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Week 9 Fantasy Football Busts: Big Ben's struggles in Baltimore to continue

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Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names whom he believes are destined to 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 9 Lames in the comments section below.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pit, QB (55 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $33)
Matchup: at Bal
Vegas line/total: Bal -3, 47

For Big Ben, M&T Bank Stadium might as well be nicknamed “The House on Haunted Hill.” Over the years, ghoulish specters have noticeably spooked the rival Steelers — especially their quarterback. In his past four journeys to The Charm City’s house of horrors, he’s received a very chilly reception. He’s averaged a spine-tingling 229.3 pass yards per game and posted a 2:5 TD:INT split, which shakes out to a 68.7 passer rating in those contests. Yikes. Another ghastly effort seems inevitable.

While Roethlisberger has torched most secondaries this season — he’s averaged 327.1 pass yards per game and the eighth-most valuable fantasy points per game line — the Ravens have routinely maddened and frustrated passers. On the year, they’ve surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points, a league-low 6.3 pass yards per attempt, 216.5 pass yards per game and 1.3 vertical strikes per game to quarterbacks. Only Cam Newton and Andy Dalton surpassed the 20 fantasy point benchmark against them. Digging deeper, CB Jimmy Smith (139.4 passer rating, 1.82 yards per snap allowed) hasn’t clamped down in coverage, but likely-Pro Bowl selection Brandon Carr (63.4, 0.86) most certainly has. In friendlier confines back in Week 4, Roethlisberger managed an uneventful 274-1-1 output versus the Black and Purple. In the rematch, another frightful experience is sure to discompose No. 7.

Fearless Forecast: 252 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions, 12.1 fantasy points

The fear in Ben Roethlisberger’s eyes sums it up. In recent meetings, Baltimore has had his number. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
The fear in Ben Roethlisberger’s eyes sums it up. In recent meetings, Baltimore has had his number. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Tevin Coleman, Atl, RB (51 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $18)
Matchup: at Was
Vegas line/total: Was -2, 47.5

This Halloween Coleman doesn’t need to dress as a sexy fidget spinner or oversized hashtag; he’s already in full costume. He is fantasy’s invisible man. Even after Devonta Freeman was placed on injured reserve with a groin setback and the promoted complement rumbled his way to 82 total yards and a touchdown against the New York Giants, few really noticed. Why? A combination of Ito Smith’s presence and unsightly underlying numbers (2.60 YAC/att – RB39; 12.2 missed tackle% – RB39) dampen the rusher’s outlook. His No. 13 standing in yards created per carry offers promise, but seeing a stacked front 28.1 percent of the time according to NFL’s NextGen stats, Coleman is best when deployed off-tackle.

This week for Atlanta, edge runs will be an arduous task. Of late, Washington has squeezed the box and compressed the field horizontally. Last week, it brilliantly contained Saquon Barkley, holding the ROY front-runner to 38 yards on 13 carries. LB Zach Brown and DT Daron Payne consistently gobble up rushers, evidenced by their top-40 standings in run-stop percentage. As a collective, Washington has allowed the fewest fantasy points, 2.83 yards per carry, 82.5 total yards per game and two touchdowns to RBs since Week 4. Toss in the road environment and Coleman fails to finish register a top-20 score on Sunday.

Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 34 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6.3 fantasy points

Mark Ingram, NO, RB (66 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $22)
Matchup: vs. LAR
Vegas line/total: NO -2, 60

When Ingram returned from suspension, the Saints immediately underwent a philosophical metamorphosis. Air-heavy with Alvin Kamara in the captain’s chair, Sean Payton called “pass” 61.5 percent of the time. Since Ingram’s return, however, they’ve reverted to the ground-and-pound scheme leaned on last season (51.2% pass rate). New Orleans’ pass defense is still light years away from respectability, but it’s begun to turn a corner. If it recaptures its stymieing ways and the trench hogs continue to eat from the trough, it’s likely the Saints could square off again against Los Angeles for bigger stakes in January. That said, Ingram hasn’t delivered the goods in three games since his activation. He’s logged nearly 50 percent of the opportunity share, but his minimized pass game role combined with marginal production between the tackles has him on the RB2 (RB23 in fpts/g) outskirts in 12-team leagues.

Currently RB44 in yards created per carry, RB47 in yards after contact per attempt (2.49) and RB47 in elusive rating, he’s still rounding into form. Additionally, the alarming number of stacked fronts he’s witnessed (36.6%) haven’t helped. As evidenced by efforts from Chris Carson and Aaron Jones, the Rams are a bendable run defense. They’ve allowed 4.75 yards per carry and 90.8 rush yards per game, but the 10th-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Unless Payton slides Ingram outside the tackle box, he’s sure to slam into the open arms of Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald. Exercise caution.

Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 64 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 10 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.4 fantasy points

Doug Baldwin, Sea, WR (62 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $19)
Matchup: vs. LAC
Vegas line/total: Sea -2, 48

Baldwin is a regular Nosferatu. Due to a pair of balky knees, he’s enraptured his owners and drained their confidence, leaving their WR3 spots empty and lifeless. Victimized by Seattle’s run-centric scheme, he’s enticed just 16.9 percent of the target share, averaging 2.8 receptions and 31.8 yards per game. Most disconcerting, he’s yet to secure a red-zone reception and ranks outside the top-50 in yards per target (8.0), yards per route (1.94) and target separation yards per route (1.43). With each passing week, another nail is driven in the receiver’s fantasy coffin.

At first blush, his Week 9 matchup against the Chargers is favorable. Underachievers Casey Hayward and Trevor Williams have allowed a combined 121.2 passer rating to their assignments. However, because Baldwin logs most of his snaps in the slot (65.1%), he’s slated to battle with Desmond King, L.A.’s best cover man on paper. This season, King has yielded a 79.9 passer rating and 1.05 yards per snap. In other words, Tyler Lockett or upstart David Moore are the suggested ‘Hawks plays. Bet on Baldwin picking up where he left off in Detroit.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6.6 fantasy points

Kenny Golladay, Det, WR (58 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $18)
Matchup: at Min
Vegas line/total: Min -5, 50

After rocking the fantasy world and luring thousands of groupies over the first three weeks, Golladay has failed to deliver many chart-topping hits. He’s scored once in his past four games and averaged an unexciting 4.0 targets, 2.3 receptions and 55.3 yards per game. Those numbers net out to the 55th-most valuable wide receiver line over that stretch. Golden Tate’s departure to Philadelphia, however, does pave the way for increased opportunities. Tate, a verifiable targets hog, totaled 27.1 percent of the Lions’ share (9.9 per game). Golladay, who ranks top-20 in fantasy points per target, yards per target and yards per reception, is sure to undergo a midseason renaissance, but the revival could hold off for one more week.

Kenny Golladay could have trouble making circus catches like this one against the Vikings secondary. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Kenny Golladay could have trouble making circus catches like this one against the Vikings secondary. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Minnesota has conceded an uncharacteristic 8.1 pass yards per attempt, but it’s not bent completely. Only five wide receivers have eclipsed the 70-yard mark against them in a game this season — three of them coming in one week (Week 4 at LAR). In total, they’ve given up the third-fewest fantasy points to the position. Unearthing additional evidence, Golladay’s primary projected dance partners, Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes, have allowed a combined 93.4 passer rating and 1.21 yards per snap to the opposition. Presumably with increased attention, he fails to smash a guitar on the road.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 62 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.2 fantasy points

BONUS WEEK 9 LAMES (Over 50 percent started)

QB: Philip Rivers, LAC (at Sea; $32) – The venerable quarterback is on a near career-setting pace (4,509 pass yards, 39 TDs), yet few have taken notice. Blame the pass-first age. Though he’s tossed multiple touchdowns in every game this season, Week 9 could be one of Rivers’ worst performances of the year. Seattle, which has weathered the storm post-Earl Thomas, has dug in defensively. It’s allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to QBs, giving up 7.0 yards per attempt, 235.7 pass yards per per game and 1.4 pass TDs per game. DBs Tre Flowers, Shaq Griffin and Justin Coleman have each yielded a 91.7 passer rating or less. (FF: 246 yds, 2 tds, int, 16.8 fpts)

RB: Alex Collins, Bal (vs. Pit; $16) – Pulled from the WTF department, 66 percent of the Yahoo fantasy football universe continues to start Collins. It’s baffling. He’s forced a missed tackle on 26.7 percent of his touches, but his 2.18 yards per contact per attempt and RB41 place in yards created per carry are uninspiring. Averaging an unappealing 57.4 total yards per game, he is the definition of “TD dependent.” Against an ironclad Steelers front, he’s a FLEX option only. The Steelers have yielded 3.52 yards per carry, 66.4 rush yards per game and the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Collins tallied 45 yards and a score in the first meeting, but, in the rematch, crossing the chalk will be far more difficult. (FF: 13 atts, 39 yds, 1 rec, 9 yds, 0 td, 5.3 fpts)

WR: Emmanuel Sanders, Den (vs. Hou; $23) – With Demaryius Thomas no longer in the picture, it’s assumed Sanders is bound to go bananas. He and impressive rookie, Courtland Sutton, are the only viable vertical weapons Case Keenum has. That argument can’t be disputed, but premium looks will be few and far between against Houston. Ramped up attention and the anticipated return of Aaron Colvin darken the outlook. Colvin and Kareem Jackson, who performed terrifically filling in (59.6 pass rating, 0.79 yards per snap allowed), could hold Sanders to his second-straight suboptimal total. (FF: 5 recs, 63 yds, 0 td, 8.8 fpts)

TE: Rob Gronkowski, NE (vs. GB; $22) – It’s precious reflecting on people who actually sunk a Round 2 pick in Gronk, thinking they pulled off the heist of the century. Sorry, but this balding buffoon will never invest a premium pick in a TE, especially one with a long track record of physical ailments. Without a trademark spike since Week 1, Gronk isn’t a weekly must start even in the current scorched landscape at TE. Only twice over his past six games has he reached 55 yards in a game. Hard times. Another humdrum effort is likely in Week 9. No TE has found the end zone against GB this year. (FF: 4 recs, 67 yds, 0 tds, 8.7 fpts)

DST: New England Patriots (vs. GB; $13) – After basking in pick-six glory against the Bills — a more common occurrence than wing-sauced faces in Buffalo — the Pats will return to mediocrity this week. It’s Aaron Rodgers, still fuming after last week’s tough loss in L.A., for crying out loud. Yes, the Packers have allowed 24 sacks, nine turnovers and the ninth-most fantasy points to defenses this season, but do you honestly believe the Pack falls shy of 24 points in this one (56.5 O/U)? I have a better shot of holding Klay Thompson to 10 made threes on 50 shots. (FF: 3 SCK, 1 TO, 443 YDSA, 27 PA, 4.0 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?

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Reader record: 21-31

Brad’s record: 49-26 (WK9 – 6-3; W: Nick Chubb, Kenny Golladay, Mark Ingram, DT, Gronk, LA Rams D/ST; L: Carson Wentz, Latavius Murray, Christian McCaffrey; DNP: Allen Robinson)

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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