Lames: Grizzly outlook for MJD versus visiting Bears
Each week the Noise highlights 10 bold names who he believes are destined to torpedo your team leave egg on his face. 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 scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, post your Week 5 Lames in the comments section below.
[More: Bold statements from the first quarter of the 2012 NFL season]
Michael Vick, Phi, QB (58-percent started)
Matchup: at Pit
Vick may be spending cash like a Lotto millionaire (Damn creditors!), but unless his play quickly improves, he may soon be pinching pennies alongside destitute two-time Pro Bowler Vince Young. In what was supposed to be a bounce back season, the controversial QB has scored modestly. His 23.4 points per game checks in at No. 12 among passers. Badgered repeatedly in the pocket, it's amazing he's not buried six feet under. Considering Philly's offensive line inadequacies, look for Dick LeBeau to throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the vulnerable signal caller. So far this season, Vick has been placed under duress on 45.8-percent of his drop-backs, the highest amount in the league. No surprise, he's completed just 37.5-percent of his attempts in high-heat situations. In an attempt to alleviate pressure, Andy Reid will make it a top priority to feed LeSean McCoy early. But Pittsburgh, which returns Troy Polamalu and James Harrison to the lineup off the bye, has allowed only 3.5 YPC and just one 100-yard rusher in its past 17 home games. If the Eagles fail to strike a balance, Vick will undoubtedly struggle. Keep in mind the Steelers have allowed a lowly 6.8 yards per attempt this season. Traditional backups Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck and Christian Ponder are stronger starts.
Fearless Forecast: 18-34, 234 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 3 turnovers, 31 rushing yards, 15.8 fantasy points
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jax, RB (96-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Chi
If you thought Dallas' offensive performance against Chicago was a train-wreck, count on Jacksonville's imitating a bomb-strapped gasoline tanker crashing head-on into a nuclear reactor. Despite upgrades in the wide receiver corps, the Jags are again one of the league's most laughable passing offenses. For that reason, the workhorse has found little breathing room this season. Still, he remains on pace to match totals in rushing yards, receptions and receiving yards from 2009 (1,391-53-374). Unless Blaine Gabbert suddenly morphs into Mark Brunell circa 1997, a second-straight lousy week is in the offing for the reigning rush king. MJD's lame status hinges on Urlacher's and the entire Chicago linebacker corps' execution. Though the defender has clearly lost a step in pass coverage, he remains an enforcer plugging the gap. So far this season, the Monsters of the Midway have surrendered a mere 3.4 yards per carry and the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Jacksonville's offensive line is light years better than Dallas', but if the Bears control the line of scrimmage like it did Monday night, it could be a frustrating afternoon for the Oompah Loompah. Mike Mularkey, who admitted he underfed his rusher Week 4 versus Cincinnati, will definitely call No. 32 often, but, based on the unfavorable matchup, bank on an unsavory final line.
Fearless Forecast: 21 carries, 84 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 10 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 11.6 fantasy points
Chris Johnson, Ten, RB (62-percent started)
Matchup: at Min
CJ2LAME is fantasy's most feared axe-murderer. Just when you think a sense of security has overtaken, he jumps out of the shadows and lops your head off. Coming off his first 100-yard performance since last December, owners who stood loyally by his side probably feel he's a safe play. But they are only kidding themselves. As the rusher remarked earlier this week he'll only be as good as his offensive line, a convenient excuse considering his timidity and persistent swing-for-the-fences running style are equally to blame. Of his 58 attempts this year 37.9-percent have gone for 1-yard or less. Spearheaded by Chad Greenway, the new Purple People Eaters have yet to surrender a rushing touchdown and have allowed a meager 3.1 yards per carry to RBs. Overall, they've given up the second-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Because the Titans O-line couldn't seal off a scarecrow, the pocket will be bombarded with run and pass blitzes this week, a bad sign with stone statue Matt Hasselbeck under center. Unless Tennessee miraculously wins the battle up front, more negative plays are in the forecast for this season's biggest disappointment. Only the iron-stomached should trust his services.
[Fantasy Football 101: Keys to survive the bye weeks]
Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 52 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.5 fantasy points
Steve Smith, Car, WR (88-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Sea
About the only headline Smith has written through the first four weeks were comments regarding Cam Newton's not so stellar leadership qualities. So far the multi-time Pro Bowler has posted a deflating 9.0 fantasy points per game in standard formats, the 31st-best output among wide receivers. On pace for 100 targets, 29 fewer than last season, he's lost looks to emerging weapons Brandon LaFell and Greg Olsen. At 33, some would say he's slowing down, but his 20.5 yards per catch suggests otherwise. Still, this week's matchup doesn't bode well for the veteran. Corners Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman are one of the league's best tandems. This year, the pair have allowed a bland 12.6 yards per catch to their assignments. Because they surrender few explosive pass plays, this is a game that favors Olsen underneath. Expect a decent yardage clip from Smith, but don't expect him to get off the TD snide.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 66 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.6 fantasy points
Stevie Johnson, Buf, WR (80-percent started)
Matchup: at SF
The gregarious wide receiver won't admit to it, but he and Ryan Fitzpatrick are indeed 'out of synch.' Clearly, chemistry issues are plaguing the pair. In two of Buffalo's past three games, the quarterback has looked Stevie's direction only twice, crazy when you consider the passer totaled 58 attempts in those games. Expect the disconnect to continue. San Francisco, once again, has asserted itself as the league's most balanced defense. Though Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown have conceded a 76.1 catch percentage, only James Jones Week 1 reached the double-digit threshold in fantasy points against them. And, in total, the Niners have yielded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. With the added attention Johnson is sure to receive over-the-top, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are the Bills to fear. Stretching back to last year, San Fran has struggled at times defending the flat.
Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 29 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 5.1 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 5 LAMES
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 Mondays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?
Reader Record: 10-18 (35.7%)
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