Each week the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, unobvious names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. To qualify, each player must be started in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post the results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, post your Week 6 Flames in the comments section below.
Alex Smith, SF, QB (19-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NYG
Once the Bea Arthur of fantasy quarterbacks, San Fran's 'Golden Girl' is now more Blanche Devereaux — sassy, sultry and, statistically speaking, quite alluring. Coming off just his second 300-yard game since October 5, 2010, Smith is dealing. The antithesis of Mark Sanchez, he's completed nearly 69-percent of his passes and is on pace to obliterate his previous career high in touchdown passes (Pace: 26, High: 18). Consistency in coordinators has made him more comfortable with the offense and in his overall decision-making. His swollen 'bird' is a "concern" to head coach Jim Harbaugh, but the signal caller downplayed the injury Monday calling it "no big deal." Assuming the swelling subsides, he's a fabulous start in Week 6. The visiting Giants are one of the league's worst pass defenses. According to Pro Football Focus, Corey Webster ranks No. 102 out of 102 corners in pass coverage. Overall, the Giving-Men have surrendered 8.8 yards per attempt and four 20-point fantasy performances to QBs this season. For Drew Brees and Cam Newton owners seeking a one-week replacement, the Gold Panner should yield bountiful riches. Plug. Play. Reap.
Fearless Forecast: 21-31, 251 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 17 rushing yards, 22.3 fantasy points
Rashard Mendenhall, Pit, RB (46-percent started)
Matchup: at Ten
Similar to the other members of the 'Knee Three' (Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles), Mendenhall didn't skip a beat in his triumphant return to the lineup. He resembled the hard-cutting, explosive back from two years ago, a season in which he finished No. 7 among RBs. After four weeks of Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer 2-yard plods, it had to be refreshing for Steelers fans to see. Overall, he finished with 101 total yards and a touchdown on 16 touches against Philly. Thursday's encore could be even better, provided Pittsburgh's retooled offensive line continues to execute. Though Mike Munchak recently made a dumbfounding remark this year's Titans team is more talented than last year's mediocre bunch, his defense remains leaky, particularly in the trenches. Tennessee has conceded 4.2 yards per carry, 173.6 total yards per game and six touchdowns to rushers, equal to the sixth-most fantasy points allowed to RBs. Emerging from his inaugural effort of 2012 unscathed, the Steelers' "savior" will carry supporters to the Promised Land. Start him with the utmost confidence, but, as Gerry Dulac reported Tuesday, don't expect a burdensome workload just yet.
Donald Brown Vick Ballard, Ind, RB (3-percent started)
Matchup: at NYJ
Brown offers about as much excitement as watching David Blaine get jolted for three straight days. Painfully average across the board, he's the consummate get-what-you-pay-for back. His skill set and overall workload rarely stand out. And Indy's inadequate defense has done him no favors. Still, when given opportunities he's contributed some meaningful stats. Nearly 66-percent of his 239 total rushing yards have come after contact. Fresh off his best game of the season, (92 total yards vs. GB) he's a RB2 to trust in Week 6. Because of Andrew Luck's rapid ascension and Reggie Wayne's otherworldly play, defenses are starting to turn their attention to the pass game, which should place Brown in several exploitable situations. The Puddle Jumpers, widely believed to be one of the league's stingiest run defenses entering the season, have been just the opposite. In particular, nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, who checks in at No. 46 per Pro Football Focus versus the run, has really struggled. Through five weeks, New York has allowed an uncharacteristic 4.7 yards per carry and the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs. On possibly his first 20 touch game of the season, Brown clowns Rex Ryan and company. (UPDATE: Brown underwent a knee scope Wednesday morning and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. Ballard, who at times was a tackle-shredding beast in preseason play, will handle the load. Consider the promoted backup a mid-range RB2 in 12-team leagues this week.)
Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 83 rushing yard, 2 receptions, 9 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.7 fantasy points
Denarius Moore, Oak, WR (17-percent started)
Matchup: at Atl
Off the bye the Raiders have the unenviable task of clashing with the NFC's lone unblemished team in their house. In reality, it's a matchup to avoid, but, in fantasy, it's one to take advantage of. After losing Brent Grimes Week 1, most expected the Falcons' secondary to flounder. However, Asante Samuel has picked up the slack, executing brilliantly over the past few weeks. On the year, his assignments have netted just 9.6 yards per catch. And, overall, Atlanta has given up a mere 7.0 yards per passing attempt. But, despite the unsavory paper matchup, Moore is a trustworthy WR3 in 12-team and deeper leagues this week. Why? Oakland's defense is positively ghastly. Because a one-armed man could throw for 300 yards against the Raiders' secondary, Carson Palmer will likely accumulate 45-50 pass attempts, enhancing Moore's chances for a big payday. The wideout, who has averaged 8.7 targets in three games, could net his heftiest workload of the season.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.6 fantasy points
Andre Roberts, Ari, WR (30-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Buf
Roberts, quietly in the midst of a breakout season, continues to draw minimal praise from the fantasy community. Owned in just over half of Yahoo! leagues, he deserves more. His 10.5 per game average in standard formats ranks No. 19 among WRs, ahead of notable names Eric Decker, Antonio Brown and teammate Larry Fitzgerald. Roberts put in the grunt work this offseason training alongside Fitz while devoting endless hours in the film room. As a result, he's become one of the game's most underrated route runners and underneath weapons. With so much attention paid to Fitzgerald, he's thrived in single coverage. Expect that trend to continue this week. No defense has yielded more wide receiver touchdowns (10) than the bumbling Bills. Starting corners Aaron Williams and Justin Rogers, who combined have allowed a 62.5 catch percentage, rank No. 91 and 97, respectively, in pass coverage according to PFF. If, and that's a giant IF, Kevin Kolb is afforded time, Roberts should flirt with triple-digits in yardage.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 93 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 19.8 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Alex Green, GB, RB (4-percent started)
Matchup: at Hou
With Cedric Benson sidelined potentially for the next eight weeks with a Lisfranc injury, indications suggest James Starks will draw the start this week for Green Bay. But considering Starks' snaillike pace and inelastic running style, Green is the smart money bet. The ex-Hawaii star opened eyes last week in relief of Benson. His beautiful 41-yard scamper in the second half, a run which featured a brilliant cut-back across the grain, showcased his talents. Blessed with size (6-0, 225 lbs.), speed (4.45 40-yard time), versatility and a 'get downhill' mentality, he's a wonderful fit for Green Bay's zone-blocking scheme. However, the Packers' coaching staff, likely still worried about his surgically repaired knee, apparently don't want to overexert the young back. Still, even if he plays second-fiddle to Starks, he possesses plenty of flex appeal this week at Houston. The Texans, thought to be one of the league's most unyielding run defenses, has surrendered a generous 4.3 yards per carry to RBs this season. Shifty runners like Reggie Bush and Chris Johnson have caused them fits. And down one of its best gap defenders, Brian Cushing, Houston's vulnerability between-the-tackles is noticeable. If he logs 12-15 touches, Green could be one of Week 6's biggest surprises.
Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 54 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 15 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.2 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 6 FLAMES
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: 18-16, (52.9%)
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