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.
Cam Newton, Car, QB (85-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Sea
Chances are those who acquired the 'elite' QB's services likely spent an exorbitant pick. His blood-stirring finish to the 2012 season – over the final eight games he and Russell Wilson tied for best per game average among QBs – understandably spiked his draft value. However, yours truly would rather swim from Miami to Cuba, in shark-infested waters mind you, than trust Newton in Week 1. Seattle's dynamic duo at corner (Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman) combined with an aggressive pass rush presents a daunting matchup for a quarterback who's been wildly inconsistent in the pass department in his first two years in the league. Last year, Newton scored a vomit-inducing 11.3 fantasy points in standard formats (141 pass yards, 42 rush yards, 0 TDs) against the 'Hawks in Charlotte. Rattled much of the day, he completed just 41.3 percent of his attempts. Over the entirety of the season, Pete Carroll's club surrendered only four 20-point QB efforts. Considering Cam's lack of weapons outside a well-aged Steve Smith and inconsistent Greg Olsen, he's a very risky play. Some will scream from the highest rooftop to "Always start your studs!," but every player, except possibly Drew Brees, is vulnerable to an underwhelming performance. In a head-to-head Week 1 matchup, give me Joe Flacco, Michael Vick or Cowboys killer Eli Manning (250.4 pypg, 2.3 pass td per game in 14 career starts) over Cam.
Fearless Forecast: 15-31, 210 passing yards, 1 interception, 34 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns, 12.9 fantasy points
Chris Johnson, Ten, RB (88-percent)
Matchup: at Pit
The buzz around Johnson entered full-on 'dance with your pants off' mode Preseason Week 2. Against a Redskins front-line that should be as overly accommodating to RBs as it was last year, he exploited a massive cut-back lane, embarrassed a would-be tackler in the open field and sprinted to the end-zone for a 58-yard touchdown. Naturally, reckless predictions were immediately tossed out all over the Twittersphere. Admittedly, the Titans revamped o-line looks much improved. When Mike Munchak, arguably one of the greatest lineman to play the game, is your head coach it should. However, the elderly Steelers pride themselves in stuffing the run. Over their past 44 games, a period stretching back to 2011, they've conceded only three 100-yard games to RBs. Vulnerable at times last year, they should be much improved. Nose tackle Steve McLendon, expected to be PIT's every-down man-eater, is a major upgrade over Casey Hampton. Expect Johnson, who's averaged a lowly 3.8 yards per carry and 74.0 total yards per game in five career games against the Steel Curtain, to underachieve. Plus, it's also important to take into account the Shonn Greene poach factor. With CJ2Lame outside my RB top-20 this week, Reggie Bush, Lamar Miller and prime-cut sleeper Ben Tate are stronger plays.
Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 66 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.2 fantasy points
Darren Sproles, NO, RB (60-percent)
Matchup: vs. Atl
New Orleans' Mighty Mouse is a player who can squeeze into the tightest spaces. Thickly built, highly explosive and extremely slippery, he's one of the game's finest receiving backs. Generally speaking, he's a matchup nightmare for linebackers. However, during his brief tenure in New Orleans the rival Falcons have really had his number. In three career games versus the Dirty Birds, he's totaled a mere 3.6 receptions and 57.7 yards per game with one touchdown. Within Atlanta's base 4-3 defense, Sean Weatherspoon is particularly adept at shadowing receivers out of the backfield. According to Pro Football Focus, the linebacker was the 10th-best player at his position defending the pass last year. Given the LB's adaptability, the increased usage of Mark Ingram as a receiver, Pierre Thomas' involvement and Sproles' uninspiring history, the short-stacked back shouldn't be considered a reliable option in opening week action. A points bonanza is likely to break out on Bourbon Street, but beyond 12-team PPR leagues with a FLEX spot, he's bench worthy.
Fearless Forecast: 2 carries, 9 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 39 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.5 fantasy points
Wes Welker, Den, WR (84-percent)
Matchup: vs. Bal
Among this past offseason's acquisitions, Welker was arguably one of the biggest. At least, that's what the mainstream media would lead you to believe. Compared to his 110-catch days in New England, the slot machine's production is bound to decline ... dramatically. With Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and a very underrated Julius Thomas on roster, Peyton Manning has simply too many mouths to feed. Montee Ball's possible emergence is also a value squelcher. Welker won't completely fall off the map, but projecting 85-plus catches this season is an exercise in futility. The Thursday night broadcast will surely cast a spotlight on him, however, modest results are likely versus Baltimore. Welker torched them last year hauling in 16 catches for 259 yards and a TD in two meetings. But sans its now retired spiritual leader Ray Lewis and with Terrell Suggs at full-strength, the Ravens are faster across the middle than they were last year, which should help them control the short-field. Also weighing his likely minor role inside the red zone, Double Dubs is a fringe WR3 in 12-team formats this week.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.9 fantasy points
Vincent Jackson, TB, WR (94-percent)
Matchup: at NYJ
As stated many times in this space, V-Jax is the El Toro of fantasy wideouts. The name of his game is inconsistency. Since 2011, he's failed to crack 8.0 fantasy points (Non-PPR) in 46.8 percent of his games. 'Dems da breaks for a big-play receiver who runs a limited route tree. Every New York paper will tell you the Jets are a bigger laughing stock than Anthony Wiener, but there is talent in the defensive backfield. Prolific baby-maker Antonio Cromartie allowed just 12.8 yards per catch and a 46.0 catch rate to his assignments last year, the third-best output among corners who played at least 500 snaps. Expected to drape Jackson much of the game, he will likely keep the target under wraps. Though Doug Martin played sparingly in the preseason, he should be the focal point of Greg Schiano's game-plan. Similar to last year, the Jets first-string defense was routinely gashed in the trenches during preseason play. Taking into account the forces working against No. 83, T.Y. Hilton, Miles Austin and DeSean Jackson are safer plays.
Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 47 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6.9 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 1 LAMES
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 "Lames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Wednesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?
— Grant Goossens (@grantgoossens) September 4, 2013
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