Week 14 Fantasy Football Busts: Deceiving matchup on tap for Mike Evans

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/tam" data-ylk="slk:Tampa Bay Buccaneers">Tampa Bay Buccaneers</a> wide receiver <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/27535/" data-ylk="slk:Mike Evans">Mike Evans</a> could bounce owners from the playoffs, despite what appears to be a terrific matchup. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans could bounce owners from the playoffs, despite what appears to be a terrific matchup. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

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 14 Lames in the comments section below.

Kirk Cousins, Min, QB (56 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $28)

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Matchup: at Sea
Vegas line/total: Sea -3, 45

The percentage chance of you advancing into the second round with Cousins as your quarterback are equal to the Vikings passer finishing first in a twerking competition. If you’re unaware of the QB’s sensational dad-at-your-sister’s-wedding dance moves, you’re now educated. Owning Cousins has been a rocky ride of late. He was brilliant Week 13 against Green Bay, but he underwhelmed substantially against Detroit in Week 9 and New England last week, finishing well outside the position’s top-15 in both appearances. Cousins’ lukewarm efficiency inside the red zone and downfield are equally troubling. On the year, he ranks No. 17 and No. 19, respectively, in red-zone and deep-ball completion percentages.

When weighing the weapons around him it’s a rather jarring indictment. Don’t bank on him rediscovering his QB1 form traveling from right to left coast. For Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, the ground game should be the crux of this week’s game plan. Seattle, tattooed in the trenches, has allowed consistent 100-total-yard performances to rushers, giving up 5.43 yards per carry over its past six contests.

Predictably, a 1-2 punch of Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray should be expected, especially when considering how effectively the ‘Hawks have defended the pass. On the year, they rank inside the top-third in fewest fantasy points surrendered to the position, yielding 266.5 pass yards per game and 1.7 passing TDs per game. Scoring 17 fantasy points or less in four straight road contests, the Captain will “gift” his owners a hangover.

Fearless Forecast: 253 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 17.1 fantasy points 

Spencer Ware, KC, RB (66 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $20)

Matchup: vs. Bal
Vegas line/total: KC -6.5, 53

Walk around any random neighborhood and you’re bound to stumble across a fence adorned with a sign reading “Beware of dog.” Last week, Ware, promoted into the lead role after Kansas City delayed-yet-swift dismissal of Kareem Hunt, had the look of a ferocious bullmastiff. The setup was ideal. It was Oakland, after all, a less-than-composed defense that entering the week ranked top-eight in most fantasy points allowed to rushers. Surrounded by a nuclear offense, he was sure to flatten the competition.

Though he notched a serviceable 11.7 fantasy points in .5 PPR, the veteran didn’t live up to the top-10 hype. His 2.36 yards after contact per attempt and 13.3 missed tackle percentage were equally dissatisfying. Andy Reid, who openly discussed the possibility of a full-blown RBBC pre-game, didn’t help matters. Friendly boxes will be omnipresent for Ware, but a potential split with Damien Williams, Darrell Williams or recently exhumed Charcandrick West dim prospects. So does the opponent.

Featuring a pair of top-20 run stoppers in C.J. Mosely and Kenny Young, the Ravens are hard to penetrate. No defense has given up fewer fantasy points to rushers. James Conner is the only RB to plow his way to 85 ground yards against them. Be-Ware, indeed.

Fearless Forecast: 14 attempts, 42 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 9 receiving yards, 6.3 fantasy points 

Chris Carson, Sea, RB (58 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $17)

Matchup: vs. Min
Vegas line/total: Sea -3, 45

There’s always another train coming. Whether in our chosen profession, love life or gambling habits, it’s a phrase many of us subscribe to. For Carson, a locomotive is barreling toward him at top speed, gunning for his gig. Anyone with an open ear can hear the whistle. Rookie Rashaad Penny is quickly gaining steam.

Though the veteran remains the conductor in Seattle’s ultra-conservative offense, he has to be peering over his shoulder. Penny, who quietly has amassed the sixth-best yards after contact per attempt of any running back (3.54) and logged six runs of 15-plus yards, could see his role grow down the homestretch. Carson has blasted through initial contact with regularity (3.47 YAC/att) and generally outplayed the complement, but the fact GM John Schneider invested a first-round pick in Penny looms. Though the incumbent’s dislocated finger likely won’t limit him, it could be reason enough for Pete Carroll to tighten the touch disparity.

Amplifying the risk, Minnesota is rather unrelenting up front. The Purple People Eaters, thanks to the play of Stephen Weatherly and Linval Joseph, have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points, 3.63 yards per carry 76.8 rush yards per game and five rushing TDs to the position. Carson, RB25 in points per game in .5 PPR, is best suited for the FLEX or bench.

Fearless Forecast: 13 attempts, 52 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns,

Mike Evans, TB, WR (96 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $32)

Matchup: vs. NO
Vegas line/total: NO -8.5, 55.5

Inconsistency at the wide receiver position is painfully consistent. With spread formations increasing in frequency and quarterbacks determined to take advantage of soft spots (GASP!), many wideouts, with possibly Adam Thielen, Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins the lone exceptions, suffer unpredictable lapses. Evans is one marquee name who’s occasionally wallowed in the mundane.

Though WR12 in .5 PPR points per game, he’s failed to tally 60 yards in a game five times. The unevenness has led to rampant anxiety from his owners. In a week no fantasy player can afford a hollow effort, Evans could again disappoint. Yes, it’s the Saints. The last time the Buccaneer went toe-to-toe with the division rival he burned Marshon Lattimore to the tune of 7-147-1. That, however, occurred in Week 1. Much has changed in the fantasy cosmos since. Lattimore largely hasn’t resembled the hotshot shutdown corner from 2018, but he has made significant improvements over the regular season’s second half. Over his past five contests, he’s surrendered a respectable 90.8 passer rating and zero touchdowns to his assignments. Collectively, New Orleans ranks No. 16 in fantasy points allowed to WRs since Week 10. On the surface, this may seem like an idiotic projection, but the evidence arrows to another letdown.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.5 fantasy points 

Brandin Cooks, LAR, WR (84 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $24)

Matchup: at Chi
Vegas line/total: LAR -3, 52

During my formative years living in downstate Illinois (Champaign), I endured several long, hellish winters. Frigid. gray, windy — December in the Midwest is best suited for a Nepalese yak. With temps expected to be in the 20s Sunday night, the SoCal Rams better layer up. Unless you’re the Arizona Cardinals matched against a halfhearted Packers team, typically, clubs from warm climates perform abnormally in teeth-chattering conditions.

Los Angeles will be the rule, not the exception. Chicago’s vaunted defense is vulnerable via the air. The Bears have allowed the 14th-most fantasy points to WRs this season, but that ranking is deceiving. Overall, the new Monsters of the Midway have conceded just 6.5 pass yards per attempt and one 100-yard WR effort since Week 8. Cooks, who’s eclipsed the century mark in three of his past four games, is ridiculously explosive, but slated to square off against CB Prince Amukamara, he could fall flat. The undervalued DB has allowed a laudable 86.7 passer rating and 1.08 yards per snap to his assignments. Tossing in the intense pressure Khalil Mack is sure to place on Jared Goff and chunk gains downfield will be few and far between. In other words, don’t bank on the receiver boiling over.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 66 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.6 fantasy points 

BONUS WEEK 14 LAMES (Over 50 percent started)

RB: Joe Mixon, Cin (at LAC; $24) – As a Mixon investor in a couple of leagues, the nightmare with Jeff Driskel under center has become a reality. Before the backup took the wheel he saw a stacked front less than 20 percent of the time. Last week against Denver, he encountered eight or more men in the box 33.3 percent of the time. He’s churned out useful numbers, but flush with new RB options, owners may want to weigh alternatives. The Chargers rank middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to RBs, but off a statement win in Pittsburgh, they’re playing with supreme confidence. (FF: 13 atts, 46 yds, 3 recs, 23 yds, 0 tds, 8.4 fpts)

RB: Adrian Peterson, Was (vs. NYG; $24) – The “daring” professional butt fumbler, Mark Sanchez, is impossibly at the controls of another franchise desperate to stay afloat. Condolences to any and all players you have tied to him — even the future Hall of Famer. Sure, the Giants have yielded the third-most fantasy points, 4.95 yards per carry and 129.6 rush yards per game to RBs since Week 8 — 156-2 to “All Day” in Week 8 — but stacked fronts are sure to be commonplace. Who else does New York really have to account for? Sanchez isn’t even one-sixteenth Gus Frerotte. With plenty of upstarts to choose from in more ideal situations (e.g. Jeffery Wilson Jr., Justin Jackson or Jaylen Samuels), Peterson is avoidable. (FF: 15 atts, 64 yds, 0 recs, 0 tds, 6.4 fpts)

WR: Corey Davis, Ten (vs. Jax; $18) – The last time Marcus Mariota faced division nemesis Jacksonville, his throwing arm was numb. Nerve damage in his elbow greatly hindered the QB’s efforts, evidenced by his sorrowful 5.6 yards per attempt and 100 passing yards. Though healthier and coming off a thrilling come-from-behind stunner against the Jets, the matchup isn’t favorable for the passer and his associates. The Jags haven’t matched last year’s defensive ferocity, but they are still a tough customer to throw on. Only six WRs have tallied 90 or more yards against them. In total, they’ve given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to receivers. Davis’ target share is attractive (27.7%), but his enigmatic nature combined with an unfavorable opponent on short rest say: employ someone else. (FF: 4 recs, 57 yds, 0 tds, 7.7 fpts)

TE: Austin Hooper, Atl (at GB; $14) – Last week against the Ravens, Hooper crossed the chalk for only the second time since Week 7. With his game log littered with sub 50-yard performances, he is the definition of “TD or bust,” even at a position starving for options. Green Bay has its defensive shortcomings, but defending the middle of the field isn’t one of them. This season, the Packers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Heck, Ed Dickson is the only plus-sized TE to find the end-zone against them. Lean on a Dan Arnold (at TB), Vance McDonald (at Oak) or Jonnu Smith (vs. Jax) instead. (FF: 3 recs, 37 yds, 0 tds, 5.2 fpts)

DST: Houston Texans (vs. Ind; $18) – Off a clunker, Andrew Luck backers are hopeful he’ll return to his three-TD ways. On an eight-game heater in the category prior to last week’s shocking bagel, he faces a Houston secondary he skewered for 464-4 in Week 4. Well-protected (70.1 clean pocket%) and with the Texans possibly without the services of top cover corner Jonathan Joseph, he and the Colts should rediscover their offensive might. (FF: 23 PA, 468 YDSA, 1 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: 37-50

Brad record: 75-48 (WK13: 5-5; W – Tom Brady, Michael Thomas, Marlon Mack, Allen Robinson, Pittsburgh D/ST; L – Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Tyler Boyd, Josh Gordon, Austin Hooper)

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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