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Week 3 Fantasy Football Busts: Conner, Cooper to ratchet frustration

Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names whom he believes will lay an 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 3 Lames in the comments section below.

No headache cure for Wilson owners against Dallas

Russell Wilson, Sea, QB (74 started; Yahoo DFS: $36)
Matchup: vs. Dal
Vegas line/total: Sea -1.5, 41.5

For Wilson, the cupboard is extremely bare. Down Doug Baldwin, without any semblance of a running game and under persistent duress (38.8 pressure%), last season’s QB king has become fantasy’s version of Shakespeare’s Lear; his tragic downfall has come hard and fast. Though rescued by a Will Dissly garbage time TD last Monday in Chicago, Wilson currently checks in at No. 15 or worse in multiple completion percentage and other advanced categories, including fantasy points per dropback (0.46), adjusted air yards per attempt (6.0) and overall NFL passer rating (89.3). Given their visible flaws, it’s unfortunate the Seahawks weren’t in play to acquire Josh Gordon. When it comes to creativity, OC Brian Schottenheimer has a Doctorate in Stick Figure Drawing. This week, Wilson’s problems will only be exacerbated. Dallas is legitimately dangerous on defense. Last week against an equally permeable Giants line, they placed Eli Manning under pressure on 31.4 percent of his dropbacks and logged six sacks in the process. Wilson’s ability to break contain will allow him to occasionally circumvent trouble but, much like his experience in Chicago, the increased heat will act as a downfield cap. Mix in the outstanding coverage of DBs Byron Jones (58.1 passer rating, 0.51 yards/snap allowed) along with Anthony Brown (64.6, 0.20), and Wilson fails to crack the position’s top-12.

Fearless Forecast: 227 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 1 interception, 19 rushing yards, 13.9 fantasy points

[Week 3 rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]

Conner cool down on the horizon in Tampa

James Conner, Pit, RB (92 started; Yahoo DFS: $29)
Matchup: at TB
Vegas line/total: Pit -1, 53.5

Winless and with Le’Veon Bell spending his self-enforced vacation writing uninspiring raps and jet skiing/clubbing in Miami, Pittsburgh has barreled toward rock bottom. Antonio Brown’s contentious exchange with a supposed Steeler fan on Twitter and “trade me” proclamation only amplified matters. The panic in Pittsburgh is quite obvious. Conner, however, is one of the organizations feel-good stories. The cancer survivor has stepped in and brilliantly filled Bell’s massive shoes. He isn’t the same caliber of receiver, but his bulling-between-the-tackles runs, versatility and adept hands are why he’s recorded close to 100 percent of the team’s opportunity share.

James Connor has terminated the competition thus far, but Tampa’s underrated run defense could stuff him on Monday. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Undeterred by a high number of overloaded boxes (46.2 stack% seen), he’s amassed 257 total yards and three scores through two games. He’s also tallied a respectable 2.7 yards after contact per attempt and forced a missed tackle 15 percent of the time. It’s difficult to ignore the volume, but this week Conner may finish outside the RB top-20. The Buccaneers brandish sharp swords when it comes to run defense. Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David have each earned strong run D grades from Pro Football Focus. New Orleans and Philly RBs averaged just 3.72 yards per carry and 59.5 rush yards per game against them. Pittsburgh’s overly forgiving defense and under-performing/dinged offensive line only increase Conner’s low-output risk.

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 48 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 30 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.3 fantasy points

Tepid results for Coleman expected versus solid Saints run D

Tevin Coleman, Atl, RB (67 started; Yahoo DFS: $22)
Matchup: vs. NO
Vegas line/total: Atl -3, 53

The outlook for Devonta Freeman’s rest-of-season fantasy prospects is rather ominous. Divulged by the Atlanta coaching staff earlier this week, the veteran’s weak knee will keep him sidelined indefinitely. Odds are increasing Coleman will be the primary ball carrier, even if and when Freeman returns. Though an upright runner, he’s quick through the hole, reliable in the pass game and creative in space. He’s already tallied three runs of 10-plus yards and ranks RB10 in yards after contact per attempt (3.88). What he achieved last week against Carolina (16-107-0, 4-18-0) could become routine. However, this week’s matchup is tougher than most think. Entering the year, most, me included, believed the Saints’ defensive strength lied with Marshon Lattimore and Co. Bombarded vertically to start the year, New Orleans has actually proven more stout in the trenches. Youngster Marcus Davenport ranks No. 15 among all defenders in run stop percentage. Additionally, Demario Davis and Tyeler Davison have posted positive run D grades according to Pro Football Focus. Collectively, the Saints have yielded 3.16 yards per carry and 76 total yards per game to RBs. Coleman is a sure bet for another 15-20 touches, but bank on only modest results.

Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 70 rush yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 9.9 fantasy points

Cooper to revert to Week 1 ways

Amari Cooper, Oak, WR (77 started; Yahoo DFS: $20)
Matchup: at Mia
Vegas line/total: Mia -3, 44

When you roll out of bed, see Mario Kart trending on Twitter and click to find out Toad is associated with brain-staining mental imagery, sickly feelings immediately kick in. The same could be said when glancing at Cooper’s superficial and advanced profiles from 2017. Beleaguered by painful drops and various misconnections, the once highly touted receiver fell into a statistical squalor last fall. Many felt his destitution carried over into 2018 after his performance Week 1, but the Rams’ dynamic duo of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib are sure to shackle most assignments. Last week against Denver’s “All Fly” secondary (9.0 YPA allowed in ’18), Cooper unearthed his prior career form. He shockingly caught all 10 targets for 116 yards, his finest single-game fantasy PPR performance since spanking Kansas City eight contests ago. Credit to OC Greg Olson’s creativity. In Denver, Cooper, who’s historically thrived in the slot, was shifted about to maximize matchups. His prototype WR1 size and sound separation skills (WR9 in target separation per route in ’18) were never in question. However, his playing personality has raised doubts. Generally sheepish in nature, Cooper needs to remain consistent to fuel confidence. This week, slated to face a prideful Miami secondary coming off domineering efforts against the Titans and Jets, the wideout could revert back to his Week 1 ways. Through two weeks, Miami has yielded a mere 7.0 pass yards per attempt and a 51.2 catch percentage to WRs. More specifically, Xavien Howard, Cooper’s likely adversary, has given up a 28.2 passer rating and 0.99 yards per snap to his assignments. Tally it up and the Raider likely won’t leave owners in the black.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 49 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6.9 fantasy points

Stingy Rams secondary to keep Allen under wraps

Keenan Allen, LAC, WR (98 started; Yahoo DFS: $31)
Matchup: at LAR
Vegas line/total: LAR -7, 48

As a consumer of all things Keenan, what he accomplished last season after years of physical strife warmed the heart. When healthy and active, he’s an elite route runner who showcases riveting skills. Picking up from where he left off in 2017’s top-five PPR campaign, Allen has commanded 24.7 percent of L.A.’s early season targets, cashing in on 14 catches for 175 yards and a score. His 82 yards registered after the catch ranks No. 6 at the position. Assuming the injury imp stays caged, he should duplicate last year’s 100-catch effort come season’s end. Though a viable WR1, Allen is likely to post one of his worst stat lines of the season in Week 3. As feared, the Rams are a staunch, unrelenting defense. In dominating fashion, they handled the Raiders and Cardinals with relative ease. Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters are suffocating. Through two weeks they’ve given up a combined 0.31 yards per snap to their assignments. As a unit, the Rams have allowed only 8.2 yards per catch and a 52.2 catch percentage to WRs. Philip Rivers is off to a scorching start, but working away from Peters and Talib is the likely game plan. Ultimately, expect Austin Ekeler and possibly Antonio Gates to pick up the slack for Allen in the cross-town showdown.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 63 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.3 fantasy points

BONUS WEEK 3 LAMES (Over 50 percent started)

RB: David Johnson, Ari, RB (vs. Chi; $32) – Every room in Mike McCoy’s house must be painted beige. He’s boring and unimaginative, much like his offensive schemes. His inept deployment of DJ is infinitely stupid. Expectations are the RB will work out of the slot more, but against a voracious Bears D it may not matter. Chicago has allowed just 76.5 total yards per game and 3.08 yards per carry to RBs. Expect the buy-low window to widen after Week 3. (FF: 16 atts, 54 rush yds, 4 recs, 25 rec yds, 0 TD, 9.9 fpts)

RB: Adrian Peterson, Was, RB (vs. GB; $21) – Peterson took a backseat to Chris Thompson in the fantasy pecking order last week, a probable ongoing trend. Alex Smith has fallen head over heels for Thompson’s versatile skill set. It’s growing clearer that game flow and matchup mean everything for All Day to land inside the RB top-24 in a given week. Green Bay has surrendered 4.83 yards per carry to RBs thus far, but I fully expect Peterson’s diminutive complement to be the featured player. (FF: 14 atts, 46 rush yds, 2 recs, 14 rec yds, 0 TD, 7.0 fpts)

WR: Davante Adams, GB, WR (at Was; $28)Quentin Dunbar, and not Josh Norman, is the Washington corner who commands your respect. According to The Quant Edge, Dunbar has yielded an extraordinary two receptions, 2.2 yards per target and a 47.9 passer rating to his assignments. With Adams lining up predominantly on the left side (62.1 percent of the time) he should lock horns often with the stifling DB. He’s always a threat to score, but gut says Jimmy Graham becomes Aaron Rodgers’ point of emphasis inside the red zone this week. (FF: 5 recs, 57 yds, 0 TD, 8.2 fpts).

TE: Jack Doyle, Ind, TE (at Phi; $14)Andrew Luck has morphed into a T-Rex, short-arming his way to 5.6 yards per attempt. The passer’s dink-and-dunk nature is beneficial for Doyle, as evidenced in the TE’s 18.2 percent target share. Still, outside of Philly’s long TD surrendered to O.J. Howard, they’ve done a masterful job limiting the position. Add Eric Ebron’s presence and Doyle is on the outside looking in. (FF: 4 recs, 41 yds, 0 TD, 6.1 fpts)

DST: Denver Broncos (at Bal; $17) – In recent history, September has been a very kind month to the Broncos. Typical fast starters, they tend to sprint out of the gates only to fall back near the homestretch. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb have applied intense pressure, but the rest of the defense has struggled to gain its footing. Denver’s secondary has given up an uncharacteristic 9.0 yards per attempt in two games. Joe Flacco, who sports the third-highest clean pocket percentage in the league, stands tall and delivers strikes. (FF: 23 PA, 384 YDSA, 2 SCK, 1 TO, 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 “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: 6-8

Brad’s record: 12-6 (W: Russell Wilson, Derrick Henry, Michael Crabtree, Jamaal Williams, Larry Fitzgerald, Philly D/ST; L: Kareem Hunt, Chris Hogan, Kyle Rudolph; DNP: Devonta Freeman)

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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