December 13, 2011
Each week the Noise highlights 12 somewhat obscure, unobvious names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. For those playing the Flames home edition, each player must be started in fewer than 60 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 Flames in the comments.
Tim Tebow, Den, QB (Week 15 Noise QB Rank: 7, 26-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NE
According to Michael Lombardi, Denver's original plan for Tebow was to appease the team's insatiable fan-base by allowing him to play. Essentially, John Elway wanted to wash his hands of the mess Josh McDaniels created. But the team president, like many, has become a convert, joining the masses in their praise of the Mile High Messiah. The same can't be said of the fantasy community. Many continue to give Tebow the stiff arm, evident in his low-start percentage. His gut-wrenching three quarters of ineffectiveness apparently is too much for most to bear. Y! colleague Michael Salfino is right. Tebow isn't the prettiest of passers. His mechanics are still greatly flawed and he's earned too much credit for wins generated not by supernatural forces, but by gifts the opposition has served on a silver platter (e.g. Marion Bartman, CHI's prevent defense). Credit to the QB, he's taken advantage. This week, however, could be all him. New England runs zone almost exclusively on defense. Injuries and a lack of talent has forced Bill Belichick into relying on the risky tactic. As a result, quarterbacks of various achievement levels have torched them. In total, 11 passers have surpassed the 20-point mark against the Pats, including the likes of Chad Henne, Jason Campbell and Dan Orlovsky. Yes, Tebow has made a number of quality NFL throws of late, especially downfield. Still, his best fantasy asset is and will remain his legs. Belichick will undoubtedly devise a game-plan to force Tebow into uncomfortable situations, but, if the Pats pile on the points early, the signal caller will no doubt find wide spaces open spaces to run wild. Based on the incredibly favorable matchup and possible catch-up element, it's conceivable the fantasy legend of No. 15 grows. In reality, a victory over the AFC Goliath may permanently erase doubts about his unrefined skills. With every improbable Tebow-led victory, an angel gets its wings. Start him, and you too could earn a divine reward.
Fearless Forecast: 22-41, 248 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 0 interceptions, 54 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 27.8 fantasy points
Felix Jones, Dal, RB (Week 15 Noise RB Rank: 8, 17-percent started)
Matchup: at TB
The Noise, at the forefront of the Felix for Fantasy Stud movement back in August, may finally prove prophetic, in a way. It's quite plausible the underachieving rusher will lead owners to a fantasy championship after all, a laughable thought just a few days ago. Jones filled in brilliantly after rookie sensation DeMarco Murray was felled by a season-ending fractured ankle Sunday night against New York, totaling 137 yards while averaging 6.6 yards per carry. His century mark effort on the ground was only the third of his bland four-year career. Pegged as a breakout candidate preseason, Felix was expected to shoulder the load and cash-in on his first round promise. His situation was ripe — terrific offensive environment, emerging O-line, versatile skill set. Predictably, though, the peanut brittle back suffered a high ankle sprain Week 6, paving the way for Murray to overtake full-time duties. Now his chance at redemption has arrived. Don't expect him to (expletive) it up. No defense, not even the Carolina Pansies, has allowed more fantasy points to rushers this season than Tampa. Eight RBs since Week 7 have tallied at least 10 fantasy points against the Argh!-less Bucs. And on the season they've yielded 4.8 yards per carry and a humiliating 172.1 total yards per game to the position. Yes, the relationship between Jones and his original owners is likely more toxic than Alec Baldwin's with American Airlines, but given his favorable matchup and likely 20-touch workload, the hatchet needs to be buried. In other words, Behrens, the answer is "Hell yes!"
Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 98 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 25 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 21.3 fantasy points
Ben Tate, Hou, RB (Week 15 Noise RB Rank: 19, 21-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Car
Want to survive and advance? Make a date with Tate. In the Michael Bush-Pierre Thomas-Jonathan Stewart vein of backs, the underappreciated backup deserves an every-down, every-week gig somewhere. However, despite averaging 5.6 yards per carry he will remain one of the game's premier vice-backs behind Arian Foster, especially if his recurring case of fumbilitis sticks around (He's fumbled once every 38.5 touches). Still, even with 11-14 touches, he should be trusted as a RB2 this week in 12-teamers. The Pansies have been consistently atrocious this season defending the run. LeGarrette Blount and Michael Turner are the only rushers who failed to record at least 8.5 points against them in 13 games. Overall, Ron Rivera's club has surrendered 4.9 yards per carry, 162.2 total yard per game and 1.4 touchdowns per game to RBs, equal to the second-most fantasy points allowed. T.J. Yates, coming off an impressive 300-yard performance, will undoubtedly play the Andy Benard role in the follow-up. A conservative game-plan makes sense considering the Texans offensive line completely outclasses Carolina's ineffective front. Houston's average high temperature in mid-December may be 63 degrees, but this is a team built for cold weather. Count on Foster and Tate to plow through the Panthers in Week 15.
Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 75 rushing yards, 1 receptions, 5 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.7 fantasy points
Lance Moore, NO, WR (Week 15 Noise WR Rank: 24, 36-percent started)
Matchup: at Min
Only on rare occasions has Sir Lancelot skewered the competition. Much like his revolving door at RB, Sean Payton, excluding Marques Colston, has shuffled his receivers in and out of the lineup. Moore, in particular, has been used sparingly. Since Week 9, he's averaged just 23 snaps per game, making his 7.7 points per week tally during that stretch quite impressive (2.9 snaps/point). But with Jimmy Graham ailing, the slippery receiver could see additional playing time. Graham, who complained of "excruciating" pain from start to finish in last week's game at Tennessee, is dealing with a bad back. An MRI Monday revealed no serious damage, but, it's clear, he's not operating at 100-percent. Moore, arguably the Saints' best underneath weapon outside Graham, stands to benefit. If he sees an uptick in targets, he should thrive against Minnesota's rickety Cover 2. On the season, the Vikes have conceded the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. In total, 13 wideouts have reached "Flame" territory against them. Moore is a gamble in shallow formats, but in deeper PPR leagues, he could definitely be a playoff Saint.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 59 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.6 fantasy points
James Jones, GB, WR (Week 15 Noise WR Rank: 20, 18-percent started)
Matchup: at KC
For most teams, losing your most talented, productive wide receiver to an MCL sprain would be an irrecoverable blow. However, in the Land of the Offensively Spoiled, when the flag-bearer falls another soldier steps up to raise the colors. With Greg Jennings out, Jones should fill the void quite nicely. The long-bomb specialist has attracted just 2.8 targets on the season, but when pressed into more extensive action he's delivered. Last year in four starts, including the Super Bowl, he scored twice and averaged a laudable 5.3 receptions and 74.5 yards per game. His terrific blend of size and speed is problematic for most defenses, especially with the league's most accurate quarterback slinging passes in his direction. The Chiefs' Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr have performed well this season. The duo's play is the primary reason why KC ranks sixth in fewest points allowed to WRs. However, even the league's stingiest secondaries are weakened by the Packers. And the tandem isn't immune from the occasional explosive pass play. On the year, they've given up a combined 14.6 yards per catch. Green Bay's WR roulette wheel will keep spinning, but the likelihood it lands on No. 89 is as strong as ever.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 79 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.9 fantasy points
Jake Locker, Ten, QB (Week 15 Noise QB Rank: 12, 1-percent started)
Matchup: at Ind
Just call the rookie the Hurt Locker. Why? He's about to rain pain on the competition. After Matt Hasselbeck exited last week's clash with New Orleans in the second quarter, the youngster, drafted eighth overall back in April, came in and showcased his mammoth potential. Exhibiting a bulldog demeanor, cannon arm and incredible athleticism, he finished with a 282-1, 36-1 line in roughly 2.5 quarters of play. His subsequent 27.7 point output ranked No. 7 among Week 14 passers. Post-game, Damian Williams praised his teammate describing him as a "heck of a ball player" who does "whatever you ask him to do — run, throw, create a play." Locker, like fellow rookie Cam Newton, is a fantasy Dreamsicle. His ability to score by air and land is very appealing. With Hasselbeck nursing a calf injury, all indications suggest the former Husky will make his starting debut against the woeful Colts. Indy, down several starters on defense, particularly in its secondary, is one of the league's most giving opponents. Seven quarterbacks have scored at least 20 fantasy points against it, including the aforementioned Dandy Cam in Week 12. Most would never think of rolling the dice on an unproven quarterback in his first NFL start, but Locker's playmaking zeal and versatility will be extremely difficult for the Colts to contain. Sack up, riverboat gamblers.
Fearless Forecast: 15-30, 227 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 31 rushing yards, 21.5 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 15 FLAMES
Image courtesy of US Presswire
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