Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names who he believes will leave egg on his face. To qualify, each player must be started in at least 50% 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 fantasy points, RB: 12 fantasy points, WR: 11 fantasy points, TE: 10 fantasy points). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 12 Lames on Twitter @NoisyHuevos.
Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
(51% started in Yahoo; DK DFS: $6,000)
Matchup: vs. SF
Vegas line/Total: LAR -7, 45
The injury imp’s sinister wrath has left quarterback, normally the highest-floored of the major fantasy positions, in near ruin. Yes, Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson continue to lay waste to the competition, but the turnover this season is unprecedented. Joe Burrow’s catastrophic knee shredding is just the latest example. As a result, virtual managers have shuffled various chess pieces in and out of their lineups, hoping to score a weekly checkmate. It’s why Goff, despite his persistent mediocrity, improbably qualifies for the premise of this column’s weekly game. Yes, he ranks handsomely in adjusted completion percentage and deep-ball passer rating, but QB26 in red-zone completion percentage and QB35 in under pressure passer rating (43.6) suggest he’s as vanilla as ever.
This week, Goff is highly unreliable. No, even scoring the long end of the wishbone won’t get him to 18-plus fantasy points. San Francisco, replenished with bodies and refreshed off the bye week, is finally starting to get healthy. It’s possible, Richard Sherman, who last suited up Week 1, could return to action. Even if he doesn’t, the matchup doesn’t bode well for the Rams passer. The Niners rank top-10 in pressure rate, applying heat on 34.2% of its snaps. Additionally, they allow only 6.9 pass yards per attempt, 219.6 pass yards per game and 1.7 passing touchdowns per contest. For a signal caller who crumbles like a cookie under duress, Kerry Hyder and Co. present a multitude of problems.
Fearless forecast: 258 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 2 turnovers, 16.3 fantasy points
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Matchup: vs. BAL
Vegas line/Total: PIT -4, 45
Historically, Thanksgiving night was a time always allotted for game-planning. No, not a blueprint featuring jet sweeps, slants and shallow crosses. Instead, it was a strategy session when mentally unsound family members plotted out their design on how to efficiently nab the best bargains, weaving through the throng of humanity. Black Friday certainly featured its fair share of football analogies — stiff arms, bull rushes and elusive ratings. This year, however, we will all gather around the tube to consume a third helping of pumpkin pie and Ravens/Steelers. Of course, if COVID-19 doesn’t screw us.
It’s a delectable matchup for myriad reasons, but Conner, the cranberry sauce on the Turkey Day table, is sure to leave backers bitter and resentful. The once prized rusher is in the midst of a substantial downturn. He’s scored once in his last five games, failing to top 100 combined yards versus Dallas, Cincinnati and Jacksonville. Toss in a suboptimal 17.1 missed tackle rate RB24 overall per game standing and RB24 slotting in yards created per touch combined with the rising role of Anthony McFarland and an ominous picture is painted.
With Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams questionable to return, Baltimore, which ranks outside the top-10 in adjusted line yards, is vulnerable. On the year, the Ravens have allowed 4.43 yards per carry, 127.8 total yards per game and seven TDs to RBs. Conner, in Week 5, tallied a serviceable 60 total yards and a score against them. TD or bust? Likely.
Fearless forecast: 14 carries, 50 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.7 fantasy points
Matchup: at TB
Vegas line/Total: KC -3.5, 56
Positive TD regression is an overused phrase constantly spouted by fanalysts across various mediums. It’s the belief end-zone splashes will inevitably come to fruition for a high-volume RB dragged down by unfortunate TD-hindering circumstances. In a way it’s similar to lottery scratchers. Buy enough tickets and odds are you’ll eventually cash something. You may not recover value lost, but at least the journey would lead to a semi-sweet reward. For staunch CEH backers, last Sunday’s showing in Las Vegas unveiled lucky 7-7-7s on the ticket as the rusher found the end zone twice and totaled 77 yards. He hasn’t delivered on his Round 1 promise, but his effort against the Raiders was a promising sign.
In Week 12, however, expect his ascension to briefly stall. Tampa is nothing the mess with defensively. This season, the Bucs’ blitz-happy D has allowed just 2.98 yards per carry, 93.2 total yards per game, 10 combined touchdowns and the third-fewest fantasy points to rushers. Though built like a cornish hen, CEH is a powerful runner with excellent elusiveness. This season, he’s compiled 3.11 yards after contact per attempt and a 23.1 missed tackle rate. Still, Lavonte David and Devon White together have racked 39 tackles for loss versus the run. In what could be a pass-happy game for Patrick Mahomes, the rookie gets served a giant slice of humble pie.
Fearless forecast: 12 attempts, 36 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 22 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.8 fantasy points
Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Matchup: vs. NYG
Vegas line/Total: NYG -5.5, 42.5
Close your eyes and reflect for a minute on how you would feel if all of your exhaustive Thanksgiving Day preparations suddenly went awry. The turkey, wonderfully buttered, stuffed with various herbs and cooked to perfection, was dropped, on the floor, with a ravenous pack of Labrador retrievers waiting. The sides were untouched, sure, but without the main course, the centerpiece of the entire annual celebration, your day is squandered, horribly and terribly so. Now open. You can now empathize with Cincinnati Bengals fans.
Joe Burrow’s mangled knee was a massive blow to the psyche. He was on pace to set new records in several categories among first-year passers. His immediate and down-the-road horizons had Bengals and fantasy fans alike panting. Now dealing with a torn ACL, MCL and additional structural damage, his 2021 campaign, at least a portion of it, is in jeopardy. For Higgins, who had blossomed into a dependable WR2 option (WR23 in 0.5 ppr points/game), the setback is cataclysmic. Going from Burrow to Brandon Allen is like moving from lively Manhattan to remote western Nebraska. Last season in three starts with Denver, the journeyman resembled a trainwreck. He completed a lousy 46.2% of his attempts, posted a 25.0% red-zone completion percentage and notched an uneventful 64.6 under pressure passer rating. He did connect on 6-of-10 deep balls, which offers a glimmer of hope, but generally speaking, he’s clipboard holder most weeks for a reason. In total, it’s a presumed death knell for Higgins and his versatile skill set.
Against a better-than-advertised New York Giants defense, the former Clemson Tiger is bound to be caged. The Giants have allowed 7.6 pass yards per attempt, but bring pressure on 24.4 percent of their snaps, the fourth-highest mark in the league. An average-armed, indecisive and ineffective QB who easily succumbs to the blitz is a disastrous recipe for Higgins.
Fearless forecast: 3 receptions, 36 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 5.1 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. LV
Vegas line/Total: LV -3, 55.5
Plant a firecracker in Aunt Erna’s Jell-O mold, ignite it and send in the cleanup crew. This is what is bound to occur with Jones this holiday weekend. Speaking to his resolute toughness, the man is a warrior, a player who fights through various nicks and scrapes. Last week against New Orleans, he battled through hamstring tightness, only to succumb to its physical limitations late in the game. Atlanta HC Raheem Morris designated the constantly dinged receiver a likely “game-time decision” for Sunday’s matchup against Vegas. He’ll probably cowboy up, but can you honestly trust his hamstring doesn’t randomly dissolve midway through the first half?
Candidly, the matchup is spectacular. Las Vegas, picked apart by Patrick Mahomes on repeated clock-chewing drives last Sunday night, usually leaves WRs firmly in the black. This season, the Raiders have given up 7.3 pass yards per attempt and the ninth-most yards to WRs. They rank inside the top five in fewest air yards ceded, but its secondary is usually warm and welcoming. Jones’ projected assignment, feisty rookie Damon Arnette, is an unafraid corner who relishes a challenge. His future is blindingly bright, but his 132.6 passer rating and 1.97 yards per snap allowed denote his inexperience. Again, this boils down to trusting Jones and his balky hamstring, which doing so, as proven time and time again, is a profitless proposition. Exercise extreme caution.
Fearless forecast: 4 receptions, 51 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.1 fantasy points
Bonus lames (over 50% started)
RB: Chris Carson, SEA (Line: SEA -5.5; DK: $6,000) — To hell with coronavirus, midfoot sprains are the most contagious setback currently affecting fantasy. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. Still, between Joe Mixon, Calvin Ridley and Carson, the troublesome injury has squandered games played and numbers generated. All signs point to Seattle’s tank returning this week against Philly, but a possible easing back into the mix combined with a sour matchup says pump the brakes. Yes, when in uniform, Carson has resembled the chain-moving power back we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, evidenced by his 3.47 YAC per attempt and 19.3 missed tackle rate. Still, Carlos Hyde rotations are a foregone conclusion. Plus, the Eagles are one of the better run-defending units in the league giving up 3.43 yards per carry, 113.3 total yards per game and the 12th-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Due to the pitiful RB landscape he’s unquestionably flex-worthy, but 12-14 touches may be all he musters. (FF: 11-40-0-2-13-0, 6.3 fantasy points)
RB: Miles Sanders, PHI (Line: SEA -5.5; DK: $6,600) — With his feet set in concrete boots, Sanders’ fantasy value is currently residing at the bottom of the Delaware River. Maybe “Tony Meatballs” or “Joe Electric” are responsible. No matter if mobsters or Doug Pederson is to blame, the sophomore rusher has fallen well short of expectations. He’s receiving a steady diet of 15-20 touches per game and contributes employable yardage numbers, but his lack of end-zone dives is concerning. Boston Scott and Corey Clement have poached him, hampering the Penn State product’s overall standing. Sanders’ 3.48 YAC per attempt and 21.0 missed tackle percentage arrow to brighter days ahead, but this week’s matchup against Seattle suggests otherwise. The ‘Hawks have allowed 3.66 yards per carry and 67.8 rush yards per game to RBs. They are susceptible in short-field coverage surrendering 6.6 receptions per game to rushers, but Sanders, who’s caught just 17 passes in seven games, is a minimal participant in those situations. It shouldn’t floor anyone if Scott outperforms him. (FF: 15-54-2-14-0, 7.8 fantasy points)
WR: Chris Godwin, TB (Line: KC -3.5; DK: $6,000) — Place Tom Brady in a vise, squeeze and he pops like a pimple. On display against the Rams, the 40-something GOAT was rattled by constant pressure exerted by Aaron Donald and Co. He repeatedly made errant throws and uncharacteristically questionable decisions. Godwin was the escape hatch in many instances, but this week against a Chiefs defense with the sixth-highest blitz rate (34.2%) in the NFL, Brady could again degenerate. This time, however, his primary slot man is unlikely to bail him out. Tyrann Mathieu, one of the premier slot DBs in the league, has allowed a 92.4 passer rating and 1.08 yards per snap to his assignments. On the season, slot WRs are averaging a mediocre 56.4 yards per game versus KC. Bottom line, expect mere mortal production from Tampa’s divine receiver. (FF: 5-54-0, 7.9 fantasy points)
WR: CeeDee Lamb, DAL (Line: DAL -3; DK: $5,400) — Served with a side of mint jelly, Lamb posted a wonderfully useless 5-0-0-0 line the last time he faced the Fighting Footballs. A mixture of Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci (EHHH!!!) did him zero favors. As shown last week in Minnesota, when the rookie has a competent QB under center he can bend, contort and haul in mesmerizing catches. His route-running and ball adjustment skills are phenomenal. The slot man will be a radiant fantasy star in the very near future. This week in the rematch, an improbable first-place battle no less, he only has one direction to go. Still, thanks to the blanketing ways of corner Jimmy Moreland (81.3 passer rating allowed), no defense has surrendered fewer receptions and yards per game to slot receivers than Washington. For Lamb, who lines up in the slot 85.7% of the time, it’s an unfortunate opponent. Avoid indigestion. Pivot. (FF: 4-52-0, 7.2 fantasy points)
TE: Mark Andrews, BAL (Line: PIT -4; DK: $5,200) — If not for Tyler Higbee’s rotten season, Andrews would be in the running for All-Turkey dishonors. At a woefully unreliable position, he’s a posterboy for inconsistency. Five times this season he failed to cross the 10-PPR-point threshold. Lamar Jackson’s harsh correction from last year’s unsustainable efficiency has greatly hindered the TE’s upside. Invariably TD or zilch, Andrews is highly reliant on hitting the pylons. Due to Pittsburgh’s pressure-intense defense and staunch LB play, he could suffer a similar fate as he did in the first matchup. Targeted six times in Week 7 against the Steelers, he caught three passes for 32 yards. Most discouragingly, Noah Fant is the only TE to reach the end zone this year against them. Equally damning, they’ve yielded the fewest fantasy points to the position. Throw in the COVID-19 distractions and Andrews’ Week 12 outlook is grim. (3-29-0, 4.4 fantasy points)
Week 11 record: 3-7 (Season: 59-44)
W: Darrell Henderson, James Robinson, Jerry Jeudy
L: Mike Evans, DK Metcalf, Tyler Boyd, Mike Evans, Aaron Jones, Nick Chubb, Ryan Tannehill