Week 6 Fantasy Busts: David Johnson's mediocrity to continue against Vikings

Yahoo Sports
Fantasy owners feel your frustration, David. This week, the high-profiled RB is a questionable start in Minnesota. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Fantasy owners feel your frustration, David. This week, the high-profiled RB is a questionable start in Minnesota. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names whom he believes will leave egg on his face. To qualify, each player must be started in at least 50 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: 12 fpts, WR: 11 fpts, TE: 10 fpts). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 6 Lames in the comments section below.

Philip Rivers, LAC, QB (66 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $36)
Matchup: at Cle
Vegas line/total: PK, 44

When it comes to human reproduction or throwing footballs, Rivers is one of the league’s most prolific athletes. Annually underrated by the fantasy community, the QB — who’s finished inside the position’s top-11 in total fantasy points eight of the last 10 years and hasn’t missed a game ever as a starter — is on pace to annihilate career benchmarks in multiple categories, including touchdowns (42-TD pace), air yards per attempt (9.6) and pass yards per game (299.0). Inside the top-five in red-zone completion percentage as well, he’s made the most of his opportunities by spreading the love to outside targets Keenan Allen and Mike Williams while dissecting defenses underneath with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. This week, however, modest numbers are in the forecast. Cleveland, rather staunch versus the pass, has surrendered just 6.7 yards per attempt and ranks inside the top-third in fewest fantasy points allowed to signal callers. Digging down, top-draft pick Denzel Ward has performed spectacularly, giving up a 50.0 catch percentage, 52.7 passer rating and 0.92 yards per snap to his assignments. Additionally, Gregg Williams’ aggressive defense is a magnet for turnovers, forcing 15 miscues in five games. With the Dawg Pound barking, Rivers notches a very mundane output in Week 6.

Fearless Forecast: 255 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 2 turnovers, 16.2 fantasy points 

David Johnson, RB, Ari (98 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $33)
Matchup: at Min
Vegas line/total: Min -10.5, 43

There is nothing worse than shelling out hard earned cash for an exorbitant, overdone steak. When you slap the wallet for what’s supposed to be beautifully-trimmed center-cut filet, it better be tender. Johnson is the fantasy equivalent of a charred $40 chunk of beef. On draft day, investors bellied up to the table and spent their prettiest penny to acquire his services. In a transitioning offense, he was expected to be a volume king. All signs pointed to an exhaustive workload, one that many felt would rival Zeke Elliott’s. Then Mike McCoy adorned a headset. Deployed sparingly as a receiver (4.4 targets per game; under 10 percent of routes run) and victimized by negative game scripts, he’s seen dramatic declines in several categories from his mammoth 2016 campaign. Presently, he ranks RB51 in YAC per attempt (2.21), RB47 in tackles avoided per attempt (0.08) and RB57 in yards created per carry (0.30). His inefficiency begs the question: is he Jamaal Williams in disguise? Toss in a stacked front rate of 33.7 percent, Arizona’s fifth-worst run-blocking line, and McCoy’s excruciatingly boring play calling, and it’s a miracle he’s even RB14 in fantasy points per game. This week, matched against a Minnesota defense featuring premier run stuffers Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith, Johnson is a borderline play in shallow formats. As a unit, the Vikes have given up 3.97 yards per carry, 135.2 total yards per game, two total touchdowns and the eighth-most fantasy points to RBs. James White (vs. KC), Chris Carson (at Oak) and Carlos Hyde (vs. LAC) outshine him in Week 6.

Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 61 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 17 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.3 fantasy points

Ezekiel Elliott, Dal, RB (99 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $33)
Matchup: vs. Jax
Vegas line/total: Jax -3.5, 40.5

Presumably, this is what you’re thinking seeing Zeke on this list, “This dude has gone full Khabib; jumped the fence and lost his damn mind!” At least a portion of that statement is true. As the CEO of #TeamHuevos, being scared of bold predictions isn’t my modus operandi. All players, no matter the name, are susceptible to flat fantasy performances. The league’s current rushing leader is no exception. More involved as a receiver this season, he’s blazed a 2,032-total yard pace. Chipping in three TDs, he’s RB6 in fantasy points per game output. Equally impactful under the hood, he checks in at RB7 in YAC per attempt (3.34), RB6 in breakaway run rate and RB5 in yards created. Elliott is a monster, a certifiable workhorse in a landscape overpopulated with timeshares. Still, a below-average effort in Week 6 is anticipated. So far this season, the ‘Boys rusher has seen a stacked front only 25.8 percent of the time — a shocking number considering the lack of vertical weapons Dallas possesses. Understanding Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye won’t be taxed in single coverage, Jags defensive coordinator Todd Walsh will have the luxury of creeping a safety into the box to overload the line. With Jacksonville allowing 3.62 yards per carry and the seventh-fewest fantasy points to RBs, it’s likely Elliott slams into multiple brick walls.

Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 74 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 23 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.7 fantasy points

Alshon Jeffery, Phi, WR (66 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $23)
Matchup: at NYG
Vegas line/total: Phi -3, 44

Jeffery is fantasy’s version of the “Girl with the Red Balloon,” an original Banksy painting that upon selling for $1.4 million dollars at auction last week self-destructed in front of stupefied onlookers. Two weeks ago the receiver returned to the field and provided instant riches to his loyal investors. Against the Titans he caught eight-of-nine targets for 105 yards and a touchdown. Last week, however, he followed up with a clunker, catching only two-of-eight Carson Wentz throws for 39 yards. Which version shows up Thursday night in New York is anyone’s best guess, but gut says the latter makes a cameo. The sky may be falling in the Big Apple given the mounting losses and the post-OBJ fallout, but B.W. Webb remains a bright spot. The corner, who Jeffery should clash most often against in Week 6, is quickly becoming one of the game’s best. He’s conceded a 58.8 catch percentage, zero touchdowns, 75.6 passer rating and 0.64 yards per snap. His teammate Janoris Jenkins has fared far worse, but given Wentz’s affections for Zach Ertz, it’s entirely reasonable to believe Jeffery remains largely under wraps for the second straight week.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 59 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.9 fantasy points

Demaryius Thomas, Den, WR (55 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $19)
Matchup: vs. LAR
Vegas line/total: LAR -7, 52.5

With the exception of a very select few, at some point in every established player’s career the tables turn. Whether it’s a stagnant offense, pressures from up-and-coming talent, physical setbacks or good old Father Time, erosion inevitably occurs. The decline for the 30-year-old Thomas may already be underway. At WR36 in average fantasy points per game, he’s languishing in myriad superficial and advanced metrics. Most alarming, he ranks outside the top-30 in total air yards, target share (20.4%), red-zone target share (WR42) and yards per target (7.0, WR63).

Demaryius Thomas has been largely — shockingly — unproductive this fantasy season. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)
Demaryius Thomas has been largely — shockingly — unproductive this fantasy season. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)

Though his catchable target rate is the 15th-best among all wide receivers, he’s hauled in just 64.1 percent of his intended looks; WR58 in the category. If Vance Joseph really wants to stay employed, he would feature Courtland Sutton more at DT’s expense. Based on this week’s matchup, that’s a possible development. To be fair, the Rams have struggled in Aqib Talib’s absence. Uncharacteristically, Marcus Peters and Talib replacement Sam Shields have yielded a combined eight touchdowns, 128.8 passer rating and 2.10 yards per snap to their assignments. It’s a favorable opponent on paper, but when contemplating Case Keenum’s inefficiencies targeting Thomas (91.1 passer rating, WR62) along with the wide receiver’s general underwhelming efforts, it could mean increased looks for Emmanuel Sanders and/or Sutton.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 67 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.2 fantasy points

BONUS WEEK 6 LAMES (Over 50 percent started)

RB: T.J. Yeldon, Jax (at Dal; $23) – Death, taxes and Leonard Fournette soft tissue issues: these are life’s consistencies. With the incumbent sidelined once again, Yeldon, the 11th-most valuable rusher in .5 PPR netting 90.4 total yards per game, is expected to shoulder the load. With Corey Grant also out, he’s Jacksonville’s unrivaled top option. And, no, Jamaal Charles isn’t a threat. Still, the matchup is unappetizing. Dallas has given up 3.30 yards per carry and the 10th-fewest fantasy points to RBs. This week, Yeldon is FLEX worthy but not much more. (14 atts, 46 yds, 5 recs, 32 yds, 0 tds, 10.3 fpts)

RB: Alex Collins, Bal (at Ten; $18) – Plagued by John Harbaugh’s infatuation with Buck Allen near and inside the red zone, Collins has exited the circle of trust. He’s tallied just 48 percent of the opportunity share. Making matters worse, he’s experienced a sharp drop-off in yards after contact per attempt (’17: 2.98; ’18: 2.12), though he’s maintained a viable 22.8 missed tackle percentage. Tennessee has bent (4.40 ypc allowed to RBs), but not broken (0 TDs) on the ground this year. Overall, given Collins’ diminished role, inserting him into most starting lineups is not recommended. (FF: 13 atts, 56 yds, 1 rec, 8 yds, 0 tds, 6.9 fpts)

WR: Will Fuller, Hou (vs. Buf; $22) – Streaks are made to be broken. For Fuller, his flurry of touchdowns came to a screeching halt last week against Dallas; his first scoreless game in eight contests with Deshaun Watson at the helm. Owners who bank on TDs are chasing ghosts; they’re unpredictable, often erratic and, inexplicably in the case of Julio Jones, an extremely rare occurrence. With Keke Coutee ascending and weighing a Bills secondary that’s yielded the fifth-fewest fantasy points to WRs, Fuller adds to his latest trend. (FF: 4 recs, 66 yds, 0 tds, 8.6 fpts)

TE: Eric Ebron, Ind (at NYJ; $16) – Ebron went bonkers last week, setting the pace at the tight end position, but the Jets aren’t puddle jumpers when it comes to checking TEs. They’ve allowed an average 3.0-33.4-0.2 line to plus-sized targets. His 18.5 percent target share and prominent red-zone role are enticing, but a return to his stagnant Week 3 numbers seems most likely. (FF: 5 recs, 46 yds, 0 tds, 7.1 fpts)

DST: Denver Broncos (vs. LAR; $10) – For the 66 percent of sickos who still believe the Broncos are effective defenders, please, by all means, continue your self-torture and start them. They’ve surrendered 7.9 pass yards per attempt and 5.55 yards per carry to RBs. Remember, Denver features one Von Miller, not 10. This isn’t the D your memory recalls. Vance Joseph’s poorly-coached club would get shredded by Johnny Manziel (that’s probably not an exaggeration). Against the Rams, Jared Goff tees off. Cut them loose. (FF: 27 PA, 457 YDSA, 2 SCK, 1 TO, 2.0 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: 13-18

Brad’s record: 30-16 (WK5: 6-3; W – Carlos Hyde, Adrian Peterson, Tyreek Hill, Alex Collins, Doug Baldwin, Tennessee D/ST; L – Aaron Rodgers, DeAndre Hopkins, Rob Gronkowski)

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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