Week 10 Fantasy Football Busts: Not so warm welcome in store for Elliott in Philly

Yahoo Sports
In a run-first offense, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/29238/" data-ylk="slk:Ezekiel Elliott">Ezekiel Elliott</a> is Dallas’ heart and soul, but Philly’s impenetrable front may force <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/29369/" data-ylk="slk:Dak Prescott">Dak Prescott</a> airborne. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
In a run-first offense, Ezekiel Elliott is Dallas’ heart and soul, but Philly’s impenetrable front may force Dak Prescott airborne. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)

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 10 Lames in the comments section below.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Det (50 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $26)

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Matchup: at Chi
Vegas line/total: Chi -6.5, 45

Warren Moon. Drew Bledsoe. Ken Stabler. Michael Vick. Randall Cunningham. In the museum of all-time underrated quarterbacks, many feel there’s a space for Stafford. He’s currently top-10 among active passers in multiple categories. In his career, he’s averaged 277.1 pass yards per game, which, if he retired tomorrow, would be second all-time behind Drew Brees. He’s made only one Pro Bowl and doesn’t own any meaningful hardware. Year in and year out though, Stafford piles up the stats. This year, however, is one of the exceptions. QB20 in fantasy points per game, he’s experienced a significant decline in total air yards (’18: QB20; ’17: QB5). More glaring, his struggles inside the 20 last year have resurfaced.

He’s QB38 (!) in red-zone completion percentage. Now without his primary safety blanket, Golden Tate, who was responsible with 27.1 percent of Detroit’s target share, he’s sure to wallow in mediocrity for the rest of the season. His Week 10 opponent, Chicago, can be attacked vertically. Despite allowing 6.9 pass yards per attempt, the Bears have given up the 11th-most fantasy points to passers. Tom Brady, though, is the only visiting passer to cross the 20-fantasy point mark against Chicago this season. Stafford, absurdly starting in just over half of Yahoo leagues, doesn’t outpace Ryan Fitzpatrick (at Was), Baker Mayfield (vs. Atl) or Nick Mullens (vs. NYG) in Week 10.

Fearless Forecast: 252 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 4 rushing yards, 17.5 fantasy points 

Ezekiel Elliott, Dal, RB (99 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $25)

Matchup: at Phi
Vegas line/total: Phi -6.5, 43.5

Numbers, they can be deceiving. They can be intricately weaved by political spin doctors in carefully sampled polls. They can be exercised by social media mavens who use unengaged followers as justification for their influence. Even simple consumers gazing at a misleading graphic — the point is, we all have been duped in some form or fashion. In many ways, a single statistic can tell two very different stories. It’s all in how it’s presented. Take for example, Elliott’s 27.9 elusive rating, which ranks fourth-worst among qualifying running backs. At first glance, most are taken aback by the measurement, calculated by Pro Football Focus. It, after all, takes into account missed tackles and yards per contact per attempt, two fundamental metrics tied to RB success. However, it ignores other key variables such as coaching decisions, offensive line performance and stacked/light-fronts seen. It represents a piece of the overall puzzle, but it doesn’t determine player production.

Elliott has underperformed in many areas, most notably in tackles avoided (9 percent of the time), but his impressive YAC (2.9) and high volume are why he’s still a top-10 RB. One number that can’t bamboozle the common fantasy player, however, is Philly’s standing in run defense. No unit has yielded fewer fantasy points to RBs. Fletcher Cox and Co. have given up a mere 3.75 yards per carry, 107.4 total yards per game and two touchdowns to rushers. Elliott has occasionally underachieved against rigid defenses this season. His efforts against Washington and Houston are testament. Look for Philly to overload the line in an attempt to force Dallas to lean on Dak Prescott. In other words, Zeke is sure to see more than the 26.2 percent of eight-plus man fronts he’s witnessed this year. Fade in DFS.

Fearless Forecast: 20 attempts, 77 rush yards, 3 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 11.3 fantasy points 

Adrian Peterson, Was, RB (85 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $23)

Matchup: at TB
Vegas line/total: TB -3, 51.5

For centuries, humans have employed creative ways to hold off the inevitable erosive effects of Father Time. From Cleopatra bathing in donkey milk to Ponce De Leon’s search for the Fountain of Youth to Botox injections, we all, for the sake of vanity, strive to stay young. If only we could bottle and sell Peterson’s DNA. Whatever fuels him biologically could be the ultimate anti-aging solution. At 33, the venerable running back refuses to slow down. He’s forced a missed tackle 18 percent of the time, ranks inside the top-10 in yards after contact per attempt (3.18) and has even contributed noteworthy numbers in the pass game. Though he’s posted a couple clunkers, he’s resembled a borderline RB1 in 12-team and deeper leagues, for the most part. Pulled off the scrapheap in August, he’s amazingly tallied the 13th-most valuable per game line in .5 PPR formats.

Tampa, however, could accelerate the hands of time. On the surface, the Bucs are a cakewalk matchup. They’ve allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to RBs. But peering past the superficial, they’ve only conceded 3.95 yards per carry and 77.5 rush yards per game. Unpredictable touchdowns — 11 on the ground allowed to RBs — explain why “TB” is highlighted in green on your roster page. According to Football Outsiders, the Bucs rank No. 4 in fewest adjusted line yards allowed. Credit to man eater, Gerald McCoy. Peterson has exceeded the fanalyst community’s wildest expectations, but this week the sun sets on All Day.

Fearless Forecast: 16 attempts, 58 rush yards, 1 reception, 6 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6.9 fantasy points 

Larry Fitzgerald, Ari, WR (50 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $19)

Matchup: vs. KC
Vegas line/total: KC -16.5, 50

At first blush, a matchup with Kansas City boosts fantasy libidos. The Chiefs, after all, are widely pegged as one of the softest defenses in the league. Though not completely inaccurate, that assessment is a half-truth. Yes, they’re still very susceptible versus the run, but they’ve made noticeable strides in some areas defensively. Since Week 5, they’ve surrendered the 14th-fewest fantasy points to WRs, giving up a respectable 7.4 pass yards per attempt and 58.3 catch percentage. Corner Kendall Fuller, who Fitz is sure to lock horns with most often, remains the most exploitable DB on roster.

Yet, he’s given up a mere 57.0 yards per game and one touchdown in his past five outings. Larry Legend’s 23.2 percent target share is attractive, but he’s done little with the cranked volume. His pre-bye resurrection offered encouragement, but he ranks WR48 in per game output in .5 PPR his past five contests, averaging a 4.4 receptions and 48.8 yards per game with two touchdowns. Don’t be seduced by the cursory view. The future HOFer, per usual, will lack substance operating as Josh Rosen’s highly predictable short-field target.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 67 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.7 fantasy points 

Larry Fitzgerald could have trouble getting another spike against Kansas City in Week 10. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Larry Fitzgerald could have trouble getting another spike against Kansas City in Week 10. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Brandin Cooks, LAR, WR (92 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $26)

Matchup: vs. Sea
Vegas line/total: LAR -10, 51

It’s not debatable. The Rams’ wide receiver triumvirate ranks alongside some of American culture’s great trios: Green Day, the Three Amigos and cereal icons Snap, Crackle and Pop. There isn’t a more talented thrice at WR in the NFL. People who say Atlanta, Tampa, Minnesota or Green Bay are a few beers short of a six pack. Though not as consistent as compatriots Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, Cooks has often flame-broiled the competition. On 23.3 percent of the target share, he’s amassed the 16th-most valuable per game line at the position. Sifting through the soup, he’s posted top-10 numbers in total air yards (WR6), yards per target (12.6, WR3) and red-zone receptions (9, WR4). Only twice has he fallen short of the 10-fantasy-point mark in .5 PPR leagues. This week, he adds to that total.

For all the talent lost in its secondary, it’s stunning how brilliantly Seattle has filled the vacancies. The Seahawks rank middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to the position, but only six WRs have surpasses 65 yards in a game against them. Corners Shaq Griffin and Tre Flowers have surrendered a combined 92.4 passer rating and 61.8 catch percentage to their assignments. Cooks missed the first Rams encounter in Week 5 — a game that featured 64 total points. In another likely high-scoring game, he compiles only modest production.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 74 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.4 fantasy points 

BONUS WEEK 10 LAMES (Over 50 percent started)

RB: Joe Mixon, Cin (vs. NO; $27) – When it comes to gap assignments, the Saints are the gold standard. No defense has allowed a lower yards-per-carry (3.10) or rush yards per game (52.7) than the fleur de lis. It’s no wonder why it ranks No. 1 in adjusted line yards surrendered, according to Football Outsiders. Down A.J. Green, it’s bankable Mixon is featured more as a perimeter receiving option, but unless he breaks a long run after the catch, mediocre production seems like a foregone conclusion. (FF: 18 atts, 58 yds, 4 recs, 24 yds, 0 tds, 10.2 fpts)

RB: Christian McCaffrey, Car (at Pit; $29) – In this day and age of possible alien spacecraft circumventing our planet, CMC’s certifiable workhorse ascension should come as no surprise. Credit to Ron Rivera and Norv Turner, who actually didn’t fabricate claims they were going to feed him. He hasn’t logged the 30 touches per contest once promised, but 19.7 grips per game is nothing to scoff at. Currently RB7 in .5 PPR production, he’s forced a missed tackle an impressive 22 percent of the time. Pittsburgh, however, is an inflexible foe. This season, the Steelers have given up just 3.61 yards per carry, 87.8 total yards per game and six scores to RBs — equal to the fourth-fewest fantasy points. Tossing in the Cam Newton or fullback poach factor, and CMC is a middling RB2 in Week 10. (FF: 13 atts, 36 yds, 5 recs, 50 yds, 0 tds, 11.1 fpts)

WR: Tyreek Hill, KC (at Ari; $34) – With Sammy Watkins hurting (foot), it’s a virtual guarantee Hill will draw near shadow coverage from Patrick Peterson (57.1 passer rating, 0.61 yards/snap allowed). Because of Andy Reid’s creativity shifting the receiver about, it won’t be 100 percent of the time, but KC’s bottle rocket may only sporadically launch. Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Chris Conley could be the primary weapons of choice for Patrick Mahomes. For the sixth time in his past eight games, Hill falls short of 75 yards and doesn’t find the end zone. (FF: 4 recs, 68 yds, 0 tds, 8.8 fpts)

TE: Jared Cook, Oak (vs. LAC; $17) – The Raiders comedy tour returns home this week to host the Chargers. As the organization has slipped deeper and deeper into football obscurity, so has Cook’s fantasy worth. Once considered a starting lineup staple, he’s recorded 20 yards or less in three of his past four games — one of those contests against LAC. The Chargers have given up 4.5 receptions, 45.3 yards per game and four scores to the position, ranking smack dab in the middle of fantasy points allowed. Based on the recent trend and anemic nature of Oakland’s offense, it’s a safe assumption to seek alternatives. (FF: 4 recs, 34 yds, 0 tds, 6.4 fpts)

DST: Los Angeles Rams D/ST (vs. Sea; $20) – In a dream streaming week where several top-flight options are widely available (e.g. NYJ, GB, SF, etc.), it’s silly to trot out an average Rams defense in a game with an over/under eclipsing 50. Equally imperative, Seattle rarely commits turnovers (7 on the year) and totaled arguably its best offensive performance of the year against L.A. in Week 5. In that contest, the Rams totaled just two sacks and yielded 31 points. Veer. (FF: 27 PA, 401 YDSA, 2 SCK, 1 TO, 3.0 fpts)

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: 25-34

Brad’s record: 55-29 (WK9: 6-3; W – Mark Ingram, Doug Baldwin, Kenny Golladay, Philip Rivers, Emmanuel Sanders, NE D/ST; L – Big Ben, Tevin Coleman, Alex Collins; DNP: Gronk)

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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