Week 12 Fantasy Busts: Michael Thomas scoreless streak to continue

Michael Thomas has some of the surest hands in the league, however, they’ve rarely reeled in TDs this year. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Week 12 Fantasy Lames: Defenses to serve Howard, AP plate full of stuffing

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 12 Lames in the comments section below.

Dak Prescott, Dal, QB (68 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $34)
Matchup: vs. LAC

Post-meal, Dak owners will need more than a healthy dose of Pepto Bismol to curb the indigestion. Dallas, reeling without the services of Zeke Elliott, has largely become a one-dimensional team. Yes, Alfred Morris played well last week totaling the second-highest yards after contact per attempt among Week 11 rushers, but without Zeke’s multipurpose skill set defenses are teeing off. The glaring absence of starting left tackle Tyron Smith has further compounded matters. Without the bookend the past two weeks Prescott has crumbled under intense heat. Placed under duress on 45.5 percent of his dropbacks, he’s posted an appalling 9.2 passer rating and completed just 35 percent of his attempts in those situations. Smith is again listed as questionable, but if he’s unable to go Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are sure to feast. As a unit, the Chargers have totaled the third-most sacks this season (30). Equally unappetizing, Casey Heyward has routinely clamped down on his assignments yielding a 56.7 passer rating and 44.7 catch rate. His brother in arms, Trevor Williams, has also impressed (58.4 passer rating, 47.8 catch% allowed). Dallas always plays inspired ball on Thanksgiving, but it’s doubtful Dak earns a turkey leg, even with Smith possibly back.

Fearless Forecast: 231 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 turnovers, 24 rushing yards, 13.6 fantasy points

Jordan Howard, Chi, RB (91 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $25)
Matchup: vs. Phi

Without much publicity, Howard has entered the pantheon of legends. He needs just 13 yards to surpass Matt Forte for the most yards from scrimmage by a Bears running back to begin his career. You read that correctly. His torrid two seasons in the Windy City are already better than what Gale Sayers and Walter Payton logged. And he still has six games on the docket. In fact, if he achieves his 2,658 rushing yards pace, he will rank No. 11 all-time among rushers in their first two campaigns. Considering how sketchy the Bears offense as a whole has been, his production is rather extraordinary. For fantasy purposes, Howard, one of the virtual game’s rare workhorse backs, ranks RB11 in points per game, gaining an impressive 2.7 yards after initial contact. Despite his accolades, a downtrodden effort is very likely this week against visiting Philly. The Eagles, led by RB muncher Fletcher Cox, have allowed a lowly 3.07 yards per carry, 48.5 rush yards per game and the third-fewest fantasy points to rushers. He’ll record his usual 15-20 touches, but given the likely negative game script and considering his minimal role as a pass catcher, a statistical hibernation should be anticipated.

Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 68 rushing yards, 1 reception, 4 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.7 fantasy points

Adrian Peterson, Ari, RB (63 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $22)
Matchup: vs. Jax

When it comes to fantasy matchups mean everything. Period. I will engage in fisticuffs with anyone who vehemently disagrees. Peterson presents the perfect example. When gifted cottony opponents, he’s rekindled the magic of his Minnesota days evidenced in poundings of Tampa and San Francisco. However, against stiffer competition he’s fallen well outside the position’s top-30. Against Seattle and Houston he couldn’t even surpass 45 combined yards. Tossing additional cold water, he ranks outside the top-30 among RBs in elusive rating and yards after contact per attempt (2.27). His offensive line, which is outside the top-20 in run-blocking efficiency according to several metric sites, is also abysmal. At first glance his matchup against Jacksonville could be construed as favorable. The Jags, on the season, have given up 4.56 yards per carry. However, that number is a bit deceiving. Since acquiring run stuffer Marcell Dareus at the trade deadline, they’ve surrendered just 2.55 yards per carry. Another hefty workload is likely, but a desolate performance in the desert is on the horizon.

Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 48 rushing yards, 1 reception, 6 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 5.9 fantasy points

Amari Cooper, Oak, WR (78 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $18)
Matchup: vs. Den

Death, taxes, Nate Peterman interceptions and Cooper appearances on the “Lames” list. These, my friends, are life’s true consistencies. It’s been a minute since he last appeared in this space, but Cooper, arguably the biggest healthy disappointment at the WR position this season, though Julio Jones is also a strong candidate, is due for yet another massive letdown. Saved by a garbage time touchdown last week in a blowout loss to New England, he’s a classic example of how the law of averages is incredibly misleading. On the year, Cooper ranks WR36 in Yahoo standard leagues, but remove his outburst Week 7 against Kansas City and he checks in at WR66. Quality. Applying an extra layer of stink, he slots outside the top-65 in catch percentage (48.8), target separation and yards per target (5.8). Staunch advocates will continue to pin the blame on Derek Carr or Oakland’s underachieving offense as a whole, but did they ever consider the possibility Cooper isn’t that good? He may own all the talent in the world, but at some point he has to deliver. His accomplishments logged in 2016 seems like an eternity ago. This week matched against a Denver defense that held him to 2-9-0 in Week 4, the fantasy failure is bench worthy. Admittedly, the Broncos have unraveled on all fronts. Still, Chris Harris and Aqib Talib have allowed a combined 56.4 catch percentage to their assignments, a number Cooper wishes he had. Look elsewhere, amigos.

Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 3.6 fantasy points

Michael Thomas, NO, WR (99 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $27)
Matchup: at LAR

When Brandin Cooks joined New England this past offseason the fantasy community, me included, lost their collective minds over Thomas’ 2017 potential. Without much competition for looks, a large portion of Cooks’ 18.6 percent targets share was sure to transfer to the sophomore. That indeed happened. Thomas’ workload has expanded from 8.1 to 9.4 targets per game. Given his searing 104-reception, 1,205-yard pace most would automatically assume the Saint would be a top-10 fixture whether in standard or PPR. Unfortunately, though, it hasn’t worked out that way. Suffering from Julio Jones disease, Thomas can’t find the end zone. Without a touchdown in six consecutive games he’s been victimized by New Orleans’ surging rushing attack. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are stealing the fantasy glory. As a result, he’s barely a WR2 in 12-team leagues (WR23 in standard fantasy points per game). Because of his solid  volume, his floor remains high, but another lackluster final line is likely to occur this week in Los Angeles. The Rams secondary is terribly underrated. On the year, it’s yielded the seventh-fewest fantasy points to WRs. Deep diving, Trumaine Johnson has yet to allow a TD and has given up a 71.6 passer rating to his assignments. Thomas should catch at least five balls, but unless the TD drought ends, another suboptimal outcome occurs.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 67 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.2 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 11 Results: 5-2 (Season: 38-46)
My Week 11 Results: 2-8 (Season: 72-36) (W: Kyle Rudolph, Dez Bryant; L: DT, Lamar Miller, Pittsburgh D/ST, Leonard Fournette, Keenan Allen, Matt Stafford, Todd Gurley, Tevin Coleman)

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 Record.

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