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Flames: The bell finally tolls for Big Ben

Brad Evans
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Each week the Noise highlights seven 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 scoring system listed here. Cyber-bullies, tweet the Noise your often violent rants here.

Ben Roethlisberger(notes), Pit, QB (Noise Week 6 QB Rank: 5, 21-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Cle

Outgoing single ladies take cover. Big Ben is back. Coming off a four-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, the two-time Super Bowl champ is chomping at the bit to see regular season action. Reportedly “excited” about his activation, he should unleash hell on a barkless Chihuahuas secondary which has been exploited often. According to Inside Edge, Cleveland has surrendered 12.3 yards per completion, the third-highest mark in the league. Mangenius’ club has also yielded 1.6 passing touchdowns per game. Roethlisberger has netted a hefty 9.0 yards per attempt in his past four meetings against the Browns, a similar uncorking is quite possible this time around. If he doesn’t, those in Mike Wallace’s(notes) camp will continue to be unhappy, including the receiver. The fettered wideout is aiming to become a bigger part of the offense. Rust might be visible, but we’re confident Big Ben will have plenty of Bondo within arm’s reach.

Fearless Forecast: 24-36, 268 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 20 fantasy points

Pierre Thomas(notes), NO, RB (Noise Week 6 RB Rank: 14, 26-percent started)
Matchup: at TB

More loser than bruiser even when healthy this season, PT, much like the Saints collectively, has grossly underachieved. Evident in his 3.2 yards per carry average, wide running lanes have been an oddity. Actually, much to the pleasure of his owners in PPR leagues, Thomas’ value has come via the passing game, which could continue until the offensive line steps up its game. This week is the ideal opportunity for that to happen. Tampa has shown defensive improvement across the board, particularly against the pass. However, the seafaring Bucs still haven’t quite mastered trench warfare. On the season, they’ve allowed 5.3 yards per carry and 165.4 total yards per game to RBs, equal to the 10th-most fantasy points. In order to resolve their offensive imprudence, the Saints must establish a viable ground attack. With Thomas, who’s missed the past two games with a ankle injury, presumably ready to reenter the starting lineup, New Orleans reclaims its ground identity. Assuming he suits up, count on PT as an RB2 in 10-team and deeper formats.

(UPDATE: Thomas missed practice Wednesday, jeopardizing his chances of playing in Tampa. If he does indeed sit, we'll score whichever back garners the start for the Saints – Christopher Ivory(notes), LaDell Betts(notes) or, gulp, Julius Jones(notes)).

Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 68 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 42 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17 fantasy points

Felix Jones(notes), RB, Dal (Noise Week 6 RB Rank: 20, 24-percent started)
Matchup: at Min

For weeks Fantasyland denizens waited patiently for Wade Philips to remove Jones’ manacles. Finally, their wish was granted. Toting the pigskin 19 times a week ago versus Tennessee, Felix ripped off a career-best 129 total yards. The former Razorback’s eye-opening effort combined with Jerry Jones’ man-crush for him – rumor has it Jerry forwarded the rusher lewd text messages after last week’s performance – indicates his role will only continue to grow. The Barbarian is no longer much of a threat. This week, “Livin’ on the Edge” will be the upstart’s theme song against the Vikings. A week ago, LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) was successful running outside the Williams Wall, totaling 94 yards on 20 carries, the third-highest tally surrendered by Minnesota in their past 24 games. Of course, the Dallas offensive line isn’t comparable to the Jets’, but because of Jones’ screeching wheels and versatility, he could post similar marks, especially running left. Backs that have attacked Ray Edwards’(notes) side have averaged a stout 5.8 yards per carry. Don’t be overly concerned with the matchup. The rising star should compile vibrant RB2 totals in Week 6.

Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 86 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15 fantasy points

Kenny Britt(notes), Ten, WR (Noise Week 6 WR Rank: 11, 15-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Jac

In Vince Young’s(notes) eyes, Britt is Secretariat. The unrefined receiver who his quarterback called “a horse” has been a winning fantasy ticket, scoring in three straight. After a tumultuous offseason, it looks as though he’s finally found his stride. This week could be the thoroughbred’s finest effort yet. Wide receivers have performed an astounding 69.1 percent above the league average against the Jags. Because of Jacksonville’s shortcomings in downfield coverage – it has allowed the most 20-yard pass plays in the league – the speedy Britt will be the focal point of the Titans offense. The last time he faced the Jags on the road he torched them for 105 yards. Britt could achieve similar numbers in the encore. Deploy him as a WR3 even in shallow leagues.

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Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 103 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16 fantasy points

Eddie Royal(notes), Den, WR (Noise Week 6 WR Rank: 25, 49-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NYJ

Plop a quarter into Royal this week and you’re sure to earn a kingly profit. With Darrelle Revis(notes) potentially sidelined, the Denver slot machine could be the center of Josh McDaniels’ game plan versus New York. As Percy Harvin(notes) proved last Monday night, underneath weapons have routinely grounded the Jets. They rank 30th in the league versus WR3s giving up 62.1 yards per game. Royal has been somewhat hit or miss in the early season, but due to the downfield attention Brandon Lloyd(notes) will surely draw he’s a good bet for a healthy fantasy return. Kyle Orton(notes) will spread the love, but this week Royal will be the object of his affection.

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13 fantasy points

Tony Moeaki(notes), KC, TE (Noise Week 6 TE Rank: 10, 15-percent started)
Matchup: at Hou

Due to the immense depth at tight end, Moeaki's smashing start has unfairly been overshadowed. The product from Andy Behrens U (Iowa) actually ranks ahead of well-knowns Visanthe Shiancoe(notes), Tony Gonzalez(notes) and Jason Witten(notes) in points per game paying a 7.2 weekly dividend in standard formats. Because Dwayne Bowe(notes) naturally secretes butter from his hands, Moeaki has become Matt Cassel’s(notes) most dependable option boasting a catch rate near 70-percent. Pass coverage, especially against tight ends, has been a major bugaboo for the Texans. Oversized targets have tallied 8.2 receptions and 91.6 yards per game against them, equal to the second-most fantasy points allowed. JerMichael Finley(notes) owners frantically searching for a multi-week alternative shouldn’t look any further. Moeaki is quickly becoming must start material each and every week.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 61 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 12 fantasy points

SHOCKER SPECIAL

Donald Brown(notes), Ind, RB (Noise Week RB Rank: 29, two-percent started)
Matchup: at Wash

During his brief stint in the league, Brown has been largely undependable. Firmly entrenched behind Joseph Addai(notes), he’s surpassed the century mark in total yards only once in 17 games (including playoffs). Although we don’t expect him to reach triple-digits in yardage, he should net appreciable numbers in D.C. With Addai dinged, Brown, and to a lesser extent Mike Hart(notes), could see an increase in touches this week. Overall, the ‘Skins have underperformed defensively, particularly against the run. Washington has yielded a hefty 4.6 yards per carry and 166.2 total yards per game to rushers. Due to Indianapolis’ secretive nature, it’s hard to gauge how carries will be distributed. But this week our gut says Brown is a good bet for quality flex numbers.

Fearless Forecast: 10 carries, 44 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 11 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 11 fantasy points

(Note: With Brown looking like a casualty for Week 6, we'll score Mike Hart in his place, assuming the Big Ten's all-time leading rusher is active)

Other potential Week 5 Flames: Joe Flacco (at NE), Ryan Mathews(notes) (at StL), Ricky Williams(notes) (at GB), Mike Wallace (vs. Cle), Johnny Knox(notes) (at Sea), Danny Amendola(notes) (vs. SD), Marcedes Lewis(notes) (vs. Ten)

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Image courtesy of US Presswire

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