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Lames: Woeful Browns run D could make Ben bust vs. Cleveland

Brad Evans
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Each week the Noise highlights 10 bold names who he believes are destined to torpedo your team. 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 revamped scoring system shown here . If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, post your Week 14 Lames in the comments.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pit, QB, (Noise Week 14 QB rank: 15, 62-percent started)
Matchup: vs Cle
Rashard Mendenhall is sure to bring his "A" game against the AFC's third-friendliest run defense, a potential outcome that could doom Big Ben's Week 14 value. Roethlisberger has quietly cranked out a 20.4 per week tally on the year, the 10th-best mark among passers. However, he's endured a mini-slump over the past three weeks, failing to register 17 fantasy points in a game. Blame the downturn on poor pass protection. During that stretch Big Ben has been dragged to the turf eight times. Yes, the Browns don't boast a formidable pass rush (1.9 sacks/game) and its top-ranking in pass defense is a bit skewed — Joe Haden and friends have yet to face a quarterback the caliber of No. 7 — but since Scott Fujita landed on injured reserve, the Chihuahua's already soft run D has reeled. Only the sword-less Bucs have allowed more points to RBs since Week 10. Combine that with Bruce Arians' strong desire to improve the run game and a ground-heavy approach, similar to what Baltimore deployed last week in C-Town, seems likely. Express trepidation. Rex Grossman, Carson Palmer and Matt Moore are more attractive plays.
Fearless Forecast: 18-25, 198 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 1 interception, 12.9 fantasy points

Frank Gore, SF, RB (Noise Week 14 RB rank: 18, 89-percent started)
Matchup: at Ari
Assumption is powerful form of persuasion that can often lead the flock astray. Gore's matchup against the league's 19th-ranked run defense is a prime example. The Niners' newest all-time leading rusher, who Jim Harbaugh apparently wants a life-size statue erected of (Sidebar: Gore in carbonite? Han Solo-style?), has managed to fend off his yearly visit to the infirmary averaging 11.5 points per game in standard leagues, good for 17th among qualifying backs. However, most of his production came midseason when he strung together five consecutive 100-yard games. Since Week 10, Gore, slowed by a bruised knee and two sore ankles, has contributed minimally. During that stretch, he's not crossed the chalk and has averaged a mere 55.8 total yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry, including a yawn-worthy 92-1-0 line against the Cardinals in Week 10. Arizona, like Seattle and Denver, is a completely different defensive animal at home. In the creature comforts of the UPS only Steven Jackson has eclipsed the 40-yard rush mark against it. Overall, the Desert Birds have allowed just 3.6 yards per carry to RBs in Glendale. Harbaugh vowed earlier this week he won't rest his starters, but given Gore's sharp decline in production and beaten body his touch total may decrease somewhat down the homestretch. Match that with the difficult matchup, and he's Grade A "Lame" material in Week 14.

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Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 71 rushing yards, 1 reception, 5 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.5 fantasy points

Shonn Greene, NYJ, RB (Noise Week 14 RB rank: 21, 60-percent started)
Matchup: vs. KC
To put it mildly, Greene is to fantasy running backs what Bakersfield, Calif. is to excitement. Speaking as an owner (Note: Trading Jimmy Graham to the Piano Man for said RB's services early this season was a grave mistake), the man doesn't exactly push the needle. Outside of his near 30-point explosion last week, clearly his finest single-game performance of his career, he's offered very little. Since Week 6, he's scored just one other time and eclipsed the century mark once. To be fair, the Jets have grounded and pounded with renewed success of late. Over his past six contests, Greene is averaging a stout 4.7 yards per carry. With that in mind, this week's home matchup with the Chiefs, a defense that's conceded the fourth-most rushing yards per game (123.6, 4.4 ypc to RBs) during the past five weeks, would seem enticing. But just when you think Greene is poised for a breakout run, he crushes your soul with a 25-80-0 effort or, better yet, a game-ending injury. Yes, the vanilla rusher's hefty workload makes him a fine flex option in 12-teamers, but trust him as an RB2 and he'll likely show your team the door.
Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 88 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 11 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 11.4 fantasy points

Anquan Boldin, Bal, WR (Noise Week 14 WR rank: 29, 74-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Ind
Listening to "American Pie," AKA "The Song that Never Ends," sober. That will seem a less cruel punishment for owners who choose to roll with Boldin this week. Mired in a deep funk, the wideout has fallen on hard times. Since Week 10, he's found the end-zone just once and has hauled in a lowly 2.3 receptions and 38.0 yards per game. The main reason for the recent slide is simple: the Ravens have gotten back doing what they do best, pounding opponents into oblivion via the run. Over that span, Cam Cameron, who seemingly abandoned the ground game at times midseason, has called "pass" just 37.5 percent of the time, an old school mentality John Fox could appreciate. As a result, Boldin has worked primarily as a downfield blocker, sealing off defenders for Ray Rice and Ricky Williams. The receiver's mysterious case of Crisco hands is also to blame. On the season he's dropped eight passes and caught just 53.8 percent of intended passes, the 83rd-best mark among WRs. No doubt, Indy's secondary is hurting. The loss of Jerraud Powers last week to a season-ending knee injury further crippled an already miserable unit. The matchup is ripe, but given the ultra-conservative state of the Ravens offense, a large helping of Rice should be expected. Count on Boldin only as a WR3 in deeper leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 45 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.5 fantasy points

Jeremy Maclin, Phi, WR (Noise Week 14 WR rank: 30, 26-percent started*)
Matchup: at Mia
Trusting a receiver in his first game back after missing extensive time with a hamstring injury is senseless. Only the acts of Carmen Sandiego's arch-nemesis, the Big East Conference, which perplexingly added San Diego St., Boise St., Houston and SMU to its membership this week, are more illogical. Wednesday Maclin returned to a full practice and reported no repercussions afterwards, noting he felt good. Despite the positive admission, he's one to express caution over this week. As we've seen countless times this season (e.g. Peyton Hillis, Miles Austin, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson), hamstring injuries are fickle in nature. One minute you're running like a gazelle. The next, you're limping like a wounded wildebeest. The risks involved are hard to ignore. Without question, Maclin's matchup is favorable. His likely shadow, Sean Smith, ranks 106th out of 107 among corners in coverage according to Pro Football Focus. The badgered DB has given up a 61.2 catch percentage and the seventh-most yards. If operating at full-speed, the potential is there for Maclin to have a monster day. However, the rust he and Michael Vick accumulated while sidelined could weigh heavily. That combined with his strong odds of re-injury suggest to play it safe with someone else, especially in shallow leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 42 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.2 fantasy points

*Expect that start percentage to climb into the necessary "Lames" criteria by Sunday.

BONUS WEEK 14 LAMES

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Bring the noise on Twitter. Follow Brad @YahooNoise. Also, be sure to tune into The Fantasy Freak Show this Friday starting at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT LIVE on Yahoo! Sports Radio.

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