Week 16 lames: Wilson, McLaurin to play Grinch in fantasy title games


Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names who he believes will leave egg on his face. To qualify, each player must be started in at least 50% 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 fantasy points, RB: 12 fantasy points, WR: 11 fantasy points, TE: 10 fantasy points). If you’re a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 16 Lames on Twitter @NoisyHuevos

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

(93% started in Yahoo; DK DFS: $7,300) 
Matchup: vs. LAR
Vegas line/Total: SEA -2, 47.5

Tectonic shifts are fairly common in the Puget Sound region adjacent to Seattle. From the 2001 earthquake that registered 6.8 on the Richter Scale, injured 400 and caused $1-4 billion in damage, to the Beast Quake, the unforgettable 67-yard tackle-blasting TD run by Marshawn Lynch in the 2010 NFC Wild Card round that triggered a thunderous crowd eruption so loud it caused needle movement on nearby seismographs, residents in an around the seaport city are quite familiar with mound-shaking events. 

Wilson, once on pace for earth-shattering MVP-level numbers, has suddenly and stunningly calmed. Of late, Mr. Unlimited has posted finite numbers. He failed to eclipse 20 fantasy points in four of his last six contests. A precipitous decline in deep-ball success (Weeks 1-9: 111.7 deep-ball passer rating; 10-15: 62.6) and overall accuracy dip (Weeks 1-9: 81.7% adjusted completion percentage; 10-15: 77.5%) explain the downturn. Both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett simply haven’t trounced the competition like they did earlier this season. 

This week, Wilson squares off against an LA Rams defense fresh off a humiliating loss to the Jets, a team that may have ruined its chances to acquire generational talent QB Trevor Lawrence. The last time the division rivals met in Week 11, Wilson was Ho-Ho-Horrible. His 11.9-fantasy-point output was his rock-bottom performance of the season. Jalen Ramsey and Co. are surely motivated to right the wrongs of Sunday. On the year, they’ve given up just 6.1 pass yards per attempt, 213.1 pass yards per game, 15 total passing TDs and the fewest fantasy points to the position. Bottom line, the confluence of recent developments doesn’t bode well for Wilson. Ryan Tannehill (at GB), Justin Herbert (vs. DEN) and Jalen Hurts (at DAL) are better title-game options. 

Fearless forecast: 239 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 turnovers, 38 rushing yards, 15.4 fantasy points 

J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens

(63%; $6,200) 
Matchup: vs. NYG
Vegas line/Total: BAL -10.5, 45.5

Every year, unintentionally cruel parents come up with the same brilliant idea, a wonderful awful idea, of scarring their children by sneaking up from behind, in full Grinch costume, to frighten them. Blood-curdling screams followed by a torrent of tears, unshockingly, follow. 

For little Cindy Lou Whos banking on a monster week from Dobbins with a trophy on the line, similar anguish awaits. Yes, John Harbaugh and Greg Roman have finally abandoned their grinchy ways toward the rookie. Over the past three weeks, he’s finally received the weekly workload he richly deserves, cashing in for three touchdowns while averaging 68.3 total yards per game and 2.42 yards after contact per attempt. Complementing Lamar Jackson’s volcanism perfectly, he’s become the steady RB2 contributor fantasy GMs were hoping to see when they sank a mid-draft pick in him back in August. His future is blindingly bright. 

Sunday, Dobbins encounters the Giants, a defense featuring one of the most unheralded trench warriors in the league, LB Blake Martinez. This season, he’s accounted for 29 tackles for loss versus the run. Overall, New York has allowed 4.13 yards per carry, 83.8 rush yards per game, 13 total TDs to RBs. More unforgiving over the past five weeks, they’ve conceded the seventh-fewest fantasy points to RBs.

Fearless forecast: 15 carries, 66 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.9 fantasy points 

Mike Davis, RB, Carolina Panthers

(68%; $6,500) 
Matchup: at WAS
Vegas line/Total: WAS -2, 44.5

Early Monday, Halema?uma?u on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted. Magma, ash and smoke jettisoned into the night sky, as native deity Pele, revered for his contributions in creating the landscape, demanded to be heard. Fantasy GMs who invested a top pick in Christian McCaffrey feel similarly. With their wasted selection on the sidelines, they’ve smoldered for weeks as ankle and quad setbacks extinguished any hopes for a prompt return. Davis has performed well in spurts, but with only a pair of double-digit fantasy point tallies to his name since Week 7, his production has slipped precipitously. Still, forcing a missed tackle on 29.0% of his touches and top-25 in YAC per attempt (3.03), he remains one of the league’s most efficient plowshares. 

This week, moving the earth beneath him will be an arduous chore. Washington’s pass rush prowess is well documented. Chase Young and Montez Sweat chase down with the supersonic energy of a dozen Pearl Jam concerts. What’s not as well known is Daron Payne’s ability to swallow RBs whole. This season, he ranks No. 10 among all defenders in total run stops (28). His presence is the primary reason why the Fighting Footballs slot at No. 6 in fewest fantasy points allowed to rushers, allowing 4.03 yards per carry, 110.9 total yards per game and 11 total TDs on the season. Again, assuming CMC remains on siesta, it’s unwise to count on Davis for anything more than marginal results on the road. 

Fearless forecast: 13 attempts, 52 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 16 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.3 fantasy points 

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

(61%; $5,500) 
Matchup: at PIT
Vegas line/Total: IND -1.5, 44.5

For Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrological great conjunction might as well be a constantly looping channel on PornHub. It’s an event, last witnessed by humans 400 years ago and seen illuminating the night sky this past Monday, when Jupiter and Saturn passed by one another by a fractional 0.1 degrees, less than the diameter of the phone, during the winter solstice. Due to its proximity to a certain holiday, the resulting vibrant celestial confluence is appropriately nicknamed the “Christmas Star.”

Four friggin’ centuries. 

For impatient fantasy zealots, it’s roughly the same amount of time it took Hilton to finally rediscover his WR2 form. Written off, appropriately so, after posting a useless 29 receptions for 339 yards and zero touchdowns from Weeks 1-11, good for an “enlightening” WR88 in fantasy points accrued over the stretch, the former roach motel is now a go-to four-star resort. Unbelievably, since then, he’s WR4 netting 16.5 yards per catch and a ridiculous 3.30 fantasy points per touch. Good things happen when you wait for what seems like a millennium. 

This week, however, Hilton could re-enter hibernation. Truth be told, the Steel Curtain is far from impenetrable vertically. Pittsburgh has allowed just 6.5 pass yards per attempt, but is ranks middle of the pack in total per game yardage (157.9) and touchdowns (16) surrendered to WRs. The Colt’s projected Lambada partner, CB Cameron Sutton, has given up a modest 63.2% catch percentage, 88.4 passer rating and 1.02 yards per snap. Toss in the Steelers’ propensity for applying pocket heat (42.1% blitz percentage, No. 2) and Hilton could revert to his quiet ways. 

Fearless forecast: 4 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.0 fantasy points 

Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team

(84%; $6,700) 
Matchup: vs. CAR
Vegas line/Total: WAS -2, 44.5

In German/Austin lore, Krampus is an imagined (likely by vengeful parents) horned anthropomorphic creature who haunts the nightmares of children. Fall in line, good little boy or girl, and you’ll receive dried fruit or chocolate. Defy orders and prepare to feel the birch rod’s wrath. And you thought landing on Santa’s naughty list, or simply being a Jets fan, was punishment enough. 

To many in the fantasy community, Dwayne Haskins is the personification of the Alpine legend, maskless strip club visits included. Instead of gifting McLaurin backers sweet treats, he inflicts pain, one errant throw at a time. Truthfully, however, the opposite is true. The on-field bromance forged while both played at Ohio State has carried over. In five games this season with the QB under center, according to the FTN Fantasy splits tool, McLaurin has slashed 5.8 receptions per game and 81.3 receiving yards per game while scoring one touchdown. It could be argued his ceiling is capped, but make no mistake, whether it’s Haskins or Alex Smith at the controls this week, Washington’s No. 1 weapon is sure to get blanketed with targets. 

The results, however, could be suboptimal. The Fighting Sir Purrs attack the pass as though it were a heaping pile of catnip. As witnessed against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last week, they’re more than capable of penetrating pockets and forcing QB misfires. On the year, they’ve allowed 6.9 pass yards per attempt, the ninth-fewest air yards per game and the 11th-fewest fantasy points to WRs. Drawing Donte Jackson in coverage (83.9 passer rating allowed), McLaurin could post mundane numbers. 

Fearless forecast: 6 receptions, 67 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.7 fantasy points 

Bonus lames (over 50% started)

RB: Kenyan Drake, ARZ (Line: ARZ -4.5; DK: $5,200) — Love the Drake. Hate the Drake. There really is no in between when it comes to the Arizona RB. Nicked up last week against the Eagles, the rusher posted an uneventful final line. His subsequent 5.0 half-PPR scored points marked only the second time he failed to reach double figures in a game since Week 5. His lofty 23.7% red-zone percentage (RB2) keeps his RB2 potential fairly high, but a minimized receiving role often means it’s TD or bust on a weekly basis. His opponent, San Francisco, was pulverized last week by Tony Pollard and the Cowboys. Still, Fred Warner and Friends have allowed only 3.78 yards per carry, 75.1 rush yards per game, eight ground scores and the seventh-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Drake totaled 65 yards and a score in the first matchup eons ago in Week 1. Take away the TD and a carbon copy effort is likely. (FF: 15-58-0-2-11-0, 7.9 fantasy points)

RB: Darrell Henderson, LAR (Line: SEA -2; DK: $4,500) — The SpongeBob claymation Christmas special might be one of the most underrated bits of holiday programming. In the episode, Plankton attempts to destroy Christmas by feeding everyone fruit cake filled with Jerktonium, which, predictably, ramps up the surliness in Bikini Bottom. Up until Week 11, Sean McVay was the head baker at the Jerktonium plant. His refusal to feed Cam Akers was a real Richard move. With his coach seeing the light over the past five weeks, the rookie finally got his just due. He ranked RB10 Weeks 11-15, tallying 90.6 total yards per game (on 16.8 touches per game) with three touchdowns. His 19 red-zone attempts during that span were also quite attractive. This week, though, Akers, saddled by a tender ankle, is sidelined. In steps the promoted backup. His opponent, Seattle, has yielded a mere 3.88 yards per carry and 116.6 total yards per game to RBs this season. In fact, only two rushers cracked the 70-yard mark on the ground against them this year. Don’t take the bait. Avoid Henderson. (FF: 14-42-0-1-7-0, 5.4 fantasy points)

RB: D'Andre Swift, DET (Line: TB -9.5; DK: $6,400) — Similar to fellow greenhorn Akers, Swift’s late-season usage spike is a what-took-you-so-long godsend. Lions coaches’ insistence on trotting our relic Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson for much of the season kept the rookie under wraps. Finally through the cerebral post-concussion fog suffered just over a month ago, he played on 65% of Detroit’s snaps last week and totaled 76% of the opportunity share. More finesse than power (2.22 YAC/att), he’s a multi-purpose weapon in the same talent class as Clyde Edwards-Helaire. This week, increased reliance on his slick receiving skills has to be a top priority. Tampa is immovable in the trenches. This season, the Bucs have allowed 3.12 yards per carry, 97.6 total yards per game, 11 total TDs and the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs. The Bucs have given up the highest number of RB receptions (90), which boosts Swift’s potential, but expected subpar ground gains mitigate his upside. (FF: 12-33-0-5-21-0, 7.9 fantasy points)

WR: Tyler Boyd, CIN (Line: HOU -8.5; DK: $4,900) — The receiver’s untimely jingle bell ringing early in last Monday’s shocking Bengals upset of Pittsburgh crushed the hopes of many deep leaguers in Fantasyland. His box score donut occurred at the most inopportune time. It’s unlikely he would’ve posted measurable numbers anyways. Ryan Finley is the embodiment of every stumbling mall Santa hammered off a fifth of peppermint schnapps. He’s noodly armed and woefully inaccurate. If Brandon Allen suits up and the receiver returns on a short week, he’s undependable, despite what appears to be a spectacular matchup. Houston, for all intents and purposes, is overly forgiving defensively. However, they do excel in one area, slot coverage. The Texans have surrendered the ninth-fewest yards per game (54.5) to slot WRs. Don’t get suckered in. (FF: 5-44-0, 5.9 fantasy points) 

TE: Rob Gronkowski, TB (Line: TB -9.5; DK: $3,600) — When you see Detroit on the schedule, most instantly believe any and all players are sure to stroll down Candy Cane Lane. The Lions spiritless defense yields, for those who subscribe to the idea, nothing but sweet returns. That is generally the case, but rather surprisingly Detroit has done a rock-solid job containing tight ends. This season it’s surrendered 3.6 receptions, 36.1 yards per game and the ninth-fewest fantasy points to the position. Gronk, who’s scored only once in his last four contests and fallen short of 45 yards in five of his last seven, hasn’t exactly lived up to the Tom Brady reunion hype. The former pro wrestler’s inconsistency is maddening, leading many investors to boot him from the ring. With trophy hopes on the line, an about face seems unlikely. Instead, expect a heavy dose of Ronald Jones (or Leonard Fournette) in the Motor City. (FF: 4-31-0, 5.1 fantasy points)

Week 15 record: 6-1 (Season: 80-56)

W: Russell Wilson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kenyan Drake, Wayne Gallman, Tyler Lockett, Adam Thielen
L: Diontae Johnson
DNP: Michael Thomas, Ezekiel Elliott, Mike Gesicki

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