Each week the Noise highlights six unobvious names who he believes are destined to morph into human torpedos. For those playing the Lames home edition, each player must be started in at least 50 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, feel free to tweet your hindsight jabs here.
More of a gentle Brees than a howling wind, the reigning Super Bowl MVP has largely been a fantasy disappointment this season. Through seven games, he’s thrown 10 picks, one less than he did all of last year, and has averaged an uncharacteristic 7.1 yards per attempt (8.5 YPA in ’09). As Cleveland proved a week ago, defenses have pressured Brees successfully, limiting opportunities downfield. Reggie Bush’s(notes) continued absence hurts, but the Saints really miss the interior toughness of Pierre Thomas(notes). Christopher Ivory(notes) has been effective in spurts, but his inconsistency is an ongoing problem. Unless the backfield overcomes its inadequacies, the Steel Curtain will prove impenetrable, creating a hellish situation for New Orleans’ passing game. Understand over the past 19 games with Troy Polamalu(notes) in uniform, a period stretching back to 2008, the Steelers have not allowed a multi-TD passer. Charlie Browns who ring Brees’ bell Halloween night will likely get served a rock.
Fearless Forecast: 27-43, 279 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 3 turnovers, 14 fantasy points
Watching Benson accumulate stats over the course of a game is slow torture. Nearly 23-percent of his carries have gone for zero or negative yards, well above the 18.9-percent league average. Frankly, he’s only useful due to sheer volume. On the season, he’s compiled a mediocre 3.9 yards per carry and 86.8 total yards per game. More discouraging, he hasn’t crossed the chalk since Week 3. Outside Benson’s mundane play, the Bengals offense as a whole has performed admirably. However, Carson Palmer’s unbreakable chemistry with Terrell Owens(notes), Chad Ochocinco(notes) and Jermaine Gresham(notes) inside the red-zone has discounted the rusher’s overall fantasy worth. Don’t expect the script to change in Week 8. The ‘Fins have controlled the line of scrimmage for much of the season, holding rushers to just 3.9 yards per carry and 116.7 total yards per game. Because they’ve conceded 7.6 yards per attempt to QBs this year, Palmer’s arm, not Benson’s legs, will be the appendage Marvin Lewis leans on most.
Moreno was the lone silver lining for the Broncos in last week’s Mile High massacre at the hands of the suddenly fearsome Oakland Raiders. His 90 total yards and two receiving touchdowns firmly planted him inside the position's top 10 for the week. However, a trip to the Land of Jacked Up Teeth (England) doesn’t inspire much hope for a repeat performance. The Gold Panners have limited opposing rushers to just 3.4 yards per carry. Because of the Tebow factor, Josh McDaniels’ pass-happy ways and the Niners’ struggles in downfield coverage, Moreno will likely log a light workload. He may carve out a substantial role in the passing attack, but this game sets up nicely for Kyle Orton(notes) to chuck it up 40-plus times. Recall in four games this season he’s eclipsed 15 carries in a game only once, averaging a wretched 3.3 yards per tote. Cue the Benny Hill music.
Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 49 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 23 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7 fantasy points
Owners who drafted Mathews would gladly accept a Jack Torrance axe to the jugular to end their collective misery. The popular first-round pick was benched last week in favor of the more experienced/versatile Darren Sproles(notes). Norv Turner cited the veteran’s ability to protect and run effective routes as the reason for Mathews’ demotion. Another frustrating effort is slated for Sunday. Tennessee has plugged gaps vigorously this season, holding rushers to just 3.7 yards per carry, 112.6 total yards per game and three touchdowns equal to the third-fewest fantasy points. Rashard Mendenhall(notes) and Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) are just a couple marquee backs who were shackled by the Titans earlier this year. However, despite their stiffness up front, Jeff Fisher’s bunch has conceded ample yards to RBs through the air. Sproles, not Mathews, could again be leaned on to move the chains. Mike Tolbert’s(notes) recurring role at the goal-line further muddies the situation. This won’t be the week the rookie wards off the evil fantasy spirits.
Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 49 rushing yards, 2 reception, 8 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6 fantasy points
Possible RB alternatives: Ryan Torain(notes) (at Det), Marshawn Lynch(notes) (at Oak), Thomas Jones(notes) (vs. Buf), Beanie Wells(notes) (vs. TB), Mike Hart(notes) (vs. Hou), LeGarrette Blount(notes) (at Ari)
Still adjusting to life in the post-Moss era, Welker, whose target has clearly widened over the past two weeks, has found little breathing room. Added defensive attention to the slippery receiver’s side has turned Tom Brady’s(notes) attention toward Deion Branch(notes) and Aaron Hernandez(notes), stealing valuable underneath targets that would normally be intended for No. 83. In fact, over the past two weeks Branch has attracted 20 looks, Welker 17. Even when the crafty wideout has escaped coverage minimal yardage gains have been tallied. He’s yet to eclipse 75 yards in a game this season. Clearly, he still hasn’t quite regained the explosiveness seen in years past. Despite key injuries on defense, the Purple People Eaters have consumed wide receivers. Only one WR, James Jones(notes) in Week 7, has reached the 75-yard mark against them. Overall, pass catchers are performing 10.3 percent below the league average versus the Vikes. Obviously, Welker can’t be demoted in PPR formats, but in standard shallow leagues he deserves to ride the pine.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 58 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 5 fantasy points
Labeling the Titans upstart a “lame” less than a week removed from a 225-yard, 3-TD performance (Just imagine what he would've accomplished over four quarters) may seem schizoid, but this week the Britt hits the fan. Though they’ve played a relatively soft schedule, the Chargers are officially a legit pass defense. Last week, Tom Brady recorded just 159 yards and a TD against them. Antoine Cason(notes) bounced back strong last week after a dreadful performance in St. Louis. Britt has a slight height advantage on the third-year corner, but expect Cason to win the physical battle. Only two wide receivers have surpassed 60 yards against the Chargers this season. Yes, maybe we need to attend Saturday’s Rally to Restore Sanity. After all, Britt has splashed pay-dirt seven times in his past five games. But this week with Vince Young(notes) once again behind center he comes crashing back down to reality. Hey, as Brett Favre(notes) may soon realize, all legendary streaks eventually come to an end.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 42 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 fantasy points
Other possible Week 8 Lames: Matt Schaub(notes) (at Ind), Donovan McNabb(notes) (at Det), LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) (vs. GB), Steve Smith, Car (at StL), Marques Colston(notes) (vs. Pit), Donald Driver(notes) (at NYJ)
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