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Bringin' the Noise: Turkey Leg Awards

Brad Evans
Yahoo Sports

Watch the Noise, and fellow Yahoo! expert Brandon Funston, answer your pressing lineup questions for a full hour every NFL Sunday on the Emmy nominated webcast "Fantasy Football Live" at 9 AM PT/11 AM CT/Noon ET.

Tomorrow my cholesterol level will rival Mark Mangino's.

The mountainous consumption 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'll veg on the couch, slowly stroke my newly acquired spare tire, attempt to fight off the narcoleptic effects of tryptophan and rehash memorable Turkey Day football moments of yore.

Inevitably, images of Leon Lett's boneheaded "Sleet Bowl" gaffe in 1993 and the magical, drop-jaw moves of Barry Sanders will replay in my cluttered head.

However, neither can hold a pitcher of gravy to my favorite Thanksgiving memory: turducken.

Possibly the byproduct of nuclear fallout or an accomplice in the Barry Bonds steroids scandal, John Madden's monstrous concoction of fowl is the greatest trophy ever issued. It was hilarious to hear Madden breakdown the browned beast's origin and telestrate its intricate details.

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?

In honor of the turducken tradition, it's time for the fourth-annual "Big Noise Turkey Leg Awards" recognizing the most unheralded fantasy producers by position – kickers and defenses always excluded.

The table is set. The wine corks are popped. And the succulent bird has been carved. Bon Appetit!

David Garrard, QB, Jac
'07 Stats: 190.0 PYPG, 8:0 TD:INT, 65.7 CMP%, 19.7 RYPG
Y! Rank: 98
Notes: When healthy, the "Beer Truck" has been a purveyor of the fantasy High Life. The 29-year-old signal caller will never post flashy numbers, but his 15-20 fantasy point contribution each week is laudable. In six starts this season, minus his injury-shortened game against Indy in Week 7, Garrard has averaged a respectable 18.2 fantasy points per game in standard formats, throwing a touchdown in each contest. His flawless 8:0 TD:INT split and admirable 65.7 completion percentage has made Jack Del Rio's decision to cut ties with Byron Leftwich look brilliant. Garrard has a frightening fantasy playoff schedule (Car, at Pit, Oak, at Hou) but through the adversity Mr. Steady will find a way to throw for 200-230 yards, 1-2 touchdowns and rush for 20-30 yards each week. As far as kings of consistency go, he's Henry VIII.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Garcia, TB

LenDale White, RB, Ten
'07 Stats: 3.5 YPC, 66.7 RYPG, 14 REC, 8.4 RCYPG, 5 TD
Y! Rank: 53
Notes: Because White could chug an entire pitcher of gravy in under 12 seconds, it's only fitting he would earn a spot on this list. Takeaway his past two mundane efforts and White has been a trustworthy No. 2. Chubs has sniffed the end zone in five of nine games, has topped the century mark three times and has averaged 11.0 fantasy points per week in standard scoring formats, the 20th-best output among tugboats. Jeff Fisher's faithfulness in the run and the spectacular trench play of the Titans O-line should lead White to appreciable totals during your fantasy playoffs – especially Week 16 against the junky Jets. Next August, he deserves second-round consideration in 12-team drafts.
Honorable Mention: Earnest Graham, TB

Bobby Engram, WR, Sea
'07 Stats: 8.9 TGT/G, 6.0 REC/G, 74.4 YPG, 10.5 YPC, 3 TD
Y! Rank: 55
Notes: Engram might be more silky smooth than mom's homemade gravy. The nine-year veteran has been a PPR peak performer, totaling at least five catches or more in six of 10 games. He's also been a starting lineup mainstay in yardage-exclusive formats, averaging 74.4 yards per game. Engram's heady route-running coupled with Matt Hasselbeck's pinpoint accuracy labels him a top-flight No. 3 over the remainder of the season – even with Deion Branch back in the mix.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Marshall, Den

Donald Lee, TE, GB
'07 Stats: 4.7 TGT/G, 3.8 REC/G, 45.8 YPG, 12.1 YPC, 4 TD
Y! Rank: 74
Notes: Historically, Brett Favre has loved tight ends more than his favorite pair of Wrangler jeans. And the ultra-athletic Lee is no exception. Shockingly, since Week 7, Lee has totaled more receptions (16) and yards (182) than perennial position headliner Antonio Gates, and has scored more touchdowns (3) than much ballyhooed tight ends Kellen Winslow, Tony Gonzalez and Jeremy Shockey. Favre's growing confidence in Lee will continue to lead him to heavyweight numbers over the remainder of the season.
Honorable Mention: Owen Daniels, Hou

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Here are this week's flames, lames and stars of video games:

*BNRK = Big Noise weekly position ranking
*Y!% = Percentage owned in Yahoo! leagues through 11/17

Week 12 Fantasy Flames
Player Team Pos Opp BNRK Y!%
David Garrard
QB
17 24.6
Lowdown: Garrard, a king of consistency, will gallantly lead fantasy owners to princely riches in Week 12. When healthy, Garrard has orchestrated Jack Del Rio's conservative offense like a maestro, racking at least one touchdown pass in six of seven starts – his injury-shortened Week 7 clash versus Indianapolis the only exception. The Bills have conceded seven 240-plus-yard quarterbacks in 10 contests and the sixth-most fantasy points to signal barkers this year. Although Garrard will never post headline-grabbing numbers, he's the epitome of dependability and should be counted on for 15-20 fantasy points. Always judicious with the football, he will spread the love against a Bills defense that was embarrassed by Tom Brady – who hasn't been? – last week. Unconfident Jay Cutler (at Chi) and Donovan McNabb (at NE) owners should employ Garrard's services.
Fearless Forecast: 234 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions, 27 rushing yards
Ron Dayne
RB
13 4.8
Lowdown: Big Daddy Dayne, whose rotund shape resembles the Mr. Potato Head balloon in the Macy's T-Day Parade, will pulverize the Browns. Cleveland's antiquated defensive line will be elder-abused by a Houston blocking unit that has played remarkably well in recent weeks. In his past two contests, Dayne has bulldozed his way to 118.5 total yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry. Cleveland has surrendered eight 100-yard rushers in 10 contests this season. Gary Kubiak is an ardent play-action supporter who will use the run to spring the pass. Matt Schaub will have little difficulty stretching the field with all-world wideout Andre Johnson back at full-strength, which should open up colossal holes for Dayne to plow through. As long as the Texans defense doesn't allow Cleveland to build an insurmountable lead early, Dayne should pound his way to another 90-110 total yard afternoon. Have faith in him as a No. 2 in 14-team and deeper leagues and as a top-notch flex play in shallower formats.
Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 89 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Ryan Grant
RB
12 55.3
Lowdown: In arguably the most meaningful Thanksgiving Day game in D-Town in over a decade, Grant, who will start despite missing practice this week with a minor ankle injury, will voraciously devour a Lions trench defense cluttered with slow-moving Butterball turkeys. Outside of buffet closer Shaun Rogers, the Lions trench team is an exploitable bunch. Since Week 5, the Lions have yielded only one rushing touchdown to plowshares but in their past five games they've surrendered 147 total yards per game to backs. Grant is a prototype downhill pounder who has run impressively in Mike McCarthy's one-cut, zone-blocking scheme, averaging 107 total yards per game in his past three contests. Because the Packers use the pass to set up the run, draws and delays have worked successfully. If the Green Bay O-line remains disciplined in their assignments, Grant will rocket his way to another 100-total yard day. Start him with confidence as a No. 2 in all 12-team leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 82 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 22 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Nate Washington
WR
26 1.8
Lowdown: Washington, thrust into a featured role with Santonio Holmes hampered by a high ankle sprain, will flourish against a Miami defense mystified by the pass. Ben Roethlisberger has excelled in Bruce Arians' spread scheme this season and has progressed cerebrally, making smart decisions in key situations. This week, his synapses will fire uninhibitedly versus a Dolphins defense that has allowed the sixth-most passing touchdowns (16) in the league. With Holmes in street clothes, the slender, speedy Washington will become Roethlisberger's primary deep-threat. The Fins have allowed 23 pass plays of 20-plus yards this season and, as impeccably as the Steelers execute on play-action, Big Ben will connect with Washington on a couple of eye-popping gainers. Washington, widely available in Yahoo! leagues, could post surprising No. 3 numbers under the Monday Night lights.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 76 yards, 1 touchdown
Justin Gage
WR
38 0.11
Lowdown: Gage, operating primarily out of the slot, has become Vince Young's most dependable possession receiver. The five-year veteran would have difficulties out-sprinting a sea lion, but his gangly 6-foot-4, 212-pound frame and intelligent route-running has made him a dangerous receiver. Over the past two weeks, Young's rededication to the pass has led Gage to accumulate 18 targets, 14 receptions, 156 yards and one touchdown. Because the Cincinnati secondary is utterly abhorrent, Young will again take flight some 30-plus times. Anticipate the second-year quarterback to continuously seek out Gage given his gargantuan height advantage. Cincinnati has surrendered a league-worst 17 touchdowns and 12 games of 70-plus yards to wideouts this season. Gage, available in over 99.8 percent of Y! leagues, is a sizable gamble who could pay an enormous profit as a No. 3 or flex play in 12-team and deeper PPR formats.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 62 yards, 1 touchdown
Shocker Special of the Week
Player Team Pos Opp BNRK Y!%
Vinny Testaverde
QB
18 0.25
Lowdown: Testaverde, who played alongside legendary running back Red Grange in his professional debut on Thanksgiving Day 1925, will reverse the hands of time against the sorrowful Saints. Last week at Lambeau, the ancient signal caller unexpectedly became just the second quarterback this season to rack 250 passing yards and two scores against the vaunted Packers secondary. This week, look for him to have continued success. The Saints pliable defense has yielded 282.4 passing yards and 1.6 air strikes per game – equal to the fifth-most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks – since Week 7. With cement blocks for feet, Testaverde must have abundant pocket time to step, fire and execute. That shouldn't be an issue as the Saints rank in the bottom third of the NFL in sacks. Steve Smith, the Panthers' premiere playmaker, is expected to return from a shin injury and will have Jason David in fetters. New Orleans has allowed 34 pass plays of 20-plus yards, the second-most in the league. It seems absurd to recommend someone who sailed on the Mayflower, but New Orleans has conceded at least one air score in each game this year.
Fearless Forecast: 246 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception
Week 12 Fantasy Lames
Player Team Pos Opp BNRK Y!%
Donovan McNabb
QB
19 100
Lowdown: Not even a piping hot bowl of mama McNabb's chunky sirloin burger soup will save Donovan from despair against the greatest team ever assembled. As of Wednesday, McNabb, who missed practice Tuesday to rest his sprained ankle, is expected to be a game-time decision. Considering the game's magnitude and McNabb's warrior attitude, I would expect him to suit up. However, he's not a recommended play. Pass protection has been problematic for the Eagles at times, which means McNabb will be pressured mercilessly by Richard Seymour and his cohorts. New England has tallied 29 sacks this season, the fourth-most in the NFL. Also, in six of 10 games this season, the Pats have held quarterbacks under 200 yards. Sure, the Pats will probably accumulate an unconquerable lead by halftime, which could cause McNabb to throw 40-plus times. But given the relentless duress McNabb will be under, he's one ankle tweak away from watching A.J. Feely from the sidelines.
Fearless Forecast: 226 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions
Willis McGahee
RB
20 100
Lowdown: McGahee, whose mugshot could strike fear into the heart of a death row inmate (see left), will be sent to the fantasy electric chair in Week 12. At home, San Diego is a supercharged defense. In four clashes at Qualcomm, starting running backs have tallied an abhorrent 3.1 yards per carry. Shawne Merriman, whose reputation as an unstoppable pass rusher was tainted by a Maurice Jones-Drew pancake block, will pick up the slack with Luis Castillo likely out and Jamal Williams unhealthy. Despite Kyle Boller's strong second half last week against Cleveland, he's an abominable quarterback who struggles with coverage reads. Given Boller's general ineptitude, the Ravens passing attack will be in a vegetative state, which will allow the Chargers to creep an extra defender into the box. McGahee has been spectacular of late, scoring in five straight contests, but he is avoidable in shallow formats this week.
Fearless Forecast: 21 carries, 67 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Maurice Morris
RB
22 9.5
Lowdown: Mo' Morris will have Mo' problems against a terribly underrated Rams rush defense. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett deserves acclaim for revamping a repulsive Rams defense that ranked dead last in the NFC against the run last season. Since Week 1, no rusher has eclipsed 90 yards against them. Morris, filling in for the virtually extinct Shaun Alexander, has performed satisfactorily in two starts, averaging 104.5 total yards per game with two touchdowns. However, the Seattle offensive line continues to have issues creating generous gaps in defenses, indicative of Morris' paltry 3.8 yards per carry average since Week 10. Rookie defensive tackle Adam Carriker is an edacious backfield consumer who should be in line for a banner day. Morris will net 20-plus touches, but expect the Seattle ground game to stagnate versus a Rams defense that has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to backs since Week 7.
Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 68 rushing yards, 2 reception, 19 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Brandon Marshall
WR
29 97.8
Lowdown: The probable return of Javon Walker means Marshall will be a secondary option against a steadily improving Bears defense. At Soldier Field, the Chicago secondary has played like Midway monsters instead of mice. In four home games, Charles "Peanut" Tillman and company have allowed one 80-yard reciever and a mere two touchdowns to wideouts. In his young career, Jay Cutler has performed atrociously on the road, averaging 182.7 passing yards and 1.2 air scores per game. Marshall has been superb in Walker's absence, averaging 5.8 receptions and 76.7 yards per game. But with Nathan Vasher's return to the lineup imminent and with Walker likely to steal a large chunk of his targets, the Broncos' rising star will be stymied in the Windy City.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 47 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns

Roy Williams
WR
26 100
Lowdown: Williams – and that mysterious stuffing ingredient – will give fantasy owners a painful case of indigestion Thursday. Al Harris and Charles Woodson, the Packers dynamic coverage duo, have blanketed premiere receivers. They've surrendered a mere three 80-yard wideouts in 10 contests and, since Week 5, only one receiver has reached the end zone against them. Collectively, Green Bay has held receivers to the fifth-fewest fantasy points over their past four games. Statistically speaking, Williams has vanished at times this season – he's failed to reach 60 yards in a game six times – and with Harris draping him, he will be a fantasy Casper this week. Because Jon Kitna and company will likely be playing from behind, keep the ultra-talented receiver active in all 12-team leagues. But anticipate a slumberous effort.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 44 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
SCORING BENCHMARKS
QBs: 15+ fantasy points
RBs: 10+ fantasy points
WRs: 7+ fantasy points
TEs: 6+ fantasy points
D/ST: 10+ fantasy points
*Scoring system:
4 PTs/Pass TD
1 PT/20 pass yards
6 PTs/Rush-Rec TD
1 PT/10 Rush-Rec yards
-1 PT/INT or FL
WEEK 11 FLAMES RESULTS
W: Matt Schaub = 22 Points
W: Chester Taylor = 38 Points
W: D.J. Hackett = 19 Points
L: Selvin Young = 5 Points
L: Drew Bennett = 0 Points
L: Kevin Faulk = 0 Points
Week 11 Flame Record: 3-3
Shocker Specials: 3-8
Season Total: 32-33 = 49.8%
WEEK 11 LAMES RESULTS
W: Clinton Portis = 4 Point
W: Laveranues Coles = 5 Points
L: Jon Kitna = 20 Points
L: Derrick Mason = 8 Points
ND: Marshawn Lynch = DNP
Week 11 Lame Record: 2-2
Season Total: 26-27 = 49.1%

NOTABLE NOISE
Upset you don't have a forum to express your disdain for drafting Carnell Williams? 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?

I really, really hope that a lot of your readers watched Fantasy Football Live this Sunday. Why? Because you cemented your status as a legitimate fantasy analyst when you picked Earnest Graham for the "Manage My Roster" segment over a couple of other seemingly "obvious" choices – thereby invoking a barrage of verbal abuse by your other two cohorts. To be honest, I thought you were nuts as well, but after seeing the box score (102 rushing yards and a score) I have been made a permanent BE worshipper. Keep up the good work. And Go Illini.

Jimmy, Derry, NH

Brad, your comments about Marshawn Lynch's mugshot were hilarious. Nice to know there are other people besides my family who share your twisted sense of humor. Keep up the laughs.

Ken, San Diego, CA

Brad, I love it when you make comparisons between players and celebrities. I don't think there has been one that hasn't made me laugh, usually drawing awkward stares at work. That said, take a look at the Bears' Adrian Peterson and Whoopi Goldberg side by side and see if you can tell the difference …

Steve, Peoria, IL

Noise: If Peterson donned a habit, vowed to live a cloistered existence and had a hankering for Broadway show tunes, he could moonlight as a Whoopi "Sister Act" impersonator. A European convent tour would certainly make him the mint.


Can you please stop comparing the faces of NFL players to your numerous pop-culture references? It's getting a little old. Perhaps you were itching to get the Jack Link's Sasquatch some pub, but crossing him with Lil' Jon to match Marshawn Lynch was a stretch. That's like me comparing your mugshot to a cross between Andy Roddick and Destro of G.I. Joe fame. Actually, you still do have hair, so I'll be nice and call you a cross between Andy Roddick and Paul Giamatti of "Sideways" fame. (Actually, that was quite fun! Now, I see why you do this a lot …)

Erwin, Seattle, WA

Noise: Wow. Not only does my tennis serve register triple-digits, but I also have a distinguished nose for Pinot Noir. I guess your comparison also means Mandy Moore and Virginia Madsen would find me irresistible. Rumor has it, Madsen is quite the cougar …


Who cares where you would draft Brady. You were lucky enough to have Addai fall to you at 6, but then you traded him before the season started, right? And you are the same guy who took Crawford in front of A-Rod, right? Your record speaks for itself. You're just some dimwit. The only reason to look at your column is to play the opposite of what you think. I'm sad to see Matt Schaub on your list. I thought he was going to be a sneaky play this week – but now I know he will be a dud.

Thomas New York, NY

Noise: Thomas, because my current flames/lames tallies are hovering near 50 percent, halfwit is a more appropriate word to describe my talents – or lack thereof.

For those readers in the dark about Thomas' comments, back in August I shipped Joseph Addai and Ladell Betts to my esteemed colleague Brandon Funston in exchange for Brandon Jacobs and Marion Barber. Naturally, my insatiable man-lust for Jacobs prompted me to offer the trade. And, frankly, the deal has worked out well for both of us.

When the Football Frankenstein has been healthy – don't expect him back until Week 14 – he's certainly performed like a top-10 back, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and 97.5 total yards per game. Meanwhile, Barber's seven chalk crosses in 10 games have labeled him a very useful No. 2. Yes, their combined total points nearly equal Addai's output. But in fantasy points per game, they've outscored Addai by an average of 5.8 points per week. It was definitely not an idiotic move.

Oh, and I seriously hope you're head is still throbbing for not taking my advice on Schaub (293 yards, 2 touchdowns in Week 11). Every once in a while even a halfwit looks like a genius.


What are your thoughts of Ricky Williams starting this year?

James, Monroe, WA

Noise: Before discussing Ricky, it would only be appropriate to set the mood by burning incense and playing Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" in the background.

The Sticky Icky One will be a minimal fantasy producer over the remainder of the season. Jesse Chatman has performed commendably, averaging 101.8 total yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry in four starts. Given Chatman's efforts, it seems likely that a 60-40 time-share will be installed, with the incumbent earning the heavy side of the split. Cam Cameron will feed Ricky roughly 10-15 times per game in order to showcase his dwindling talents for a potential suitor.

Several months removed from the blistering speed of the NFL game and given Miami's vanilla passing offense, it's unlikely he'll average any more than 50 total yards per game. However, his favorable schedule in Weeks 13, 14 and 17 could render him a reasonable flex starter in 12-team and deeper formats. In those three contests, the Dolphins face the Jets, Bills and Bengals, who each rank in the top-15 in fantasy points allowed to running backs.

SILENCE THE NOISE CHALLENGE
Each week one lucky aspiring fantasy prognosticator is chosen to go toe-to-toe against the Noise. If you want to be a guest "expert" submit your flames, lames and shocker special via the link in the column footer no later than midnight central time on Tuesdays. Oh, and please, no long dissertations to justify your picks. All that's required are your player selections and projections. Good luck!

Week 12 contestant: Mark from Brooklyn, NY

Flames:
Jeff Garcia, TB (vs. Was): 200 passing yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Thomas Jones, NYJ (at Dal): 20 carries, 85 yards, TD
Jamal Lewis, Cle (vs. Hou): 20 carries, 80 yards, 2 TDs
Hines Ward, Pit (vs. Mia): 8 receptions, 85 yards, TD
Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ (at Dal): 5 receptions, 67 yards, TD

Shocker Special:
Joe Jurevicius, Cle (vs. Hou): 5 receptions, 45 yards, TD

Lames:
Jay Cutler, Den (at Chi): 200 passing yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Kevin Jones, Det (vs. GB): 50 rushing yards, 0 receiving yards, 0 TD
Willis McGahee, Bal (at SD): 75 rushing yards, 0 receiving yards, 0 TD
Deion Branch, Sea (at StL): 4 receptions, 60 yards, 0 TD
Lee Evans, Buf (at Jac): 5 receptions, 49 yards, 0 TD

Week 11 Results: Justin from Pittsburgh, PA
Flames: 4-2, 67% (W – New York Giants DEF/ST, Chester Taylor, Derrick Mason, Jerry Porter (Shocker Special); L – Warrick Dunn, James Jones)
Lames: 1-4, 25% (W – Tony Gonzalez; L – Jeff Garcia, Eli Manning, Willis McGahee, Torry Holt)

Noisers YTD: Flames: 22-26, 45.8%; Lames: 19-21, 51.4%, Shocker Specials: 2-6