December 22, 2010
Each week the Noise highlights seven 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 scoring system listed here. Cyber-bullies, tweet the Noise your violent rants here.
Jon Kitna(notes), Tim Tebow(notes) and, of all people, Rex Grossman(notes) have earned plenty of press this week. They deserve it. Each is blessed with a favorable matchup and coming off profitable weeks. However, the always underappreciated Garrard deserves an equal amount of attention. Quietly, the veteran passer is having arguably his most successful fantasy season. With 26 total touchdowns, he’s already bested his previous scoring high by seven. He’s also completed a career-high 65.2 percent of his passes. His current 19.8 per game average would also establish a new benchmark. Considering he didn’t record a 200-yard game until Week 8, it’s amazing how valuable he’s been. Accumulating yards and TDs by land and air, Garrard has averaged a stout 23.5 points per game over his past seven, a number nearly identical to what Drew Brees(notes) has tallied on the year (23.6). Concerns over his strained hamstring and throwing fingers should be downplayed. X-rays on his hand last week were negative and the QB boasted his tender hammy “felt great” after last Sunday’s clash with Indy. Badgered by injuries and poor execution, Washington comes to Jacksonville in shambles defensively. The ‘Skins have yielded 7.5 yards per attempt, 272.9 yards and 1.5 air strikes per game to QBs equal to the sixth-most fantasy points. With Mike Sims-Walker(notes) healthy and the ground game again struggling, the Beer Truck could deliver a keg of cheer this holiday weekend. Pour a frosty one.
Fearless Forecast: 20-31, 234 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interceptions, 27 rushing yards, 20 fantasy points
Calf implants, an Arian Foster(notes) blow-up doll and Choice touchdowns top the Noise's Christmas wish list this year. The latter will likely come true. Since sliding into Marion Barber's(notes) vacant role, the 'Boys back has been an invaluable flex contributor in moderately deep formats, splashing pay-dirt three times in his past three games. His resulting 11.2 per game output ranks No. 22 among RBs since Week 13. The former Yellow Jacket is a tough interior runner who seemingly always falls forward. On the year, only 12.7 percent of his runs have gone for zero or negative yards, a number significantly lower than backfield compadres Felix Jones(notes) (17.0) and Barber (23.5). Jason Garrett says Choice's "vision and feel" explains why he's rarely pulled down behind the line. This week will be no different. "Humilating" best characterizes Arizona's run defense. Slapped around routinely, the Cards have surrendered 4.6 yards per carry, 172.9 total yards per game and 18 touchdown to RBs this season, equal to the second-most fantasy points. Considering Choice's pounding style and friendly matchup, another 15-20 carry workload should be expected. Multiple scores could also be in the offing. Star of wonder. Star of light …
Last Sunday in a lopsided loss to Atlanta, Lynch purged his upchuck-worthy fantasy efforts from earlier this season, disposing them in a trash receptacle behind the Seattle bench. Now freed of his demons, the cleansed back is about to again rediscover his inner beast. Over the past three weeks, the 'Hawks runner has quietly undergone a revival. During that span, he's crossed the chalk four times and averaged a respectable 71 total yards per game. The Seattle offensive line, once the foundation of the franchise's success, has underwhelmed this season. Injuries and ineptitude have hampered the unit. Still, against a decimated Tampa defense, Lynch deserves strong consideration as an RB2, even in 10-team leagues. Since Week 11, the Bucs have conceded a weighty 4.8 yards per carry and 152.2 total yards per game to backs. If Pete Carroll wants to keep pace with the Rams in the laughable NFC West, a ground-heavy game-plan needs to be implemented. It may not be pretty, but Beast Mode has excellent odds of surpassing 12 fantasy points in standard leagues. Unleash him.
Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 74 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14 fantasy points
Figuratively, and quite possibly literally, Bush will consume dozens of Hillshire Farms Yard-O-Beefs this week against the Colts. The meaty complement to Darren McFadden(notes) has performed admirably in spurts this season. Including last week's two-TD effort against the Broncos, the Raiders rusher has reached double-digits in fantasy points six times, commendable considering he's only logged two starts. Though he's recorded 15 touches or more just once since Week 7, Bush should be deployed often in Week 16. The Colts' undersized offensive line is no match for Oakland's brawny O-line and power running game. On the season, they've allowed 4.8 yards per carry, 162.9 total yards per game and and 14 TDs to RBs, equal to the seventh-most fantasy points. Indy can overload the box all it wants, but McFadden and Bush will have a field day. If Tom Cable has any thoughts of springing an upset, the pair must dominate. The Silver and Black, which has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, will have its hands full defending Peyton Manning(notes). Given the useful matchup and possible expanded workload, Bush will be worth more than a bird in the hand.
Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 56 rushing yards, 1 reception, 8 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 12 fantasy points
The most controversial player since the days when Marques Colston(notes) had TE eligibility, Webb, and his savvy investors, was nearly Favred on Monday night. Barbra, who couldn’t resist the primetime spotlight, was inserted into the starting lineup at the midnight hour. However, a concussion to No. 4 in the second quarter paved the way for the WR qualifier to unscrew his owners. Unsurprisingly, all wasn’t roses. Befuddled when faced with pressure, he made questionable decisions, a clear indication of his inexperience. On 26 attempts he completed well under 60 percent of his passes, finishing with 129 yards and two picks. Only a 13-yard TD scamper salvaged his night. Yes, the conditions were harsh and the Bears are one of the league’s finest pass defenses, but the youngster, though physically gifted, is very unpolished. This week, missteps will likely occur against another aggressive defense, but if the Eagles over-pursue, Webb is capable of breaking contain, devouring yards on the ground. Philly’s shortcomings against the pass also enhances the unpolished signal caller’s chances to better his Week 15 total. The banged up Eagles secondary has given up 245.6 passing yards and 2.1 touchdowns per game to QBs, equal to the fourth-most fantasy points allowed. Webb’s 12-point tally last week ranked No. 18 among WRs. Assuming he nets the start, expect a slightly better effort in the follow-up.
Fearless Forecast: 18-31, 177 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 3 interceptions, 32 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 18 fantasy points
Armstrong's rags to riches story could one day grace the silver screen. Only four years ago, the hard-working wideout earned peanuts as a member of the Odessa Roughnecks in the now defunct Intense Football League. Today, he's one of imaginary football's best kept secrets. Though he's scored only twice this season, the deep threat has contributed soundly in yardage, especially since Week 8. During that stretch, he's eclipsed 80 yards four times, including his first 100-yard game last week in front of family and friends in Dallas. More than just a streak receiver, he's shown increased versatility as the season has worn on, catching passes across the middle and on out routes. Matched against a Jaguars secondary well-known for its elasticity, he could again yield top-30 numbers at his position. The Jags have allowed the third-most 20-yard pass plays this season. Because of Rex Grossman's gunslinger approach, the 'Skins will likely take several shots downfield with Armstrong. Deep leaguers with sketchy options at WR3 should employ the budding talent with confidence.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 88 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14 fantasy points
Full disclosure, we’ve hyped one Illinois product after another in this space over the years. Our Orange and Blue obsession runs so deep we asked Santa this year for a jar of Jeff George mullet grease. Yes, it’s a sickness. Despite our skewed perspective, this is the first time the rookie has been given a full flame endorsement. Selected two rounds ahead of Mike Williams in last April’s draft, Benn has slowly acclimated to the pro game. Only once has he eclipsed 60 yards this season, a feat he accomplished two weeks ago in his hometown of Washington. After his breakout performance, Raheem Morris and Greg Olson devised ways to get Been more involved. Unfortunately, the result produced a lackluster three catches for 34 yards last week versus Detroit. However, this could be the week he finally nets a target spike. Seattle is an incredibly generous pass defense. The ‘Hawks have allowed the most 20-yard pass plays and third-most fantasy points to wideouts this season. Receivers are performing nearly 35 percent above the league average against them. Considering Benn’s thick 6-foot-1, 220-pound frame, fresh legs and the coach staff’s growing confidence in him, he may seize the day. Keep in mind with Williams drawing increased attention, he’ll net several one-on-one situations against nonthreatening corner Kelly Jennings(notes). Owners desperate to unearth WR3 treasure in deeper leagues should seek out the swashbuckler’s services.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 12 fantasy points
Other potential Week 16 Flames: Rex Grossman (at Jac), Tim Tebow (at Hou), Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) (vs. NE), Jon Kitna (at Ari), LeGarrette Blount(notes) (vs. Sea), Mike Tolbert(notes) (at Cin), Ryan Torain(notes) (at Jac), Ronnie Brown(notes) (vs. Det), Brian Westbrook(notes) (at StL), Rashad Jennings(notes) (vs. Was), Mike Williams, Sea (at TB), Mike Sims-Walker (vs. Was), Lance Moore(notes) (at Atl), Rob Gronkowski(notes) (at Buf), Aaron Hernandez(notes) (at Buf)
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