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 violent rants here.
Matchup: at Pit
The mutiny that's quietly brewed behind the scenes in Cincy has finally bubbled to the surface. Predictably, Terrell Owens(notes) erupted last week, venting his frustration with the Bengals' poor offensive execution and pitiful 2-10 record. Though he didn't throw Palmer under the bus, the deteriorating quarterback is at least partly responsible for the swoon in the Queen City. His shrinking YPA, questionable leadership and inadequte clock management skills have cost the team victories in close games. In reality, he's not a person to follow out of a foxhole. However, in fantasy, he could be an invaluable field general. Nicks and scrapes have left the Steelers vulnerable against the pass. Over the past five weeks, they've yielded an uncharacteristic 259.4 yards per game and seven touchdowns. Because of Pittsburgh's stoutness up front and susceptibility through the air, Palmer will be relied upon heavily, a situation he's excelled in previously. In his career versus Pittsburgh, the veteran passer has notched an 16:8 TD:INT split in 11 games. Toss in Owens’ stark physical advantage over Bryant McFadden(notes) and Ike Taylor(notes), and Palmer could finish with borderline top-10 numbers. Chase the cat.
Fearless Forecast: 24-39, 262 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 20 fantasy points
Matchup: at Wash
Blount's alma mater, Oregon, is one win away from the National Championship. This week, the rookie rusher could bring his owners one step closer to their own trophy destiny. Similar in style and substance as Christian Okoye Tecmo Super Bowl '91, the bulldozing back totaled only the third 80-plus yard game against the Falcons this season, rushing for 103 yards on 20 carries. Despite the youngster's extraordinary peformance, Raheem Morris was displeased with Blount's execution in critical short-yardage situations. So upset was the head coach, he suggested Earnest Graham(notes) could overtake such duties. When he chooses to remove the clogs and focuses running full-steam downhill, Blount is almost impossible to stop. His combination of size and speed is devastating. Washington will soon know. Over the 'Skins' past eight games, they've conceded five 100-yard rushing games and nine TDs to RBs. Don't worry about Graham's possible expanded role. In a must-win game for Tampa, expect the rhino to spike the competition.
Matchup: vs. TB
Prior to last week’s game against the Giants, Shanny jokingly threw down the gauntlet, hoping to push Torain. The back should feel so lucky. Remarks Lucifer recently made about incorrigible tub of butter Albert Haynesworth(notes) were rather harsh, yet well-deserved. Though James Davis and Keiland Williams(notes) will remain involved in the backfield rotation, it's clear, reading between the lines, Shanny wants Torain to be his primary ball carrier. Hamstrung for the past few weeks, the injury-plagued back was cleared by doctors to return to practice. If he doesn't suffer a setback, he should be reinserted as an RB2 in deeper leagues. The unfortunate loss of corner Aqib Talib(notes) is a crushing blow for a Tampa defense that has played well of late. Donovan McNabb(notes) should achieve ample success through the air which should open up sizable running lanes for the brawny rusher to plow through. The Bucs have struggled with gap execution allowing 4.8 yards per carry, 153.4 total yards per game and 11 touchdowns to RBs. Stay abreast of his situation, but with a strong week of practices, the Torain train should steam his way to solid numbers. Stoke the fire.Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 83 rushing yards, 1 reception, 5 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Den
Beanie Wells'(notes) lack of attention to detail has once again propelled the less talented Hightower into a featured role. Fumbles and poor blitz pick-up has "The Weenie" firmly planted in Ken Whisenhunt's doghouse. Last week, with an expanded workload, the former Richmond Spider carried the rock a season-high 15 times versus the Rams totaling 85 rushing yards. Against the AFC's softest run defense, a similar workload should be expected. More of sieve than WikiLeaks, the Broncos have surrendered 4.3 yards per carry, 164.4 total yards per game and 17 scores to RBs equal to the second-most fantasy points. How players will react post-McDaniels is hard to judge, but flimsy defenses normally aren't remedied immediately. Yes, rookie quarterback John Skelton(notes), who will log his first NFL start, complicates Hightower's potential impact. Unless the green passer can keep the secondary honest, an extra defender will regularly creep into the box. Still, averaging 4.7 yards per carry on the season, Hightower is very capable of generating a handsome yield, especially if Denver's defensive leader, D.J. Williams(notes), sits.
Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 64 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 15 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Phi
Apparently, Roy lives in a delusional world where Abominable snowmen, talking reindeer and chastised elves who dream of cleaning bicuspids roam about the snow-covered landscape. On a local Dallas radio show, the overly confident receiver proclaimed, "I've been the most consistent wide receiver that we have on our roster." Though the quote was laughable, Williams might actually live up to his remarks. Normally untrustworthy, he is a target worth gambling on with Dez Bryant(notes) sidelined. With ballhawk Asante Samuel(notes), who will likely shadow Miles Austin(notes), back in action, Williams could exploit his matchup against rotating pair Dimitri Patterson(notes) and Joselio Hanson(notes). Over the past two weeks, the tandem has struggled mightily in pass coverage. More importantly, Bryant's absence means Williams could once again become a primary weapon inside the red-zone. Keep in mind, four of his five touchdowns scored this season have been on connections inside the 20. In a possible shootout, the self-anointed consistency king could pay a royal dividend.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 77 receiving yards, 1 touchdowns, 13 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. NE
In terms of football and real world smarts, Bennett might be one of the brightest receivers in the league. "The Professor" – he has ambitions of earning a Ph.D in the hopes of becoming a college lecturer after his career finishes – could teach the Patriots a hard lesson. Working as Jay Cutler's(notes) primary greaseman, the slot receiver has become an indispensable part of the Bears' passing attack. Exploiting soft spots in zone coverage, he has amassed 11 receptions for 160 yards and two scores over the past two weeks. Cutler, who was a teammate of Bennett's while at Vanderbilt, has a strong rapport with his WR3. This week, the pair's bond won't be threatened. New England has failed miserably defending the slot. Jordan Shipley(notes), Roscoe Parrish(notes), Davone Bess(notes), Percy Harvin(notes) and Blair White(notes) all notched at least eight fantasy points in clashes with the Pats. Based on the loose coverage the competition has played, Bennett has favorable odds of finishing well inside the WR top-30 this week. He's quickly becoming this year's version of Devin Aromashodu(notes).
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13 fantasy points
Matchup: at Hou
The phenomenally skilled rookie from Oregon could become an overnight sensation. Todd Heap(notes), who pulled up lame on the very first play against Pittsburgh Sunday night, has already been declared "out" this week. Filling in for the injured star, Dickson performed admirably catching three passes for 21 yards. Garnering a healthy seven targets, he certainly has the confidence of Joe Flacco(notes). Tabbed as one of the best pass-catching tight ends in this year's draft class, he possesses terrific size (6-foot-5, 243-pounds) and elite athleticism, traits comparable to Jermichael Finley(notes). Expect him to be a matchup nightmare for the Texans. No defense has been more generous to tight ends than Houston. On the season, enlarged targets have scored seven touchdowns and tallied 6.2 receptions and 72.2 yards per game against them. Dickson told the Baltimore Sun he wants to "Do his job and not miss a beat." Considering the ultra-useful matchup, he will surely play an integral role in the Ravens' vertical game-plan. Owners plagued by inconsistency at TE should give the rookie a shot.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 54 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 11 fantasy points
Other potential Week 14 Flames: Joe Flacco (at Hou), Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) (vs. Cle), Alex Smith (vs. Sea), Christopher Ivory(notes) (vs. StL), Anthony Dixon(notes) (vs. Sea), Brian Westbrook(notes) (vs. Sea), Tashard Choice(notes) (vs. Phi), James Starks(notes) (vs. Det), Derrick Mason(notes) (at Hou), Ben Obomanu(notes) (at SF), Davone Bess (at NYJ), Santana Moss(notes) (vs. TB)
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