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Week 14 Fantasy Lames: Big chill for Barkley to extend

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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.

Brees’ bust downside substantial

Drew Brees, NO, QB (82 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $28)
Matchup: vs. SF
Vegas Line/Total: NO -3, 44

Brees, in meteorology speak, is a derecho personified. For the unscientific, the weather phenomenon is a destructive straight-line wind event accompanied by a mesoscale group of severe thunderstorms. Life, limb and loose-sitting patio furniture in its path are always at risk.

Under the Superdome’s bright lights, Brees, historically, has been equally damaging. In contests inside the stadium’s creature comforts, he’s completed 68.4 percent of his throws while averaging 8.1 air yards per attempt, 293.7 pass yards per game and 2.3 touchdowns per game. Still threading needles at his advanced age — the future HOFer is No. 1 in adjusted completion percentage this season — his floor at home is usually in the 22-25 point range.

This week, however, Brees won’t blow over any plastic chairs. His opponent, San Francisco, is the most unyielding secondary in the NFC. The Niners have surrendered the lowest average depth of target (6.6) and fewest total air yards of any team in the league. Additionally, they’ve given up 5.5 pass yards per attempt, 161.6 pass yards per game, 1.0 passing touchdowns per game and the second-fewest fantasy points to the position. Only Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson, due to their versatility, have crossed the 20-point threshold against them. Richard Sherman (43.2 passer rating allowed) and Emmanuel Mosley (79.6) combined with an aggressive pass rush hold Brees mostly in check. Josh Allen (vs. Bal), Ryan Fitzpatrick (at NYJ) and Sam Darnold (vs. Mia) are sound alternatives.

Fearless Forecast: 284 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 1 turnovers, 14.4 fantasy points

Not enough squats for Saquon against PHI

Saquon Barkley, NYG, RB (95% started; Yahoo DFS: $28)
Matchup: at Phi
Vegas Line/Total: Phi -8.5, 47

I’m growing increasingly convinced someone kidnapped the real Saquon and replaced him with Ron Dayne, the version which busted massively with the Giants before recording a December to remember as a Houston Texan. Barkley has often looked tentative, pedestrian and inefficient. The advanced analytics support the observations. His metrics have plummeted from his phenomenal ROY campaign. This season, he’s tallied just 2.59 YAC per attempt (3.34 YAC/att in ‘18) and forced a missed tackle 20.0% of the time. Point fingers at the Giants offensive line or Daniel Jones, but some unexplainable force is dragging the rusher down. Replicating last year’s 27.2 fantasy points average against the Eagles seems very improbable.

Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants
It will be tough for Saquon to delivery a fiery line in Week 14. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Philly, despite its flaws, is robust against the run. This season, it’s conceded 3.6 yards per carry, 112.6 total yards per game, nine total touchdowns and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. It also checks in at No. 1 in power-run defense. Bottom line, squeezing between the tackles is a laborious process against Philly. It’s understandable with Fletcher Cox plugging gaps.

Barkley, unbelievably outside the top-20 in RB scoring, doesn’t reach 13 fantasy points for the fourth time in five games.

Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 57 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 30 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 11.7 fantasy points

(NOTE: With check-down Eli back under center, I added a couple additional catches)

Drake to enter dry spell against Steelers

Kenyan Drake, Ari, RB (52% started; Yahoo DFS: $17)
Matchup: vs. Pit
Vegas Line/Total: Pit -3, 43.5

David Johnson’s resurrection followed by his rapid demise is one of the most shocking developments of the fantasy season. Before back- and- ankle setbacks undermined his 2019, he rediscovered the multipurpose beast of yesteryear. Finding space to maneuver in a more creative offense, he thrived on the volume given. Since coming over from Miami, Drake has picked up the torch, though stymied by difficult opponents, he hasn’t quite tapped into his league-winning ways from 2017. RB22 since joining the Cards, he’s averaged 83.5 total yards per game and 3.04 yards after contact per attempt while scoring one TD.

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

Drake should again receive 15-plus touches, but this week his appeal is reserved for FLEX-only interests in 12-team and deeper formats. When it comes to defending the run, the Steelers build walls. Surrendering the sixth-fewest fantasy points and 3.6 yards per carry to RBs on the season, they’ve allowed one RB touchdown since Week 5. Top-12 in adjusted line yards yielded and run-stuff percentage, Pittsburgh is sure to throw a blockade at an Arizona front rated No. 23 in run-blocking efficiency. Hate the Drake.

Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 32 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 29 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.6 fantasy points

Seattle WR’s fantasy numbers under Lock and key

Tyler Lockett, Sea, WR (84% started; Yahoo DFS: $27)
Matchup: at LAR
Vegas Line/Total: Sea -1, 48

Booger misremembering the Vikings were the beneficiaries of the Minnesota Miracle. The Peloton commercial which depicts an already fit wife held captive by her overbearing husband who pushes her to bike at ungodly hours and film her “journey” over an entire year. Or Tyler Lockett ghosting playoff-seeking gamers with a string of donuts on Monday Night Football.

Which is worse? It’s a highly debatable question.

The receiver’s vanishing act is a puzzling one. Whether it’s the lower leg injury suffered recently, defensive scheming or simple misuse, something has turned Lockett from Mr. Reliable to Mr. Regrettable. In his past three games combined, he’s attracted nine targets for four catches, 64 yards, and zero scores. The sudden, sharp decline really is baffling. Weeks 1-9 Lockett was insanely efficient. He caught 83.1% of Russell Wilson’s intended looks, carved out a prominent red-zone role (25.6 TGT%), netted 0.29 fantasy points per target and was the third-most valuable WR in the virtual game. Now, he’s completely untrustworthy.

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

Don’t expect a quick about-face this week against the Rams. Lockett, per usual, will split time between the slot (69.9 snap%) and outside, drawing Nickell Robey-Coleman (80.2 passer rating allowed) and, most likely, Jalen Ramsey (106.7) in coverage. He will have opportunities to burn Ramsey downfield, but Seattle’s primary offensive identity will be to pound the pill with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. LA ranks middle of the pack in fantasy points surrendered to WRs, but slots in at No. 5 in lowest aDOT (7.3) allowed. Avoid.

Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 41 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 5.6 fantasy points

Can New England deflate Tyreek’s tires?

Tyreek Hill, KC, WR (90% started; Yahoo DFS: $31)
Matchup: at NE
Vegas Line/Total: NE -3, 48.5

There may not be enough horse tranquilizers in the galaxy to slow down Hill. The Secretariat of wide receivers is the ultimate lid-popper. Man, zone, bracket coverage ... he simply whizzes past everyone, often for explosive touchdowns. With a 14.7 aDOT and averaging 16.5 yards per catch, he is without a doubt the premier track star in the league. All he needs is one play to slide inside the position’s top-15.

However, Bill Belichick is the one individual capable of forging a plan to mitigate Hill. He’s a mastermind who brilliantly masks blitzes and coverage schemes which usually throws off the competition. Humbled last week in Houston, he’s plenty motivated.

This year, New England has given up 5.6 pass yards per attempt, two WR touchdowns, four 70-plus yard WR tallies and the second-fewest fantasy points to the position. QBs have taken their shots downfield against them, evidenced by the Pats’ 9.1 aDOT allowed, but with little success. With or without Jason McCourty, Hill will have his hands full against Stephon Gilmore (43.0 passer rating, 0.96 yds/snap allowed). Patrick Mahomes’ recent string of suboptimal outputs — he’s fallen short of 20 fantasy points in six of his past seven games — also doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Bottom line, contemplating Hill for a Robby Anderson (vs. Mia), Courtland Sutton (at Hou) or James Washington (at Ari) isn’t looney tunes.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 57 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.7 fantasy points

BONUS LAMES (Over 50% started)

RB: Marlon Mack, Ind (TB -3; $21) – As long as surgeons didn’t replace Mack’s busted hand with Chubbs’ wooden appendage from Happy Gilmore, he’s expected to return to his workhorse role this Sunday. His reactivation doesn’t mean you should follow suit. Discussed repeatedly in this space, Tampa features a pack of swashbucklers up front. Draw swords and chances are you’ll be victimized by a plunging saber. It ranks No. 2 in adjusted line yards allowed and run-stuff percentage. Tops in fewest fantasy points conceded to rushers, it’s given up just 3.2 yards per carry 60.3 rush yards per game. Indy’s offensive line could shove a group of orcs back to Middle Earth, but the Buccaneers are an entirely different entity. (FF: 18-61-0, 1-4-0, 7.0 fpts)

WR: John Brown, Buf (Bal -5.5; $23) – As advertised, Brown’s perilous late-season schedule is putting a stranglehold on his fantasy value. To his credit, he scored against Denver’s Chris Harris in Week 12, but last Sunday’s 3-26-0 line versus Byron Jones is a harbinger of additional poor performances to come. This week the Bills receiver draws Marcus Peters, quietly one of the AFC’s least charitable corners. This season he’s allowed a 66.1 passer rating and 0.98 yards per snap to his assignments. As a group, Baltimore has conceded only four 12-plus fantasy point efforts to WRs. In another contest where Devin Singletary’s and Josh Allen’s legs will be focal points, Brown fades into the background. (FF: 3-37-0, 5.2 fpts)

WR: Keenan Allen, LAC (Bal -5.5; $23) – At first blush, a matchup with Jacksonville invigorates the senses. Serving up 292 total points, the 11th-most in the NFL, its defense isn’t exactly intimidating. But what’s ailed the Jags most is their rancid run defense. Allowing an absurd 5.3 yards per carry to RBs, it has been grounded and pounded until submission. Allen should again receive his customary 8-10 looks, but the Chargers’ offensive productivity is sure to come from Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. The receiver’s one-on-one adversary, Tre Herndon, also isn’t the friendliest. This year, the DB has yielded a 68.5 passer rating and 48.7 catch percentage. Allen has scored in consecutive weeks, but bank on him reverting to his undesirable midseason form. (FF: 5-63-0, 8.8 fpts)

TE: Mark Andrews, Bal (Bal -5.5; $20) – In a wildly unpredictable game, it’s rare when a prediction, whether bold or benign, actually hits. In my case, for every Andrews, there’s a dozen David Montgomerys. But the preseason All-Man-Crush selection delivered, and then some. He and Hollywood Brown are Jackson’s premier field stretchers. His 12.5 yards per catch is on par with Lockett and DJ Moore. Leading the pack in targets of 20-plus yards and No. 4 in total target share (23.9%), the super-sized weapon has consistently tallied TE1 lines. This week, however, presents his toughest test yet. No defense has surrendered fewer fantasy points to TEs than Buffalo. Evan Engram and Zach Ertz were two brand names who failed to surpass 50 yards against it. If you have alternatives (e.g. Vance McDonald @ Ari, Kaden Smith @ Phi or Tyler Higbee vs. Sea), pivot. (FF: 3-36-0, 5.1 fpts)

DST: Chicago Bears (Dal -3; $12) – The possible return of Akiem Hicks is an upgrade akin to moving from Cicero to the North Suburbs. If you’re not familiar with Chicago’s geography, it’s rather substantial. He’s one of the game’s run-stuffing studs (NOTE: Hicks will not return until next week). Still, Dallas is far more than just Zeke Elliott. Dak Prescott, No. 2 in QB fantasy scoring, has throttled the opposition, averaging just over 315 pass yards per game. If the lazy, burnable Bears secondary — finger-point at you, Kyle Fuller — from last week’s confrontation with David Blough resurfaces, it could be a long Thursday night in the Windy City. Pass the tequila. (FF: 20 PA, 378 YDSA, 3 SCK, 1 TO, 6.0 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 “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: 39-45

Brad’s record: 75-53

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.”