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Week 14 Fantasy Busts: Russell Wilson, Mike Evans could lead to early playoff exits

Brad Evans
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Week 14 Fantasy Lames: Shots of Don Julio not in store against Saints

Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names whom he believes are destined to implode 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 14 Lames in the comments section below.

Russell Wilson, Sea, QB (89 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $34)
Matchup: at Jax

“Benching Russell is a paradigm of insanity.” “You’ll sorely regret.” “You’re going to shoot your eye out, kid.” These were a few select responses that populated my Twitter feed when tossing out the scenario of demoting Wilson in favor of Josh McCown (at Den). Critics who refuse to accept outside-of-the-box thinking vehemently believe any brand name can overcome the stiffest of opponents. Trot out Wilson against the ’85 Bears or ’00 Ravens and they would passionately argue he’s destined to finish with profitable QB1 numbers. But fantasy is ENTIRELY a matchup-based game. Wilson, despite his decorated season and QB1 good standing, is a candidate for fantasy failure. Jacksonville can break any wizard’s magic wand, including his. Statistical evidence and the eye test bear that out. On the season, the Jags have incredibly allowed just 5.7 yards per attempt, 189.0 passing yards and 0.8 passing touchdowns per game. They’ve also largely held versatile passers at bay. No QB has tallied over 40 rushing yards against them and only two have logged multi-TD outputs. Naysayers will suggest the Jags haven’t faced a passer the caliber of Wilson – Yes, Philip Rivers, Jared Goff and Ben Roesthlisberger (at home) are complete garbage (eye roll) – but Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye have yielded a combined 45.4 passer rating, 47.4 catch percentage and one TD over a 12-game stretch. That’s ridiculous. Add in the cross-country trek Seattle must make and talking myself into McCown doesn’t seem outlandish at all.

Fearless Forecast: 202 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 turnovers, 39 rushing yards, 13.9 fantasy points

Jordan Howard, Chi, RB (92 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $26)
Matchup: at Cin

Forces of evil in a Bozo nightmare. They were clearly responsible for Howard’s sorrowful stat line last week against one of the most generous run defenses in the league, San Francisco. As a result of his unfortunate effort, yours truly was forced to belt out Beck classic “Loser” to 90 million households on my television show, “The Fantasy Football Hour.” Thanks for ruining my DFS lineup, Jordan. Another misstep is on tap for the Bear, an uneventful performance that’s sure to leave title-seeking owners singing their own sad tune. A seesaw of sorts since Week 7, the rusher ranks RB42 in fantasy points per game in Yahoo leagues. During that span he averaged 69.5 total yards per game and crossed the chalk just one time. Victimized by game flow, a pair of stone hands, stacked boxes (42.9% seen on season) and Tarik Cohen’s recent resurgence, the popular early-round pick has supporters feeling uncomfortable, and understandably so. Yes, Le’Veon Bell repeatedly slashed, dashed and trucked his way to crooked numbers last week against the Bengals, but for the most part, Cincy has executed admirably against the run giving up 3.78 yards per carry and five rushing touchdowns in 12 games. Vontaze Burfict’s possible absence enhances Howard’s upside, but unless Mitchell Trubisky can keep the Bengals honest, eight men will routinely crowd the box. Add in Chicago’s defensive shortcomings and another suboptimal game unfolds.

Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 59 rushing yards, 1 reception, 6 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.0 fantasy points

Christian McCaffrey, Car, RB (82 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $18)
Matchup: vs. Min

When Kelvin Benjamin was shipped out of town on a one-way ticket to Buffalo, McCaffrey immediately experienced an awakening. The Panthers, no longer jumbled at the line of scrimmage, began to create running space for the fleet-footed rookie. In the five games since the trade, the CMC Football Factory has rolled out a top-10 line whether in PPR or standard. He’s averaged 4.59 yards per carry, 68.4 total yards per game and four touchdowns. Operating outside, in the slot and as a traditional RB, he’s deployed his gadgetry in myriad ways making him a nightmare to defend. He’s also shown considerable improvement in yards after contact per attempt (2.8 last five) and posted the 14th-best tackles avoided per attempt (0.21). Though ascending, CMC’s opponent, Minnesota, is daunting. Linval Joseph is one of the game’s premier run stuffers. The Vikings, as a team, have yielded the fewest fantasy points to RBs allowing 3.51 yards per carry, 104.3 total yards per game and four combined touchdowns. Additionally, Terrance Newman has executed well in the slot giving up just one touchdown on 233 snaps played. Cam Newton’s inaccuracy along with Jonathan Stewart’s presence only water down expectations. Bottom line, McCaffrey is still a highly useable asset in PPR settings, but finding the end zone for the fifth time in five games probably isn’t on the docket.

Fearless Forecast: 7 carries, 22 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 36 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.3 fantasy points

Mike Evans, TB, WR (92 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $24)
Matchup: vs. Det

My cousin, a massive slacker in recent weeks, is about to be banned from all family holiday functions. He’s essentially gifted everyone a moldy fruitcake over the past several games. Even with Jameis Winston back at the controls and blessed with a premium matchup against Green Bay, he bombed, terribly in Week 13. Including that forgettable performance, the alleged WR1 checks in at WR51 in per game output since Week 8. Despite attracting 8.8 targets per game during that stretch, he managed a mere 19 catches for 276 yards and no touchdowns. That’s a level of inefficiency Amari Cooper would mock. Why the downturn? For starters, Evans has recorded only four red-zone targets in his past five contests. Additionally, he’s gained little separation from defenders. Last week, for instance, he averaged an unwanted 1.7 yards of separation per target according to NFL NextGen Stats. Drops (9 in total), which explains his ghastly 52.0 catch percentage, have further compounded matters. This week, don’t bank on a sudden reversal of fortune. Evans will likely to see a ton of Darius Slay. One of the finest DBs in the league, Slay has surrendered a 67.9 passer rating and 56.9 catch rate to his assignments. More frightening, Kenny Britt of all people is the only WR to score against Detroit over the past five weeks. Total it up and Evans will likely again break fantasy hearts.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 62 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.7 fantasy points

Julio Jones, Atl, WR (98 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $34)
Matchup: vs. NO

Going back to the anti-Julio well is a dangerous proposition. Everyone would agree he owns the dominant gene equipped with elite field-stretching abilities, size and speed. Targeted an obscene 27.9 percent of the time by Matt Ryan, he’s considered a slam dunk must start on volume alone. My crusade against him, “studs” theorists would contend, is suicidal, a career-damaging exercise. But if we all exhibited a pack mentality, what would be the point? Fantasy is a game richly debated. Due to extreme ambiguity, there simply isn’t a right or wrong answer. When it comes to Julio it’s important to strip away the name and follow the facts. Remove his complete Week 12 evisceration of Tampa, and, statistically speaking, you’re looking at WR24 in standard leagues (WR17 in PPR). That’s correct, the lowest WR2 in 12-team leagues. His limited red-zone role combined with Ryan’s unexplainable aversion to him over long durations raise concern. Regardless of the reason, Julio’s unexciting outcomes aren’t a blip, they’re a trend. He, like Amari Cooper and Mike Evans, has suffered an inscrutable fantasy slump, one that has no direct cure (Ok, maybe matchups against TB). So, what can owners expect on short rest in Week 14? Indescribable disappointment, similar to his 2-24-0 line against Xavier Rhodes last week. Assuming Marshon Lattimore is back in uniform (If not, Julio likely goes off) for the Saints, Jones, like previous fantasy playoff performances (See 2016), will shoot self in foot when needed most. The rookie frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year has held various prized receivers in check, including Brandin Cooks (3-1-15-0 WK2) and Davante Adams (2-0-0-0 WK7). On the season, he’s given up zero touchdowns, a 52.6 catch percentage and the second-lowest passer rating (47.4) among all eligible corners. Uh oh, Julio.

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



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?

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Reader Week 13 Results: 3-4 (Season: 41-50)
My Week 13 Results: 6-4 (Season: 89-41) (W: Kareem Hunt, Jay Ajayi, Golden Tate, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Seattle D/ST; L: Dez Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, Kyle Rudolph, Big Ben)

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also check out his TV show, “The Fantasy Football Hour,” now available in 75 million households on Fox Sports Regional networks and his new podcast, “The Fantasy Record.