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Flames: Go ahead, fall in love with the PT Bruiser all over again

Brad Evans
Roto Arcade

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Each week the Noise highlights 12 somewhat obscure, unobvious names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. For those playing the Flames home edition, each player must be started in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues to qualify. As an accountability advocate, results, whether genius or moronic, will post the following week using the revamped scoring system shown here . If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, post your Week 8 Flames in the comments.

Matt Hasselbeck, Ten, QB (Week 8 Noise QB Rank: 11, 28-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Ind
Though the Texans two-stepped all over Tennessee last week, owners should still throw the Titans' Dr. Evil a "frickin' bone." The Colts, whose anuses were displaced by New Orleans on Sunday night, are epically bad in every way, shape and form defensively. The club's highest ranking defender against the pass is Antoine Bethea, who checks in at 54th in coverage according to Pro Football Focus. On the season, Indy has surrendered a generous 8.5 yards per attempt, 275.5 passing yards and 2.0 passing touchdowns per game, equal to the seventh-most fantasy points allowed to QBs. In fact, a signal caller has reached the 23-point threshold in four of the Colts' past five games. Before Week 7, Hasselbeck had been one of the game's biggest surprises. So valuable to the franchise, particularly with Chris Johnson running into brick walls, MVP whispers surfaced in and around Nashville. Though deeming Hasselbeck most valuable is akin to nominating Todd "Hobo" Haley Fashionista of the Millennium, he is very capable of emulating Tom Brady, minus the golden locks, this week. Expect him to compile his fourth multi-TD effort in seven starts. All Titans, even CJ2K, could post banner numbers in Week 8.
Fearless Forecast: 24-36, 274 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 20.7 fantasy points

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Pierre Thomas, NO, RB (Week 8 Noise RB Rank: 15, 30-percent started)
Matchup: at StL
Spandau Ballet's "True." That's what plays in the Noise's head whenever daydreaming about the PT Bruiser. Yes, his fantasy glory days of 2008 are well behind him, but Thomas, though used in a much more limited role, is still a highly efficient, versatile back. On roughly 10 grips per game, he's averaged 6.0 yards per touch. In last week's Bloodbath on the Bayou, PT showcased vintage form collecting a game-high 125 total yards on a season-best 15 touches. With Mark Ingram's Week 8 availability clouded by a bruised heel and Christopher Ivory close, but not necessarily ready, to return to game action, the forgotten backup could earn a workload increase against the softest run defense in the NFC, St. Louis. The rancid Rams, coming off a 253-yard thrashing by rookie DeMarco Murray, have surrendered 5.9 yards per carry, 200 total yards per game and six total touchdowns to RBs on the year, equal to the second-most fantasy points allowed. Most importantly for the Saint, they've also struggled defending backs in the flat. LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice and Ahmad Bradshaw all compiled sizable numbers in the passing game against them. In what should be a very one-sided matchup, PT should roll. If Ingram rides the pine and Ivory is held back, count on him as an RB2 in 12-team and deeper formats.

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Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 55 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 36 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.1 fantasy points

Ryan Torain, Was, RB (Week 8 Noise RB Rank: 16, 36-percent started)
Matchup: at Buf
Over the past 72 hours, incensed Arcadians, who've read glowing recommendations about Torain in this space over the past couple weeks, have erected a gallows in Fantasyland. To the spurned, The Noise deserves to pay the ultimate price. Look, getting inside the mind of Lucifer Shanahan is a frightening exercise. Imagine a demonic, cackling Ronald McDonald in a low-lit room romping with a bondaged Grimace and you'll get the picture. Again, the man is the epitome of fantasy evil. However, with Tim Hightower permanently out of the picture and Roy Helu — we think — cemented in a third/passing-down role, Torain should finally see a hefty amount of early-down carries. Assuming he, and not the football ghost of Olandis Gary, racks 15-18 attempts, he should post handsome totals. Buffalo has given up 4.8 yards per carry, 148.2 total yards per game and eight touchdowns to rushers on the year, equal to the sixth-most fantasy points allowed. Admittedly, it's risky to count on Torain. If Washington falls behind early Helu will see most of the action. But, for the sake of my neck, the third time will be the charm. And, yes, I'm completely insane in the membrane.
Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 78 rushing yards, 1 reception, 3 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.9 fantasy points

Torrey Smith, Bal, WR (Week 8 Noise WR Rank: 18, 29-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Ari
The Ravens' offensive performance Monday night in Jacksonville was nothing short of appalling. Joe Flacco's yards per attempt matched the Noise's I.Q. (3.6). But Baltimore's pass game should jumpstart this week against Arizona. Rookie corners A.J. Jefferson and Patrick Peterson one day won't be taken lightly, but the tandem has certainly taken its fair share of lumps through the season's first half, especially last week versus Pittsburgh. Steelers receivers averaged a combined 16.5 yards per catch against them. Burned repeatedly downfield, 'Zona has allowed the third-most 20-yard pass plays and third-most fantasy points to wideouts. Smith, one of the league's fastest receivers, should have little difficulty duplicating the success Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown had in the desert. The youngster hasn't splashed six since the first quarter of his Week 3 clobbering of St. Louis, but this is his week to once again reenter the WR top-20.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 93 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.3 fantasy points

Mario Manningham, NYG, WR (Week 8 Noise WR Rank: 23, 27-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Mia
For much of the season, mini-Mario has been on display in New York. Hampered by a concussion suffered against St. Louis Week 2 and subsequent lapses in concentration, he has yet to reach the 60-yard mark or the end-zone this year. This week, however, the wideout is bound to consume a Super Mushroom. Over the Giants' bye, Kevin Gilbride, frustrated by Victor Cruz's inconsistencies, called out the upstart, remarking to the Daily News he's a player who "giveth and taketh away on almost a play-by-play basis." Some fans have clamored for Cruz to start opposite Hakeem Nicks, but, it's clear, Manningham won't be demoted anytime soon. Consider this your last opportunity to buy low. Miami's secondary, plagued by injuries and ineptitude, has performed marginally in pass coverage. No 'Fin ranks in the top-65 in coverage per Pro Football Focus. After four near-scores Week 6 against Buffalo, Manningham finally does The Dougie this week.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.5 fantasy points


Jerome Simpson, Cin, WR (Week 8 Noise WR Rank: 28, 5-percent started)
Matchup: at Sea
Many expected Simpson's season, and possibly career, to go "Up in Smoke" after authorities raided his marijuana mansion in Kentucky a few weeks back. But the controversial wideout, who's not spoken publicly about the incident, has remained productive despite the distraction, logging two 100-yard efforts in six games. Maybe it's a motivational ploy, but Marvin Lewis has been outwardly critical of Simpson's on-field play, slamming him for a couple bad drops and a lack of communication with Andy Dalton two weeks ago. However, this week, the admonished receiver may finally get on his coach's good side. Already sans the services of Marcus Trufant, Seattle's secondary lost backup-turned-starter, Walter Thurmond, to a broken fibula Week 7 in Cleveland. Fifth-round pick Richard Sherman, who's seen just 120 snaps, is slated to fill the void. With Brandon Browner expected to shadow A.J. Green, Simpson could slap around the rookie. Deep-thinking owners with limited WR3 options, should entice the Bengal with a can of Fancy Feast … or a dime sack.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 84 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 12.2 fantasy points


Shaun Hill, Det, QB (1-percent started)
Matchup: at Den
On Tuesday, Matthew Stafford admitted his wrenched ankle was "in a weird place" further muddying his Week 8 availability. If the former No. 1 pick is unable to suit up in Denver, Hill would be the ultimate plug 'n play passer of Week 8. The outwardly gracious Broncos have allowed a 8.1 yards per attempt, 267.2 passing yards and 1.8 passing touchdowns per game to QBs on the year. Champ Bailey's return has helped bolster the secondary, but he's little match for Calvin Johnson. And recall, Hill was no slouch filling in for Stafford last year. He netted 20.7 fantasy points per game in 10 starts. If he's pressed into action, a final line in range of 260-280 yards and 2-3 touchdowns is very achievable. Without Jahvid Best and considering how well the Broncos have defended the run, the Lions will likely pass early and often. Keep close tabs on this developing story.


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Bring the noise on Twitter. Follow Brad @YahooNoise. Also, be sure to tune into The Fantasy Freak Show this Friday starting at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT LIVE on Yahoo! Sports Radio.


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