts and blazed a fiery trail of “Back to the Future,” raising a middle digit at Father Time and this writer’s “cooked” declarations in the process. In throwback fashion, “All Day” socked the opposition with powerful interior runs and even contributed in the pass game. On an exhaustive 28 touches he compiled 166 yards and a touchdown. His 12.0 missed tackle percentage didn’t conjure much excitement, but his 3.1 yards after contact per attempt was undoubtedly vintage. Simply put, Peterson’s genetics are atypical for a thirty-something back. Though I still house reservations over the long haul, it’s recommended to ride him until the wheels fall off, especially this week. Indianapolis’ defense was as woeful as advertised. The My Little Ponies, gashed by Joe Mixon, conceded 5.17 yards per carry, 162 total yards and a touchdown to Cincy backs. According to Pro Football Focus, interior lineman Denico Autry was the only Colts defender to record an 80-plus run D rating, though he didn’t register a single stop. Washington’s offensive line graded out in the bottom third in run-blocking efficiency Week 1, but it’s impossible to ignore the venerable rusher’s potential, given the matchup. If gifted another vigorous workload, bank on top-10 or even top-five numbers in Week 2.

Fearless Forecast: 22 carries, 111 rushing yards, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.3 fantasy points

Graybeard Adrian Peterson returned to Arizona and posted old school numbers. Look for him to do it again at home against Indy’s laughable defense. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

‘Boom Boom’ Powell owns FLEX appeal against Miami

Bilal Powell, NYJ, RB (10 started; Yahoo DFS: $15)
Matchup: vs. Mia
Vegas line/total: NYJ -3, 44

Similar to every semi-attractive and overtly flirtatious female from my youth, Powell, in true Backstreet Boys fashion, continues to play games with my heart. Entrenched in a full-blown running-back-by-committee with Isaiah Crowell, the underrated veteran appeared springy and quick in the Jets’ almost unfathomable obliteration of Detroit. On 13 touches, he finished with 65 yards and tallied 2.8 yards after contact. My dedication for Powell has led to numerous couch sessions. He’s possessed the necessary tools to levy uppercut punches, but Jets coaches over the years stubbornly refused to feed him. Instead of receiving the 14-16 touches per game he earned, Powell was only sporadically employed. Last year, for example, he witnessed only 46.4 percent of the opportunity share. Inexcusable. As always, though, he’s made the most of his time riding the carousel. In 2017, he ranked top-13 in total evaded tackles, juke rate and yards created per carry, according to Player Profiler. Again, the man produces when fed. This week his versatility could vex Miami’s bottom barrel run defense. Last Sunday, the Dolphins, in a delay-impacted contest versus Tennessee, struggled mightily containing Dion Lewis; a rich man’s version of Powell. The petite rusher notched 110 yards and a score on 21 touches. Obviously, Powell won’t receive a similar workload, but on roughly 13-14 touches he should provide a FLEX boost.

Fearless Forecast: 11 carries, 56 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.3 fantasy points

Agholor to spread wings in Tampa

Nelson Agholor, Phi, WR (40 started; Yahoo DFS: $24)
Matchup: at TB
Vegas line/total: Phi -3, 43.5

PPR detractors seethed in their loungers last Thursday night watching Agholor. His 10-8-33-0 line, a very useful 11.8 fantasy-point output in reception-friendly formats, is exactly why many despise scoring for catches. It’s a justified stance. Agholor was essentially a WR version of James White, a player who consumed yardage in snack-sized chunks. Comically, his 5.2 average depth of target (aDOT) nearly matched White’s (5.1) in Week 1. Again, it benefited the PPR masses, but despite the absurd catch total, his effort in standard left much to be desired. This week, expect a better-rounded contribution. The Eagles, again without Wentz and Alshon Jeffery, should snap back resoundingly after last week’s nap-inducing exhibition. Their opponent, Tampa, was bombed on the Bayou last Sunday. Down Brent Grimes, the Bucs secondary yielded 9.8 yards per attempt, 439 pass yards and three vertical strikes to Drew Brees. Now possibly without the services of starting corner Vernon Hargreaves, “emaciated” best sums up Tampa’s current defensive state. If Carlton Davis (5-85-1, 151.8 passer rating allowed Week 1) and M.J. Stewart (3-3-29-0, 106.9) are pressed into action, it’s extremely exploitable. No matter who Dirk Koetter deploys, count on Agholor to reach WR2 numbers, at a minimum, this weekend.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.8 fantasy points

Gabriel to wield ‘Sledgehammer’ against ‘Hawks

Taylor Gabriel, Chi, WR (1 started; Yahoo DFS: $10)
Matchup: vs. Sea
Vegas line/total: Chi -3, 43

Overshadowed by Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen, Gabriel is the forgotten man in the Windy City. In his prior stint with the Atlanta Falcons he flashed occasionally, deployed primarily as a short-field, screen/quick-hit option. His role with Chicago won’t deviate much, but he’ll rise to the occasion sporadically. Week 1 against Green Bay he played 60-of-70 snaps, well ahead of rookie Anthony Miller, and caught all five his targeted passes for a useless 25 yards. On Monday night, however, he’s in a prime position to be a fantasy noisemaker. Seattle’s hollowed secondary isn’t the fearful “Legion of Boom” from yesteryear. Yes, Shaq Griffin and Earl Thomas are restrictive DBs but the rest of the unit is largely meek. Fifth-round rookie Tre Flowers was harshly welcomed last week by the Denver Broncos. Targeted nine times, he was torched for seven receptions, 124 yards and a touchdown. His 155.8 passer rating and 3.26 yards per snap allowed ranked top-five in most yielded by Week 1 corners. Robinson is a strong play in season-long and DFS, but Gabriel could shock the world on roughly 5-7 targets.

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

WEEK 2 SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10 percent started)

Courtland Sutton, Den, WR (1 started; Yahoo DFS: $10)
Matchup: vs. Oak
Vegas line/total: Den -6, 45

Three weeks ago, when I picked the brain of a reliable Broncos source about how Sutton was progressing in Broncos training camp, the received response stirred the blood. It read, “In 16 years covering the NFL, I’ve never seen a rookie dominate quite like this.” Beat writers, fans, coaches — talk to anyone who visited Dove Valley in August and ask what they witnessed from Sutton, and a beaming smile is sure to show. The SMU product’s length, 35.5-inch vertical and stellar athleticism (84th-percent SPARQ score) left onlookers thinking, “greatness.” To say he’s an unpolished Calvin Johnson isn’t hyperbole. Sutton, my No. 1 WR prospect from this past April’s NFL Draft, is special. Working in opposite Demaryius Thomas last Sunday against Seattle, the greenhorn played 59.5 percent of the snaps, attracted five targets and caught two balls for 45 yards. It wasn’t the most memorable performance, but it provided a glimpse of what could be on the horizon. Week 2 presents a possible breakthrough moment. The Raiders, already painting scowls on Jon Gruden’s face, are a pliable defense. They weren’t atrocious in coverage against the Rams, giving up 7.1 yards per attempt, 233 pass yards and two touchdowns. Still, Sutton — likely in a one-on-one clash with Gareon Conley in three-WR sets — is attractive. The DB conceded 1.66 yards per snap in Week 1 and is at a significant size disadvantage. In an aggressive Broncos passing attack, look for Sutton to snag a splashy catch or three.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.2 fantasy points

BONUS WEEK 2 FLAMES (Under 60 percent started)

QB: Case Keenum, Den, QB (vs. Oak; $27) – Denver has an army to march on offense. Keenum was imperfect last week against Seattle, but confidently pushed the ball downfield. More of the same is in store against an Oakland defense already doing backstrokes in the cesspool. (FF: 279 yards, 2 TDs, 0 ints, 19.2 fpts)

RB: Dion Lewis, Ten, RB (vs. Hou; $17) – Lewis out-snapped Derrick Henry 47-20 and rolled up 3.44 YAC/att along with 110 combined yards and a score in a delay-ridden contest at Miami last week. Houston yielded 3.96 ypc to New England RBs last week, but Lewis is too slippery to contain. (FF: 14-55-1, 4-23-0, 15.8 fpts)

WR: Josh Gordon, Cle, WR (at NO; $27) – Reinserted into the starting lineup and coming off one of the finest TD grabs of his career, Gordon is about to become the downfield focus in Cleveland’s playbook. Marshon Lattimore was uncharacteristically torched by Mike Evans last week (4-115-1, 149.3 passer rating, 3.38 yards per snap allowed). If the DB’s generosity continues, Gordon crosses the 80-yard threshold with ease. (FF: 5-98-1, 18.3 fpts)

TE: Nick Boyle, Bal, TE (at Cin; $10) – Could Boyle be Joe Flacco’s new Todd Heap or Dennis Pitta? It’s possible. The fellow Delaware product caught 3-of-6 passes for 40 yards in the opener against Buffalo. Last week, the Bengals allowed 12 receptions for 124 yards and a score to Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron. He’s a sneaky option for Greg Olsen or Delanie Walker owners reeling from their departures. (FF: 4-45-1, 12.5 fpts)

DST: New York Jets (vs. Mia; $11) – The Jets broke the sound barrier last week in Detroit by picking off Matthew Stafford five times while hanging a 22-point spot in default leagues. At home against a sub-optimal Miami team it could accumulate additional riches. The Dolphins were brilliant in pass protection last week. Ryan Tannehill was under pressure on only 12.9 percent of dropbacks, but expect the Jets to turn up the heat. (17 PA, 312 YDSA, 3 SCK, 3 TO, 12.0 fpts)

#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 – 2-5

Brad record – 4-7 (W: Mike Williams, Kenny Golladay, Jordan Reed, John Ross (SS); L: Dak Prescott, Royce Freeman, Rex Burkhead, Peyton Barber, Jordan Wilkins, Marcus Mariota, Detroit D/ST; DNP: Will Fuller)

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also check out his TV show, “The Fantasy Football Hour,” now available in 91 million households on various regional sports networks, and his award-nominated podcast, “The Fantasy Record.”

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