Against a shoddy Bears D, Reed exploded onto the scene. (USAT)
Each week the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, un-obvious 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 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 8 Flames in the comments section below.
Matchup: vs. NYG
Oh that tricky Vick. As anticipated by 99.9 percent of the fantasy community, the Waterford crystal cracked two weeks ago, pulling up lame in his first meeting with the Giants. Though not at 100-percent, he is expected to return to the lineup in the rematch. When under center, Vick has performed at a QB1 level. His 24.1 per game average in standard settings ranks No. 7 among signal callers. Because of his tender hammy he'll be more of a pocket passer this week, but given his bazooka arm and New York's issues in downfield coverage, Vick is in position of reestablishing himself as a top-10 option. Depleted by injuries and ineptitude, the Giants secondary has surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs on the year, allowing 262.5 passing yards and 2.0 passing touchdowns per game. According to Pro Football Focus Corey Webster is the only Giant that ranks inside the top-35 in pass coverage. DeSean Jackson, who went nuts in the first meeting (7-132-1), will again rise to the occasion. Re-injury is an unfortunate downside, but based on the delectable matchup and heavy bye week, Vick should actually complete passes against the Giants, unlike Josh Freeman.
Fearless Forecast: 286 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 18 rushing yards, 23.1 fantasy points
Matchup: at Det
In a somewhat surprising twist it appears DeMarco Murray is already falling out of favor. According to an Ian Rapoport report, the 'Boys don't envision the oft-injured rusher as their long-term solution at RB. With Murray again expected to be sidelined, Randle will get an additional opportunity to showcase his wares. Another strong effort, and he could force a timeshare moving forward. The Oklahoma State product didn't stand out in his starting debut. His workload was rigorous (23 touches) and he totaled useful yardage (93), but his 3.4 yards per carry average left a lot to be desired. Still, he gained 56.9 percent of his yards after contact and graded out on the plus side in blitz pickup according to PFF. Jerry Jones deemed his overall effort "exceptional," paving the way for another hefty workload. Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner are both expected to be in the mix this week, possibly forcing Randle into the 15-20 touch range. However, given the accommodating matchup, he's worth the dice roll in 12-team leagues. The M.O. for most rushing offenses against Detroit: run away from Ndamukong Suh. Do so, and you can find tremendous success. On the year, Detroit has surrendered 4.6 yards per carry and eight total touchdowns to RBs. Expect Randle to record a modest yardage total, but chances are fairly strong the rook crosses the chalk for the second time in his career.
(UPDATE: DeMarco Murray practiced again on Thursday and is on track to return Sunday. In terms of Randle's 'Flame' status, this is a game-changer. At this point, the rookie is nothing more than a desperation FLEX option in deeper formats. It would be a surprise if he logged more than 10-12 touches.)
Matchup: vs. Car
Last Sunday was quite possibly the bloodiest single day in NFL history, the (Insert any 'Rambo' movie) week of fantasy football. Highly thought of commodities at several key positions were felled by significant setbacks. Damn you pesky injury imp. Damn you. However, in a next-man-up league, reinforcements are always one dinged wing away from acquiring value. James, filling the void for labrum-shredded Doug Martin, is one such crutch the Bucs, and deep leaguers, are leaning on. The sixth-round pick from 'The U' isn't the flashiest back. Compared to BenJarvus Green-Ellis by scouts, he's a gritty runner between the tackles who exhibits only average wiggle and wheels. However, unlike the LawFirm, he's a superb receiver out of the backfield, a reliable check-down option for fellow rookie Mike Glennon. On Monday, Greg Schiano propped up James describing him as "a really good one-cut back" with "quick feet" who "seems to fall forward." Yes, he's no Muscle Hamster and the Tampa offensive line has sorely underachieved, but there's little doubt James will shoulder at least 18-20 touches Thursday against Carolina. The Panthers are a difficult matchup. They've surrendered just 3.88 yards per carry to RBs on the season. But given his anticipated workload, he could very easily match what Zac Stacy did against Carolina last week (21 touches, 87 total yards, TD). In a crippling bye week, sip on a little rum.
Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 68 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.9 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Dal
Being Calvin Johnson's wingman certainly has its benefits – P-Diddy parties, attractive ladies and, most importantly for fantasy purposes, gobs of targets. Taking over for Nate Burleson, Durham hasn't lit up fantasy scoreboards the past three weeks, but he's been gifted plenty of opportunities. His 29 targets during that stretch ranks No. 5 among all wide receivers. Likely to attract another eight-plus looks, he should be viewed as a viable WR3 in 12-team formats. Dallas, bombarded often by the competition, has conceded 8.2 yards per attempt and 311.8 yards per game to opposing passers. As a result, six WRs have registered at least five receptions and 80 yards against it, including Riley Cooper last week. With Brandon Carr, the 'Boys' best coverman, expected to shadow Megatron, Durham should roar against Orlando Scandrick and/or Morris Claiborne. Combined the un-dynamic duo have surrendered a catch rate of 62.1 percent. The end-zone may be elusive, but Durham has reasonable odds of recording his third-straight game of five or more receptions.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 79 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.4 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. StL
For one of the league's most dynamic slot receivers, it's been a long time coming. A nasty hip injury, which cost him the entire preseason and regular season up to this point, has kept him under wraps. But returning to a full practice Tuesday, Seattle's underneath gadget is expected to be active in Monday night's rather unexciting 'showdown' in St. Louis. For those that stashed him away weeks ago, your diligence is about to pay off. As a whole, the Rams are incredibly giving on defense, particularly against the pass. Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins have allowed a combined 90-plus QB rating and 62.9 catch rate to their assignments. Many owners typically have trust issues with players coming off an extended hiatus, but you know Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson are itching to see what their prized offseason acquisition can do. Gut feeling, the ninth-ranked WR in per game average a season ago ventures near WR1 territory in his 'Hawks debut, especially in PPR leagues. If he doesn't suffer a setback in practice this week, drop a quarter in the slot machine.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.3 fantasy points
Matchup: at Den
It's official. Reed now wears big boy pants. Talked up by the Shanahans over the past several weeks, the rookie dropped the mic last week in Chicago, exploding for a position-best nine receptions (on nine targets), 134 yards and a touchdown. Without a bevy of reliable weapons around him outside Pierre Garcon, the tight end should continue to play a significant role in an improving Redskins pass offense. RGIII, who was mechanically flawed just a couple weeks ago, has started to resemble the dual-threat menace from last year, averaging 272 passing yards and 80.5 rushing yards per game over his past two. With defenses again having to account for the read-option, Reed stands to benefit, particularly this week. Denver is a Jekyll and Hyde team. The offense is the warmhearted doctor who everyone adores. However, the defense represents its sinister side, giving up one explosive pass play after another. No secondary in the league has allowed more vertical plays of 15-plus yards than Denver. In what should be a high-volume game, Reed could easily sit atop the TE rankings when the dust settles Monday. Keep in mind, TEs are performing 17.8 percent above the league average against the Broncos since Week 2.
Fearless Forecast: 7 receptions, 93 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 20.5 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Buf
Based on his mugshot, Stills has the look of a Mad Max vagabond. Start him this week, and he could take your bye-ravaged club Beyond Thunderdome. With Jimmy Graham's availability very much in the air, the rookie could see an uptick in targets against a vulnerable Bills secondary. In seven contests this season, a whopping 10 wide receivers have scored 10-plus fantasy points against Buffalo. The primary reason for the inept execution: Justin Rogers. Sucking dust often this year, the corner has yielded 19.3 yards per catch and a QB rating of 142.3 to his assignments. Stills has rarely logged marquee numbers often this year, but he has seen at least 40 snaps in four of his past five games. Considering Marques Colston's struggles, Lance Moore's nagging injuries and Graham's possible absence, he's in line to establish a new career-best in single game targets. This week, there may not be a waiver wideout with more top-20 potential than Stills.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 70 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.0 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 8 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 Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?
— Nick P (@prokeyfish) October 22, 2013
Week 7 Reader Record: 4-3; Year to date: 17-30
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