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Lames: Bears to maul Peterson in frigid Minnesota

Brad Evans
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Each week the Noise highlights six unobvious players who he believes are destined to morph into human torpedos. For those playing the Lames 'home edition,' each player must be started in at least 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues to qualify. As an accountability advocate, resultswhether genius or moronicwill post the following week using the scoring system listed here. Cyber-bullies, feel free to tweet your hindsight jabs here.

Joe Flacco(notes), BAL, QB (Noise Week 15 QB rank: 16, 50-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NO

Over the second-half of the fantasy season, the Flacco Seagulls has charted a number of hits. Since Week 6, he’s notched a magnificent 16:1 TD:INT split, averaging 264.8 passing yards per game. Only position titans Aaron Rodgers(notes), Eli Manning(notes), Drew Brees(notes) and Michael Vick(notes) have more 20-plus-point performances over that stretch. Cam Cameron’s increased deployment of shotgun packages is partly responsible for the advancing passer's consistency. In the set he’s tallied 11.8 yards per completion, the seventh-highest mark among qualifying passers. If the Ravens’ defensive struggles from Houston resurface at home against the Saints, Flacco may be forced skyward often. However, don’t expect banner numbers. New Orleans has surrendered just one multi-TD signal caller this season and eight vertical strikes overall. Equally impressive, only three passers have surpassed 250 yards in a game against it. As Steven Jackson proved a week ago, multidimensional rushers – not quarterbacks – have perplexed the Saints. Ray Rice(notes) likely will be the point of offensive emphasis. Press the 'play' button on someone else.

Fearless forecast: 21-34, 236 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 14 fantasy points

Possible QB alternatives: Jon Kitna(notes) (vs. WAS), Kerry Collins(notes) (vs. HOU), Sam Bradford(notes) (vs. KC), Matt Hasselbeck(notes) (vs. ATL), Josh Freeman(notes) (vs. DET)

Adrian Peterson, MIN, RB (Noise Week 15 RB Rank: 17, 96-percent started)
Matchup: vs. CHI

More than likely, Peterson purchased owners a ticket to the dance, but he definitely didn’t help them score the title of homecoming queen. His tear-inducing 2.6-point effort Monday night against the G-Men marked his second-worst single-game total in his illustrious four-year career. Talk about impeccable timing. Only once has the Purple Jesus bedeviled owners in consecutive weeks, recording less than 10 points in a game. That feat of futility was achieved just weeks ago against division rivals Green Bay and … drumroll … Chicago. In Week 10, the Bears mauled the revered back, limiting him to just 3.0 yards per carry and 75 yards total. Don’t expect Peterson to exact his revenge. Injuries to Tarvaris Jackson(notes) and Brett Favre(notes) will likely press rookie Joe Webb(notes) into action. Unless the youngster can somehow establish an early rhythm against one the league’s stiffest pass defenses, Peterson will be a giant jar of honey for a Bears defense determined to reestablish its dominance after last week’s Patriots massacre. Throw in frigid temps – Peterson has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry in games below 40 degrees – and suspect field conditions, and, unfathomably, the consensus top-three pick could again thwart his supporters. He may be one of the NFL’s leading Pro Bowl vote-getters, but he may take owners straight to another bowl: the toilet.

Fearless forecast: 22 carries, 73 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8 fantasy points

Rashard Mendenhall(notes), PIT, RB (Noise Week 15 RB Rank: 27, 84-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NYJ

Based on Sal Alosi’s dirty sideline tactics last week, the Jets clearly are willing to employ extreme measures to win football games. Seriously, they would probably knee Abe Vigoda in the groin if it gave them a competitive advantage. Coming off back-to-back losses, New York, like Chicago, is a team desperate to regain its defensive identity. No longer the seemingly invincible unit it was just a few weeks ago, it’s resembled a giant green Jell-O mold. Peyton Hillis(notes), Arian Foster(notes) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) all logged sensational numbers against the Jets. Mendenhall, however, won’t taste similar fruits. Despite its recent sketchy play, Rex Ryan’s club is still one of fantasy’s most unforgiving run defenses. It has yielded just 3.9 yards per carry and the second-fewest fantasy points to RBs on the year. Poor execution and critical injuries have crippled Pittsburgh’s ground game. Seemingly trapped in an iron maiden, Mendenhall hasn’t eclipsed 10 fantasy points in a game three times in his past five. His consecutive clunkers against Baltimore and Cincinnati lend little hope for a turnaround. Undoubtedly, he will log the usual 20-plus touches, but in a mammoth game for the Jets, the Steelers back gets shut down.

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Fearless forecast: 19 carries, 68 rushing yards, 2 receptions 11 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7 fantasy points

Possible RB alternatives: Jonathan Stewart(notes) (vs. ARI), Brandon Jacobs(notes) (vs. PHI), Felix Jones(notes) (vs. WAS), Tim Highotwer (at CAR), LeGarrette Blount(notes) (vs. DET), Ryan Torain(notes) (at DAL), Tashard Choice(notes) (vs. WAS), Ronnie Brown(notes) (vs. BUF), Ricky Williams(notes) (vs. BUF)

Brandon Lloyd(notes), DEN, WR (Noise Week 15 WR Rank: 23, 85-percent started)
Matchup: at OAK

Some would consider "getting Tebow’d" a religious experience, but for Lloyd owners it could be downright hellish. Though Kyle Orton(notes) was named the starter on Tuesday, interim head coach Eric Studesville left the door open for worshipped rookie Tim Tebow to potentially take over, a move which could erode Lloyd’s declining fantasy production even more. Over the past two weeks, the position’s biggest surprise has stupefied his owners, registering back-to-back 30-yard efforts. Likely matched against the Black Death, Nnamdi Asomugha(notes), the gloomy stretch should continue. Top targets, many of which have been shadowed by the blanketing corner, have averaged just 57.1 yards per game against the Raiders this season. Overall, wideouts who’ve faced Oakland have performed nearly 20-percent below the league average. Not Orton, banged-up and on the verge of getting benched, nor Tebow will likely resurrect Lloyd’s sunken value this week. How quickly fortunes can change.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 57 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 5 fantasy points

Stevie Johnson(notes), BUF, WR (Noise Week 15 WR Rank: 28, 62-percent started)
Matchup: at MIA

After his blame-the-man-upstairs rant on Twitter a couple weeks ago, it’s clear Johnson might be a bit shy of sanity. Start him this week, and his supports might be too. After a spectacular midseason stretch, Stevie has fallen on hard times. Since Week 12, he’s averaged a mere 48.7 yards per game and totaled zero touchdowns. Despite the slide, he continues to entice plenty of targets. However, no matter how sizable the workload, his final Week 15 tally will likely be lackluster. Minus Lee Evans(notes), Johnson will undoubtedly attract considerable defensive attention. Double-teams, especially inside the red-zone, could be prevalent. No matter how the Dolphins attack him, expect porous results. Receivers have totaled the fifth-fewest fantasy points against Vontae Davis(notes) and friends since Week 10. Over that span, only three receivers have reached 70-yards. Stevie is a savvy route-runner with deceptive speed, but this week, look for the playoff-hungry Dolphins to step up to the challenge.

Fearless forecast: 5 receptions, 48 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 fantasy points

Chad Ochocinco(notes), CIN, WR (Noise Week 15 WR Rank: 31, 56-percent started)
Matchup: vs. CLE

Nearly in tears prior to last week’s clash against the Steelers, the mentally-spent wideout was gifted a Texas-sized cinnamon bun post-game by Ryan Clark(notes) and Ben Roethlisberger(notes) (no word if Troy Polamalu(notes) gave T.O. a donut drizzled in Head and Shoulders). To say it’s been a rough year for Ochocinco would be an understatement. With three weeks go to, he’ll be lucky to reach 1,000 yards this season. This week’s matchup with Cleveland may seal that fate. The Browns, once one of the league’s most vertically susceptible teams, have righted the ship. Unheralded corners Sheldon Brown(notes) and Joe Haden(notes) have really stepped up. Since Week 9, only one receiver has surpassed 70 yards against the duo. In fact, Cleveland has been the fourth-stingiest defense versus wideouts in Fantasyland over the past five weeks. Include the Browns’ ability to control the clock with Peyton Hillis and Carson Palmer’s(notes) turnover downside, and Chad’s end-game result could overflow owner tear ducts. Don’t go chasing waterfalls. (UPDATE: Reportedly, X-rays taken of Ocho's left foot revealed only bone spurs. He is expected to play Sunday.)

Fearless forecast: 4 receptions 43 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 fantasy points

Possible WR alternatives: Kenny Britt(notes) (vs. HOU), Mike Williams (vs. ATL), Arrelious Benn(notes) (vs. DET), Deion Branch(notes) (vs. GB), Austin Collie(notes) (vs. JAX), Anthony Armstrong(notes) (at DAL), Joe Webb (Qualifies at WR/QB, vs. CHI)

Other potential Week 15 Lames: Kyle Orton (at OAK), Jay Cutler(notes) (at MIN), Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) (at MIA), Fred Jackson(notes) (at MIA), Matt Forte(notes) (at MIN), LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) (at PIT), Mike Wallace(notes) (vs. NYJ), Anquan Boldin(notes) (vs. NO), Sidney Rice(notes) (vs. CHI), Larry Fitzgerald(notes) (at CAR)

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