Week 3 Fantasy Football Lames: Mixon's miserable start to continue in Buffalo

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: 13 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.

Goff may need multiple mulligans in Cleveland

Jared Goff, LAR, QB (56 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $31)
Matchup: at Cle
Vegas Line/Total: LAR -3, 50

The antithesis of weaponless Miami, Los Angeles features an arsenal full of nukes — Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods. Heck, even the ARTHRITIC KNEE!!!, Todd Gurley, has stiff-armed this loudmouth and performed admirably. Also operating behind a robust offensive line, Goff should be at least ranked inside the top-15.

Yet he’s not remotely close.

But picking up where he unfortunately left off, the well-compensated passer hasn’t earned his paycheck. Against average defenses, Carolina and New Orleans, he posted 234.5 pass yards per game, two total touchdowns and 7.0 yards per attempt. His QB19 ranking in adjusted completion percentage over that stretch is equally bland. Whether the increased pocket pressure (43.8% of dropbacks), defensive scheming, or both are to blame, Goff’s days as a sure-fire QB1 are behind him, at least for now.

This week, planted behind the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo (vs. Pit), Andy Dalton (at Buf) and Matthew Stafford (at Phi), Goff is undependable. CB Denzel Ward has been picked on (12-7-123-0 allowed), but his surrounding DBs have executed well. Collectively, the Browns have surrendered 8.1 pass yards per attempt. However, it’s hard to imagine them getting buried in the doghouse for a second time at home.

Fearless Forecast: 254 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 1 interception, 13.2 fantasy points

Patriots to walk all over injury-plagued Jets, Bell

Le’Veon Bell, NYJ, RB (99 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $29)
Matchup: at NE
Vegas Line/Total: NE -22.5, 43.5

Wrenched ankles. Immobilized legs. Mono. The rudderless Jets — warning signs flashing — are already hurtling toward the earth. Bell, exasperated after Monday’s manhandling dished out by the Cleveland Browns, may already be mentally broken. Now awaits vaunted New England, a heavy favorite with zero weaknesses on either side of the ball. Bell is probably yearning for his “fat” days back on South Beach.

The pricey veteran has been worth every penny thus far. Outside of a costly fumble late against Cleveland, he’s accumulated a mammoth workload, totaling an exhaustive 54 touches through two games. His superficial 3.4 yards per carry isn’t pretty, but he’s avoided a league-high 20 tackles, scored once and piled up 3.08 yards after initial contact. For all intents and purposes, he’s a proven commodity trapped in an otherwise polluted situation. Still, those who selected him in Round 1 have to be pleased with the early results, unlike the overexcited dude in your league who boastfully drafted James Conner.

Bell’s workload will remain exhaustive, which bodes well for him to sustain long-term RB1 value. This week, however, Bell will be on the short end of a lopsided war. The Patriots, thanks in large part to the run-snuffing play of LBs Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower, have allowed just 2.6 yards per carry to RBs. Bell is sure to work up a lather as a receiver in a game with a 22.5-POINT SPREAD, but he may need a ridiculous amount of touches to sniff 100 combined yards.

Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 58 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 35 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 12.3 fantasy points

Mixon to find little operating space in Buffalo

Joe Mixon, Cin, RB (67 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $19)
Matchup: at Buf
Vegas Line/Total: Buf -6, 44

A football field on fire (e.g. Nissan Field) — that’s the perfect analogy for how Mixon’s 2019 has started. For fantasy players who sank high draft capital into the supposed workhorse back, they’re hopeful the raging inferno will be quickly smothered with more than a Home Depot extinguisher. Optimism, however, isn’t hanging in the air.

Joe Mixon, a popular Round 2 pick just weeks ago, has dragged down all who have trusted him through two games. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Mixon is a talented rusher with the patience, vision, and versatility to regain value loss. But his dismal analytics profile and a leaky offensive line, a unit which lost starting left guard Michael Jordan to a knee injury last week, substantially reduce his rebound potential. Cincinnati’s unsparing defense and a garden-variety ankle sprain have only exacerbated the rusher’s problems.

Though it’s allowed 4.6 yards per carry to RBs, Buffalo is an under-appreciated defensive squad. Le’Veon and Saquon Barkley compiled banner weeks against the Bills, but the front boasts above-average personnel. DEs Jerry Hughes and Shaq Lawson have done a laudable job stamping out the run, each posting a run-stop percentage of 10.0-plus per Pro Football Focus. Bypassing him for Matt Breida (vs. Pit), Carlos Hyde (at LAC) or Royce Freeman (at GB) isn’t reckless.

Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 47 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.6 fantasy points

Adams to pack it in against Denver, Harris

Davante Adams, GB, WR (98 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $30)
Matchup: vs. Den
Vegas Line/Total: GB -8, 42.5

Tough early season scheduling combined with underperformance usually cranks the absurdity dial in Fantasyland. Take Adams, for instance. Blessed with unwanted encounters with the Bears and Vikings Weeks 1-2, the fantasy first-rounder fell into a snake pit, hauling in 11 catches for 142 yards and zero touchdowns. It’s understandable production given the competition, but for individuals with no time for mediocrity or possessing the foresight for better days, the receiver was traded off for the likes of John Ross, Tom Brady, and Mark Andrews. Yes, for real.

After this week, bargain shoppers will be able to acquire him for a six-pack of Schlitz.

It’s another difficult mano-a-mano matchup for one of the game’s premier producers. Chris Harris, who did a brilliant job shadowing Allen Robinson last week (4 TGTs, 2-13-0 allowed), is likely to chase the All-Pro receiver. Through two games, the DB has conceded only 0.87 yards per snap and 47 yards on five receptions. Adams will presumably lure his customary 7-10 targets, but another unremarkable output could be on tap.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 67 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.2 fantasy points

Browns’ Landry unlikely to be unleashed against Rams

Jarvis Landry, Cle, WR (50 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $17)
Matchup: vs. LAR
Vegas Line/Total: LAR -3, 50

If you would’ve told me only a few weeks back that Baker Mayfield would be QB19 through tilts against Tennessee and the Jets, my face would’ve resembled Odell Beckham’s when asked a post-game question in español. Given the upgraded weapons, play-calling continuity, and experienced gained, Mayfield’s sluggish start is nothing shy of mystifying. His bendable offensive line is a culprit (28.6 sack%), but his ineffectiveness under pressure (40.4 passer rating) and general decline across the board (QB28 in adjusted completion percentage) are alarming.

To help deflect persistent incoming heat, Mayfield needs to get Landry more involved underneath. Barely a footnote through two weeks, the slot man has caught just seven passes (on 14 targets) for 99 yards. The end zone, painfully so, also remains elusive, a failure which is sure to endure.

Landry’s matchup this week isn’t the friendliest. His slot assignment, Nickell Robey-Coleman, is one of the best interior defenders in the biz. Targeted six times through two games, he’s allowed a 76.4 passer rating and 0.43 yards per snap to his assignments. You can do better.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 39 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 5.9 fantasy points

BONUS LAMES (Over 50% started)

RB: Kerryon Johnson, Det (Phi -7; $18) – Matt Patricia needs to put his stupid pencil to use. It’s criminal how underused Johnson is. He’s played on 56.9 percent of Detroit’s snaps, netting 56.9 percent of the opportunity share. It’s baffling. Deceptively powerful, smooth in his cuts and multidimensional, he’s forced a missed tackle on 25.0 percent of his early season touches. He deserves 18-20 grips per game, yet Darrell Bevell and Patricia blindly trot out Ty Johnson or some other deadbeat. On what will surely be another 15 or so touches, Kerryon is a fringy RB2. His opponent, Philadelphia, has conceded only 2.9 yards per carry to RBs. Feed the man. (FF: 13-43-2-25-0, 8.8 fpts)

RB: Leonard Fournette, Jax (Ten -1.5; $18) – Not even the facial/chest hair powers of Gardner Minshew can rescue Fournette from wallowing in mediocrity. Averaging a somewhat useful 90.5 total yards per game, the constant underachiever has yet to cross the chalk and has netted a sad 2.36 yards after contact per attempt. Tennessee is an overlooked defense which has taken opponents to task in the early season. The Titans have given up 5.1 yards per carry to RBs, but that number was largely inflated by a breakout run from Jordan Wilkins. In a hideous low-scoring affair, Fournette is more FLEX than must-start RB2. (FF: 14-49-4-23-0, 9.2 fpts)

RB: James Conner, Pit (SF -6.5; $28) – The rusher claims he’s “good to go” for this week’s contest against unblemished San Francisco, but it doesn’t mean he’s must-start material. Thus far Conner has seen a stacked front 38.1 percent of the time, the third-highest mark among RBs. Mason Rudolph is a capable backup, but that number could increase if the Steelers’ passing attack deteriorates. Early on, the Niners have given up 3.5 yards per carry to RBs. Banged up and inefficient through two games (2.14 YAC/att), he’s a middle RB2 at best. It’s possible this week Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell become more involved. (FF: 13-46-3-12-0, 7.3 fpts)

TE: Jared Cook, NO (Sea -4.5; $13) – Going from Drew Brees to Teddy Bridgewater isn’t a step-down, it’s equivalent to tumbling down an entire flight of stairs. The promoted backup is essentially a game manager and not much more. His 7.2 pass yards per attempt and mostly pedestrian numbers as the starter in Minnesota state the case. C.J. Uzomah and Vance McDonald logged success against Seattle, but given the upheaval at QB, it’s unlikely Cook finishes inside the position’s top-12 this week. (FF: 4-46-0, 6.6 fpts)

DST: Jacksonville (Ten -1.5; $11) – Is this a showcase game for CB Jalen Ramsey? Disgruntled over Doug Marrone’s bullheaded want to zone, the elite corner could soon be on a one-way ticket out of Jacksonville. How motivated he performs is anyone’s best guess, but already burned for two TDs this year, he is indeed likely being misused. Throw in A.J. Bouye’s questionable status, the Jags’ struggles containing the run, and their zero turnovers forced in two games, it smudges what appears to be an exploitable matchup. (FF: 17 PA, 365 YDSA, 2 SCK, 0 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: 11-9 (WK 2 results 7-3; W: Drew Brees, Devonta Freeman, Marlon Mack, David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, OJ Howard, Eagles D/ST; L: Kenny Golladay, Stefon Diggs, Antonio Brown)

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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