"A turkey for me and a turkey for you …" – Adam Sandler
Today I get to eat like "Big" Ted Washington.
The mountainous heaps of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and, for those rare few out there, cranberry sauce is an orgasm of gluttony.
After digesting a week's allotment of fat and calories, I veg on the couch, attempt to fight off the narcoleptic effects of tryptophan and rehash memorable Turkey Day football moments with family. Inevitably, Leon Lett's 1993 mental lapse and the magical, drop-jaw Houdini moves of Barry Sanders are mentioned. Neither can hold a pitcher of gravy to my favorite Thanksgiving tradition: Turducken.
Possibly the by-product of nuclear fallout, John Madden's monstrous concoction of fowl is the greatest trophy ever issued. It was hilarious to hear Madden breakdown its origin and telestrate the intricate details of the browned beast. Its criminal Madden video game engineers have never thought to add Turducken to the popular franchise. How sweet would it be to rip into a virtual turkey leg after thumping the Lions 30-0 on Thanksgiving Day? I hear the PS3 has a built-in Easy-Bake Oven to accommodate such a feature.
Not Turducken worthy, here are my top-five draft day turkeys (non-injured) that have gobbled up our fantasy teams:
5. Eli Manning, NYG, QB
Notes:Brandon Funston's idea of sexy-time on draft day – he owns him in way too many leagues – Manning has been a king of inconsistency. After a torrid start, the Giants signal caller has five sub-200 yard games and one multi-TD effort in his past six starts. With a favorable schedule down the stretch (at Ten, Dal, at Car, Phi, NO, at Was) the future looks bright. If he continues to struggle, Funston will cry in his eggnog.
4. Chris Chambers, Mia, WR
Notes: Chambers has a new nickname: "Flipper." Expected to be the Randy Moss long-bomb complement to Daunte Culpepper, the docile Dolphins receiver has swam out to sea for most of the season. He has yet to surpass the 70-yard mark in a single game this season and has scored only four touchdowns in 11 games despite totaling 10 targets-per-game. If he can't top 100 yards this week in Detroit, "Flipper" is bound for the cannery with Jacksonville, New England and Indy yet to play.
3. Carnell Williams, TB, RB
Notes: I'm convinced Cadillac has a pair of wheel-spinning gerbils under the hood. A popular early second-round pick back in August, he has topped 100 yards just twice and has one less score than Byron Leftwich. Tampa Bay's schedule is downright brutal the remainder of the season with Dallas, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Seattle on tap. Only start him as a No. 2 in deeper leagues in Weeks 14 (Atl) and 16 (at Cle).
2. Randy Moss, Oak, WR
Notes: It's a good thing Moss has the smoothie industry to fallback on. Disgruntled over the ineptitude of the Raiders offense, the outspoken mouthpiece has played with little zeal. The return of Aaron Brooks could spark his numbers, but with his heart blackened, he is nothing more then an occasional No. 3 start when the matchup warrants. One of these days, owners will realize Moss' best days are well behind him.
1. Edgerrin James, Ari, RB
Notes:Still searching for an oasis in the desert, Edge deserves a grill made of aluminum foil, not gold. Arizona's front office is run by a group of chimps in suits. They still haven't figured out a good offense begins in the trenches. Taken eighth overall on average in Yahoo! drafts, Edge has yet to hit the century mark in a game this year. Averaging a career-low 68 yards-per-game and 3.1 yards-per-carry, 1,000 rushing yards could elude him.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
WEEK 12 FANTASY FLAMES
Do you want to look like a pigskin prophet? Each week the Noise will dig deep for five no-so-obvious names to turn you into a gridiron guru. Here are this week's flame candidates:
Joey Harrington, Mia, QB – Opponent: at Det
Fearless Forecast: 267 YDs, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Notes: No longer a D-Town turkey, Harrington returns to the Motor City with a "Cat Scratch Fever." Vastly underappreciated by Yahoo! players, Harrington has averaged a healthy 42.5 attempts and 250.7 yards-per-game as a starter. Sure his 6:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his past four starts is less than desirable, but his fantasy points-per-game since Week 7 ranks higher than perceived top-dogs Marc Bulger, Jake Delhomme and Eli Manning. The Lions are a group of tame kitties that have collectively yielded an enormous amount of air yards. Without Shaun Rogers, opponents have become more run-oriented in recent weeks, but with Ronnie Brown far from 100 percent, Dre Bly and Fernando Bryant will again be picked on. Owned in a mere two percent of Yahoo! leagues, revenge will taste pumpkin pie sweet for Harrington.
Matt Leinart, Ari, QB – Opponent: at Min
Fearless Forecast: 241 YDs, 2 TDs, INT
Notes: Upset over USC's BCS ranking, Leinart drives a Trojan sword into the heart of the Vikings. Troubled on the road this season, averaging a paltry 138 yards and 0.3 touchdowns-per-game, Leinart will reverse his fortunes and explode in the dome comforts of Minnesota. The Vikings suffocating rush defense and marginal pocket pressure will let Leinart rip some 40-plus times. The large, physical dynamic duo of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are a daunting task for a Minnesota defense that has given up 267.8 yards-per-game and eight passing touchdowns over their past five. With the quarterback position thinned by injury, he is a sound waiver option available in 75 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
DeAngelo Williams, Car, RB – Opponent: at Was
Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 93 YDs, TD, 2 receptions, 22 YDs
Notes: File the restraining order, D-Will is no longer man-crush, but rather, man-lust worthy. Against the rancid Rams in Week 11, Napoleon conquered the competition, rushing for 111 yards on 20 carries. DeShaun Foster left last Sunday's contest with a hyperextended elbow and is listed as questionable. If active, anticipate the ineffective Foster to start (3.9 YPC average in '06), but Williams and his healthy 5.1 yards-per-carry average will be worked heavily. As I've preached incessantly this season, Williams has the skills set to be a fantasy superstar. Look for the youngster to break a couple of 20-plus yard runs versus a Washington defense that has allowed a bloated 148.2 yards-per-game on the ground over their past five.
Mike Bell, Den, RB – Opponent: at KC
Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 68 YDs, TD, 1 reception, 11 YDs
Notes: With Jack Del Rio and Mike Nolan dressed in snazzy suits, maybe Lucifer could don a satin red cape and horns on the sidelines in KC. In Week 11, the puzzling mind games continued as "Taco" Tatum Bell was a last-second inactive casualty. Mabel got the start and finished with a strong 90 yards and two scores on 20 carries. Taco hopes his rested bunions will allow him to suit up on Thanksgiving night, but the motivated Mabel should be a central figure in-between the tackles and in the red-zone. That is, if his thigh injury doesn't land him in Lucifer's inactive inferno. The shifty Shanahan is impossible to read, but my money is on No. 20 to post serviceable No. 2 totals in a pivotal AFC West clash. KC has yielded 121.6 rushing yards-per-game in their past three.
Devery Henderson, NO, WR – Opponent: at Atl
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 111 YDs
Notes: "Delivery" is about to get crunk in the A-T-L. With Marques Colston's availability in doubt due to a high ankle sprain, Henderson should continue to deliver coming off a spectacular nine-receptions for 169-yards against the Bengals. Flamethrower Drew Brees has brought defensive units to their knees, posting four straight 300-yard games, including a 510-yard bombardment of Cincinnati. Henderson has elite speed and can outrun any defender in the open-field if given a cushion. With DeAngelo Hall busy draping Joe Horn, Henderson blows by the loose-guarding Jason Webster. On the year, the Falcons have given up the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Even if Colston were active, his mobility will be greatly limited, making Henderson a must start No. 3 and a top-25 wideout play.
Braylon Edwards, Cle, WR – Opponent: Cin
Fearless Forecast: 7 receptions, 103 YDs, TD
Notes: Edwards might be smoother than James Bond at a Playboy mansion party. The relationship forged between the second-year wideout and Charlie Frye is inseparable. Nearly 25 percent of Frye's passes have been intended for Edwards. This week should be more of the same against a Cincinnati defense notorious for leaving their guns at home in a shootout. The Bengals have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to receivers since Week 7 and 324.2 passing yards-per-game during that span. At 6-foot-3, the towering height and athleticism of Edwards is a mismatch for cornerbacks Kiewan Ratliff and Tory James. Edwards totaled four catches for 110 yards versus the Queen City kitties in Week 2 and will again eclipse the century mark.
Samkon Gado, Hou, RB – Opponent: at NYJ
Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 72 YDs, TD
Notes:Shades of Christian Okoye, the new "Nigerian Nightmare" rumbles his way into the Meadowlands. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said going forward the carries between Gado and Wali Lundy will be "split right down the middle." A fierce competitor and hard-worker, Gado is a quick thinker on his feet who works exceptionally well in the Texans one-cut zone-blocking scheme. His stocky 5-foot-11, 226-pound frame has powered its way to consecutive 60-plus yard efforts, including his first touchdown this year in Week 11. The Jets frontline is Pillsbury doughboy soft, yielding the sixth-most fantasy points to RBs and a pathetic 143.4 rushing yards-per-game since Week 7. Kubiak has desperately wanted to establish the run all year and will turn to his thunder and lightning platoon to bust through the puddle-jumpers weak line. Available in 97 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Gado is a tremendous flex play.
WEEK 12 FANTASY LAMES
Worried about your awful matchups this week? The Noise lists five players that should be relegated to clipboard duty for your fantasy team. Here are this week's lame candidates:
Tom Brady, NE, QB – Opponent: Chi
Fearless Forecast: 198 YDs, TD, INT
Notes: Brady's cleft chin will quiver against a ravenous Bears defense. The Monsters of the Midway have roared this year against the pass, allowing a meager two 200-yard passers, two multi-TD games and the second-fewest fantasy points to signal callers since Week 7. Bar-none, Brady is one of the best in the business, but on occasion, he throws up a rare dud, as his 201-yard, four-interception game in Week 9 versus Indy can attest. The Bears can be pounded in the trenches, and with the lethal 1-2 punch of Laurence Maroney and Corey Dillon in the Pats backfield, I fully anticipate a ground-centric attack from Belichick. Expect Brady to play the role of conductor with a pair of tubas set to plug away.
Ladell Betts, Was, RB – Opponent: Car
Fearless Forecast: 8 carries, 21 YDs, 5 receptions, 39 YDs
Notes: You better, you better, you better bet on somebody else. As Betts' 2.6 yards-per-carry average shows, he is nothing more than a glorified third-down back. It appears that Joe Gibbs has finally come to his senses and will give bruiser T.J. Duckett an extended look. Betts is still worthy of a flex start in points-per-receptions leagues. Last week he caught five passes for 48 yards and has totaled three receptions or more in seven games this season. Expect tiny ground totals versus a Kris Jenkins-led Carolina run defense that has limited opponents to just 50 rushing yards-per-game in their past two. Betts will be utilized as a safety valve for wet-eared QB Jason Campbell, but thoughts of end-zone glory are a pipe dream.
Thomas Jones, Chi, RB – Opponent: at NE
Fearless Forecast: 21 carries, 66 YDs
Notes: If you're looking for a bearskin rug for a loved one this holiday season, the hide of Jones will be available on E-Bay come Sunday night. Defensive mastermind Bill Belichick will throw numerous eight-man fronts at Rex Grossman to confuse and fluster the young QB. Prior to his early exit in Week 11, even the savvy Brett Favre was befuddled by the Patriots Rubik's Cube schemes. The Bears will have trouble getting the ball downfield to big play guys Bernard Berrian and Mark Bradley, which will allow the Pats to overload the box. Jones has devoured defenses in his last six, tallying four 100-yard games. However, run-stopper Vince Wilfork and his fellow trench warriors have only given up 75.6 rushing yards-per-game and two scores since Week 7.
Lee Evans, Buf, WR – Opponent: Jax
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 50 YDs
Notes: Evans should be pulled out of your lineup faster than O.J.'s publishers yanked "If I Did It" off the market. After falling five measly yards short of the NFL record for receiving yardage in a quarter with 205, Jack Del Rio may sweat through his blue suit stewing over Evans. But he shouldn't be worried. Evans is a rollercoaster ride of inconsistency, totaling six games of 70-yards or less this season. The loss of defensive leader Donovan Darius puts a significant dent in the Jags secondary, but the frenetic, aggressive play of the Jacksonville D collectively suggests a cumbersome day for J.P. Losman and the vertical attack. Keep him in your lineup as a No. 3, but disappointment is inevitable.
Donte Stallworth, Phi, WR – Opponent: at Ind
Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 47 YDs
Notes: With Jeff "Gollum" Garcia running the Eagles offense, the usually dependable Stallworth will be far from "precious" in Week 12. Unlike Donovan McNabb, Garcia's ragtag arm has little mustard to pass the ball effectively downfield, which crushes Stallworth's value. The Indy defense ranks No. 1 in defending wide receivers and have not allowed a wideout surpass 81-yards in a single game this season. Because the Colts have a flabby defensive line, a heavy dose of Brian Westbrook by land and air is on the menu. Count on Stallworth only as a No. 3.
Scanning media reports with a fine-toothed comb, the Noise puts his fantasy spin on various tasty tidbits.
Detroit Lions running back Kevin Jones will watch the Thanksgiving Day game versus Miami from the sidelines. Reports out of Detroit indicate the injury is a high ankle sprain, which could keep the potent fantasy back on the pine for at least a couple of weeks.
Spin: Just when you began to recover from the injury demons of Black Sunday, another one bites you in the butt. Numbing the pain with shots of Jack Daniels won't cure it. Trust me. Although a Brittney Spears raunchy escapade on film could do the trick.
Hopefully, you heeded my sell-high warnings a couple of weeks ago and found a proper suitor for KJ. High ankle sprains can linger, especially for backs dependent on the ability to make cuts. Already faced with a frightful upcoming schedule (Mia, at NE, Min), the injury dilutes Jones' production to an untrusting level. From this point forward, he may accumulate numbers only suitable for a flex play.
Adopted son of Mike Martz, Arlen Harris, is set to make his first start of the season for Detroit. A former Ram under Martz, he is a mid-sized back with break-tackle ability that has one-speed: Tortoise. With Jones in the locker room, Harris notched 40 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries in Week 11. If you have to start Harris, you might as well watch the National Dog Show in place of football on Turkey Day. Heck, the poofy-haired Dandie Dinmont has better fantasy potential. The Dolphins have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to runners this year.
UNLEASH THE BEAST
Upset you don't have a forum to express your disdain for drafting Willis McGahee? Do you question why on earth you're not a fantasy expert? This is the place for you to vent your thoughts, tirades and frustrations. Can you bring the noise?
Mad props to you, my man, for FINALLY realizing what talent we bred in Marion Barber III. Not only did he make Minnesotans proud as a Gopher, he has made America realize the impact TatorTotHotdish and all of Minnesota can make on the world … or at least Dallas!
– Shelley, Mankato, MN
Noise: Shelley, you're right. Barber brings no weak tot action.
I've had my cheeks firmly planted on the Barber bandwagon for well over a year now. When Julius Jones was sidelined by injury in the middle of last season, the electricity he brought to the Cowboys fledgling ground game instantly propelled him to man-crush levels. Though I rarely admit this publicly, I'm a University of Illinois football fan who knows very well the potential Barber showcased as a Golden Gopher. Outside of the Midwest, many were unfamiliar with his prowess. While at Minnesota, he set a Big Ten record in total offense (6,430), finished with the fourth-highest rushing total (3,759), had the sixth-highest point total (503) in Big Ten history and combined with Laurence Maroney in his senior year to become the 30th duo in NCAA history to run for 1,000 yards each in the same season. It still amazes me how he slipped to the fourth round in the '05 draft.
Barber's versatility, power and drive have made him a hot potato for fantasy owners. As I predicted back in August on our Sports Stream fantasy football preview show, the Tuna loves his Barber. Much to the chagrin of Jones owners, he has developed into the best goal-line gremlin in the league. Unbelievably, the guy has scored in seven of 10 games this season and has averaged more fantasy points-per-game than perceived draft day dominators Willis McGahee, Warrick Dunn, Cadillac Williams and Edgerrin James. Undoubtedly, he is the mightiest of the lesser-known consistency kings.
Parcells will continue to platoon Jones and Barber, with JJ getting nearly 70 percent of the touches, but for my team, the second-year runner is the guy I would want as a low-tiered No. 2 starter.
Thanks for the mad props, yo.