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 9 Flames in the comments.
Matt Cassel, KC, QB (Noise Week 9 QB Rank: 12, 27-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Mia
As the old saying goes, you're only as good as those around you. For the 2011 version of Cassel, that quote definitely applies. Over the first three weeks of the season the Chiefs resembled a low-level MAC team. The crippling losses of Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry sent the club on the fast-track to Andrew Luck. But ripping off four-consecutive wins, the former basement-dweller suddenly finds itself tied atop the AFC West. Keep this up, and Todd Haley will have the ability to braid his disoriented beard, Captain Lou Albano-style, in short order. With the rushing attack, spearheaded by Jackie Battle, resurrected and given the sudden emergence of beastly rookie Jonathan Baldwin, the KC offense, once on life support, is again up and running. No shock, Cassel's numbers have benefited greatly during the turnaround. Unable to reach the 17-fantasy point plateau during the Chiefs' opening three-game skid, he has surpassed the mark three times since, accumulating points by air (234.8 passing yards per game) and even land (11 yards per game). Against the defeated Dolphins the good times should keep rolling. Miami's secondary, battered by injuries and ineptitude, has surrendered 8.1 yards per attempt, 282.1 passing yards and 2.0 passing touchdowns per game this year, equal to the fourth-most fantasy points allowed. In fact, only Philip Rivers in Week 4 failed to find the end-zone multiple times against it. Considering Miami could be minus top corner Vontae Davis yet again, the signal caller should have little difficulty finishing in QB1 territory. Slide the White Cassel into your lineup, Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton enthusiasts.
Fearless Forecast: 20-31, 248 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 8 rushing yards, 20.2 fantasy points
LeGarrette Blount,TB, RB (Noise Week 9 RB Rank: 10, 29-percent started)
Matchup: at NO
According to Raheem Morris, Blount, sidelined by a sprained MCL since Week 5, is expected to return to practice and start this week in 'Nawlins. For fantasy purposes, his timing could not be more impeccable. The Saints, coming off a humiliating loss to the rancid Rams, were steamrolled by Steven Jackson, yielding 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns to the beast. S-Jax was the third 100-yard back New Orleans has allowed in its past four games. On the season, the Saints have now yielded 5.8 yards per carry to rushers. Noteworthy free agent acquisition Shaun Rogers, who was supposed to help remedy New Orleans' trench ills, has failed to deliver. On its defensive front only Sedrick Ellis ranks as an above average run stopper according to Pro Football Focus. Blount missed the division rivals' initial clash, but Earnest Graham's 17-109-0 line in Week 6 suggests the incumbent could exceed triple digits in his return. Keep in mind with Graham toast, the second-year back, who's shown significant improvement as a receiver this year, is expected to see extra snaps on third downs, enhancing his chances for a top-flight day in any format. Roll him up. Light him up. Smoke him up. Inhale. Exhale.
Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 97 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 15 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 19.5 fantasy points
Shonn Greene, NYJ, RB (Noise Week 9 RB Rank: 12, 31-percent started)
Matchup: at Buf
Greene, ostracized by many in the fantasy community for his valueless string of early season performances, appears to have turned a corner. Since Rex Ryan reemphasized a ground and pound approach three weeks ago, the once beleaguered back has returned to his defender flattening ways. Over his past three contests, he's netted a useful 89.7 rushing yards per game, including a 112-yard thrashing of the Chargers, his first 100-yard effort since Week 4 of last year. With the Jets offensive line finally creating sizable holes, Greene is finally finding daylight. Look for him to truck through wide lanes in Buffalo. The Bills, one of the league's most generous run defenses, have allowed 4.6 yards per carry and five double-digit RB performances on the season. The back's bullish, downhill running style should prove problematic for a unit that struggled mightily to contain Cedric Benson, a back with similar skills as Greene, in Week 4 (19-104-0). Prepare for takeoff.
Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 91 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.4 fantasy points
Michael Crabtree, SF, WR (Noise Week 9 WR Rank: 21, 22-percent started)
Matchup: at Wash
After emerging as a reliable WR3 last year, Crabtree was expected to take a sizable step forward in 2011. This season marked his third-year in the league, a time when many talented receivers experience a breakout. However, a lingering foot injury hobbled him throughout the preseason, temporarily stunting his statistical growth. Over the first five weeks of the season, he failed to eclipse the 7-point threshold in standard formats. Now at full-strength, it appears he's finally come out of his shell. He's run great routes of late, gaining separation from defenders with relative ease. Though Alex Smith has overthrown him on a number of occasions, "Mariah," who is rather fond of the spotlight, has definitely thrived under increased pressure. Since Week 4 he's averaged a weighty 9.5 targets per game. Including last Sunday's 5-54-1 performance against Joe Haden and the Browns, he has 14 receptions for 131 yards over the past two weeks. The 'Skins have defended the pass fairly well this season, conceding just two touchdowns to wideouts. But DeAngelo Hall, who will likely shadow Crabs, is no shutdown corner. Quarterbacks have completed 75.6-percent of their attempts against him this year. Pan for gold.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 69 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.4 fantasy points
Brent Celek, Phi, TE (Noise Week 9 TE Rank: 8, 4-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Chi
Since seizing the starting reins early last year, the artist formerly known as Ron Mexico has treated Celek as though he was his alleged past personified. Practically ignored by the passer, the tight end, once a fairly reliable fantasy starter, vanished from owner rosters, cast aside for upstarts Fred Davis, Scott Chandler and Jake Ballard. But with 18 targets, 11 receptions, 136 yards and two touchdowns over the past two weeks, he's definitely back on the fantasy radar. Wisely, Vick, blitzed repeatedly this season, has leaned on the safety valve, finding his oversized target often in the short-to-intermediate field. Matched against a very accommodating Bears defense, the badgered QB may again look often to his savior. No defense has contained tight ends more poorly than Chicago. In fact, TEs are performing a staggering 41.8-percent above the league average against it. Over their past five games, the Bears have allowed six touchdowns to the position. With a growing role in an explosive offense and blessed with a sensational matchup, Magnum P.I. is a strong play in Week 9. Don't trust him, and Higgins will be very displeased.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 67 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.5 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (UNDER 10-PERCENT STARTED)
Chris Ogbonnaya, Cle, RB (Noise Week 9 RB Rank: 24, 1-percent started)
Matchup: at Hou
Revenge is one of humanity's greatest motivators. Ogbonnaya hopes to serve it cold. Just three weeks ago, the little known rusher was kicked to the curb by the Texans, an uneventful footnote for 99.9-percent of fantasy owners. However, now as a Cleveland Brown, the suddenly relevant rusher could face his former employer as a starter. Pat Shurmur revealed Monday Montario Hardesty is out indefinitely with a calf tear. Meanwhile, Peyton Hillis, hampered by a nagging hamstring injury, remains "day-to-day." If the Madden-jinxed rusher is unavailable, the former Texan and Houston native will net his first NFL start. The 25-year-old has played decently in limited action, working primarily as a third-down/passing back. Last week on 16 touches (five receptions) against the league's stingiest run defense, San Francisco, he racked 61 yards. Because the Browns' West Coast offense typically features RBs in the passing game, Ogbonnaya would be a serviceable RB2/Flex option in a pinch, particularly in PPR formats. Houston has allowed 4.5 yards per carry to RBs this year. On roughly 20 touches, it's possible the motivated rusher could total surprising numbers in his hometown.
Fearless Forecast (If starting): 17 carries, 71 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 29 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 13.0 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 9 FLAMES
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