Week 11 Fantasy Football Busts: Mixon, Cook(s) to serve up cold results on road

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 11 Lames in the comments section below.

Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB (79% started; Yahoo DFS: $32)

Matchup: at Sea
Vegas line/total: Sea -2.5, 49

Quality fantasy players share many common threads. Constant engagement. Forward thinking. Box score/film balance. Drinking in moderation on draft night. Of all the characteristics needed, maintaining an open mind is one of the most important. Some would deem seeking alternatives for a generational quarterback unperceptive, but in the right situation, it’s a shrewd move. This week is one of those moments.

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Rodgers has fallen well short of investors’ top-five expectations. Remarkably, he ranks rather unfavorably in multiple completion percentage categories, most notably in adjusted (QB17), red-zone (QB42!) and pressure (QB32). If not for his success on deep-ball chucks (124.4 passer rating on passes of 20-plus yards), he would likely be a middling QB2. At QB10 in fantasy points per game, he’s underwhelmed, but few would ever consider benching him. His GOAT milk is too irresistible. However, if Ryan Fitzpatrick (at NYG), Lamar Jackson (vs. Cin) or Matthew Stafford (vs. Car) are available (or riding your bench), all options should be placed on the table.

Green Bay’s road trip to the Great Northwest could be filled with doom and gloom. Seattle’s secondary, even down Earl Thomas, has defied the odds. More than respectable, it has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points, 7.3 yards per attempt, 244.0 pass yards per game and 1.6 passing touchdowns per game to QBs. Jared Goff and, randomly, Case Keenum are the only gunslingers to surpass 20 points in a game against the ‘Hawks. Tre Flowers has experienced some turbulence, but Justin Coleman and Shaq Griffin have yielded a combined 86.0 passer rating. Exercise caution.

Fearless Forecast: 252 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 14 rush yards, 19.5 fantasy points

Joe Mixon, Cin, RB (89% started; Yahoo DFS: $25)

Matchup: at Bal
Vegas line/total: N/A

At this current moment, every Bengals fan feels like a disgruntled, enraged baseball manager poised to erupt due to a series of grossly inaccurate calls. The season is quickly unraveling. One can only assume last week’s meltdown at the hand of the New Orleans Saints triggered fans to blow up Paul Brown Stadium’s famous “Jerk line.” The on-field product can only inspire surliness. Cincy’s horrendous defense combined with the absence of A.J. Green has shuttered Mixon’s once formidable fantasy value. Fueled by his 83.1 percent opportunity share, the workhorse has regularly landed inside the position’s top-10. Volume, however, has masked his fringe top-40 standing in YAC per attempt (2.62) and elusive rating.

But in a game where touches mean everything, Mixon has largely lived up to his RB1 promise, even behind an ineffective offensive line. Still, with defenses keying on him in wake of Green’s injury, he’s completely untrustworthy against a Ravens front that limited him to a mere 87 total yards in Week 2. On the year, Baltimore has allowed the fewest fantasy points to RBs, surrendering 3.64 yards per carry, 74.3 rush yards per game and five total touchdowns. Cincy’s gross inadequacies on defense only amplify matters. With a very favorable schedule down the stretch, the road ahead is paved with fantasy gold. This week, however, Mixon is statistical pyrite.

Fearless Forecast: 15 attempts, 61 rush yards, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.3 fantasy points

Much like everything else in Cincinnati, Joe Mixon’s fantasy value will crash to the ground this week in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Much like everything else in Cincinnati, Joe Mixon’s fantasy value will crash to the ground this week in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

Mark Ingram, NO, RB (69% started; Yahoo DFS: $15)

Matchup: vs. Phi
Vegas line/total: NO -9, 54.5

When Ingram returned to the lineup, most believed he would automatically return to his back-end RB1 ways. Initially, his worshipers were correct. His 73 total yards and two scores not only boosted their confidence, it led knee-jerk Alvin Kamara owners to reckless conclusions. Increasingly TD-dependent since, Mark Ingram is essentially a rich man’s Royce Freeman. Last week in a complete dismantling of Cincinnati, he regained some face (162 tyds, td), but uneventful tallies logged in the three games prior has people wondering what version will show up on a week-in, week-out basis. His 44.4 percent opportunity share and unsightly production in some advanced categories only increase concern. Rest of season fantasy owners will likely inquire, “Is this a Mark Ingram week?”

For Sunday’s purposes, the answer to that question is “No.” Philly was skewered last week by Zeke Elliott and Dallas, but it was an uncharacteristic performance. According to Football Outsiders, no defensive line has surrendered a lower adjusted line yards (3.44) than the Eagles. Overall, they’ve conceded the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs, giving up 82.1 rush yards per game and four total scores to the position in nine games. Edge defender Brandon Graham, who ranks No. 12 in run-stop percentage, has been particularly rigid. This week, Ingram reverts to mediocrity.

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 58 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.1 fantasy points

Mike Evans, TB, WR (96% started; Yahoo DFS: $22)

Matchup: at NYG
Vegas line/total: NYG -2, 52

In any sport, chemistry is paramount for proper execution. Whether you’re playing point guard, catcher or quarterback, communication and timing is of utmost importance. Without it, trust dissolves, leading to often irreparable separations. The fractured relationship between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Evans is a prime example of this divide. Over the past two weeks, they’re the Brennan Huff and Dale Doback of fantasy — two divided individuals living under the same roof who need a rousing performance of “Por ti Volare” at the Catalina Wine Mixer to reunite as a family.

Targeted 16 total times against Carolina and Washington, Evans caught a wretched four passes for 67 yards. In seven games with the “Magic Man” under center, he’s reeled in just 59.1 percent of his intended looks, though his 17.0 average depth of target during that span leaps off the screen. Will Tampa’s version of “Prestige Worldwide” get back to business? It’s possible, but the Giants, even sans Eli Apple, have defended wide receivers laudably. On the season, New York has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. He’ll likely line up against underachiever Janoris Jenkins (129.4 passer rating allowed) most often, but gut says Evans and Fitzpatrick struggle to repair their fragmented relationship.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 72 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.7 fantasy points

Emmanuel Sanders, Den, WR (51% started; Yahoo DFS: $21)

Matchup: at LAC
Vegas line/total: LAC -7, 46.5

With reports of UFOs moving at Mach 2 speeds witnessed in airspace above Ireland, there’s hope in Broncos country Vance Joseph will be abducted and whisked away to a galaxy far, far away. With Mike McCoy, Hue Jackson and a pair of defensive coordinators unemployed, it’s dumbfounding Joseph is still manning the sidelines for a Denver team hurtling toward a top-10 overall pick. Despite the disappointment, there have been bright spots in the Mile High City this season.

Phillip Lindsay is most certainly one and so is Sanders. In what could be his swan song with the franchise, the wideout has surpassed all expectations. On 23.3 percent of the target share, he’s amassed the 10th-most valuable line at the position, averaging 11.1 yards per target (WR6) and totaling 595 air yards (WR7). Working primarily out of the slot, he’s snagged at least five passes seven times and eclipsed 100 yards four times. This week, however, could be one of his quieter efforts.

The surging Chargers have largely contained wide receivers this season, allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the position. Slot corner Desmond King is the club’s best cover man on paper. On 43 targets he’s surrendered one touchdown, a 72.2 passer rating and 0.97 yards per snap to his assignments. Off the bye, Sanders stays on vacation.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 59 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.4 fantasy points

BONUS WEEK 11 LAMES (Over 50% started)

RB: Dalvin Cook, Min ($24; at Chi) – Quick, elusive and powerful in Week 9 after a weeks-long hiatus due to persistent hamstring injuries, Cook resembled the RB1 most banked on him being. The Bears, however, are the antithesis of the cute, cuddly Lions. Ferocious in the trenches, they’ve yielded 3.40 yards per carry, 64.3 rush yards per game and one ground score to RBs. Cook has forced a missed tackle on an absurd 32.2 percent of his touches, but Chicago holds him at bay. Oh, and we can’t forget the Latavius Murray poach factor. (14 atts, 56 yds, 4 recs, 20 yds, 0 tds, 9.6 fpts)

RB: Adrian Peterson, Was ($21; vs. Hou) Jay Gruden may need to scout big-bodied talent at the local Golden Corral, given the physical afflictions currently impacting his offensive line. Peterson has silenced his critics this season — me included — proving he has plenty left in the tank, but the dire O-line state combined with an unattractive matchup say seek shelter. J.J. Watt and company have brilliantly plugged gaps this season, allowing 3.54 yards per carry, 79.4 rush yards per game and the 11th-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Avoid. (FF: 18 atts, 64 yds, 2 recs, 8 yds, 0 tds, 8.2 fpts)

RB: Jordan Howard, Chi ($21; vs. Min) – As a Howard investor in various leagues, his undesirable finishes are slowly, and painfully, crushing my soul. Failing to crack even 40 yards against Detroit is akin to getting shutout by the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s unacceptable. This week matched against a Minnesota front featuring premier run stuffers Linval Joseph and Stephen Weatherly, Howard will only raise owner angst. The Vikes rank No. 9 in fewest fantasy points allowed to RBs, surrendering 3.66 yards per carry, 74.1 rushing yards per game and two scores to the position. It’s a depressing reality, but Howard is barely even FLEX worthy in 14-team leagues. (FF: 12 atts, 36 yds, 1 rec, 4 yds, 0 tds, 4.5 fpts)

TE: Jared Cook, Oak ($16; at Ari) – Firing out of a cannon to begin the season, Cook, much like the entire Raiders franchise as a whole, has fallen on hard times. In his past five contests, he’s reached the 55-yard mark once, scored once and notched the 20th-most valuable output at the position. Arizona, though unstable versus the run, is quite robust defending tight ends. The Cards have given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to the position, holding the likes of George Kittle (once) and Travis Kelce in check. Bottom line, don’t bet on Chef Boyardee. (FF: 4 recs, 39 yds, 0 tds, 5.9 fpts)

DST: Carolina Panthers ($15; at Det)Matt Patricia’s stubby pencil continues to dull. Detroit’s defensive issues, dealing of Golden Tate and generally lackluster offense explain why they’re basement dwellers in the NFC North. It’s an all-too-familiar misery for its loyal fanbase. At first blush, most assume Carolina waltzes into the Motor City and steals hubcaps, but in a sneaky trap game, the Lions compete. The Panthers’ exposed pass defense (7.4 ypa, 2.3 pass TDs/game yielded) should allow Matthew Stafford to find success vertically. Unlike Minnesota and Chicago before them (16 total sacks), the Panthers won’t post banner numbers. (FF: 23 PA, 384 YDSA, 3 SCKs, 2 TO, 7.0 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: 29-37

Brad’s record: 61-33 (WK10: 6-4; W – Matthew Stafford, Larry Fitzgerald, Adrian Peterson, Joe Mixon, Rams D/ST, Jared Cook; L – Zeke Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, Brandin Cooks, Tyreek Hill)

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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