Harsh Reality, Week 9: Halloween brings out the best in the punning game

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Spooky, scary, footballalicious! It's the worst of the week for your fantasy leagues! Bad luck.

It's that time of year again and you know what that means!

Trick-or-treating? No.

Sexy outfits? Not with Mark Sanchez on injured reserve.

Scary movies? Hey, it's perfectly okay to watch SAW IV in January!

No, it's time for puns. Bad ones. The kind that make your skin crawl. And this article is no exception. You've got your fantasy lineups to be set by tonight, All Hallows Eve, and I'm here to help as much as I can. Here are the scariest options for Week 9 From Outer Space:


32. Mike Glennon, Bucs at Seahawks

Tampa Bay? More like Tampa... Slay.

Pulling the first one here out of the Obvious Bag, Glennon and the Bucs travel to Seattle to take on the number one pass defense in the NFL according to DVOA (check out the full list here on Football Outsiders). The Seahawks are first in the NFL in interceptions (13) and the Legion of Doom (okay that might actually just be a reversal of a pun) may give the rookie Glennon his coldest welcome to the pros yet.

31. Thad Lewis, Bills vs Chiefs

The Buffalo Bills? More like the... Kills.

Whether it's Lewis or Jeff Ghoul or Matt Flynntestines, it won't matter. Kansas City is second against the pass by DVOA and the Bills quarterbacks will still give you the chills.

30. Geno Smith, Jets vs Saints

The Jets? More like the... Threats

Some fans are already calling for Bat Simms to take over as the starter, despite the fact that Geno has at least played above the standards of Mark Severed-Hand-chez. Gob-lin Ryan has turned the Saints defense into one of the best in the league against the pass and it wouldn't be surprising to see four or five pick cruciffixes on Sunday.

29. Case Keenum, Texans vs Colts

The Texans? More like the... Hex-ans.

Case Screamnum makes his second start of his career and likely would have to play pretty poorly to give the job back to Matt Blob. That's very possible for the undrafted free agent going against the Colts, a team that's improved dramatically on defense this season. Indy has allowed just eight passing touchdowns in seven games, with eight interceptions. Could be a long day for Screamnum on Ghoulston.

28. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Patriots

Ben Roethlisberger? More like... Gothlismurder.

The Squealers might be struggling but Gothlismurder has played okay. Unfortunately for him, they play the Splats on Sunday and New England has been carried by their defense this year and not as much Tom Bladey. The Splats fourth in the NFL against the pass, per DVOA.

Surpriser of the Week: Matt Ryan, Falcons at Panthers

Matt Ryan? More like Matt... Dyin'

Though he is on pace for over 5,000 yards passing and 30 touchdowns, things don't look good for Dyin'. He's lost Julio Bones and the Falcons are fading fast. Last week against the Cardinals, he threw four interceptions. This week he faces Scarolina, a top five defense in the league per DVOA and pretty much all other metrics. It could be a long day for Botlanta (Robots can become evil and kill you sometimes).

Running backs

32. Pierre Thomas, Saints at Jets

Pierre Thomas? More like.. Pi-Scare Thomas

The Jets are the number one run defense in the NFL, by DVOA and by allowing just 3.1 yards per carry. Thomas is the lead back for a team that doesn't really use a lead back, but he did carry it 14 times against the Kills last week. He's also averaging just 3.5 yards per scary. Starting him in a fantasy league would be certain death.

31. Lamar Miller, Dolphins vs Bengals

Miami Dolphins? More like the Miami Gob-lins

Lamar Killer is coming off of an 89-yard performance against the Patriots, his best total of the season, but he might go back to mediocre 50-60 yard territ-gory against the Bengals on Halloween night. Killer will face a defense ranked seventh against the run by DVOA, and one that has allowed just three gushing touchdowns this year.

30. Willis McGahee, Browns vs Ravens

Cleveland? More like... Cleaver-land

What's scarier than the Browns running game? The Browns running game against a team that has allowed one rushing touchdown all season long. The Cravens.

29. Steven Jackson, Falcons at Panthers

Steven Jackson? More like Steven... Hacks-on.

The veteran back has played in three games this year and run it 25 times for 83 yards. He rushed it 11 times last week for six yards. The Panthers have allowed two rushing touchdowns all season long. Get ready to see more of Zombie Steven Jackson.

28. Mike James, Buccaneers at Seahawks

Michael James? More like Michael... Jackson (When he was in the Thriller video or also some of his more personal, scary truths. I'm also just realizing that Michael Jackson could be an actual zombie now).

James takes over for Bug Martin and takes on a defense giving up just one rushing gore every two games and on four yards per carry. And doing so in Sea-battle-ax, where it's very likely they could be down 21 at halfslime and abandon the run.

Surpriser of the Week: Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks vs Buccaneers

Harsh-dawn is coming off one of the least-productive games he's had in the last three years and the Buccan-sheers (the pruning sheers stabbing you in the eyeballs) are still one of the best run defenses in the NFL. The Seashocks should win but they might need to get creative to get Lynch many scores.

Wide receivers

32. Chris Givens, Rams vs Titans

Chris Givens? More like Chris... Doesn't-Live-In this particular scenario.

Not only is the quarterback now Skeleton Clemens, but the Frightens are number one in the NFL against a number one receiver (which technically Givens is) by DVOA. Tennessee has allowed just six passing touchdowns this year.

The same naughty list appears for Slay-von Austin and Austin Deadis.

31. Jeremy Kerley, Jets vs Saints

Jeremy? More like... Scarin' me!

Kerley is probable this week, dealing with an illness (don't eat too much Halloween candy, you guys!) but he's also probable to struggle with a questionable arm at quarterback and going against the Saints tough defense. Starting a Jets receiver at all in the last five years?


30. Vincent Jackson, Bucs at Seahawks

Vincent Jackson? More like Vincent... Price. (Surprised you with that one, maybe?)

Teams have managed to find a way to get around Richard Sherman but he's still one of the top corners in the league and also the other guys in Seattle's secondscary are pretty good too. It's surprising that the Seashocks allow passing yardage and some big plays here and there but it's still a risky proposition to start players against this defense. Now ranked first in the NFL by DVOA.

29. Andre Johnson, Texans vs Colts

Andre Johnson? More like... And-dread Johnson

Johnson's age (32) isn't showing at all this season, nor does it seem like he's been dragged down by Blob, Scream-num, or TJ Gates (in front of a haunted mansion). However, the Bolts (of electricity coursing through your body and killing you) are one of the best in the NFL at shutting down a number one.

28. Torrey Smith, Ravens at Browns

Torrey Smith? More like... Gory Cliff (Imagine also a cliff where a lot of bad things happen).

Smith had seven catches for 85 yards (but no touchdowns) in the Ravens first matchup against the Browns and he's impossible not to start, but Joe Hades is really good and Cleveland plays well against a teams top receiving option.

Surpriser of the Week: Antonio Brown, Steelers at Patriots

Antoni-oh-no-a-gh-gh-gh-gh-ghost Brown is one of the league's top receivers this season and he's on pace to destroy all of his career-high. He already has 56 catches in seven games and he really seems to excel when Mike Pall-ace isn't on the field with him, it now appears. But the Splats are murder against a team's number one rec-cleaver and it could be one of his lowest totals of the year.

Excuse me, of the fear.

Fright ends

Heath Miller, Steelers at Patriots

Hmm.. we've already done a guy named Miller and "Death" doesn't rhyme with "Heath." You guys figure this one at home, but do it spookily with the lights off.

Grief Miller (there it is) is working his way back into the offensive rotation but he won't get much done against the Patriots defense. They're one of the best in the league against fright ends and Miller will have a hard time topping 30 graveyards.

Scott Chandler, Bills vs Chiefs

More like Scott... Chandelier (The Chandelier falls down and hits the ground behind you and makes a loud noise and spooks you, nearly killing you)

The Chiefs and Bills are actually both very good against fright ends. It's just that Kansas City doesn't have any that you'd want to start in your fantasy league and Chandler is pretty good. This just might not be his week.

Jason Witten, Cowboys vs Vikings

Jason... Head-splittin'

The Cowboys offense might be fourth in scoring but the veteran fright end is not putting up graveyards like we're used to seeing from him. In fact, his 50.4 yards per game average is the lowest he's put up since his spookie season in 2003. Minnesota plays well against the position and with Witten coming off of a 15-yard performance against the Detroit Dyin's, it might not be his best chance to bounce back.

That's it for this week's Harsh Reality. Good like in your fantasy foot...crawl league (Like, imagine a dead body crawling out of a grave in a cemetery. It works).

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