December 06, 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 14 Flames in the comments.
Rex Grossman(notes), Was, QB (Noise Week 14 QB rank: 10, 4-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NE
Most would rather trust Jason Garrett with late-game clock management than put faith in a turnover prone QB known for titanic meltdowns to advance them into Round 2, but the chastised passer may actually be a difference-maker. And, before you ask, yes, the Noise is slightly delusional. In all seriousness, suggesting Grossman could finish as a QB1 this week in 12-teamers isn't farfetched. Ignoring his tainted name, the 'Skins slinger has performed fairly well since retaking the starting job from John Beck(notes). In four starts, he's averaged 260.5 yards per game and posted a 5:6 td:int split (one rush td). His subsequent 18.8 per game mark in standard formats is the 15th-best among QBs during that span. The expected loss of Fred Davis(notes) to suspension is a killer, but with Santana Moss(notes), Jabar Gaffney(notes) and check-down maestro Roy Helu(notes) in tow, Grossman has plenty of weapons in the arsenal. Corner Kyle Arrington(notes), the NFL's interceptions leader, deserves a hat-tip for his execution, but the rest of the Patriots secondary is epically bad. The battered unit is on pace to establish a rather dubious record. An astounding nine QBs have thrown for at least 300 yards against them, including the likes of Chad Henne(notes), Jason Campbell(notes), Mark Sanchez(notes) and Dan Orlovsky(notes). Simply, New England has put lipstick on many pigs. Sanchez in Week 5 and Tyler Palko(notes) in Week 11 are the only two passers not to eclipse the 20-point threshold against it. With the 'Skins out of playoff contention, Grossman admitted he and his teammates are trying to "put a show on for the fans." Considering the defensively inept opponent, the FedEx faithful, and dice-rolling owners, will definitely feel entertained.
Fearless Forecast: 25-40, 306 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 21.3 fantasy points
Toby Gerhart(notes), Min, RB (Noise Week 14 RB rank: 20, 27-percent started)
Matchup: at Det
Gerhart, a cross between Peyton Hillis(notes), James Starks(notes) and an Alaskan moose, is an underrated commodity poised to deliver his third consecutive noteworthy performance. He may lack qualities that typically drive owner libidos wild (e.g. explosiveness and open-field wiggle), but he's a classic between-the-tackles grinder who's also blessed with tacky hands and pile-moving power. Last week in the lead role, he grabbed eight passes and rolled up 133 total yards versus the Von Miller(notes)-less Broncos. Against a Detroit defense also minus its defensive star, Ndamukong Suh(notes), he could replicate that success. According to Leslie Frazier Adrian Peterson is "very close" to returning from a high ankle sprain, but the former rush king could be held back considering Minnesota has zero to play for. If the Purple Hey-Zeus is again deactivated, Gerhart is a strong candidate for another top-20 performance. The Lions, even with Suh in the lineup, have allowed 4.6 yards per carry to rushers this season. Mark Ingram(notes) and Darren Sproles(notes) each surpassed the 10-point threshold against them in Week 13. Because of his questionable pass-blocking, Vikes' offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave doesn't have complete faith in Gerhart in most passing situations. Last week, he didn't see a single third-down snap after halftime. However, because of his scoring versatility, useful matchup and likely bell cow role, the former Stanford standout is bound to fly high.
Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 76 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 20 receiving yards, td, 18.6 fantasy points
Marion Barber(notes), Chi, RB (Noise Week 14 RB rank: 22, 10-percent started)
Matchup: at Den
If the loss of Jay Cutler(notes) killed the Bears, Matt Forte's(notes) exit officially shipped them to the taxidermist. Though Chicago is still in the wildcard hunt, its playoff hopes could permanently slip away with one more defeat. Not even Barbra Favre could save it. Still, Barber, once an RB2 staple on rosters during his heyday in Dallas, boasts considerable fantasy value. Lovie Smith may believe Khalil Bell possesses more Forte-like qualities than Barber, but the latter is the stronger candidate for the lion's share of touches. The veteran isn't the nimblest or fastest of players, but he, like Gerhart, is a gritty interior runner. With an expanded workload, it's conceivable he could post back-end RB2 numbers in 12-teamers. Denver, which could again be without the services of its best run defender, Miller, could be extremely vulnerable up front. Even with the rookie sensation on the field, its struggled stuffing the run. Since Week 10 the Broncos have surrendered 4.5 yards per carry and the seventh-most fantasy points to RBs. Yes, Caleb Hanie's(notes) ineffectiveness is a worry and Bell will likely wrest away 8-12 touches, but The Barbarian should wield a sharpened axe in Denver.
Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 69 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 7 receiving yards, td, 15.1 fantasy points
Julio Jones(notes), Atl, WR (Noise Week 14 WR rank: 16, 23-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Car
Penalties, dropped passes, mental lapses, injuries — Jones appears to have slammed face-first into the rookie wall. Limited by a hamstring setback over the past few weeks, he hasn't registered a top-40 effort since exploding for 131 yards and two touchdowns at Indy in Week 9. To his frustrated owners, the statistical vanishing act has labeled him untrustworthy. But finally healthy, it's time for the thoroughbred to get back on track. Place a bet down on him this week against the Pansies, and he's destined to cash. Carolina corner Captain Munnerlyn(notes), presumably the overseer of the U.S.S. Suck, has been one of the league's most abused defenders. Picked on repeatedly by quarterbacks, for good reason, the DB has allowed a staggering 71.7 catch percentage and 14.3 yards per catch. Despite his miscues, Jones still attracted 10 targets from Matt Ryan(notes) last week in Houston. If he garners a similar workload, which seems likely with Chris Gamble(notes) expected to shadow Roddy White(notes), he could finally regain the confidence of his owners. Keep in mind the Pansies have conceded the eighth-most fantasy points to WRs since Week 10. Bank on him.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 87 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.4 fantasy points
Dustin Keller(notes), NYJ, TE (Noise Week 14 TE rank: 8, 38-percent started)
Matchup: vs. KC
The obvious drawback to any ground and pound scheme is handcuffing tight ends to the line of scrimmage. Keller should know. With Rex Ryan desperate to resuscitate a flatlined run game, the oversized target experienced a terrible midseason drought. From Weeks 4-11, he failed to find the end-zone even once and netted just 2.8 receptions and 37.7 receiving yards per game. Mark Sanchez, who Keller has vehemently defended, also bears partial responsibility for the downturn, but, regardless who's to blame, it's a travesty a weapon with such incredible natural tools is so heavily underused in the passing game. That could change this week against KC. Defending the middle of the field has been quite a chore for the Chiefs. On the year, they've given up the third-most fantasy points to TEs. Scott Chandler(notes), Anthony Fasano(notes) and Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) are just a few unheralded names that severely wounded Todd Haley's bunch between the hashmarks. If Keller can break away from the box roughly 7-9 times, he should be in store for a memorable afternoon. Purchase a ticket.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 61 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.8 fantasy points
Brandon Saine(notes), GB, RB (Noise Week 14 RB rank: 27, 0-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Oak
Over the years, several unpredictable RBs have emerged from the woodworks in December and become playoff heros. Nick Goings(notes), Ron Dayne and Lee Suggs donned a cape. Saine could too. James Starks, nursing an ankle injury, isn't expected to suit up, swinging open the door of opportunity for the virtual unknown. The product from Ohio State, overlooked in last April's NFL draft, isn't your typical rookie free agent. As Packers running backs coach Jerry Fontenot recently said, he's an "impressive" young back with "efficient running skills," speed and versatility. In fact, Aaron Rogers remarked Saine has the best hands on the entire Packers roster. Because Green Bay is overloaded with extraordinary receivers, that's quite the compliment. In last week's thriller in New York, the youngster played well, totaling 45 yards on 10 touches (22 snaps). Ryan Grant(notes) should be the primary early-down runner against Oakland and John Kuhn(notes) will undoubtedly vulture goal-line carries, but Saine is in line to total a 12-15 touch workload, many of those grips coming in the pass game. The Raiders, who've allowed 4.9 yards per carry to RBs this year, are awful defending the run. Eight RBs have scored double-digits against them in standard leagues. That number is significantly higher in PPR formats. Yes, the Packers are a pass-first team, but if you're hard-pressed for a flex option, don't fear the unknown. Saine could cure your PPR pain.
Fearless Forecast: 10 carries, 41 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 49 receiving yards, 0 tds, 13.5 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 14 FLAMES
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