Bust Watch: Gurley’s struggles to continue

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 10 Lames in the comments section below.

Ryan will disappoint in return

Matt Ryan, Atl, QB (57 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $31)
Matchup: at NO
Vegas Line/Total: NO -13, 51.5

When the general populace talks about New Orleans, Mardi Gras floats, alcohol-rich slushies and sugary beignets from Cafe Du Monde instantly come to mind. But well before it became a tourism hotspot, the Crescent City was a port overrun with pirates; Jean Lafitte the most famous of them. Over 200 years ago, he and his co-conspirators smuggled goods seized illegally from Spanish ships, gaining a villainous reputation in the process. Walk the streets of the French Quarter today and several landmarks bear his name.

This week, in the contrabandist’s old stomping grounds, a different group of marauders, the Saints, will plunder Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

[Play in Yahoo’s NFL $250K Baller. $10 entry fee and $25K to first place]

Since allowing 8.9 yards per attempt, 10 total touchdowns, and 92.1 fantasy points to signal-callers Weeks 1-3, the Saints have not only righted the ship, they’ve enforced a strict embargo on the competition. Over their past five contests, no quarterback has eclipsed 19 fantasy points against them. Giving up 5.9 yards per attempt, 212.2 passing yards per game, four touchdowns and the fifth-fewest fantasy points during that stretch, Marshon Lattimore (44.8 passer rating allowed last five) and Co. have become one of the most feared secondaries in the league. Also equipped with an assertive front (24 sacks), New Orleans should face little resistance against an Atlanta line which has placed Ryan under duress 37.7 percent of the time.

Matty Ice is a prolific passer with a rich history against the NFC South rival (302.6 ypg, 1.9 td/g), but in a game most perceive is destined to be a shootout between the two teams, he’ll forget to pack the gunpowder.

Fearless Forecast: 286 pass yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 turnovers, 13.4 fantasy points

Arthritic Gurley a real pain for Week 10 backers

Todd Gurley, LAR, RB (72% started; Yahoo DFS: $24)
Matchup: at Pit
Vegas Line/Total: LAR -3.5, 44

During the Pats/Ravens broadcast Sunday night, a commotion unrelated to the actual game erupted on Twitter. Fantasy legend LaDainian Tomlinson has a steakhouse? And he greets people at the door? Of course, it was brilliant satire cooked up by the folks at Arby’s. Yes, the joint is real, at least temporarily, but its servers won’t be handing out perfectly cooked porterhouse cuts to those who visit the pop-up location this Thursday in New York. Bank on plenty of horsey sauce, however.

Gurley, like the LT2 commercial, is a prime example of everything not being the way it seems. From a superficial viewpoint, the decorated rusher has skipped only a small beat from last year’s dominating season. To the gullible, he’s scored seven touchdowns in seven games, ranking RB17 in fantasy points per contest. That may indeed be the case, but a deep dive reveals serious concerns. His 2.85 YAC per attempt isn’t indicative of a paralyzing downhill rusher. Most worrisome, his snap percentage has fallen off a cliff the past three weeks, trending downward from 93.1 to 60.5 to 51.6 Weeks 5-8. Compounding matters, LA’s offensive line has steadily deteriorated. One of the best run-blocking units in the league a season ago, it ranks No. 26 in the category.

Gurley could see a workload uptick fresh off the bye, but several empty touches are likely. His Week 10 opponent, Pittsburgh, has shed its early season soft exterior and morphed back into a Steel Curtain. Since Week 4, it’s allowed just 49.6 rush yards per game, 3.4 yards per carry and the second-fewest fantasy points to RB1s. The Steelers also haven’t surrendered a receiving TD to a running back the entire year.

Arby’s and LT2 may have the meats, but Gurley, whether visually or statistically, is 100% vegan.

Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 43 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6.1 fantasy points

Visually and statistically, Todd Gurley has experienced a rapid decline in production. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Visually and statistically, Todd Gurley has experienced a rapid decline in production. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Visually and statistically, Todd Gurley has experienced a rapid decline in production. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Gordon momentum to slow in Oakland

Melvin Gordon, LAC, RB (73% started; Yahoo DFS: $18)
Matchup: at Oak
Vegas Line/Total: LAC -1, 48.5

Up until Week 9, the rascally MetLife cat owned a higher elusive rating than Gordon. And by a wide margin. In his prior four tilts, he ran with the same gusto as your KFC-carved uncle. His microscopic 1.98 yards after contact per attempt and 9.1 missed tackle percentage supported the visual horror. It was evident that after a prolonged holdout, his training camp/Preseason was October. Sprier last Sunday against Green Bay, he resembled the dependable fantasy rusher of yesteryear, accumulating 109 total yards with a pair of touchdowns. His accompanying 21.7% missed tackle rate was equally pleasing to the eye.

Gordon may have rounded a corner, but he’s not completely out of the woods. LA’s offensive line remains a sieve, ranking No. 27 in run-blocking efficiency according to Pro Football Focus. Austin Ekeler, too, isn’t disappearing anytime soon.

The Bolts’ Week 10 matchup isn’t favorable. Oakland is a disaster against the pass, but is fortified up front. The Raiders have surrendered 3.9 yards per carry, 80.2 rush yards per game and three rushing scores (in 8 games). They also slide inside the top-10 in adjusted line yards and run stuff percentage allowed.

Additional top-10 efforts are on the horizon for Gordon, but his numbers vanish in the Black Hole on Thursday night.

Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 62 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.0 fantasy points

San Francisco set to extinguish red-hot Lockett

Tyler Lockett, Sea, WR (96% started; Yahoo DFS: $25)
Matchup: at SF
Vegas Line/Total: SF -6, 46

The arrival of Josh Gordon has some Lockett managers nervous. If you’re jittery about it, don’t be. Yes, if the Pats castoff sticks, he is a threat to score 3-4 touchdowns rest of season, but there are many obvious variables in play. If anyone takes a value knock, it’s rookie DK Metcalf. Lockett, who’s attracted a mammoth 25.6% target share, is Russell Wilson’s go-to option. End of story. The duo’s bond is nearly unbreakable, evidenced by the absurd 138.4 passer rating Wilson has registered when targeting the speedster.

With 24 receptions, 313 yards and three touchdowns to his name over the past three weeks, it may seem asinine to include Lockett on this list. But in a matchup-based game, a dud performance lurks behind every corner.

San Francisco bent last Thursday in Arizona, pushed to the limit for the first time this season. Some may consider them a paper tiger, but it’s hard to ignore the Niners’ defensive prowess. This season, they’ve allowed 5.9 pass yards per attempt, the second-lowest aDOT (7.0) and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. Starting corners Emmanuel Mosley (75.8 passer rating, 0.84 yards per snap allowed) and Richard Sherman (35.7, 0.61) have clamped down.

Tally it up and Lockett could fall short of the 10 fantasy point mark for the third time this season.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 74 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.9 fantasy points

(GIF by Michael Wagstaffe/ Yahoo Sports)

(GIF by Michael Wagstaffe/ Yahoo Sports)

(GIF by Michael Wagstaffe/ Yahoo Sports)

Another week, another OBJ failure

Odell Beckham, Cle, WR (86% started; Yahoo DFS: $22)
Matchup: vs. Buf
Vegas Line/Total: Cle -3, 40

Where has your fantasy value gone, OBJ? Don’t worry. Slightly sauced detective, Baker Mayfield, is on the case. His CSI-inspired sleuthing will surely get to the bottom of whatever is ailing you.

There are many explanations for why Beckham’s season has gone sideways. Though he continues to rank handsomely in total air yards (top-15) — and 71.9 yards per game average is nothing to thumb your nose at — he’s scored just one touchdown in eight games and checks in at WR39 in fantasy points per game. Stratospheric projections of 1400 yards and double-digit touchdowns are a very distant memory. A combination of Mayfield’s horrific inaccuracy (No. 35 in adjusted completion percentage), Cleveland’s shoddy offensive line and an unfavorable schedule have all played a part.

This week, another unenthusiastic tally is on tap. Buffalo boasts one of the stingiest secondaries in the NFL. The Bills have surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points, 6.1 pass yards per attempt, a 7.0 aDOT (second-lowest) and three 70-plus-yard wide receiver performances. His expected dance partner, Tre’Davious White, has yielded a lowly 49.8 passer rating and 0.98 yards per snap. If you have viable alternatives (e.g. Christian Kirk at TB, Michael Gallup vs. Min or Ted Ginn vs. Atl), sit the Brown down.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.9 fantasy points

BONUS LAMES (Over 50% started)

RB: Devonta Freeman, Atl (NO -13; $13) – As discussed above, the Saints are devils in disguise on defense. Not only inflexible versus the pass, but they’re also inelastic in the trenches. On the year, they’ve conceded 3.8 yards per carry, 93.9 total yards per game, three total touchdowns and the second-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Interior defender David Onyemata trails only Tampa’s Kevin Minter in run-stop percentage according to PFF. Freeman, grossly overpaid and statistically uninspiring, is one of the NFL’s least efficient RBs. He slots in at RB45 in elusive rating and yards after contact per attempt (2.39). He’s still a threat in the pass game, but in a contest I believe falls well short of oddsmakers’ 51.5 total, Freeman only proves serviceable. (FF: 11-27-5-38-0, 9.0 fpts)

RB: Le’Veon Bell, NYJ (NYG -2.5; $23) – As Adam Schefter reported Tuesday, Bell’s weakened knee checked out as “good” according to the RB himself. Josh Adams was signed off the practice squad for insurance, but the Jets’ workhorse is in line to tote his usual 20-touch load. The question is, will he yield meaningful numbers? Nothing displaces the breadbasket like losing to a winless Miami team. Bell topped 100 yards in the defeat, but without a TD since Week 2, he’s become a poor man’s Leonard Fournette, a high-volume rusher with minimal touchdown appeal. In this week’s Big (Bad?) Apple battle, he’s a fringy RB2 in 12-team leagues. The Giants rank inside the top-10 in most fantasy points allowed to RBs, but, ask yourself, can you honestly trust anyone wearing a Jets uniform, especially one primarily operating behind such a ghostlike offensive line? I can’t. (FF: 18-68-5-24-0, 11.7 fpts)

WR: A.J. Green, Cin (Bal -10; $23) – For approximately the time it takes pandas to mate, fantasy managers have waited … and waited … and waited for Green’s return. On track to suit up for the hapless Bengals this week, he may finally reward those who’ve exercised heroic patience. Or will he? Ryan Finley is a complete wildcard. In tape analysis conducted back in April, he displayed rather mundane skills. If anything, he’s Chad Pennington, a noodle-armed passer with high intelligence who can only make impactful throws under 20 yards. It’s far from a ringing endorsement. Complicating matters, Green will almost surely be eased in. The matchup, too, is unspectacular. Baltimore has given up the 12th-most fantasy points to WRs this season, but Jimmy Smith has allowed only 0.86 yards per snap since reactivation. You may be chomping at the bit, but it may take Green a couple weeks to light a spark. (FF: 4-55-0, 7.5 fpts)

DST: Chicago Bears (Chi -2.5; $19) – A cursory view would suggest the Bears, a team ravaged by the run since losing Akiem Hicks four weeks ago, match up well with a Lions squad unable to move the ball effectively on the ground. Chicago, which has allowed just 6.8 pass yards per attempt and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to QBs, is rigid versus the pass. However, Matthew Stafford, on pace to obliterate career benchmarks in yards per attempt and air yards per attempt, is locked in. His high-flying brand of football could demoralize an underperforming defense that hasn’t scored more than 7.0 fantasy points in four-straight games. (FF: 23 PA, 401 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: 26-31

Brad’s record: 51-39 (WK9: 6-4; W – Marlon Mack, Larry Fitzgerald, John. Brown, Chris Carson, Terry McLaurin, NE D/ST; L – Deshaun Watson, Mark Ingram, David Montgomery, Zach Ertz)

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.”

Listen to the Yahoo Fantasy Football Podcast

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