Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names whom he believes will leave egg on his face. To qualify, each player must be started in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here (Thresholds – QB: 18 fpts, RB: 12 fpts, WR: 11 fpts, TE: 10 fpts). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 15 Lames in the comments section below.
Cam Newton, Car, QB (79 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $35)
Matchup: vs. NO
Vegas line/total: NO -6.5, 51.5
Drummer (Hand). President (brain). If injury reports were offered in additional professions, these would shake employers to the core. In football, when quarterback and (shoulder) are listed next to one another, an equally concerned reaction follows. Newton simply isn’t right.
Though he was removed from last week’s injury report, random appearances by backup Taylor Heinicke and repeated sailed throws have many questioning exactly how healthy the prized passer really is. As NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling pointed out before last week’s implosion against Cleveland, Cam’s efficiency on virtually every throw — tight window, deep, under pressure, on the run — had plummeted from Weeks 10-13. His 76.3 adjusted completion percentage (QB16) versus the Browns didn’t erase any doubts. He’s QB9 since Week 10, but last week’s uncomely outcome has some triggered.
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Week 15’s matchup should only increase anxiety. New Orleans, once thought to be a walk in the park, has tightened in recent weeks. Over their past five games, the Saints, largely due to Marshon Lattimore’s much improved play, have surrendered the 11th-fewest fantasy points, 7.1 pass yards per attempt, 247.1 passing yards per game and 1.1 passing TDs per game. With Newton running less and the Panthers featuring Christian McCaffrey more, he’s behind Lamar Jackson (vs. TB) and Josh Allen (vs. Det) in my QB pecking order.
Fearless Forecast: 274 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 1 interception, 28 rushing yards, 16.8 fantasy points
Aaron Jones, GB, RB (86 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $22)
Matchup: at Chi
Vegas line/total: Chi -5.5, 45
Duke/North Carolina. Celtics/Lakers. Yankees/Red Sox. Among sports greatest rivalries, Bears/Packers is definitely in the running for most heated. Week 1, in much balmier conditions, Green Bay and Chicago engaged in a game for the ages. The Bears and their top-ranked defense dominated the first frame. Strip sack master Khalil Mack relentlessly attacked the pocket and forced Aaron Rodgers to leave the field on a cart.
Miraculously, the QB quickly recovered and engineered an unforgettable comeback, capped by a 75-yard game-clinching TD toss to Randall Cobb. Jones, who conceded touches to Jamaal Williams due to suspension, didn’t play. Much has changed since then. Mike McCarthy is unemployed. Green Bay has a minuscule chance of making the playoffs. And the Bears sit firmly atop the division standings.
After tranquilizing Todd Gurley last week and holding him to a season-low 58 total yards, the Monsters of the Midway are chomping at the bit to exact their revenge. On the year, they’ve conceded the third-fewest fantasy points, 3.60 yards per carry, 108.1 total yards per game and seven TDs to RBs. Jones, who’s top-12 in YAC per attempt on the year (2.98), deservedly out-snapped (42-24) and out-touched (20-4) belly-dragger Williams last week. He’s scored seven TDs in his past five games, but inside what will surely be a riotous Soldier Field, Jones will meet grater.
Fearless Forecast: 14 attempts, 51 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 19 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.5 fantasy points
Sony Michel, NE, RB (69 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $24)
Matchup: at Pit
Vegas line/total: NE -1, 52
After last week’s Miami Miracle, sports mouthpieces on airwaves from coast-to-coast are prompting the same question: “Is there something amiss about this year’s New England Patriots?” Their curiosity is warranted. Defensive miscues. Special teams flops. Tom Brady backslides. Though atop a division they’re sure to take for the 10th-consecutive season, the 2018 Pats, at least right now, don’t look like a Super Bowl contender. Doubting them, however, is usually an exercise in futility.
Disputing the services of Michel this week isn’t. The touchdown-or-bust back has driven down a rocky road since his three-game streak of 100-yard games ceased in Week 7. A knee injury combined with a string of sunken performances has rendered him unreliable. His 145-1 grounding of the Jets Week 12 is his only top-40 effort at the position in eight weeks. Woefully inefficient, he’s amassed a laughable 2.22 yards after contact per attempt and 9.5 missed tackle percentage. This week Michel and the Pats travel to Pittsburgh to exchange punches with a Steelers team already on the ropes.
Though unraveling in other areas, Mike Tomlin’s club is still rigid in the trenches. On the season, it’s allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points, 3.84 yards per carry, 78.7 rush yards per game and nine rushing TDs to RBs. According to Pro Football Focus, T.J. Watt and Stephon Tuitt rank highly in run-stop percentage at their respective positions. Sit Sony down.
Fearless Forecast: 18 attempts, 66 rushing yards, 0 receptions, 0 touchdowns, 6.6 fantasy points
Tyreek Hill, KC, WR (96 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $32)
Matchup: vs. LAC
Vegas line/total: KC -3.5, 52.5
Every day, when shaken awake by our alarms, we face unaware risks. Roll the dice pouring expired milk on the Cheerios? Run the yellow light at a busy intersection? Go over the head of your incompetent manager to ensure your deal goes through? Order your fourth tequila during happy hour? We all take chances. For those mavericks in attendance, inserting a tender-heeled wide receiver on short rest into your starting lineup is a venturesome proposition.
Though all indications suggest he’ll suit up in a colossal showdown with the L.A. Chargers, one has to wonder how effective Hill will truly be. Historically, he’s broken out the blowtorch against corner Casey Hayward. Week 1, for example, he burned him for seven receptions, 169 yards and two touchdowns. The DB, however, has allowed only one additional touchdown, 0.81 yards per snap and a 57.1 catch percentage to his other assignments.
Not to be overlooked, the Chargers collectively have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to WRs since Week 8. Evidenced by the eye test, his 3.08 yards per route (WR3) and 818 total air yards, explosive downfield plays are Hill’s modus operandi. Still, one has to wonder if he’ll be able to shift into the fifth gear when pressed. The risk averse would say, “No.”
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 67 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.7 fantasy points
Mike Evans, TB, WR (96 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $21)
Matchup: at Bal
Vegas line/total: Bal -8, 47
Family commitments. Secret Santa pressures. Children incessantly begging for gifts. Winter weather. The holiday season is oftentimes full of cheer, but it also packs a stressful side. It’s no wonder why some Santas and their “merry” little associates resort to violence. Evans investors can empathize. Due to the receiver’s painful inconsistency, his game log features as many peaks and valleys as the hair-raising Apollo’s Chariot coaster at Busch Gardens.
Over his past six contests, he eclipsed 100 yards twice, netting 50.3 yards per game in the other four efforts. His blistering pace in total air yards (WR2) and No. 5 contested catch rate standing say he’s capable of unloading on an opponent at any given time. However, the uneven relationship between Evans and Jameis Winston combined with an unwelcoming opponent say another nosedive is possible. The Ravens have surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points, only five 70-plus yard tallies and nine touchdowns to wide receivers. Additionally, his primary assignment, Jimmy Smith, has given up only one score this season. It’s why Evans ranks outside my top-20 this week at the position.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 61 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.1 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 15 LAMES (Over 50 percent started)
RB: David Johnson, Ari ($25; at Atl) – At first blush, a matchup against a susceptible opponent that’s struggled bottling up receivers in the short field seems impossible to veer away from. Though steeped in truth, nothing logical applies to Johnson. Often mishandled and misused, the highly touted rusher hasn’t measured up. Without a score in four straight and knowing the sickly state of Arizona’s offense, he’s a tough-to-field RB2 even in 12-team leagues. His horrendous production in YAC per attempt (2.55) and elusive rating (RB49) only adds another layer of stench. (16 atts, 54 yds, 5 recs, 28 yds, 0 tds, 10.7 fpts)
RB: Mark Ingram, NO ($16; at Car) – In the same RB class as Josh Adams and Gus Edwards, Ingram is touchdown dependent. His minimal pass game role and marginal yields in yardage (49.0 total ypg last three) has him toeing the start/sit line in 12-team leagues every week. His Week 15 foe, Carolina, has surrendered eight RB rushing scores this year, but only 4.03 yards per carry. Luke Kuechly and Kawann Short each rank inside the top-12 in overall run-stop percentage. In other words, this should be more of an Alvin Kamara game. (FF: 12 atts, 38 yds, 1 rec, 6 yds, 0 tds, 4.9 fpts)
WR: T.Y. Hilton, Ind ($23; vs. Dal) – Receivers draped by Byron Jones have experienced nothing but misery and woe. On 482 routes covered, the lockdown corner has given up one touchdown. He’s also allowed a 74.8 passer rating and 0.64 yards per snap. Hilton has battled through injuries and difficult matchups throughout the season. Over the past four weeks, he’s averaged 8.3 receptions per game and 139.0 yards per game against the likes of Jalen Ramsey and Jonathan Joseph. Jones, though, will be his staunchest opponent yet. Bank on mediocre, not magnificent, numbers in Week 15. (FF: 6 recs, 70 yds, 0 td, 10.0 fpts)
TE: Trey Burton, Chi ($10; vs. GB) – Forget a kiss. If I bump into Burton under hanging mistletoe, a prompt slap to the face will occur. After talking him up all summer, he’s bombed horribly over the season’s second half. Since Week 10, he’s failed to find the end zone and tallied a useless 2.0 receptions and 19.8 yards per game. Impossibly, he’s still started in 52 percent of Yahoo leagues. Matched against the rival Packers, he’s completely untrustworthy. Green Bay has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points and one TD to TEs this season. Give me upstarts Ian Thomas (vs. NO) and Anthony Firsker (at NYG) over him. (FF: 3 recs, 30 yds, 0 tds, 4.5 fpts)
DST: Los Angeles Rams ($18; vs. Phi) – Truth be told, the Rams are a different defensive animal with Aqib Talib on the field, allowing 6.5 pass yards per attempt and close to 200 pass yards per game. However, their permeability in the trenches (4.93 yards per carry allowed to RBs) doesn’t bode well against an Eagles team which has recently rediscovered its power running, and scoring, ways. Carson Wentz — if he manages to start (or Nick Foles) — sacked just two times the past two weeks, should guide Philly to its fourth straight 20-plus point performance. (FF: 26 PA, 426 YDSA, 2 SCKs, 1 TO, 4.0 fpts)
#TEAMHUEVOS 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 Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?
Rodgers, Michel, Drake, Evans, Jeffery, Hooper, LA Chargers
— Mike Bloodworth (@mikebloodworth) December 12, 2018
Reader record: 39-55
Brad record: 81-52 (WK15 6-4; W – Kirk Cousins, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Adrian Peterson, Corey Davis, Austin Hooper; L – Spencer Ware, Chris Carson, Joe Mixon, Houston D/ST)
Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also check out his TV show, “The Fantasy Football Hour,” now available in 91 million households on various regional sports networks, and his award-nominated podcast, “The Fantasy Record.”