Each week the Noise highlights 10 bold names who he believes are destined to torpedo your team leave egg on his face. 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, results, whether genius or moronic, will post the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, post your Week 15 Lames in the comments section below.
Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB (96-percent started)
Matchup: at Chi
Over the past three weeks, Rodgers has resembled a year-old box of opened Saltine crackers. His stale numbers during that stretch (249.0 combined ypg, 3:2 td:int split, 18.3 fppg) have tarnished the 'stud's' once impeccable image. Though many owners in the fantasy community moronically adhere to unproven 'always start' theories, the popular first-round pick is worthy of a demotion, provided one has a suitable replacement. Based on his recent string of disappointing efforts and unfavorable Week 15 matchup, the decorated passer's ceiling is uncharacteristically low. Yes, a rash of injuries to key players (e.g. Brian Urlacher and Tim Jennings) have made the Bears more Berenstain than bruising, but with their backs against the wall they should rise to the occasion. Peanut Tillman remains one of the league's finest turnover catalysts and pass defenders. He ranks third in coverage according to Pro Football Focus, surrendering only 8.6 yards per catch. Jennings, who is targeting a return this week, is equally impressive, yielding a 46.8 QB rating, the fifth-lowest in the league among corners with at least 300 snaps. And safeties Major Wright and Chris Conte rank well above-average defending the pass. Overall, the unyielding secondary has allowed a 12:21 TD:INT split in 13 games. Stifling. In nine career starts, Rodgers has caged his arch-rival tallying a 101.0 QB rating, 243.3 yards per game and 17 touchdowns (1 rush). But possibly minus deep-threat Jordy Nelson and given the harsh road environment, he could post a line nearly identical to what he did in the clubs' first meeting this season (219-1-1), a very supbar performance. This time of year, average means elimination.
Fearless Forecast: 20-31, 233 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 1 interception, 11 rushing yards, 15.7 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Pit
As expected, Murray's second year, a campaign many sunk a briefcase full of cash into back in August, hasn't lived up to expectations. Riddled by a foot sprain, he again missed a significant portion of the season, frustrating investors greatly. But at or near 100-percent over the past two weeks, the 'Boy has delivered on his early-round promise compiling 88.5 total yards per game and two touchdowns. However, his deceiving final stat line has veiled otherwise lukewarm production. Sure, the fantasy points have been there, but during that stretch he's averaged a pedestrian 3.0 yards per carry. Running behind an under-performing offensive line holes have been, and will continue to be, few and far between. Amazingly, 38 of Murray's 119 rush attempts have gone for one, zero or negative yards. He's the epitome of 'all or nothing.' Pittsburgh's aging defense isn't as scary as years past, but buffet closer Casey Hampton and company are far from vulnerable against the run. On the season they've allowed just 3.7 yards per carry and three 90-yard rushers. In a critical game for both teams, don't expect DeMarvelous numbers.
Matchup: at Buf
Often times looks can be deceiving. The Buffalo Bills defense is a prime example. Earlier this year, a one-toed sloth could've crawled his way to 100 yards and a touchdown against Blowffalo. Over its first nine games, 10 running backs scored at least 11 fantasy points against it. But since then, Chan Gailey's base 4-3 has stiffened considerably. Nick Barnett, Marcel Dareus,and Kyle Williams, who ranks second only to Geno Atkins defending the run among down linemen according to Pro Football Focus, have spearheaded the sudden about face. Over the their past four games, the trio has surrendered a mere 3.1 yards per carry and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Simply put, don't be swayed by the Bills' No. 28 overall ranking versus the run. Lynch, coming off a monstrous 30-point performances against Arizona, is usually an uncontainable beast. Nearly 60-percent of his 1,271 rushing yards have come after contact. But against opponents stiff up the middle he's often disappointed, evident in his languid efforts against New England and Miami. His balky back is also a concern. If the Bills' gap-attacking ways continue, Lynch could be in line for an unsatisfying day.
Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 76 rushing yards, 1 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.1 fantasy points
Hakeem Nicks, NYG, WR (79-percent started)
Matchup: at Atl
Occasionally derailed by lingering lower-body injuries and erratic play, Nicks hasn't delivered on his WR1 promise. Victor Cruz has again salsaed his way to a top-10 output, but the more toolsy sidekick has paced much slower, checking in at No. 33 in standard league per game average, just behind Andre Roberts and Sidney Rice. Only once this year has the former Pro Bowler reached the 80-yard mark in a game, which happened Week 2 versus Tampa. Though he's crossed the chalk in two of his past three contests, Nicks is a very suspect play in Week 15. Despite Asante Samuel's cranky shoulder, Atlanta has bottled up most high-profiled receivers in recent weeks. Lance Moore and Steve Smith are the only wideouts to reach double-digits in fantasy points against the Falcons since Week 10. Overall, Samuel and fellow DB Robert McClain have given up a combined 68.4 QB rating, ranking them inside the top-20 in pass coverage among eligible corners. Operating at far less than 100-percent and given the difficult matchup, Nicks is a high-risk, medium-reward receiver in Week 15.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 47 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.7 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Cin
Snacked on again by the menacing injury imp and plagued by Philadelphia's generally inept offensive line/passing game, Maclin is another notable name who's tortured the souls of his supporters. His 7.9 per game average in standard formats, which checks in at No. 42 at his position, labels him a high-end bench option instead of the upper-tiered WR2 most pegged him as on draft day. However, last week 'Return of the Mack' was Philly's theme song. The wideout burned the Buccaneers, an easily achievable feat, for six receptions, 104 yards and a touchdown, his finest fantasy performance since Week 6. Limited in practice by a strained groin, he is fully expected to play Thursday, but the outlook isn't rosy. Cincy corners Leon Hall and Terrance Newman have executed beautifully against the pass this season, conceding a combined 11.7 yards per catch to their assignments. Overall, the Bengals have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to WRs, holding WR1s to a quiet 42.7 yards per game. Mac goes wack.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 51 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.1 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 15 LAMES
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 "Lames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?
— Steve Waterman (@StephenH2OMan) December 11, 2012
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