Finally, Stewart is getting his shot to prove his mettle. (USP)
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 9 Flames in the comments section below.
Matchup: at Oak
The underrated swashbuckler has skewered opponents in recent weeks. On the hot seat earlier this season due to accuracy concerns, Freeman is back in his coaches' and the fantasy community's good graces. He's spread the love terrifically, slinging the rock downfield to playmakers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams while checking down to powder keg Doug Martin when under duress. In his past three games, he's notched a 9:1 td:int split and averaged a ridiculous 9.7 yards per attempt and 336.7 yards per game. His subsequent 29.3 per game average is the second-best mark during that stretch. According to head coach Greg Schiano, Freeman's pre-snap recognition and the offensive line's rigid play are the primary reasons for the QB's sudden success. The Raiders have made strides versus the pass of late, coaxing five interceptions in their past three games. Still, only Michael Huff ranks above average in coverage according to Pro Football Focus. Don't expect Tampa's captain to run aground in Week 9.
Fearless Forecast: 21-38, 284 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 6 rushing yards, 22.8 fantasy points
Matchup: at Was
For much of the season, Stew Beef's fantasy value has been locked away in cold storage. Immersed in a platoon with DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert and routinely poached at the goal-line by Cam Newton, he hasn't received the quality touches he rightfully deserves. But finally designated the featured back prior to last week's battle in Chicago, he's a sure-fire RB2 moving forward. Though he failed to turn the Bears into a cabin rug (82 total yards, 0 tds), Stewart's 21 touches was the most action he received since Week 15 2010. Still with D-Will on the trade block and Ron Rivera determined to alleviate pressure on his quarterback, heavy workloads will remain consistent for the rusher. For the most part, Washington has defended the run marvelously this season. Only three RBs have eclipsed 12 fantasy points against them this season. But if Newton can stretch the defense effectively, which shouldn't be a problem given the 'Skins horrendous secondary, Stewart should see wide lanes to plow through. Add in his steady contributions in the pass game, and a line similar to what Jonathan Dwyer racked against Washington last week (118 tyds) is very possible. Uncage the kitty.
Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 73 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 26 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 19.6 fantasy points
Matchup: at Jax
Many would agree, Leshoure is far from a Lesure thing any week. Complications stemming from a crowded backfield and, specific to last week, unknown physical setbacks have left a bitter taste in owner mouths. In a come-from-behind win against Seattle, the rusher exited stage left in the second half giving way to Joique Bell and, to a lesser extent, Kevin Smith. Post-game, head coach Jim Schwartz remarked injury was not responsible for Leshoure's absence instead citing Bell simply had the hotter hand. Questions are definitely raised, but, assuming he returns to full practice this week, count on the former Illini to bounce back quickly. The new Hello Kitties of the NFL, Jacksonville, have welcomed rushers with open arms. On the season, they've surrendered 4.3 yards per carry, 167.3 total yards per game and seven touchdowns to RBs, equal to the fifth-most fantasy points allowed. Some industry analysts have spoken poorly of Leshoure, but, when in the lineup, he's been rather productive. Since Week 6, he's notched a hefty 4.6 yards per carry. Now with the Lions offense clicking once again, he should be counted on as a RB2 in Week 9.
Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 78 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 10 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.1 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. KC
With only one touchdown on the season, Floyd's WR2 potential continues to live on the Dark Side of the Moon. Philip Rivers' excessive suckage coupled with Norv Turner's emphasis on the ground game have hindered his overall production. Even when presented with a favorable matchup, things haven't gone his way. Thanks to last Sunday's 'Frankenstorm,' windy and wet conditions in Cleveland largely kept his numbers in check (4-43-0). Despite his string of misfortunes, the wideout should be mass-started in Week 9. Against the punchless Chiefs, his luck is bound to change. Corners Brandon Flowers and Stanford Routt have yielded a combined 56.3 catch percentage this season. And six wideouts have surpassed the 10-point threshold against Kansas City this year. The short week and Rivers' persistent problems are a concern, but in a critical division game, expect Floyd to elevate his game. Yes, he only hauled in two receptions for 23 yards Week 4 at KC, but expect him to triple that output in the rematch.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 79 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.6 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Min
Many thought Tate's value would rocket northward after his controversial TD 'reception' against Green Bay back in Week 3. But the opposite has been true. Russell Wilson's erratic play has made the receiver largely unreliable even in challenging formats. But fresh off one of his finest performances of the season (7-64-0 at DET), Tate is worth rolling the dice on in Week 9. Nearly benched in favor of Matt Flynn a couple weeks ago, Wilson has shown substantial improvement over the past three weeks. Ignoring his forgettable effort in San Fran Week 7, he's completed an impressive 68.9 percent of his attempts, netting 250 yards per game and a 6:3 td:int split over the past four weeks. Of his 80 attempts during that stretch, the passer looked Tate's direction 17 times, a fair but healthy amount. Another 6-8 targets seem likely against the Vikes. Minnesota's secondary took a huge hit, losing corner Chris Cook to a broken arm. For now the Vikes plan to institute a timeshare between rookie Josh Robinson and A.J. Jefferson to fill the void. Robinson has played adequately at times, but has allowed a 74.3 catch percentage. Meanwhile Jefferson, who was burned often as a Cardinal last season, has seen just six passes thrown his direction. With Wilson on the upswing and given the favorable individual matchup, Tate should be considered an upside WR3 in 12-team and deeper leagues this week.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 63 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.1 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Matchup: at NO
The New Orleans Saints are fantasy's version of the Glory Hole. No, not the one commonly found in truck stops across the country, but rather the one gruff voiced Alaskan miners are convinced is full of golden riches. With pickaxe, and possibly the starting gig in hand, the rookie could soon strike it rich. Monday conflicting reports about an imminent change at QB in Philly emerged. Currently, only Andy Reid knows what number he'll call. Based on the southward turn Michael Vick and the entire team has taken of late, it would be no shock if Reid made a change. If Foles is gifted an opportunity, he could do his best RGIII impersonation on the bayou. An armless zombie could eat its way through the Saints' woeful secondary. New Orleans has given up a NFL-worst 9.0 yards per attempt and 27.2 fantasy points per game to passers. Foles impressed against New England and Cleveland regulars in preseason action completing nearly 64-percent of his passes while totaling four touchdowns. As the Piano Man discussed, the Eagles offense is a well-oiled machine. Though Foles pales in comparison athletically to Vick, he's a confident, poised passer who moves well in the pocket. It's always a risk to trust any inexperienced QB in his first start, but the Aints present an extraordinary opportunity.
Fearless Forecast: 24-43, 322 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 5 rushing yards, 22.6 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 9 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: 26-29, 47.2%
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