2019 Fantasy Week 12 Busts: Kupp won't recapture limelight vs. Ravens

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 12 Lames in the comments section below.

Pain and heartache in order for Prescott vs. Pats

Dak Prescott, Dal, QB (72 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $34)
Matchup: at NE
Vegas Line/Total: NE -6.5, 46

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If Prescott struts into Gillette Stadium and unloads on the New England Patriots — a defense barely battle-tested outside of contests against Lamar Jackson and Carson Wentz — Mitchell Trubisky really is suffering from a hip pointer. Since Mitch is clearly hampered by a sprained frontal lobe, the odds of Dak accomplishing the proposed feat are seemingly infinitesimal. However, in a fantasy game where David Johnson, who not long ago was an indispensable top-10 rusher, is now wire fodder, anything is possible. Heck, Sam Darnold threw four TDs in a single game last week.

Jerry Jones should’ve backed up the truck for Dak and not Zeke Elliott. No disrespect to the running back who is one of the game’s premier chain movers, but if Tony Pollard were toting the rock instead of the Cabo vacationer, do you honestly believe Dallas would be in a dissimilar position? Answer: They wouldn’t. It goes to show the present version of the NFL is almost exclusively QB-driven. Nothing else matters. If you don’t have a franchise cornerstone at the position, you’re the Bears — aimless, bewildered and miserable.

Dak has performed brilliantly this season. He’s No. 2 in average fantasy points per game (24.1), No. 7 in adjusted completion percentage and the league’s most accurate deep-ball passer (No. 1 in deep-ball cmp%).

It’s impossible to oversell what he’s accomplished. Still, the matchup triggers uneasiness. The Pats have allowed 5.3 yards per attempt, 178.0 pass yards per game, a 4:19 TD:INT split and the fewest fantasy points to the position. Lamar Jackson is the only signal-caller to eclipse 13 fantasy points against them.

Given the Pats’ vulnerabilities in the trenches, maybe this is the week Zeke proves his recently inked contract wasn’t a colossal mistake.

Fearless Forecast: 234 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions, 21 rushing yards, 13.5 fantasy points

Mixon fortune reversal to stall

Joe Mixon, Cin, RB (69% started; Yahoo DFS: $16)
Matchup: vs. Pit
Vegas Line/Total: Pit -6.5, 39

When Sean McVay disciple Zac Taylor took the head coaching gig in Cincinnati, expectations climbed for Mixon. Young, wonderfully skilled and a crucial weapon for a play-action-based scheme, he was thought to be a borderline RB1 in 12-team formats. It’s why drafters most often lusted after him in Round 2 of standard or PPR exercises. There were concerns, the Bengals’ makeshift offensive line the most glaring, but volume potential squashed all worry.

Then Cincinnati embarked on its winless campaign.

With an offensive line second-to-last in run-blocking efficiency according to Pro Football Focus, a dispirited rookie QB under center and no signs of former All-Pro A.J. Green, the wheels have come off, hurtling Mixon’s fantasy value into the gutter. He saved some face the past two weeks, accumulating 48 touches for 254 yards and also scored in three of his past four, but the analytics eyesore’s (2.40 YAC/att, 18.0 missed tackle%) near-term slate should halt a rebirth (Pit, NYJ, at Cle, NE).

In Week 12, Cincinnati squares off with division rival Pittsburgh. The Steelers, one of the most unforgiving run defenses in recent weeks, have allowed 3.7 yards per carry, 127.2 total yards per game, four touchdowns and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. LB Vince Williams, No. 12 in run-stop percentage, has quietly developed into one of the game’s premier stuffers. He should see little resistance against Cincy’s flimsy front.

For Mixon, anticipate a similar output to what he logged against Pittsburgh in Week 4 (19 touches, 63 yards, 0 TDs).

Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 62 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.0 fantasy points

Bell won’t ring loud, clear against Oakland

Le’Veon Bell, NYJ, RB (95% started; Yahoo DFS: $20)
Matchup: vs. Oak
Vegas Line/Total: Oak -3, 46.5

Swindled. Hoodwinked. Duped. Similar to Gronk’s much anticipated social media announcement, which turned out to be nothing but a Super Bowl party advertisement, Bell has mostly deceived. His underachievement is a microcosm of the Jets’ overall ineptitude. This was supposed to be a competitive team, not a squad once again positioned for a top-10 overall draft pick. Bell, netting an uncharacteristic 2.74 yards after contact per attempt (RB41), sits at RB17 in fantasy points per game, a far cry from the Round 1 valuation most anticipated at season’s start. New York’s pliable offensive line (No. 25 in run-blocking efficiency) and Sam Darnold’s bout of mononucleosis shoulder much of the blame.

[Play in Yahoo’s NFL $200K Baller. $10 entry fee and $20K to first place]

This week, Bell should again receive his customary 18-20 touches, but falling short of 100 combined yards is a believable outcome. Oakland has given up 4.3 yards per carry and the 13th-most fantasy points to RBs, but it checks in at No. 9 in adjusted line yards allowed according to Football Outsiders. DE Josh Mauro is No. 9 in run-stop percentage among all defenders, as tracked by Pro Football Focus. Surging at the right time, the Raiders are improbably breathing down the neck of AFC West leader Kansas City.

Bell is riding a wave with 15.7 Yahoo default fantasy points over the past three weeks. This Sunday, however, he’ll be the triangle in the RB symphony. Don’t underestimate the Silver and Black.

Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 56 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 27 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.3 fantasy points

Solo Kupp to hold foamy stats versus Ravens

Cooper Kupp, LAR, WR (91% started; Yahoo DFS: $27)
Matchup: vs. Bal
Vegas Line/Total: Bal -3, 46.5

The popular “football is a game of inches” adage is forever undefeated. It never ceases to amaze how on a field measuring 120 yards long and 53 1/3 yards wide, fantasy outcomes can still swing by millimeters. Kupp’s near TD/fumble last week against Chicago was a prime example. His managers, overwhelmingly frustrated from his Krispy Kreme grand opening Week 10 in Pittsburgh, watched in bewilderment as their prized receiver squandered a much-desired house call. It was a capper to an unwanted downturn for a wideout entrenched inside the position’s top-10 for much of the season. Over the past two weeks, he’s hauled in a measly three passes for 53 yards.

The Rams' spiraling offense has diminished Cooper Kupp's value in recent weeks. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
The Rams' spiraling offense has diminished Cooper Kupp's value in recent weeks. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

Kupp is partially to blame for his struggles, but the sickly Rams offense as a whole bears the brunt.

Sean McVay’s wunderkind label no longer applies. Defensive coordinators have figured out his illusions. Suffice it to say, those LA staff members who’ve been in smelling distance of McVay’s flatulence probably won’t get handed head coaching gigs next year. A broken offensive line (No. 28 in pass-blocking per PFF), inconsistent ground attack and Jared Goff’s general awfulness have dragged down all involved. Once matchup proof, Kupp is suddenly on the outside looking in among the must-start class.

This week, the Rams host the Baltimore Ravens, a team whizzing lava. The Ravens rank inside the top-half in fewest fantasy points allowed to WRs. Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith have placed opponents in a sleeper hold outside, while Marlon Humphrey (79.0 passer rating, 57.1 catch% yielded) has held dudes in check out of the slot. Toss in Kupp’s WR79 standing in catchable target rate and another disappointing week feels inevitable.

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

Adams TD-less streak to add another donut

Davante Adams, GB, WR (67% started; Yahoo DFS: $28)
Matchup: at SF
Vegas Line/Total: SF -3, 46

While perusing tweets about #ShartGate and Philip Rivers’ latest late-game squander on Monday night, it was responses to an anti-meth campaign in South Dakota which confirmed we are indeed living in strange times. Its title, and this is entirely true: “Meth, we’re on it.” Antonio Brown openly showing contrition only added to the weirdness. Yep, bizarro world.

Adams’ zero touchdowns entering Week 12 is equally peculiar.

A season ago, the Packers receiver was one of the most consistent scorers in the virtual game. He hauled in 13 touchdowns, the third-straight year he recorded double digits in the category. Also chipping in 111 receptions and 1,386 yards, it was no wonder why most believed he possessed one of the highest floors, regardless of position, in August drafts. Yet, two weeks away from the fantasy playoffs and he’s failed to penetrate the end zone. Yes, he missed four games due to turf toe, but the development is almost beyond comprehension. It’s not like Aaron Rodgers retired and thrust Tim Boyle into a den of wolves.

This week, the scoreless streak extends to seven for Adams. In Sunday’s flexed affair with San Francisco, air advantages will be sparse. SF has allowed 5.9 pass yards per attempt, the fewest total air yards and the second-fewest fantasy points to WRs. Expected to draw a mixture of Emmanuel Mosley (79.0 passer rating, 0.93 yds/snap, 57.6 catch% allowed) and Richard Sherman (40.6, 0.61, 52.7%), Adams is likely to again disappoint his backers.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.3 fantasy points

(GIF by Michael Wagstaffe/ Yahoo Sports)
(GIF by Michael Wagstaffe/ Yahoo Sports)

BONUS LAMES (Over 50% started)

RB: Chris Carson, Sea (Phi -1.5; $31) – Carson, only briefly threatened by Rashaad Penny over the past two seasons, is proof where you were drafted matters little. The former Round 7 selection has developed into one of the game’s premier power rushers, the West Coast version of Derrick Henry. His 3.71 YAC per attempt and 26.4 missed tackle rates provide all the evidence needed. Another hefty workload is on tap, but below-average production seems most likely. Philadelphia ranks top-five in adjusted line yards allowed and run-stuff percentage according to Football Outsiders. Superficially, the Eagles have given up 3.4 yards per carry, 64.9 rush yards per game, six rushing TDs and the seventh-fewest fantasy points to the position. Carson is a rolling boulder, but this week he smashes into a rock breaker. (FF: 20-76-0, 2-10-0, 9.6 fpts)

RB: Todd Gurley, LAR (Bal -3; $20) – As McVay proclaimed in September, the Rams’ design was to preserve Gurley early in preparation for a late-season unleashing. Registering a season-high 28 touches last Sunday night versus Chicago, it appears the wheels of that plan are already in motion. Is the unstoppable monster of fantasy seasons past rearing his points-accumulating head? It’s possible. However, it’s completely reasonable to not fully buy back in, especially this week. The Ravens, even against upper-tier competition (e.g. Houston), have levied a Hulk Hogan boot to the face. Their ground domination combined with Lamar Jackson’s pinpoint delivery has caused nothing but fits. LA boasts a top-drawer defense, but game script could get out of hand, limiting Gurley’s potential. Most importantly, Baltimore ranks No. 6 in adjusted line yards allowed and No. 2 in total DVOA defense. (FF: 17-58-0, 3-9-0, 8.2 fpts)

WR: John Brown, Buf (Buf -4; $19) – Much to Matt Harmon’s delight, Smokey has smoldered for much of 2019. Currently WR14 in total fantasy points, he’s averaged a sensational 81.7 yards per game, netting a 14.2 average depth of target. His long-field speed and overall dependability are the perfect pairings to a Howitzer-armed quarterback. This week, however, Brown could conjure frowns. Starting a brutal end-season stretch in which he’ll face the likes of Byron Jones, Jimmy Smith, and Stephon Gilmore, he’ll match wits with Denver’s Chris Harris, a DB surrendering just 0.98 yards per snap. Denver, as a whole, has conceded the fifth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. (FF: 5-58-0, 8.3 fpts)

TE: Greg Olsen, Car (NO -9.5; $16) – For the He-Man doppelgänger, the Superdome is a stadium chock full of Skeletors. New Orleans is an arch-nemesis for tight ends. Yielding 4.6 receptions per game, 49.3 yards per game, two touchdowns and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the position, the Saints will capture the power of Greyskull. Throw in Kyle Allen’s horrendous execution in recent games and its plausible Olsen barely registers a beep on the road. Considering how desolate the position is, here are a few low-dollar alternatives to consider: Ryan Griffin (vs. Oak, $14), Dallas Goedert (vs. Sea, $14) or, if he returns, David Njoku (vs. Mia, $14). (FF: 3-44-0, 5.9 fpts)

DST: San Francisco 49ers (SF -3; $18) – It’s still hard to fathom the Niners’ wild backwards-thrown fumble which was scooped for a TD at the buzzer was upheld. Great moments in sports gambling history. The controversial play propelled the unit to its fifth 10-plus point performance of the fantasy season and surely led to many horrific bad beats. This week, the Niners may need another out-of-the-keyster pull to reach double figures. Aaron Rodgers has suffered 22 sacks in 10 games, but he shackles the ball like few others. This season the Packers have coughed it up only seven total times. San Francisco is opportunistic, but, in what could be a ground-heavy approach for both teams, it’s unlikely to yield a top-10 result. (FF: 20 PA, 355 YDSA, 3 SCK, 0 TO, 4.0 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 “Lames” (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: 31-39

Brad’s record: 63-45 (WK11: 6-4; W - Nick Chubb, David Johnson, Kenny Golladay, Ronald Jones, Allen Robinson, New England D/ST; L - Kirk Cousins, Mark Ingram, Zach Ertz, Keenan Allen)

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, along with his work on the “Yahoo Sports Fantasy Podcast” and his award-nominated podcast, “The Fantasy Record.”

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