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Week 1 Lames: Trusting Gronk as a TE1 for daredevils only

Brad Evans
Roto Arcade

Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names who he believes are destined to implode leave egg on his face. To qualify, each player must be started in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 1 Lames in the comments section below.

Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB (96-percent started)
Matchup: at Sea
Seismologists in the greater Seattle area better be on standby. The needle is about to go haywire at the Left Coast 'Link.' Without a doubt, Rodgers will challenge Peyton Manning and Drew Brees for head of this year's fantasy QB class. He's an established veteran in a balanced offense who is blessed with ample weapons and a suspect defense. However, the 'always start your studs' theory doesn't apply to Mr. Discount Double-Check this week. Statistically, Seattle is a Bermuda Triangle for visiting teams. Enter the zip code and value vanishes. Stretching back 14 games (Week 6, 2012), no opposing passer has stepped into the Link and posted 20 fantasy points in a game, and that includes Drew Brees' 147-1-0 (7.3 standard points) dud Week 13 last year. The last time Rodgers sloughed into Seattle – the replacement ref game – he notched a mere 240 combined yards without a touchdown, an extremely rare flop. How uncommon? He's thrown a touchdown in 15 straight games, including the playoffs, a period going back two years. That streak, though, is in jeopardy. During their title run last year, Richard Sherman and company yielded only 5.8 yards per attempt and three multi-TD performances in the regular season. It's difficult to demote one of your top picks, but don't be surprised if Jay Cutler (vs. Buf), Russell Wilson (vs. GB) and Colin Kaepernick (at Dal) outperform him. 

Fearless Forecast: 25-37, 231 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 1 interception, 12 rushing yards, 15.7 fantasy points

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Alfred Morris, Was, RB (90-percent started)
Matchup: at Hou
Throughout the 'expert' community, lines in the sand were drawn over Morris. Supporters contended he's a workhorse in a revamped Jay Gruden-run offense that should overwork defenses. On the other side of the coin, naysayers expressed their concerns regarding RGIII, Roy Helu's impact and Morris' possible diminished role at the goal-line, legitimate gripes. No question, the rusher will be a major part of the game-plan in Houston. Up the middle, the Texans have plenty of questions.  Starting nose tackle Jerrell Powe, for example, has played sparingly in his three-year career. Still, J.J. Watt was otherworldly stuffing the run last season and with Brian Cushing back in the fold and Jadeveon Clowney on roster, Houston, which allowed an unintimidating 4.32 yards per carry to RBs in '13, promises to be a significantly improved run defense. Toss in question marks about RGIII's mechanics, the Texans' strong back end and the rusher's lack of versatility, and, suffice it to say, it could be a very vanilla 2014 debut for Alf. Sorry Morris enthusiasts, but 'The Butler' gets served by an above average Texans defense. 

Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 76 rushing yards, 0 receptions, 0 touchdowns, 7.6 fantasy points 

Le'Veon Bell, Pit, RB (89-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Cle
To say the least, it's been a summer loaded with psychadellic highs and sobering lows for everyone's favorite 'Sour Diesel.' His toke session with LeGarrette Blount, subsequent DUI and chatter of a full-blown RBBC greatly clouded his prospects. However, when prompted about Bell's Week 1 role earlier this week, head coach Mike Tomlin reiterated the incumbent is still the club's workhorse, potentially logging upwards of 20-25 touches in the opener. After netting 22.2 grips per game last year, Tomlin's words may not be that farfetched. Game flow, though, will ultimately determine the rusher's workload. Don't expect it to unfold in his favor. Pittsburgh's defense looks absolutely dreadful. Even against a sorrowful Cleveland offense, it very easily could relinquish numerous points. Combine that with a rabid Browns' 3-4 D highlighted by maneaters Paul Kruger and Ahytba Rubin, and Bell's chances of finishing inside the RB top-20 aren't especially appreciable. Because he's an exceptional pass catcher, he's still highly employable in PPR settings, just don't expect spectacular results in standard leagues. 

Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 64 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 12.2 fantasy points

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Torrey Smith, Bal, WR (71-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Cin
Entering his third season, many have placed high expectations on the rollercoaster ride. Believers assert Gary Kubiak's play-action offense will do the receiver wonders. However, projecting impactful performances for the king of inconsistency is an exercise in futility. Last season, he achieved fantasy Flame status (11-plus points) a lowly four times. His big play-dependent nature leads to many inconsequential weeks. Bank on that being this case against division foe Cincinnati. Facing off against the Bengals six times in his career, Smith has compiled lackluster numbers. In those contests, he's found the end-zone twice and averaged 3.5 receptions and 54.7 receiving yards per game. When healthy last year, corner Leon Hall blanketed assignments like few others. He and Terrance Newman conceded a combined 11.5 yards per catch. Because Marvin Lewis typyically takes away the home run by bracketing receivers downfield, it's likely Smith struggles in the opener. Unheralded options Julian Edelman (at Mia), DeAndre Hopkins (vs. Was) and Golden Tate (vs. NYG) are more attractive alternatives. 

Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 45 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6.7 fantasy points

Rob Gronkowski, NE, TE (90-percent started)
Matchup: at Mia
To Gronk or not to Gronk? That, my fantasy friends, is the fantasy question. If you're into jumping out of planes, driving at high speeds or consuming Rocky Mountain oysters, by all means, spin the roulette wheel. If you're of a more rational mind, leave the high-priced tight end on the bench. Most will reason if you drafted Gronk in Round 2 or Round 3, he is must-start material no matter the situation. Even on 15-20 snaps, he's a strong candidate to cash six. After all, he scored 42 touchdowns in 50 career games. However, as Bill Belichick hinted Tuesday, we have zero clue to what extent he'll be used, if at all. It's entirely possible he'll play the role of decoy, seeing minimal action. Gronk himself said Monday he wants to merely "get (his) feet wet" after a long layoff from reconstructive knee surgery. The Dolphins are an exploitable bunch, but it may take a game or three for the former All-Pro to shake the rust off. Sorry, but #TeamRaisins makes complete sense here. 

Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 22 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 4.4 fantasy points

BONUS WEEK 1 LAMES

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Bonus Lames

Bonus Lames

#TEAMHUEVOS 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 Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

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