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 11 Flames in the comments section below.
Carson Palmer, Oak, QB (20-percent started)
Matchup: at NO
Palmer is the Fuddruckers burger of the NFL — terribly underrated. Despite ranking ninth in total points among quarterbacks, well-ahead of brand names Cam Newton, Michael Vick and Tony Romo, his cheeks remain firmly planted on most virtual benches week-to-week. They shouldn't. If there's one passer who should be suffering from a 'tired arm,' it's the Raider. Thanks to Oakland's friendly defense, only Matthew Stafford (44.6) has attempted more passes than Palmer (41.4) this season. More of the same is on the docket in Week 11. Early indications suggest Darren McFadden could return to the lineup this week, but even if he does, a pass-first, pass-often blueprint will likely be followed. New Orleans, winners of four straight, are arguably the hottest offensive team in the league. Because the Raiders and Saints, defensively, would struggle to cage a herd of turtles, a shootout seems inevitable. That occurs, and Palmer could again flirt with the top-five. On average, 'Nawlins has given up a mind-blowing 27.6 fantasy points per game to QBs this year. Matt Cassel was the only passer — Shocker! — who didn't cross the 22-point threshold against it in standard formats. Enough is enough. Show it's time to plug Palmer in.
Fearless Forecast: 31-46, 337 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 2 rushing yards, 24.1 fantasy points
Daniel Thomas, Mia, RB (16-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Buf
Every year it happens. A previously unheralded RB emerges from the woodworks, throws willing fantasy owners onto his back and carries them to championship glory. Back in the day, Nick Goings, Ron Dayne and Pierre Thomas proved to be late-season difference-makers. Now, it's Thomas' time. 'Backup' in name only, the emerging juggernaut has outperformed, outplayed and out-snapped (107-to-66) 'starter' Reggie Bush over the past three weeks, earning the confidence of Joe Philbin and the Miami coaching staff. Though he's only contributed modestly in the box score, he's expanded his role beyond that of goal-line gremlin. He's seen extensive action on early and even passing downs, developing into a viable dual-threat. Over the past two weeks, he's grabbed seven passes for 59 yards. Pound-for-pound Bush is the superior back, but his fumbling problems have him in the doghouse, evident in his early benching last week against Tennessee. Any Dolphins rusher past, present or future is start-worthy this week based on the matchup, but Thomas is the best option. Roughly 15-18 touches could be in order against the league's most giving defense, Buffalo. In total, 12 RBs have reached 'Flame' status against the Bills this season, the most in the league. Overall, rushers are averaging 5.1 yards per carry against them. In what could be a break out game for Thomas, trust him as a RB2 in 12-team and deeper leagues.
Rashard Mendenhall, Pit, RB (10-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Bal
Seemingly on the back burner after Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman filled the void brilliantly over the past three weeks, Mendenhall, recovering from an Achilles injury, is on the brink of retaking the starting job. Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson revealed last week the former All-Pro, when healthy, is "the lead dog, our top runner...He is the guy who can take a 10-yard run and make people miss and get 20 more." Similar to how Redman and Dwyer were employed Monday against KC, a hot hand approach will likely be implemented. Still, based on Wilson's words, Mendenhall should again sit in the captain's chair this week against Baltimore. No longer the iron wall of yesteryear, the Ravens defense, sans its heart and soul, Ray Lewis, is nonintimidating. The Steelers offensive line, which has improved greatly of late, could run roughshod over the Ravens front. Over the past five weeks, Baltimore has surrendered an uncharacteristic 4.7 yards per carry, 171.1 total yards per game and three scores to RBs, equal to the fourth-most fantasy points. Practice reports will need to be closely monitored, but if Mendenhall isn't limited this week, he deserves to be reinserted immediately. Though he will be occasionally spelled by Dwyer/Redman and Ben Roethlisberger's questionable availability is a concern, he should produce RB2 level numbers on 14-17 touches. If active in Week 11, turn the Steel wheel.
Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 58 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.6 fantasy points
Matchup: at Atl
For the PPR massess, the unheralded Roberts has offered a fair amount of WR3 consistency. Despite logging nearly 30 fewer targets than revered teammate Larry Fitzgerald, he has bested the multi-time All-Pro in standard league points per game 9.5 to 9.2. With militaristic precision, the Citadel product has developed into one of the league's finest route-runners, particularly on underneath patterns. Not surprisingly, he's recorded two seven-catch games in his past three. Another delectable PPR line could be on the menu this week in Atlanta. The Falcons have held most receivers in check this season. Only four have crossed the 10-point threshold against them this year. But with Asante Samuel likely to shadow Fitzgerald, Roberts could prove destructive. His likely escort, Dunta Robinson, has given up a 70.9 catch percentage to his assignments. Add that to the strong likelihood Arizona will be playing from behind for much of the game, and it's probable another double-digit workload is in the offing for the No. 2. Slot him in at WR3 in 12-team and deeper leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 84 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.9 fantasy points
Matchup: at NE
Last week another Rams castoff, Danario Alexander, was mentioned in this space. This time around, it's Avery's turn to Flame. Against the Jags in Week 11, he erased concerns about his tender hip grabbing a serviceable four receptions for 65 yards on six targets, his fifth-straight game with at least four catches. Ageless wonder Reggie Wayne is the clearly the apple of Andrew Luck's eye, but any and all Colts receivers are viable starts this week against the Patriots. Downfield coverage continues to plague New England. On the season, no team has surrendered more pass plays of 20-plus yards. Starting corners Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington have allowed a combined 15.5 yards per catch. Avery, a slippery target with explosive speed, is the perfect weapon to take advantage of the Pats' inefficiencies. In what should be another high-volume affair for Luck, look for the wideout to notch WR2-level totals.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 77 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.4 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Matchup: at Wash
Alongside bartenders, local celebrities and Girl Scout troops, backup quarterbacks are well-liked in NFL towns where turmoil is ever-present. Foles is no exception. When a freshly concussed Michael Vick slowly moseyed to the locker-room Sunday, Eagles fans, ever the frigid faithful, erupted in jubilation. Finally, the much-discussed rookie, thought to be the solution to their woes, was gifted his shot. Though Foles didn't write a "Rudy"-esque happy ending, he did exude sizable potential during his 2.5 quarters of action against an unforgiving Dallas secondary. He exhibited a strong, fairly accurate downfield arm, quick release and surprising mobility, especially on a 44-yard TD connection with Jeremy Maclin. Occasional turbulence is likely with the youngster, but the environment is quite nourishing. With LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and Maclin as targets, the arsenal is fully stocked. The pass-heavy system is also a major plus. Don't think for a second Andy Reid will follow a conservative game-plan. Much like Kevin Kolb before him, Foles will be counted on to conduct the West Coast offense as normal. Philly's horrific offensive line is a problem, but, unlike Vick, the youngster has shown he can get rid of the ball in a hurry. It would be no shock with a full week of first-team reps, he flourishes in his first start. After all, the matchup is awfully attractive. The worst fantasy performance Washington has allowed this season was to Josh Freeman in Week 4. And he registered 19.8 points (299-1-1-8) in standard formats. If Sam Bradford and Christian Ponder can exceed 20-points against the 'Skins, so can Foles. Assuming Vick's 'pretty significant concussion' keeps him sidelined, expect the rook to log a top-15 line in Week 11.
Fearless Forecast: 24-39, 286 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 4 rushing yards, 20.7 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 11 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: 42-45, 48.3%
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- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Carson Palmer
- Michael Vick
- Rashard Mendenhall
- Isaac Redman