Week 6 Fantasy Football Lames: Erratic Evans to languish in London

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 6 Lames in the comments section below.

Refreshed Lions a challenge for Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB (73 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $33)
Matchup: vs. Det
Vegas Line/Total: GB -4.5, 47

Mike McCarthy was the bane of fantasy players’ existence. His bullheadedness clashed with Rodgers, leading the pair to an inevitable divorce last season. Though Matt LaFleur’s head coaching inexperience and unexciting tenure as the steward of Tennessee’s exotic smash-mouth prompted more questions than answers, the change was only construed as a positive.

Five games in, maybe that isn’t entirely the case.

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

Yes, in reality, the Packers are rolling. Aaron Jones is stockpiling touchdowns (8 in total). Jimmy Graham has done breaststrokes in the Fountain of Youth. Defensively, they’ve flourished. With the Pack all alone atop the NFC North, Oktoberfest brews have traveled smoothly down the pipe. But for the future Hall of Famer, it hasn’t been a statistical smorgasbord.

Rodgers, currently QB19 in total fantasy production, has surpassed 15 fantasy points in a game just once. He’s traded in a Colt revolver for a squirt gun, morphing into a glorified game manager. He’s averaged a mediocre 7.3 pass yards per attempt, ranks QB20 in adjusted completion percentage and has been placed under duress on 41.4% of his dropbacks, the fifth-highest mark in the league. There’s a scattershot of plus matchups on the remaining schedule, but it’s entirely believable Rodgers finishes well outside the top-12 QB ranks rest of season.

This week, don’t bank on a dramatic resurgence. The visiting Lions, fresh off a bye, have surrendered only 6.9 pass yards per attempt, 1.0 pass touchdowns per game and two 19-plus fantasy point performances. Starting CBs Darius Slay and Rashaan Melvin have allowed a combined 63.9 passer rating and 52.5 catch percentage thus far. Conceding 4.3 yards per carry to RBs, Detroit could see a heavy dose of Jones, not Mr. State Farm.

Fearless Forecast: 262 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 0 interceptions, 12 rushing yards, 15.7 fantasy points

Mixon will be no Chubb in Baltimore

Joe Mixon, Cin, RB (84% started; Yahoo DFS: $17)
Matchup: at Bal
Vegas Line/Total: Bal -11.5, 48

One of the cardinal rules when it comes to drafting fantasy players is to avoid players, no matter how talented, on projected bottom-barrel teams. There are always exceptions (See Barkley, Saquon), but a glance at the current RB hierarchy and the tenant largely applies. Mixon is a product of his environment.

The winless Bengals are hairless cats. Dreadful on defense and No. 24 in run-blocking efficiency, Mixon, as a result, has rarely logged red zone touches. His non-existent breathing room and negative game scripts are why he sits at RB32 in total fantasy output, a far cry from the Round 2 valuation most prognosticated in August. Adding bricks to his skyscraper of misery, he’s RB40 in elusive rating (12.8 missed tackle%) and RB42 in yards after contact per attempt (2.41). Cincinnati’s upcoming schedule fosters some optimism (at Bal, Jax, LAR), but odds seem long he’ll make an abrupt positive turn.

Excluding Nick Chubb’s three-TD annihilation of Baltimore in Week 4, the Ravens have consistently bottled up the run. Even including the Brown’s single-handed destruction, they’ve yielded 114.6 total yards per game and rank top-10 in run stuff percentage and adjusted line yards allowed, according to Football Outsiders. Michael Pearce and Pernell McPhee each slot inside the top-15 among all defenders in run-stop percentage.

Bottom line, the much-maligned Mixon underwhelms again.

Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 64 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.8 fantasy points

Bark-Less Beckham to stay quiet against Seattle

Odell Beckham Jr., Cle, WR (94% started; Yahoo DFS: $30)
Matchup: vs. Sea
Vegas Line/Total: Sea -1, 47.5

When it comes to fantasy football, devotion to perceived “studs” is blind. Instead of digging in on matchups or recent trends, many gamers take a player at face value. Why? Because someone etched the “Always start your studs!!!” commandment into stone centuries ago. It’s dumb. And anyone who follows it religiously is patently lazy.

Example No. 589 supporting my argument: OBJ.

[Play in Yahoo’s NFL $300K Baller. $10 entry fee and $30K to first place]

A steady top-10 wide receiver every year as a New York Giant, the receiver’s fantasy worth has sunk to the murky bottom of Lake Erie. As a Brown, he hasn’t found his bearings. Baker Mayfield’s gross inaccuracy, a permeable offensive line, and questionable play-calling have all factored in the wideout’s demise. Even his jack-of-all-trades role last week in San Francisco couldn’t exhume him from the depths. At WR33, slashing an 8.6-4.6-67.0 average line with one TD, he may not resurface anytime soon. His late season schedule features several exploitable opponents, but the near-term slate is nothing short of daunting: Sea, at NE, at Den, BUF. In picture form, this GIF is the perfect summation of his season.

The ‘Hawks, OBJ’s Week 6 foe, aren’t the easiest opponent. They’ve allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to WRs on the season. Against Shaq Griffin — who’s given up a lowly 0.65 yards per snap — another sub-80 yards, zero-TD effort seems inevitable for the fading star.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 76 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.1 fantasy points

JuJu’s downward spiral to continue in L.A.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pit, WR (83% started; Yahoo DFS: $24)
Matchup: at LAC
Vegas Line/Total: LAC -6.5, 41

With over 200 targets available after Antonio Brown and others left Pittsburgh this past offseason, all signs pointed to JuJu becoming the main man in reality and fantasy. Then Lady Luck packed up and moved out. Catastrophic injuries at QB combined with general miscues have Smith-Schuster improbably on the outside looking in of the WR2 class in 12-team leagues. Averaging just 4.8 receptions and 66.6 yards per game, he’s been pushed aside by late-rounders D.J. Chark, Courtland Sutton and Hollywood Brown. Presently WR50 in total air yards and sporting a 9.0 average depth of target, he may not crawl out of the hole.

Can Devlin Hodges be his savior? Are whiskey pods really a needed invention?

The Samford product owns a cannon arm and plus athleticism. At the FCS level, he completed over 70% of his attempts, but unless he morphs into the next Gardner Minshew, it’s unlikely JuJu will recoup value lost, especially this week. The WR’s expected shadow, Casey Hayward, has allowed a 74.5 passer rating and 0.85 yards per snap to his opponents. Steelers OC Randy Fitchner will need to creatively steer his prized receiver away from Hayward to fully utilize his skillset — a tall task.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 65 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.5 fantasy points

Evans’ topsy-turvy season to scribble another frustrating chapter

Mike Evans, TB, WR (93% started; Yahoo DFS: $28)
Matchup: vs. Car (London)
Vegas Line/Total: Car -2, 48

Millennium Force. Steel Vengeance. Kingda Ka. Evans, the embodiment of them all, is the ultimate fantasy roller coaster. Far from a thrill ride, he’s climbed to stratospheric heights one week only to plummet to an unfathomable low the next. Everyone rostering him is queasy. Though WR8 in total scoring, he’s become maddeningly unreliable. His No. 1 billing in total air yards and top-five standing in average depth of target (16.8) and yards per catch (20.4) are strong indicators that additional peaks are on the horizon. However, other measurements suggest otherwise. His 47.4 catch percentage and No. 93 catchable target rate arrow to continued inconsistency.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 06: Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up before a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on October 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
The Evans roller coaster will dip once again this time in London. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Off laying an Apatosaurus-sized egg in New Orleans, he has only one direction to go — but can you honestly trust him?

Playing on a different continent could change the receiver’s luck, but the opponent is an all too familiar one. The last time Evans squared off against Carolina in Week 2, the Panthers held him to a measly four receptions for 61 yards. Ron Rivera’s crew ranks middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to WRs, but yielding just 5.9 pass yards per attempt, they’re stifling. Evans’ projected dance partner, James Bradberry, has locked down the opposition, giving up a 56.4 passer rating, 0.85 yards per snap and a 48.0 catch percentage.

Jolly won’t be the feeling Evans has in England.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 67 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.7 fantasy points

BONUS LAMES (Over 50% started)

RB: Dalvin Cook, Min (Min -3; $32) – Against a Philadelphia front line that ranks top-five in yards per carry (2.8), adjusted line yards (2.90), run stuff percentage (32.0) and fantasy points allowed to RB, Cook may actually look human. He’s smashed and dashed his way to the second-most valuable line in the virtual game, netting 3.74 yards after contact per attempt and the sixth-highest elusive rating among RBs. In Gary Kubiak’s conservative scheme, he’s flourished. Still, he’ll be hard-pressed to find space against Zach Brown and Brandon Graham, who each rank inside the top-20 in run-stop percentage. For one week only, Cook resembles Chef Boyardee. (FF: 16-48-5-34-0, 10.7 fpts)

RB: LeSean McCoy, KC (KC -5; $17) – Houston certainly has its defensive flaws, but bodying up offensive linemen isn’t one of them. The Texans check in at No. 9 in adjusted line yards allowed and have given up a modest 4.2 yards per carry to RBs. Their biggest weakness is in short-field coverage, evidenced by the 9.0 receptions per game yielded to RBs. McCoy has grabbed 11 passes this year, but his tag-team partner, Damien Williams, stands to benefit most. Toss in the spinning wheel nature of Andy Reid’s backfield and it’s easy to draw a “lame” conclusion. (FF: 9-42-2-27-0, 7.9 fpts)

WR: Kenny Golladay, Det (GB -4.5; $21) – For the first time this season, Green Bay’s secondary was embarrassed. Last week, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup put on a route-running exhibition that should be taught and re-taught to up-and-coming WRs. Double moves, quick cuts, head fakes — the duo consistently lured their assignments to take the bait. Golladay, even off the bye week, won’t reap similar success. Despite last week’s mauling, Jaire Alexander is still one of the game’s fast-rising pass defenders. On the year, he’s allowed an 83.9 passer rating and 48.7 catch percentage to his assignments. The Lions WR1 has scored four TDs in four games, but he’s fallen short of 70 yards three times. On Monday Night, he’ll add to the latter trend. (FF: 5-66-0, 9.1 fpts)

TE: Delanie Walker, Ten (Den -2.5; $14) – Due to injuries and ineptitude, the Broncos have had their fair share of shortcomings, but containing tight ends isn’t one of them. Darren Waller, back in Week 1, is the only plus-sized target to exceed 25 yards against them. Giving up a total of 23 receptions for 206 yards and a TD to the position in five games, Denver should keep Walker under wraps. The Titan, No. 8 in target share (18.7%) and yards per route (2.58) among TEs, has regained his pre-injury form. However, with only four targets, two receptions and 14 yards to his name over the past two weeks, there are better options available (e.g. Noah Fant). (FF: 3-29-0, 4.4 fpts)

DST: Jacksonville Jaguars (Jax -1; $12) – At some point, you need to strip away the name and glance at the stats. Jacksonville, a facade on defense, is one of fantasy’s least valuable units, ranking No. 26 in overall production. Calais Campbell and Co. are tied with Cleveland and New Orleans for the sixth-most sacks, but gashed by the run and forcing few turnovers (two), they’ve struggled in many facets. The Saints haven’t packed the same offensive firepower with Teddy Bridgewater, but they’re still a viable scoring squad. Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara exert their will on almost everyone. New Orleans’ unbending offensive line is also nails-tough. Fade. (FF: 24 PA, 394 YDSA, 3 SCK, 0 TO, 1.0 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: 17-16

Brad’s record: 29-21 (WK5: 6-4; W - David Montgomery, Wayne Gallman, OBJ, Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins, LAR D/ST; L - Dak Prescott, Josh Jacobs, Devonta Freeman, Will Dissly)

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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