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Week 4 Fantasy Busts: Big Ben disappoints against refueled Ravens

Yahoo Sports Fantasy Minute
Week 4 Fantasy Lames: Bills to take ‘Buffalo Stance’ against Freeman

Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names whom he believes are destined to implode 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 4 Lames in the comments section below.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pit, QB (67 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $28)
Matchup: at Bal

Suave and smooth last week in London, Blake Bortles looked like a mixture of Mark Brunell, Joe Montana and Benedict Cumberbatch. From the get go, he knifed through Baltimore’s supposedly unrelenting secondary with pinpoint precision. His resulting 244-4-0-13 line was his best effort in his last 12 contests. Extraordinary. So why on earth should anyone expect Big Ben not to pop off against a Ravens D still cleaning its wounds? For starters, Baltimore simply isn’t this bad. Even with Bortles’ bombardment, it has surrendered just 6.7 pass yards per attempt this season. Corners Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr combined have given up a mere 42.8 catch percentage and 41.0 passer rating to their assignments. In fact, Smith ranks behind only Patrick Peterson in Pro Football Focus’ coverage rankings. Secondly, this is a rivalry game. The Ravens and Steelers are very familiar with one another’s idiosyncrasies and tendencies. In Roethlisberger’s past three contests against the division nemesis, he tossed multiple TDs in a game only once. Lastly, there’s the QB’s well-documented disappearances on the road. He hasn’t crossed the 17-fantasy point mark in six straight contests away from Heinz. Motivated after last week’s embarrassment and back at home, Baltimore, which has coaxed eight INTs on the young year, regains its defensive puissance.

Fearless Forecast: 239 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 3 rushing yards, 11.9 fantasy points

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Mike Gillislee, NE, RB (66 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $20)
Matchup: vs. Car

A mixture of LeGarrette Blount and Corey Dillion, Gillislee, as anticipated, has emerged as the Stripe of goal-line gremlins. Of his 45 rush attempts, 23, or 51.1 percent, have been logged inside the red zone. In the category, only Todd Gurley (25) and, surprisingly, Carlos Hyde (28) have registered more. When New England sets up shop inside the 10 everyone and their great grandmother knows No. 35 is getting the rock. It’s entirely too predictable. Though a goal-line opportunity or three could materialize this week, the short-yardage rusher could get stonewalled. Carolina’s front seven is rather formidable. Luke Kuechly and Kawann Short are premier run stuffers. Linebackers Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson have also drawn an 80-plus rating from Pro Football Focus. Collectively, the Panthers have yielded 3.63 yards per carry and the ninth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Gillislee is a standard-league darling, but he could suffer an uneventful outcome similar to last week’s 32-0 line against Houston. A non-factor in the pass game, Gilly is entirely TD dependent.

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 47 rushing yards, 0 receptions, 0 touchdowns, 4.7 fantasy points 

Devonta Freeman, Atl, RB (99 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $33)
Matchup: vs. Buf

Every week a bold and very disputable call is listed in this space. Sometimes they hit. Other times, the player logs a three-touchdown day, incites combative Twitter trolls and ruins my otherwise lovely Sunday. Admittedly, this Freeman stance could lead to similar attacks. Freeman, to no one’s amazement, is again the picture of efficiency. According to Player Profiler, on 63.4 percent of the opportunity share, he’s dominated red-zone touches (13 total), splashed pay dirt often (4 TDs), generated appreciable yards after initial contact (RB6 in yards created) and juked would-be tacklers out of their cleats (RB3 in evaded tackles). Undoubtedly, he’s a conductor on Atlanta’s bullet train offense. Still, Freeman will face his stiffest test of the early season. Buffalo, led by linebacker Ramon Humber, the current pacesetter in run-stop percentage, has clamped down in the trenches. It extinguished white-hot C.J. Anderson last week and bottled up Carolina tandem Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart in Week 2. In total, the Bills have allowed 3.33 yards per carry and the third-fewest fantasy points to rushers. Atlanta’s prolific vertical assertiveness and Freeman’s multidimensional skills are a tall task, but I believe the Buffalo D neutralizes him.

Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 62 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 24 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.1 fantasy points  

Amari Cooper, Oak, WR (87 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $21)
Matchup: at Den

Babies. A fresh out of the box iPhone. Humpty Dumpty. Put any of these objects in Cooper’s hands and their safety is immediately jeopardized. Seemingly secreting butter naturally from his digits (21 targets, 6 drops), the dude is botching everything in sight. It’s become so compounding, Jack Del Rio called out his star wide receiver Monday telling him he’s “got to find a way” to remedy the situation. Maybe he should coat his hands in syrup or apply double-sided tape to his gloves, whatever the cure, Cooper better find one quickly or Derek Carr’s trust in him will completely evaporate. So will the fantasy community’s. As it stands now, the popular top-10 WR pick is nowhere close to returning value (WR57). When Jared Cook displays more reliability, you know you’ve hit rock bottom. Don’t expect the script to suddenly flip this week in Denver. The “No Fly Zone” is once again grounding the competition. Through three weeks, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and Bradley Robey have allowed a combined 71.2 passer rating and 55.2 catch percentage to their assignments. More discouraging, Cooper failed to cross the 60-yard mark in his previous four matchups against the trio. “Always start your stud” bootlickers would disagree, but weave it all together and he’s an easy sit suggestion in Week 4.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.0 fantasy points 

T.Y. Hilton, Ind, WR (63 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $17)
Matchup: at Sea

Over the first two weeks of the regular season, Hilton was more Microtel Inn – cheap, unkempt, full of pestilent smells. Cast a blacklight on him and unimaginable fantasy horrors were revealed. Last Sunday, however, loyal T.Y. supporters were richly rewarded. Washing off the stench of Weeks 1 and 2, the once consistent WR1 clicked with Jacoby Brissett. Connecting seven times for 153 yards and a TD, the pair clotheslined Cleveland. Hilton’s one-week turnaround, massive targets share (27.2%) and prominent red-zone role (RZ targets share: 55.6%, WR1) offer encouragement, but it’s likely only a mirage. Seattle, back at home, standing at 1-2 and playing under the primetime lights, is poised to grind and stuff the Colts into an Alpo can. Its secondary, which has allowed only 5.7 yards per attempt, the 12th-fewest fantasy points to WRs and just 10.7 yards per catch (No. 5 in the NFL), is again performing at an elite level. Digging deeper, Richard Sherman, Shaq Griffin and Jeremy Lane have given up a combined 76.3 passer rating to assignments. Another force feeding is on the menu for Hilton, but a return to mediocrity should be expected.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 59 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.4 fantasy points 



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 Week 3 Results: 1-6 (Season: 6-15)
My Week 3 Results: 4-6 (Season: 19-11) (W: Lamar Miller, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, Jarvis Landry; L: Russell Wilson, Leonard Fournette, Sammy Watkins, Demaryius Thomas, Gronk, KC D/ST)

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also check out his TV show, “The Fantasy Football Hour,” now available in 75 million households on Fox Sports Regional networks and his new podcast, “The Fantasy Spin.”