Fantasy Busts: Fitzgerald's second-half slide to start in Week 7

Yahoo Sports Fantasy Minute
Week 7 Fantasy Lames: Fitz, Hilton pair of untrustworthy top WRs

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 7 Lames in the comments section below.

Alex Smith, KC, QB (52 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $36)
Matchup: at Oak

The fire lit under Smith’s behind has transformed the passer from passive game manager to aggressive multidimensional boss. Similar evolutions, for a player in Year 13 no less, are extremely rare. Whether it’s the presence of rocket-armed rookie Patrick Mahomes, increased bevy of explosive weapons or Andy Reid’s direction, Smith is undeniably a different quarterback. His 8.5 yards per attempt (6.9 career), 9.8 air yards per attempt (6.7), 72.9 completion percentage (62.2), 6.3 TD percentage (3.9) and 119.2 passer rating (86.8) are well above career norms. Frankly, it’s shocking to see him rank QB3 this late in the season. He regressed a little last week against the league’s top pass defense, Pittsburgh, but all expectations have him regaining his QB1 form on the road in Oakland. The Raiders, largely due to dustings of David Amerson, have allowed 8.0 yards per attempt this season. However, they’ve surrendered only two multi-TD passers this season and rank inside the top-third in fewest fantasy points allowed to QBs. Amerson is still a liability, but T.J. Carrie (Zero TDs allowed) and safety Reggie Nelson continue to pick up the slack. Given the short week and common underachievement witnessed on #TequilaThursday, Smith may only post marginal results.

Fearless Forecast: 242 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 0 turnovers, 14 rushing yards, 15.1 fantasy points

Doug Martin, TB, RB (69 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $21)
Matchup: at Buf

The end result of voraciously consuming 20 pounds of poutine. That repulsive imagery, my fellow fantasy friends, is what Martin’s final line will resemble in Buffalo. Port-a-potty jumps for the Bills Mafia, presumably riled up on Fireball shots and extreme bravado, will be more forceful than previously imagined. Tampa travels to Western New York a wounded bunch. Various injuries on defense combined with the dinged wing of its star quarterback, Jameis Winston, surely has a well-rested Bills defense feeling especially confident. Since returning from suspension, Martin has played commendably, netting 146 combined yards and a pair of touchdowns on 57.1 percent of the opportunity share. He’s also chipped in an appreciable 2.6 yards after contact per attempt. His two evaded tackles, three drops and 44 percent success run rate (From Sharp Football) leave much to be desired, but he’s the unquestioned top option in Tampa’s backfield. Still, with a limited pass-catching role, he’s rather TD dependent, the LeGarrette Blount of Florida. Buffalo, which has routinely plugged gaps thanks to Kyle Williams, should deny Martin from crossing the chalk. On the year, it’s surrendered the seventh-fewest fantasy points, 3.76 yards per carry and 77.4 rushing yards per game to opposing rushers. Unless Winston, or Ryan Fitzpatrick, comes out firing and stretches the field, it seems unlikely Martin tucks inside the RB2 class in Week 7.

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 61 rushing yards, 1 reception, 7 yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.3 fantasy points

DeMarco Murray, Ten, RB (85 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $22)
Matchup: at Cle

At the altar of the fantasy gods, Derrick Henry enthusiasts are sacrificing chicken wings, barley pops and jerseys of man-crushes come and gone. They desperately want the rancor to leave his pit. His game-clinching 73-yard rumble into the end zone against Indy last Monday only enhanced their pleas. It’s possible Henry could chip away at the incumbent’s 59 percent opportunity share starting this week, but it seems unlikely. Though Murray’s tender hamstring is bothersome and his rather bland secondary metrics (2.3 YAC/att, 0.13 TA/att) prompt many questions, he’s the presumed lead back for the foreseeable future. Whether or not the tide shifts in Week 7, neither rusher is particularly bankable against the Browns. Yes, you read that correctly. Cleveland’s front is one to fear. Danny Shelton and Jamie Meder are two of the game’s best interior run defenders. Both rank top-10 in run-stop percentage according to Pro Football Focus. As a team, the Browns have conceded the ninth-fewest fantasy points, 3.09 yards per carry and only two rushing touchdowns to RBs. Murray, as always, will contribute useful numbers in the pass game, but with Marcus Mariota pocket tied, the Titans ground game is a bit more predictable.

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 52 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.0 fantasy points

T.Y. Hilton, Ind, WR (96 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $22)
Matchup: vs. Jax

Whether it’s the pool, concierge service or eucalyptus shampoo, amenities are the key to a quality hotel. This season, the Indianapolis Hilton has provided owners with occasional luxuries — a massive targets share, 93.2 yards per game and a borderline WR1 output. And he’s accomplished all of it without Andrew Luck. Though Jacoby Brissett hasn’t exactly been the Motel 6 of quarterbacks, he and Hilton may temporarily shutter their doors against one of the league’s best defensive secondaries. Under Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville has reinvented itself. Gone are the days of it being a punching bag for opposing offenses. Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Barry Chruch have stifled the competition. Ramsey and Bouye specifically have conceded a combined 34.8 passer rating and 39.7 catch percentage to their assignments. For Blake Bortles’ sake, it’s a good thing he wears the same colors. Collectively, the Jags rank No. 3 in fewest fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown are the only receivers to cross the 10-fantasy point threshold against them. Hilton is sure to entice his usual 8-12 targets workload, but, for DFS purposes, he won’t provide plush accommodations for his investors.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.0 fantasy points

Larry Fitzgerald, Ari, WR (97 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $30)
Matchup: at LAR (London)

If Morgan Freeman, Carl Weathers and Clint Eastwood joined forces to tell the cinematic story of Fitz, Adrian Peterson and Carson Palmer it would be completely appropriate. Call it ‘Cocoon 2017.’ The venerable wide receiver, much like his compatriots, has waded in the Fountain of Youth. Currently WR6 in terms of overall fantasy worth, he’s attracted a ridiculous 10.2 targets per game (22.6% of Arizona share, 10 inside the red zone), caught seven balls per game, tallied 77.5 yards per contest and found the end zone three times. As he’s done the past several seasons, he’s tearing up the early slate. But his predictable second-half downturn is on the horizon, possibly starting this week. The Rams’ clear defensive weakness is in the trenches, but they typically stymie the pass. Through six weeks, they rank No. 7 in fewest fantasy points allowed to WRs and have given up a mere 55.0 catch percentage. Drilling down, slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman has built a blockade around his assignments, surrendering a 50.6 passer rating, 63 yards (on 10 receptions) and zero touchdowns. Fitz will shift about, but primarily locked in the slot (60.2 percent of the time), he’s sure to come back down from last week’s euphoric 10-138-1 line.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.4 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 6 Results: 3-4 (Season: 15-27)
My Week 6 Results: 4-6 (Season: 38-22) (W: Big Ben, Jordy Nelson, Lamar Miller, Kyle Rudolph; L: Carlos Hyde, Mike Evans, Christian McCaffrey, Doug Martin, Demaryius Thomas, Houston 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 Record.