October 04, 2011
Each week the Noise highlights 12 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 revamped scoring system shown here . If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, post your Week 5 Flames in the comments.
Josh Freeman(notes), TB, QB (Week 5 Noise QB Rank: 11, 28-percent started)
Matchup: at SF
The Fro has dropped few funky beats thus far this season. In the midst of a minor slump, he's thrown just three touchdowns and four interceptions, two picks shy than what he tossed over 16 starts a season ago. Considering his completion percentage has actually increased from last year ('10: 61.4, '11: 66.9), his spike in INTs is an interesting turn of events. Still, if not for his ability to consume yards with his legs (104 rushing yards, two rush TDs), he would be sipping umbrella drinks in many free agent pools. But after a laudable effort against the Colts in Week 4 (287-1-0, 27-1), he appears to be on the fast-track to regaining his mistake-free form. Expect his rejuvenation to continue this week in the Golden Gate City. Up front San Francisco is an impenetrable fortress. Opposing backs have averaged just 2.9 yards per carry against it. Because of the Niners' trench might, quarterbacks have feasted on their charitable secondary, netting 7.6 yards per attempt, 300.5 passing yards per game and seven touchdowns, equal to the 10th-most fantasy points allowed. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio isn't bashful about blitzing. Similar to his game-plan against Michael Vick(notes), he will occasionally turn up the heat against Tampa. If that happens Freeman's mobility, like Vick's, could prove problematic, enhancing the passer's prospects for a top-flight fantasy day. That combined with the Niners' inadequacies in pass defense suggest The Fro will let his soul glo by the Bay.
Fearless Forecast: 24-37, 267 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 34 rushing yards, 24.7 fantasy points
Joseph Addai(notes), Ind, RB (Week 5 Noise RB Rank: 23, 34-percent)
Matchup: vs. KC
In the Andrew Luck Bowl, running backs, naturally, will dominate the action. Addai, in particular, could be in store for a standout day. Without the services of Peyton Manning(notes), it's been a painful display of mediocrity for the Indy backfield. Only Seattle's pathetic ground game has proven more incompetent. Still, despite a No. 31 ranking among RBs, the six-year vet has performed admirably, netting 4.6 yards per carry. That's quite the achievement considering the number of stacked boxes he's seen. Yes, the offensive line is being held together by duct tape and Bubblicious, but if Curtis Painter(notes), who seemingly couldn't splatter a canvas from two-yards away (43.9 completion percentage), can stretch the field with Pierre Garcon(notes) like he did in Tampa Monday night Addai could finish well-inside the position's top-20 this week. Though the Chiefs have yielded just 3.9 yards per carry to rushers, including a masterful job of holding Adrian Peterson to 80 yards on 23 carries in Week 4, their 150 total yards per game and six touchdowns allowed on the season — equal to the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs — offers a bit of encouragement. The Colts, standing at 0-4 for the first time since the days you attempted to download racy picks of Alicia Silverstone on a 28.8 connection (1998), may be a fantasy quagmire, but given the useful matchup and bye-heavy week, Addai is highly clickable.
Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 74 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.0 fantasy points
LaDainian Tomlinson(notes), NYJ, RB (Week 5 Noise RB Rank: 18, 23-percent)
Matchup: vs. NE
Rex Ryan may blow more hot air than the Santa Ana winds, but his recent admission the Jets must revert to a "ground and pound" attack isn't bluster. Due to New York's frontline issues on defense, erratic passing game and overall subpar performance, it must get back to doing what it does best: ball control. That statement couldn't ring truer this week against the Patriots. In order to keep Tom Brady(notes) at bay, it's imperative for the Jets to win the time of possession battle. Vincent Wilfork is a man-eater, yes, but without linebacker Jerod Mayo(notes), one of the team's best run defenders, New England is a very exploitable club in the trenches. Shonn Greene(notes) stands to benefit most, but the Pats' underwhelming play defending the perimeter also enhances LT's Week 5 upside. On the year, the Fightin' Beelzichicks have surrendered 9.8 receptions per game to RBs, the most in the league. Because LT is more of a change-of-pace back whose strength resides in the passing game, he has excellent odds of posting Darren Sproles(notes)-like totals this week. Equally enticing, if the Jets D fails to rise to the challenge containing the league's most potent pass offense, the future HOFer's chances for a profitable, RB2-level day will only increase. Activate him in all PPR formats.
Fearless Forecast: 7 carries, 28 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 20.1 fantasy points
Julio Jones(notes), Atl, WR (Week 5 Noise WR Rank: 11, 55-percent)
Matchup: vs. GB
A.J. Green(notes) may be the best rookie receiver in fake football, but the Alabama Hammer has also been quite the useful PPR tool. Though he's yet to splash six, Jones has hauled in 24 catches (6.0/game) and a team-best 342 yards (85.5/game) through four weeks. His plus size, excellent route-running ability and combative nature has helped him transition to the pro game, even given the prolonged lockout, without a hitch. A bust of Charles Woodson(notes) will likely be displayed one day in Canton, but the seven-time Pro Bowler isn't the shutdown corner he once was. According to Pro Football Focus' coverage metrics, he's currently the 51st-best CB in the league. Jones, 12 years Woodson's junior, will be a handful if the veteran is assigned to the rookie. If not, he should still have a field day. Wide receivers are performing 44.3-percent above the league average against the Pack. In a game that has "shootout" written all over it, Jones will pack plenty of fantasy ammo. Even in four-team fantasy leagues, he's must-start material.
Fearless Forecast: 7 receptions, 101 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 21.3 fantasy points
Brandon Pettigrew(notes), Det, TE (Week 5 Noise TE Rank: 4, 32-percent)
Matchup: vs. Chi
Two weeks ago against a Minnesota defense that often plays Cover 2, Pettigrew caught a career-high 11 passes for 112 yards. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz leaned on the big fella when the ground game went south, using him as a de facto running back. Against another Cover 2 defense, Chicago, a similar dink-n-dunk game-plan will likely be implemented. The Bears, who've allowed a staggering 14.2 fantasy points per game to TEs (6.5 receptions/game, 82 ypg and 4 TDs), have been picked apart across the middle of the field, even temporarily resuscitating the lifeless career of Jeremy Shockey(notes) a week ago. In two contests against the division rival a season ago, Pettigrew managed just six receptions for 42 yards. But in lockstep with Matthew Stafford(notes) over the past two weeks, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound behemoth should have no problem in the clubs' first clash of 2011. Simply put, the Bears are allergic to covering tight ends. Trust him as a TE1 in all formats.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 74 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.1 fantasy points
Michael Jenkins(notes), Min, WR (Week 5 Noise WR Rank: 33, one-percent)
Matchup: vs. Ari
The demise of Donovan McNabb(notes) is hard to watch. It's akin to seeing Knowshon Moreno attempt to ride a stationary bike or play football. Not pretty. McNabb may very well be on his last leg, but with his back against the wall, gut feeling says he'll rise to the occasion, especially given the matchup. Arizona has allowed 8.0 yards per attempt, ranking near the bottom of the league in the category. Rookie corner A.J. Jefferson(notes) has executed marginally in his first four pro games. According to Football Outsiders, the Cardinals rank No. 22 in the league defending No. 2 wideouts. Overall, pass catchers have performed 26.3-percent above the league average against 'Zona. Yes, Jenkins is terribly unexciting, but a favorable matchup can enhance the prospects of any average skilled player. He's attracted just four targets per game thus far, but for those stretched for viable alternatives, the former Buckeye is a nut worth cracking. Keep in mind two weeks ago against Detroit he reeled in nine receptions for 88 yards and he's two touchdowns already on the young season.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.9 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 5 FLAMES
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