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 ________.
Dalton – ALEX COLLINS. He’s still searching for his first touchdown on the year, but Collins has played so well, the Ravens have to give him the ball more moving forward (and hopefully at the goal line as well). He ranks No. 5 in Juke Rate and No. 1 in YPC while also leading the NFL in carries that have gone for 15 or more yards (10), so the sophomore back has the makings of being a real difference maker down the stretch. Collins is being started in just 28 percent of leagues right now, but he’s the No. 15 running back on my board for Week 9.
Liz – SAMMY WATKINS. In Week 7, Watkins was more involved, targeted by Jared Goff whenever Patrick Peterson switched up his coverage. While the former Bills’ 3-42-0 stat line is nothing to boast about, it’s worth noting that he saw his second-highest target total of the season (5) and his first red zone look since Week 3. Coming of a bye it seems the team would prioritize getting Watkins involved, especially facing a Giants squad that will be without stud CB Janoris Jenkins.
Scott — ROBBY ANDERSON not only has circle of trust privileges right now, he’s become the featured player in the Jets passing game. Anderson’s made good use of his 23 targets the last three weeks: 13 catches, 215 yards, two touchdowns. That puts him into the Top 10 at the position over that juncture, and he’s working with QB Josh McCown, shockingly the NFL’s leader in completion percentage. Must-see TV on a Thursday night? The New York passing game, baby.
Conversely, among players started in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the biggest Week 7 BUST will be ______.
Liz – DEVONTA FREEMAN. The Falcons sputtering passing game (currently thirteen in the league, despite closing out 2016 as the NFL’s third most prolific passing offense) has negatively affected the ground effort. Over the last three weeks Freeman has yet to top 15 total touches and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 4. Now he’s dealing with a shoulder stinger and facing a Panthers run defense that’s allowing a YPC of 3.9 and the fourth fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs. He’s outside of my top-ten players at the position in Week 9.
Scott — There are only four wide receivers with 46 or more targets and zero touchdowns to show for it — and two of them play for the 49ers. Is there any wonder the organization wanted Jimmy Garoppolo in trade? It could take a while to get Garoppolo ready to start — he’s not in the Week 9 mix — and that means PIERRE GARCON and MARQUISE GOODWIN remain sketchy fantasy options. For the purpose of this column, we’ll focus on Garcon, who’s been an empty-calories guy for much of his career. In nine years of regular activity, the touchdown column reads 4, 6, 6, 4, 5, 3, 6, 3, 0. Garcon is merely a WR4 until further notice. Don’t expect the Cardinals to magically aid Garcon this week; he stumbled to a 4-36-0 line (eight targets) when they played in early October.
Dalton – LEGARRETTE BLOUNT. Philadelphia claims Blount remains the team’s starting running back after trading for Jay Ajayi, and even if that’s true for this week (hardly a certainty), Blount has struggled at the goal line this year after scoring an NFL-high 11 touchdowns from the one-yard line last season, and few backs in the league are more TD dependent (he hasn’t had more than 12 targets in a season since 2011). Moreover, Blount faces a Broncos defense that’s simply shut down running backs all season, as Denver has allowed the fewest fantasy points to the position and is the only team in the league yet to yield a rushing score.
Chuck a Hail Mary, the one deep player (under 15% started) you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 7 is ______.
Scott – It’s fair to call JACOBY BRISSETT a hit or miss player, but the hits show up more than expected — he’s been a Top 9 or better quarterback in three of his past six starts. He’s starting to click with TE Jack Doyle, and we normally see 20-30 rushing yards to aid Brissett’s bottom line. Houston’s defense is missing key personnel (J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney), and was shredded into two of the last three weeks (albeit by strong opponents). Brissett can sneak up on fantasy owners in Week 9.
Dalton – COREY DAVIS. He’s a rookie who hasn’t played since Week 2 and is in a tough matchup, but Davis is a dart throw with upside. He’s back to full health and has been practicing fully during the team’s bye and don’t forget he saw 10 targets during his first game as a pro, as Marcus Mariota clearly recognizes a talent who possesses greater athleticism than the other receivers on Tennessee’s roster. With a banged up Delanie Walker, Davis could quickly climb atop the Titans’ receiving depth chart, and he won’t be started at this low of a percentage again over the rest of the year.
Liz — VERNON DAVIS. Jordan Reed’s breaking fantasy hearts like only Jordan Reed can. After beasting in Week 7 with a two-score effort, the anything-but-durable TE limped off the field after securing his first (and last) catch of Week 8. Current reports suggest he’ll be out for Week 9, which puts Vernon Davis in play. With Jamison Crowder banged up (hamstring) and facing a Seahawks defense that can be had across the middle (allowing an average of nealry 5 catches and 55 yards per game), Davis is an interesting stream with six teams on a bye.