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Week 8 Fantasy Lames: Rodgers returns to Michael Scott role

Brad Evans
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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: 19 fpts, RB: 12 fpts, WR: 11 fpts, TE: 10 fpts). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 8 Lames in the comments section below.

Rodgers cools off in KC

Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB (83 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $36)
Matchup: at KC
Vegas Line/Total: GB -4.5, 48

Featuring Rodgers on this list one week removed from rolling the Oakland Raiders for the 11th-greatest fantasy point total (43.8) by a quarterback in history is on par with benching Michael Jordan at any point when His Airness faced the New York Knicks. Complete lunacy? Probably, but there are rational reasons why the future Hall of Famer could crash back down to earth in Week 8.

[Play in Yahoo’s NFL $250K Baller. $10 entry fee and $25K to first place]

It’s possible the Law of Averages won’t play an influential factor, but it’s highly unlikely Rodgers accomplishes even half what he achieved last Sunday. Recall Weeks 1-6, Mr. State Farm was QB14 in fantasy points per game, netting 266 passing yards and 1.5 passing touchdowns per game. Equally unimpressive, he ranked outside the position’s top-10 in average depth of target (8.6, QB17), total air yards (1,828, QB11) and adjusted completion percentage (75.0, QB21). In other words, Chucky’s butter knife of a pass defense inflated Rodgers’ 2019 fantasy efforts with one giant whiff.

Kansas City, off a commanding defensive performance at Denver, won’t be as welcoming. This year, the Chiefs have surrendered just 6.9 pass yards per attempt, 218.8 pass yards per game and 1.1 passing touchdowns per game to signal callers. KC does rank No. 4 in total air yards allowed. However, its leaky D-line could lead to a heavy Aaron Jones/Jamaal Williams dose, rendering Rodgers to a managerial role. Keep in mind only Gardner Minshew and Matthew Stafford have logged multi-TD passing games against the Fightin’ Reids this year.

Fearless Forecast: 261 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 8 rushing yards, 18.2 fantasy points

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 20:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Aaron Rodgers knifed through Oakland's penetrable secondary last week. This Sunday, a very different story could unfold in KC. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Chubb the latest victim for punishing Pats

Nick Chubb, Cle, RB (65% started; Yahoo DFS: $29)
Matchup: at NE
Vegas Line/Total: NE -12.5, 45.5

Twists, stunts, blitzes — Bill Belichick’s defensive scheme has left the competition befuddled. New England hasn’t faced a murderer’s row, but it’s crushed opponents with demoralizing effect. Everyone outside of the Northeast is presumably sick and tired of the mainstay, but it’s almost unfathomable how consistently dominant the Pats have been. On track to be the first DST since the 2000 Baltimore Ravens to average better than 12.0 fantasy points per game, they’ve denied everyone, thus far, with minimal effort.

Chubb may not see ghosts, unlike Sam Darnold, but his final Week 8 tally will be far from lively. The Browns basher has steamrolled to top-six numbers. He’s racked 3.49 yards after contact per attempt and forced a missed tackle on 22.9% of his touches. But New England, which has allowed the fewest fantasy points, 3.6 yards per carry, 87.3 total yards per game and zero total touchdowns to RBs, could keep the rusher under 11 fantasy points for the third time this season.

Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 67 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 14 receiving yards 0 touchdowns, 9.1 fantasy points

Rookie headliner Jacobs to play on ‘B’ Stage in Houston

Josh Jacobs, Oak, RB (84% started; Yahoo DFS: $25)
Matchup: at Hou
Vegas Line/Total: Hou -6.5, 51.5

Versatile, consistent, powerful, reliable — Jacobs is everything David Montgomery was supposed to be. A timeshare rusher under Nick Saban’s tutelage at Alabama, the rookie has thrived as an every-down option in the NFL. Slamming through gaps opened by the league’s 10th-best run-blocking line, he’s generated the highest yards after contact per attempt (3.90) among backs with at least 50 attempts and forced a defender whiff on 19.6% of his touches. He’s also crossed 100 combined yards in four of six games and posted a 52% run success rate, according to Sharp Football Stats. At a position where timeshares have become en vogue in recent years, Jacobs is the Clydesdale fantasy football sorely needed.

This week, however, the workhorse likely won’t earn his oats. Houston, despite its flaws grounding the pass, is a formidable opponent up front. J.J. Watt and Friends rank top-10 in power success rate (56%) and adjusted line yards allowed per Football Outsiders. They’ve also given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points and four total TDs to RBs this season. Going the extra mile, Benardrick McKinney, D.J. Reader, and Zach Cunningham all rank inside the top-20 in run-stop percentage.

Toss in the blowout potential due to Oakland’s fungible secondary and Jacobs backers could adorn a Chucky scowl come game’s end.

Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 76 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 11 receiving yards 0 touchdowns, 10.2 fantasy points

Temper expectations for Tyreek with Moore under center

Tyreek Hill, KC, WR (93% started; Yahoo DFS: $30)
Matchup: vs. GB
Vegas Line/Total: GB -4.5, 48

Downgrading from a luxury penthouse suite overlooking Central Park to a cabin in the Catskills with 19th-century amenities. That, my fantasy friends, is how steep the drop off is going from Patrick Mahomes to Matt Moore. Yes, Hill could race past a gazelle and he did burn Chris Harris for a long TD last week on a beautifully placed throw by Moore, but his current QB really is unexciting. In 30 career starts, Moore averaged 7.0 pass yards per attempt, 6.6 air yards per attempt, 192.4 pass yards per game and 1.4 passing TDs per game. With a resulting 85.3 passer rating, he’s the cantankerous neighbor who passes out Colgate samples on Halloween.

All it takes is one coverage mishap for Hill to notch top-12 numbers, but doing so this week could be an arduous task. Green Bay ranks inside the top-third in fewest fantasy points allowed to WRs. Only five receivers have crossed the 11.0 fantasy point threshold against the Pack this season. Hill’s presumed dance partner, Kevin King, has surrendered a lowly 77.0 passer rating to his assignments. Compounding matters, the last time Moore played meaningful snaps, in 2017, he tallied a reprehensible 47.1 adjusted completion percentage on chucks beyond 20 yards. Yikes.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 74 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.4 fantasy points

Ryan’s potential absence muddies waters for Julio

Julio Jones, Atl, QB (99% started; Yahoo DFS: $30)
Matchup: vs. Sea
Vegas Line/Total: Sea -3.5, 54

Play the “Name the NFL backup” game with educated fans and the majority probably won’t correctly guess who Matt Ryan’s crutch is. Unbelievably, it’s Matt Schaub, a 38 year old former Pro Bowl selection who took home the MVP trophy in the exhibition contest back ... in 2009. Let that sink in. That year, Adam Vinatieri was a mere pup at 36 years young and a graying Brett Favre was reborn with the Minnesota Vikings. Yep, that long ago.

Schaub, probably best known for his uncanny ability to throw pick-sixes, hasn’t played a meaningful snap in four years. On 80 pass attempts in 2015 with Baltimore, he averaged a lifeless 6.8 pass yards per attempt, totaled a 3:4 TD:INT split and finished with a 76.0 passer rating. If pressed into action this week due to Ryan’s gimpy ankle, the ripple effects could be harsh. Yes, Mohamed Sanu and his 6.0 targets per game are out of the picture and Julio is a voracious monster, but an underachievement similar to what he registered Weeks 4 and 5 (4-52-0; 3-42-0) is very possible.

Atlanta’s opponent, Seattle, has defended the pass admirably. On the season, it’s given up 7.2 yards per attempt, 258.6 pass yards per game and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. CB Shaq Griffin has conceded a mere 0.76 yards per snap. Not to be outdone, Tre Flowers, who wilted early this season, has bloomed of late, recording a 53.8 passer rating in his past four contests.

If Ryan can’t go, you may need to consult a full bottle of Don Julio, Jones backers.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 69 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.4 fantasy points

BONUS LAMES (Over 50% started)

RB: Derrick Henry, Ten (Ten -2.5; $18) – Henry is a reincarnated dire wolf. His hefty frame, aggressive downhill approach, and carnivorous attitude has chewed up the competition. RB8 in overall scoring, he’s plowed his way to 3.23 yards after contact per attempt. Surprisingly elusive despite his upright running style, he’s also forced a missed tackle on 22.2% of his attempts. He’s finally realized his potential thanks in large part to appreciable workloads (77.6% opportunity share). All the more impressive, he’s peaked behind an offensive line that is No. 22 in adjusted line yards. Tampa, though ragtag against the pass, is quite rigid versus the run. Only the Niners and Pats have allowed fewer fantasy points to RBs. In total, the Bucs have given up 2.7 yards per carry, 52.5 rush yards per game and three rush TDs to the position. (FF: 20-72-0, 1-8-0, 8.5 fpts)

WR: Odell Beckham, Cle (NE -12.5; $26) – Much like the Cleveland Browns as a whole, it’s been a tumultuous season for OBJ. Expected to generate a tidal wave of production with Baker Mayfield, he’s barely made a ripple. Beckham stands at unreal WR38 in fantasy points per game. Also well outside the top-25 in yards per target (8.1, WR46), aDOT (11.9) and catchable target rate (WR54), it’s mind-blowing how far he’s fallen. His top-12 air yards standing points to better days ahead, but his Week 8 matchup suggests otherwise. New England, which has shut down everyone at a near historic pace, doesn’t budge defensively. Together, CBs Jason McCourty and Stephon Gilmore have allowed a 47.1 passer rating, 49.4 catch percentage and 0.96 yards per snap. On the year, Golden Tate is the only WR to eclipse 80 yards against the Pats. (FF: 4-67-0, 8.7 fpts)

WR: D.J. Moore, Car (SF -5.5; $17) – Only a couple years removed from eating Totino’s pizza rolls in the NFC basement, the San Francisco 49ers have crawled through the sewage and emerged squeaky clean on the other side. Unblemished this season, their strong ground game and hard-hitting defense are why they’re arguably the league’s biggest surprise sensation. Staunch against the pass, they’ve conceded 5.7 pass yards per attempt and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. Moore, who is expected to draw a mixture of Emmanuel Mosely (70.8 passer rating, 0.42 yds/snap allowed) and Richard Sherman (49.2; 0.76), could fall well short of his 5.5-71.0 average line. (FF: 4-49-0-9, 7.8 fpts)

TE: Zach Ertz, Phi (Buf -1.5; $17) – Remember how everyone fawned over the big three at tight end? Travis Kelce was a trendy Round 1 pick in 12-team drafts, with George Kittle and Ertz falling off draft boards some 20 picks later. Where do they all presently sit? TE4, TE8, and TE9 in fantasy points per game. Sure, the position is a minefield, but was it really worth it? Though Ertz has been targeted 13 times inside the red zone, the second-most among TEs, touchdowns have been few and far between. His YAC per reception (2.80, TE27) is also unpalatable. Furthermore, Dallas Goedert’s ascension only complicates matters. Facing a Bills defense which is giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to the position and that’s yet to allow a TE score this season, Ertz adds another dud to his uninspiring 2019 resume. (FF: 4-51-0, 7.1 fpts)

DST: Jacksonville Jaguars (Jax -6; $14) – Garfields after thrashing through a heaping plate of lasagna. That’s what the Jaguars are in fantasy football terms. It’s dumbfounding a unit that is No. 20 overall in per-game production is currently 75% started in Yahoo leagues. Yes, last week’s matchup against Cincinnati has much to do with it, but even in exploitable battles, the Jags haven’t earned their catnip. The bandwagon will swell this week with the Jets on tap, but don’t be enraptured by recency bias. Sam Darnold went FULL PETERMAN versus the Pats, but it’s doubtful he’ll encounter apparitions on the road. Jacksonville has given up 7.4 pass yards per attempt and over 263 pass yards per game. Darnold, sacked three times the past two weeks, bounces back — at Jacksonville’s expense. (FF: 20 PA, 348 YDSA, 2 SCK, 1 TO, 5.0 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: 20-25

Brad’s record: 38-32 (WK7: 4-6; W - Keenan Allen, Marlon Mack, Carson Wentz, Mark Ingram; L - Tyreek Hill, Zeke Elliott, Allen Robinson, Darren Waller, Baltimore DST, Sony Michel)

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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