Roto Arcade

Flames: Go-shon! Moreno to fuel playoff charge

Brad Evans
Roto Arcade

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A reborn Moreno could be this year's playoff savior at RB (USAT)

Each week the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, unobvious names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. To qualify, each player must be started in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post the results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, post your Week 15 Flames in the comments section below.

Josh Freeman, TB, QB (32-percent started)
Matchup: at NO
Just weeks ago internal discussions at Buccaneers headquarters centered on Freeman's accuracy and whether or not he was the franchise's true quarterback of the present and future. Though he's still completed an uneventful 54.7 percent of his attempts and with Tampa's playoff hopes faint, those thoughts have largely been squashed. Since the Bucs' bye Week 4, The Fro has netted 300.3 passing yards per game and a sterling 18:4 TD:INT split. Many of his throws aren't spot on, but his ability to minimize mistakes and exploit one-on-one matchups downfield with playmakers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams are quite commendable. His 7.6 yards per attempt ranks eighth in the league. Yes, the Saints have shown some improvement, but they are no mystery defensively. They are the definition of 'vertically challenged.' Starting corners Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson have surrendered 16.1 yards per catch combined. In Week 7, Freeman chucked 42 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns versus New Orleans. Because of Tampa's deficient secondary, a similar total wouldn't be farfetched in the rematch. Expect him to score a lucrative booty in Week 15.

Fearless Forecast: 23-40, 318 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 7 rushing yards, 24.6 fantasy points

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Knowshon Moreno, Den, RB (48-percent started)
Matchup: at Bal
Despite, totaling a season-best 154 yards and a touchdown in Oakland last Thursday, the 'Blowshon' moniker still applies. However, the definition has changed. The statistical winds the rusher has produced over the past couple weeks has, unexpectedly, toppled the competition. He's not the bounce-off tackle type (2.4 yards after contact/attempt), but he's always possessed employable baseline skills — excellent pass protector, plus hands, decent interior runner — which is exactly why he, and not green rookie Ronnie Hillman, was promoted when Willis McGahee succumbed to injury four weeks ago. Moreno will rarely 'wow' spectators, but John Fox's commitment to the run makes him a highly reliable RB2. Over the past three weeks, Moreno has gripped the pigskin 28 times per game. Baltimore is expected to get its defensive leader, Ray Lewis, back this week, which is a significant boost for a sagging unit. Still, even when healthy earlier this season, the Madden pitchman rated below average against the run according to Pro Football Focus. His leadership presence will help the Ravens psychologically, but physical execution may not follow suit. Four rushers since Week 9 have scored at least 10 fantasy points against them, including Alfred Morris last week. It may not be pretty to watch, but look for Knowshon to again eclipse the century mark in total yardage.

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Fearless Forecast: 22 carries, 87 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 24 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 20.1 fantasy points

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Ryan Mathews, SD, RB (52-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Car
When cirrhosis of the liver finally places me in a handbasket destined for Hell, I'll have one man and one man only to thank for my eternal damnation, the mystifying Mathews. After I drowned him in praise back in May and stood loyally by his side even when he shattered his collarbone the first week of the preseason, the disappointment has pushed me to take up a rather destructive Fireball habit. Heavily invested in him in six of 10 leagues, no amount of grandpa's medicine has washed away the sorrow. His woeful yards per carry (3.8) and TD output (1) are the primary reasons why he ranks No. 29 among rushers in per game average, a far cry from the RB1 expectations many housed just a few months ago. However, the annual letdown could save some face this week against Carolina. Though the Chargers offensive line has struggled mightily in run-blocking and he'll cede touches to petrified Ronnie Brown on most passing downs, he could inflict sizable damage if granted a similar workload as last week (25 touches at Pit). The Panthers have surrendered three 100-yard rushers in their past four games and 4.9 yards per carry to RBs since Week 10. It's been a forgettable year for the Bolt, but he likely has one lightning strike left in him.

Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 89 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.6 fantasy points

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Josh Gordon, Cle, WR (25-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Wash
Entering the season Gordon was one of my favorite deep Rip Van Winkles. The Baylor product, who rarely saw the field due to his dedicated affinity for the wacky tobacky, has flourished, coincidentally enough, with a quarterback with the last name Weeden throwing him the ball. No longer the one-dimensional wideout who broke onto the scene earlier this season, he's developed into a well-rounded target capable of devouring yards downfield and underneath. Blessed with superb physical tools and speedy wheels, he'll only get better. This week could be another strong step forward in his development. Nearly identical to Tampa, Washington is a defense that sells out the pass to defend the run. Corners DeAngelo Hall, Cedric Griffin and Josh Wilson have each allowed a QB rating of at least 91.0 and catch percentage above 60.5. In other words, they would likely get torched by a WAC team. In total 16 receivers have crossed the 10-point threshold against them. Provided Mother Nature cooperates, Weeden-to-Gordon will hurt the 'Skins.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 93 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 19.8 fantasy points

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Davone Bess, Mia, WR (13-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Jax
Bess is constantly shrugged off by standard leaguers due to a lack of touchdowns, but he's proved indispensable in competitive PPR leagues. 'Tenderoni,' who has some of the tackiest mitts in the league, has grabbed nearly 63-percent of his passes and developed into more of a downfield threat. Entering the year he averaged a mere 10.3 yards per catch over his previous four seasons. This year, he's netted 12.9 yards per catch, hauling in at least five receptions eight times in 14 games, which is somewhat astonishing with Ryan Tannehill under center. Even more remarkable, he's tallied the same number of targets as Julio Jones (105). This week matched against a below average Jaguars secondary, Bess won't regress. Jacksonville has struggled against slot-types this season. Percy Harvin, Randall Cobb and Ryan Broyles totaled noteworthy numbers against them. Yes, the end-zone will likely remain elusive, but for those with catches on the mind, he's a very employable WR3 who should churn out a double-digit output.

Fearless Forecast: 7 receptions, 76 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 12.8 fantasy points

SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)

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Joique Bell, Det, RB (9-percent started)
Matchup: at Ari
It's refreshing to see coaches occasionally abandon gamesmanship, standing by boastful declarations made to the media about player usage. Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan expressed his desire to get Bell more involved. Lo and behold he delivered on his promise calling the rusher's number a season-high 17 times at snowy Lambeau. Take note Norv Turner. Though Bell's final stat line didn't alter the earth's tilt in standard leagues, his 96 total yards and five receptions left an indelible mark in PPR formats, an outcome that could be replicated this week. Arizona, coming off its worst loss in franchise history (58-0), is exhausted defensively. The Cardinals' laughable play on offense has taxed Darnell Docket and company greatly. No surprise over the past five weeks, they've allowed the most fantasy points to RBs, giving up 5.4 yards per carry, 150 total yards per game and five ground scores. Bell will continue to split touches with Mikel Leshoure, but another 30-plus snaps and 15-plus touches are on the docket. Assuming Detroit can build an insurmountable early lead, which shouldn't be a problem against a team with a lame-duck coach and JV-level offense, he will likely be deployed often, particularly late. Averaging a dynamite 6.9 yards per touch on the season, he could be a real diamond in the rough in Week 15. Jingle all the way.

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 68 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.8 fantasy points

BONUS WEEK 15 FLAMES

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TEAM HUEVOS 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 "Flames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Mondays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?

Reader Record: 53-62, 46.1%

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