December 14, 2011
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 15 Lames in the comments.
Michael Vick, Phi, QB (Noise Week 15 QB Rank: 13, 50-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NYJ
Derek Jeter may award his conquests with a parting gift of signed goodies, but bed Vick's fantasy image against New York and you're bound to leave the playoffs empty-handed (Admission: I always left my hookups with a mind full of regrets). August's top QB pick floundered in his return to the lineup last week on South Beach. In total, he completed just 50-percent of his passes, throwing for just 208 yards (6.9 ypa) with a touchdown and a pick. More disappointingly, he chipped in just nine rushing yards. Obviously, Vick's line was suppressed due to Miami's susceptibility to turnovers in its own territory, but a thick layer of rust was visible on the quarterback. The good news: He escaped Pro Player Stadium with limbs intact. The bad news: Admittedly, his ribs still are not fully healed. His physical limitations and daunting matchup this week are major deterrents for those with reliable alternatives. The Jets have allowed only three multi-TD passers and 6.5 yards per attempt this season. Overall, they've yielded the fifth-fewest fantasy points to QBs. Rex Ryan's club is also an aggressive blitzing team, a frightening characteristic if you own the fragile quarterback. Vick remarked Monday he will need to bring his 'A' game to beat Darrelle Revis and company. Unfortunately, a playoff-eliminating 'C' grade is more likely.
Fearless Forecast: 16-31, 216 passing yards, 1 pass touchdown, 2 interceptions, 17 rushing yards, 14.5 fantasy points
Marshawn Lynch, Sea, RB (Noise Week 15 RB Rank: 18, 78-percent started)
Matchup: at Chi
Riding a sugar high since Week 4, the Skittles-munching back has rewarded his owners with a string of spectacular performances. During that nine-game stretch he's scored 10 touchdowns and averaged a whopping 114.1 total yards per game, ranking him inside the top-five in per week production. Setting his inner monster free, Lynch, who ran rather timidly earlier this season, has attacked holes, exploded around corners and dragged tacklers, triggering BeastQuakes throughout the greater Seattle area. He's only 31 yards short of becoming the 'Hawks' first 1,000-yard rusher since Shaun Alexander reached the milestone in 2004. Suffice it to say, the free-agent-to-be has made himself a ton of money. Because the rusher has accumulated RB1-level numbers against meek and mighty (e.g. Baltimore, Atlanta, Dallas, Cincinnati) competition, he's matchup proof in the eyes of many owners. To his supporters, his nine-game TD streak says it all. However, all good things must come to an end. The Bears, desperate for a victory, present his stiffest test yet. Since Week 6, no back has surpassed 75-yards on the ground against Chicago. In total, RBs have averaged just 3.3 yards per carry versus it over that span. Another burdensome workload is likely, but expect the Bears to get the best of the Beast.
Fearless Forecast: 23 carries, 78 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 7 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.0 fantasy points
Ryan Mathews, SD, RB (Noise Week 15 RB Rank: 20, 64-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Bal
It's been a revealing season for the Most Despised Back of 2010. After fighting through nagging injuries and a virulent strain of fumbilitis the former first-round pick is finally tapping into his mammoth potential. Exhibiting improvements across the board, particularly in the ball security department, he's ripped off three straight 100-yard games averaging 15.5 fantasy points per week since Week 12. However, matched against three suspect run defenses over that stretch — Denver, Buffalo and Jacksonville — he's feasted largely on the weak. Against more rigid competition, the Charger hasn't exactly produced a spark. Versus defenses ranked inside the top-10 in fewest fantasy points-allowed (Dolphins, Jets and Bears), he compiled a lowly 8.8 points per game. In other words, he's essentially a matchup-only play. The Ravens, who've yielded the second-fewest fantasy points to rushers this season, have allowed just 3.4 yards per carry. Arian Foster, Maurice Jones-Drew and Lynch are the only plowshares to eclipse the century mark in total yardage against them. And Ray Lewis' likely return this week only enhances their impregnability. Without question Mathews is a rising star in virtual pigskin, but until he slays a Goliath, he should remain untrustworthy.
Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 67 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.8 fantasy points
Rashard Mendenhall, Pit, RB (Noise Week 15 RB Rank: 27, 77-percent started)
Matchup: at SF
Nude photos of Lindsay Lohan sans airbrushing. That's what Mendenhall's final Week 15 line will look like when time expires in San Francisco. This season has been rather unkind to the popular first-round pick. Injuries and ineffectiveness on the Steelers' offensive line combined with Bruce Arians' desire to throw has caused Mendenhall's production to spiral downward. Ranked 24th in per week average (10.6 points per game in standard formats) among RBs, the former workhorse has logged only one 20-carry game. With three double-digit fantasy efforts in his past five, the ex-Illini has undergone a small resurgence, but last week stonewalled four consecutive times at the goal-line by the Browns, one of the league's most pliable run defenses, it's clear he's far from reliable. Keep in mind he's eclipsed the 85 total yard mark only once this season. The Niners are an unconquerable fortress up front. Patrick Willis, Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith and Justin Smith each ranks inside the top-12 at their respective positions stuffing the run according to Pro Football Focus. On the season, no rusher has crossed the chalk or surpassed 65 rush yards against them. Because Mendenhall is rarely used in the pass game, he's essentially Beanie Wells in black, a rusher San Fran limited to 63 total yards in two games. Unless you're purposely trying to throw your second round playoff game, the Steeler should not be trusted under any circumstances. Ben Roethlisberger, assuming he starts, will be the point of emphasis for Pittsburgh.
Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 49 rushing yards, 1 reception, 3 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 5.9 fantasy points
Steve Smith, WR, Car (Noise Week 15 WR Rank: 26, 82-percent started)
Matchup: at Hou
Entering 2011, many doubted the four-time Pro Bowler would reascend to prominence. Many considered Cam Newton a raw passer whose progressions and intermediate accuracy were unproven and unpolished. However, Newton set the tone immediately Week 1, breaking Peyton Manning's record for most passing yards by a rookie in a game. Smith caught eight passes for 178 yards and two scores in that contest, his best single-game output since 2005. He's delivered a few standout performances since. Because Smith has drawn constant double-teams, which Newton admits has made it "physically impossible" to force passes to No. 89's side, the receiver has fallen on hard times. Since Week 10, he's the 41st-best wideout in points per game. His chances of bouncing back against one of the most underrated secondaries in the league are fairly slim. According to Pro Football Focus, Houston DB Jonathan Joseph is the NFL's finest cover corner. On the year, WRs are performing 12.8-percent below the league average against the Texans. Only five pass catchers have totaled 80 yards against them, none since Week 6. Smith, the 35th player in NFL history to hit the 10,000-yard mark, has been one of the nicest comeback stories in virtual pigskin this year, but with greenbacks on the line don't bank on him booming.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 63 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.1 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 15 LAMES
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