Week 9 Fantasy Lames: Strange times for Watson in England

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 9 Lames in the comments section below.

Upside-down London could weigh down Watson

Deshaun Watson, Hou, QB (95 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $40)
Matchup: at Jax (London)
Vegas Line/Total: Hou -2, 46.5

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For centuries, the Bermuda Triangle has baffled many with its bizarre stories of downed planes, missing ships, and extraterrestrial sightings. Some have feebly attempted to explain the paranormal activity by suggesting UFOs or artifacts believed to be from the lost city of Atlantis are somehow involved. Others have used more levelheaded approaches to simplify matters, discussing the impacts of violent weather triggered by storm systems hovering over warm-rich gulf stream waters or natural magnetic variations which alter compass readings, for example.

Simple reasons may explain the phenomenon above, but when it comes to fantasy performances, London is its own strange vortex. Unforeseen occurrences often happen across the pond, leaving pundits second-guessing and fantasy managers scratching their heads. Boris Johnson’s hair is less confusing.

Watson trails only Lamar Jackson in per game average. His scoring duality, evasiveness, accuracy (No. 7 in adjusted completion%), on-point deep-throws (112.0 passer rating on tosses of 20-plus yards) and abilities to complete TD passes with one eye, are nearly unrivaled. On pace for 42 total touchdowns, he’s a blissful fantasy dream. Watson, however, is not immune to logging a down week. Three times this season he’s fallen short of 18 fantasy points in a game — one of those contests against his Week 9 opponent, Jacksonville.

Fantasy's No. 1 ranked QB could land at the bottom of the Thames this week against Jacksonville. (Getty)(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Fantasy's No. 1 ranked QB could land at the bottom of the Thames this week against Jacksonville. (Getty)(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The Jags did ship Jalen Ramsey to LA, but they still sport a formidable pass defense. Only three passers in eight games have recorded multiple TDs against them. Digging deeper, A.J. Bouye, D.J. Hayden and Tre Herndon have each allowed under an 84.0 passer rating to their assignments. Jacksonville’s aggressive pass rush could also be problematic. Waston has been placed under duress on 38.5% of his dropbacks.

Tally it up and the unexpected could become a reality.

Fearless Forecast: 251 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 turnovers, 38 rushing yards, 15.8 fantasy points

Scoring six tough to come by for TD-dependent Ingram

Mark Ingram, Bal, RB (55% started; Yahoo DFS: $18)
Matchup: vs. NE
Vegas Line/Total: NE -3.5, 45

If you’ve waltzed into any Costco location over the past month, you, too, have presumably stopped, smirked and dropped an expletive or three under your breath. “Holy $%@! Christmas displays, already? Can we at least get through Halloween?”

For me, seeing any player of substance vs. NE conjures a similar bitterness, Based on how the Patriots have virtually shut down everyone, it’s a hard-to-swallow matchup. After all, they’ve allowed 4.1 yards per carry, 67.9 rush yards per game, zero touchdowns and the fewest fantasy points to RBs. Last week, Nick Chubb, fumbles aside, proved the Foxborough reps were far from invincible. He and Frank Gore are the only RBs to exceed 71 yards on the ground against them.

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Baltimore is an outstanding lane creation team (No. 7 in run-blocking efficiency) and Ingram has bulled his way to 3.36 yards after contact per attempt (RB11), but against Lawrence Guy and Danny Shelton, who each rank appreciably in run-stop percentage, the Raven will have little breathing room. He’s the definition of TD or bust.

Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 62 rushing yards, 1 reception, 6 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.3 fantasy points

Tampa run D a tall task for Carson

Chris Carson, Sea, RB (95% started; Yahoo DFS: $22)
Matchup: vs. TB
Vegas Line/Total: Sea -6.5, 51.5

During the 16th and 17th centuries, trial by water often determined whether or not someone was a witch. It was a practice that involved tossing a rope-bound individual into a lake to reveal potential sorcery. If you floated, you clearly danced with the devil. If you sank, you were innocent — relieving, sure, but not without lethal consequences. You could say it was a lose-lose situation.

So is Carson against Tampa.

The rusher is the undisputed top dog in Seattle, even with Rashaad Penny’s post-deadline retainment. According to Pro Football Focus, Carson is once again one of the position’s elites in yards after contact (3.75, RB4) and elusive rating (RB4), forcing 49 total missed tackles. His barreling downhill style, versatility, and volume are why he ranks RB12 in fantasy points per game output. Not even Seattle’s somewhat bland offensive line, No. 21 in adjusted line yards per Football Outsiders, has deterred him.

The Buccaneers are a Jekyll/Hyde defense. Soft against the pass, they’re incredibly stiff up front. On the year, they’ve allowed 2.9 yards per carry, 86.3 total yards per game, four touchdowns and the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Heck, they even contained Christian McCaffrey, a Herculean feat. Among eligible defenders, LB Kevin Minter ranks No. 1 in run-stop percentage (15.9).

Tally it up and Carson will find it hard to tread water.

Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 70 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 9.7 fantasy points

Fitzgerald more trick than treat vs. San Francisco

Larry Fitzgerald, Ari, WR (50% started; Yahoo DFS: $12)
Matchup: vs. SF
Vegas Line/Total: SF -10, 42.5

Similar to Tom Brady, Frank Gore, and Adam Vinatieri, Fitzgerald is a relic of the past. The light on the dashboard hasn’t yet turned on, but the 36 year old future HOFer is creeping toward “E.” In Kliff Kingsbury’s pass-first, pass-often system, a scheme which has averaged 36.5 attempts per game, it’s rather astounding how minimally the receiver has contributed for fantasy purposes. Thanks to a stats sprint Weeks 1-3, Fitz stands at WR31 in total fantasy output. However, since Week 4, he’s averaged a meaningless 5.4 targets, 4.0 receptions and 38.8 yards per game. Also without a touchdown in his past five games, he’s slipped to WR49 during that span, netting just 0.16 fantasy points per snap.

This week, the misery will only compound for Arizona’s wiseman. On Halloween night, San Francisco presents a bone-chilling matchup. The most feared defense in the NFC has allowed a mere 5.4 yards per attempt, the fourth-lowest aDOT (7.3) and fourth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. Fitz, who lines up in the slot 91.1% of the time, will square off with corner K’Wuan Williams, who’s surrendered a 58.7 passer rating and 0.91 yards per snap.

Fitz fizzles.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 36 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 5.6 fantasy points

Brown won’t clown Washington

John Brown, Buf, WR (66% started; Yahoo DFS: $23)
Matchup: vs. Was
Vegas Line/Total: Buf -10, 37

Similar to another Brown (Charlie), the Bills receiver is sure to get the rock treatment. On the surface, it seems like a sweet matchup. Washington has given up 7.7 pass yards per attempt, six 12-plus fantasy point WR performances and the 11th-most fantasy points to the position. But looks, they are deceiving. Brown’s primary adversary, Quentin Dunbar, is an unheralded lockdown corner. This season, he’s allowed a 37.9 passer rating, 57.5 catch percentage and 1.05 yards per snap. Washington, collectively, has conceded the second-lowest average depth of target (6.8).

Brown is one of the game’s premier deep threats. He’s averaged just over 75 yards per game and has tallied a solid 14.2 aDOT. However, for a receiver who typically makes his hay on explosive pass plays, exploitable opportunities could be few and far between. With only one touchdown in his past six contests, odds are long he reaches the end zone, or 70 yards at that.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 53 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.8 fantasy points

BONUS LAMES (Over 50% started)

RB: Marlon Mack, Ind (Pit -1; $23) – Soft and delicate early this season, Pittsburgh’s defensive front has started to regain its Steel Curtain identity. Over the past five weeks, no unit has surrendered fewer fantasy points to RBs. Over that span, it’s conceded 3.0 yards per carry, 52.0 rush yards per game and one TD to the position. Mack, functioning behind a top-five offensive line, is the 17th-best fantasy back at the present moment. However, his 2.75 YAC per attempt and 16.7 missed tackle rate have left much to be desired. Unless he falls forward into the end zone, a very lackluster effort is likely. (FF: 16-71-0, 1-6-0, 9.8 fpts)

RB: David Montgomery, Chi (Phi -5; $18) – I can hear the reaction now ... “Wait, for real, Evans? Monty, of MANDATORY! fame, is your boy who’s coming off a breakout 147 total yards and a TD against the Chargers. Why is he a lame? Have you lost your damn mind?” To answer the last question, yes, a millennium ago, but putting Montgomery on this list is warranted. We’re talking about a running back connected to Matt Nagy, undoubtedly the most moronic coach in the NFL. After last week’s extraordinary showing, Monty is sure to receive five touches. Even if his workload surpasses 20 grips, he’ll prove inefficient. Philly’s staunch front has allowed just 3.4 yards per carry, 66.1 total yards per game, three TDs and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Chicago’s basement-dwelling offensive line will get manhandled. Love you, Monty, better days are very much ahead, but this week you’re a middling FLEX option in 12-team leagues. (FF: 14-55-0, 3-12-0, 8.2 fpts)

WR: Terry McLaurin, Was (Buf -10; $17) – For Washington’s ascending rookie, everything is “scary” about his Week 9 potential. The Bills and suffocating corner Tre’Davious White are an unwanted matchup. This season, the DB has surrendered a 57.1 catch percentage, 44.9 passer rating and 0.98 yards per snap to his assignments. As a whole, Buffalo ranks No. 3 in fewest fantasy points and average depth of target (7.3) allowed to wide receivers. In total, only three WRs have eclipsed the 70-yard mark against it. Indicative in this top-20 showing in total air yards and aDOT (14.2), McLaurin owns a rather lofty career ceiling. However, without a reliable passer, his short-term projection is unfavorable, especially this Sunday. (FF: 5-58-0, 8.3 fpts)

TE: Zach Ertz, Phi (Phi -5; $16) – Practically usurped by Dallas Goedert, Ertz has fallen down an elevator shaft. With only three red-zone receptions to his name and one touchdown, he needs the volume to justify the Round 3 price many in Fantasyland shelled out to acquire his services in August. With only nine targets and four receptions to his name the past two weeks, it’s stunning how he’s fallen out of favor. Is an unknown injury limiting him? Coaching to blame? Presumably, it’s Carson Wentz’s recent favoritism toward Goedert, but the precipitous decline is unnerving. This week facing a Bears defense that’s yet to allow a 50-yard game to a TE, Ertz is benchable. Cameron Brate (at Sea), Jonnu Smith (at Car) and Darren Fells (at Jax-London) offer more Week 9 upside. (FF: 3-32-0, 4.7 fpts)

DST: New England Patriots (NE -3.5; $20) – As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. For a Patriots defense which has feasted on the meek, the mighty Ravens present its stiffest challenge. Yes, everyone loves to spew “New England is essentially a top-five QB in fantasy,” but when you battle the likes of Sam Darnold/Luke Falk, Josh Rosen, Colt McCoy and — GASP! — Baker Mayfield, your bottom line gets easily inflated. Make no mistake, Bill Belichick is a wizard whose defense is enormously talented, but the number of sacks and turnovers, many converted for touchdowns, are unsustainable. This week, Lamar Jackson serves New England a large slice of humble pie. Your opportunity to sell high is about to expire. (FF: 24 PA, 398 YDSA, 3 SCK, 1 TO, 5.0 fpts)

#TEAMHUEVOS PICKS OF THE WEEK
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: 23-28

Brad’s record: 45-35 (WK8: 7-3; W - Josh Jacobs, Nick Chubb, Odell Beckham, DJ Moore, Derrick Henry, Zach Ertz, Tyreek Hill; L - Aaron Rodgers, Julio Jones, Jacksonville DST)

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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