Cousins backers will be grinning from ear-to-ear come Monday. (USAT)
Each week the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, un-obvious 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 results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 15 Flames in the comments section below.
Matchup: vs. Dal
The much-documented and discussed trials and tribulations at Redskins headquarters parallels the bitter divide down the street on Capitol Hill. Rumored disagreements between Daniel Snyder and the Shanahans over RGIII's usage combined with deep-rooted fan disdain for the state of the franchise as a whole has transformed a playoff team into the latest dysfunction junction. Though Shany likely has a one-way ticket out of town, his changing of the guard at QB was a sage decision. Cousins, in his first start of the season, exceeded expectations last week against Atlanta. Displaying solid pocket poise, improved reads and plus arm strength, the sophomore passer proved pivotal to those who stacked chips on No. 12. His 381-3-2 line ranked top-seven among Week 15 signal callers. Another stellar output is on the horizon. No defense has surrendered more fantasy points to QBs this season than the Cowboys. On the season, Brandon Carr and company have allowed 312.5 passing yards and 2.1 passing touchdowns per game. Heck, even flaccid-armed Matt Flynn rolled up four touchdowns on them. With his future to play for and because Washington's defense will presumably push him into a high-volume situation, Cousins is a sure-fire top-10 option this week.
Fearless Forecast: 312 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 9 rushing yards, 27.5 fantasy points
Matchup: at SD
Similar to gold bars, Furbys and Bitcoin, Jennings is worth a ton. Still, many owners idiotically continue to give him the cold shoulder each week, choosing to leave his statistical riches on the bench. It's time to get a clue, haters. The Silver Smasher needs to be in your championship lineup. Though dwarfed in his return by an historic Jamaal Charles performance, the rusher picked up where he left off, hanging 103 total yards and a pair of touchdowns on Kansas City last week. In six starts this season, he's netted 94.0 total yards per game and splashed pay-dirt five times. More impressive, from Weeks 9-15, only the JC of KC and LeSean McCoy have outperformed him in per game average among RBs. Back in Week 5, Jennings accounted for just 41 yards on 10 carries against San Diego. However, in the rematch, expect him to tote a more substantial workload (20-plus touches) and post beefier numbers. The Chargers run D played brilliantly last Thursday in Denver holding Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball under 60 total yards, but, including that effort, they've still conceded 4.76 yards per carry and 134.2 total yards per game to RBs since Week 9. Ring the silver bell, trophy seekers.
Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 87 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.3 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Min
One of my favorite rookies entering the season, Gio, as expected, increased his fantasy profile as the temperatures cooled. Blessed with drag-racer speed, nasty elusiveness and terrific versatility, he's a complete package who deserves to be taken in Round 2 of 12-team drafts next August. His execution down the homestretch has certainly boosted his overall value. Since Week 9, the UNC product has averaged 15.2 touches per game, 5.2 yards per carry, 80.8 total yards per game and found the end-zone four times. His subsequent 13.1 points per game average in standard leagues ranks No. 14 among RBs over that span. Bank on that number shrinking after this week. Minnesota has consistently been a pushover on the ground. On the year, the Purple People Greeters have conceded the eighth-most fantasy points to rushers. More encouraging for Gio, at least one RB has surpassed the 10-fantasy point threshold against them in 11 straight. Starting to distance himself from BenJarvus Green-Ellis and gifted a sensational matchup, he's must-start material at RB2 in all formats.
Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 50 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 32 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.2 fantasy points
Matchup: at Det
Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Randle, widely billed as a three-headed monster preseason, have actually played like a three-headed ferret. Nicks is still scoreless. Randle has offered little consistency. And Cruz, who hasn't passed the pylons since Week 4, is likely done for the year after suffering a concussion and knee injury last week. Overall, none rank inside the top-25 in per game average among WRs. Of course, much of the blame falls on Eli "The Magnet" Manning, but the Giants offensive line deserves a finger point or three. Under pressure 39.8 percent of the time, up 10-percent from last year, Eli has crumbled under the added heat, resulting in putrid production for his targets. Against Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley it's doubtful the QB will get a break. Still, there will be numerous pass attempts and someone will inevitably catch the ball. Sans Cruz, who enticed 8.7 targets per game this year, Randle is the most likely candidate to register a fantasy pulse for the G-Men. Possibly without the services of corner Chris Houston yet again, the Lions secondary, which has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wideouts on the season, is vulnerable. Since Week 4, 15 receivers have achieved 'Flames' status against Detroit. On roughly 8-10 targets, look for Randle to sneak inside the WR top-24 this week.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.8 fantasy points
Matchup: at GB
Sanders, lambasted repeatedly by the 'Fantasy Football Live' crew over the course of the season, has us wiping egg off our face. Over the past four weeks, the misjudged receiver has scored three times, averaging a decent 5.3 receptions and 47.5 yards per game, production good enough to rank him inside the WR top-30 over that stretch. Weather in Green Bay can be treacherous this time of year, but with sunshine and temperatures expected to reach a 'sweltering' 26 degrees Sunday, it shouldn't play a factor. The Packers wretched secondary, however, will. Since Week 9, only the Kansas City Chiefs have yielded more fantasy points to wide receivers than Green Bay. Regardless if he draws Sam Shields or Tramon Williams most often, Antonio Brown's tag-team partner has strong odds of finishing inside the position's top-30 yet again. Start him with confidence.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 66 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.1 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NO
Chubby chase. That's what owners with FLEX spots should do on the waiver wire this week. Carolina's portly punisher is clearly second in the pecking order behind starter DeAngelo Williams, but he remains an integral contributor, particularly in goal-line packages. Though he's averaged an unexciting 8.2 touches per game, the modern day T.J. Duckett has crossed the chalk seven times, many of those scores coming against exploitable run defenses. New Orleans, ramrodded by Zac Stacy to the tune of 144 yards and a score in Week 15, presents another favorable opportunity for the rusher. Two weeks ago in the Crescent City, he managed just 29 total yards on five touches. However, the Saints are an entirely different team when forced on the road and outdoors. In seven games away from the Superdome, Sean Payton's club has surrendered 4.42 yards per carry, 136.4 rushing yards per game and seven ground scores to RBs. If 'Nawlins again trips out of the gate, expect a heavy one-two punch of Williams and Tolbert. I realize it's hard to trust a light-loaded rusher, but given the plus matchup and his defined goal-line role, he undoubtedly has double-digit upside. Don't be scurred.
Fearless Forecast: 11 carries, 34 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 17 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.3 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 16 FLAMES
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 Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?
— K (@K_P_M) December 17, 2013
Week 16 Reader Record: 3-4; Year to date: 39-64
Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here) and online at Yahoo! Sports (Watch here)
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