October 15, 2009
Brad and Andy return live this week to answer your questions and discuss their flames, lames and deep names for Week 6. Submit your questions for Friday night's "Fantasy Freak Show" on The Score via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.You can also dial the studio line starting at 8 PM PT/10 PM CT/11 PM ET at 312-644-6767 or text us at 67011. You can also follow the show, and the Noise, via Twitter.
Each week the Noise highlights eight somewhat obscure, unobvious names who he believes are destined for flame madness or lame sadness. Being an accountability advocate, he will tally his hits and misses and post the results, whether genius or moronic, each week using the scoring system posted here.
More Noise: DeAngelo Doomed?
Matchup: vs. Ari
Finally healthy, Seattle's Bald Eagle regained his swagger and accurate touch last week against the Jags, tossing 241 yards and four touchdowns. "Comfortable operating in a hurry-up type of pace," according to TJ Houshmandzadeh(notes), the veteran QB should have marked success pushing the pedal to the metal against a very vulnerable Arizona secondary. The Cards have allowed a ridiculous 310.3 passing yards and 2.3 air strikes per game equal to the third-most fantasy points yielded. Hassy has also compiled seven touchdowns in two home games. The signal caller, in the midst of an incredibly friendly matchup slate (Next seven: Ari, Bye, at Dal, Det, at Ari, at Min, at StL), could be one of fantasy's most valuable QBs over the next several weeks. Sage owners should pitch an offer for his services now before the sticker price soars.
Matchup: vs. NYG
It's common knowledge the Noise is perpetually hammered on PT Bruiser juice. But speaking from an objective point of view, he's must start material in Week 7. The news of Mike Bell's(notes) return has once again caused PT supporters to feel uneasy. Thomas' perplexing ankle/hamstring issues also complicates matters. But there is no reason to panic. Though Bell played marvelously in Thomas' absence earlier this season, the Bruiser has found the end-zone three times averaging a stupid 6.4 yards per carry and 87.3 total yards per game in three contests. To keep his backfield fresh, Saints coach Sean Payton will install a rotation of sorts, likely riding, as Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune speculates, the "hot hand." Unless his ankle soreness intensifies, Thomas should be trusted this week against a deceptively solid Giants frontline. The G-Men have surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points to rushers, but also 4.5 yards per carry. Because of Drew Brees'(notes) ability to thin out the box, the PT Bruiser, assuming he's healthy, should roll.
Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 77 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Buf
New York's little Leprechaun has yet to find gold at the end of the rainbow. Rex Ryan and Brian Schottenheimer have repeatedly said Washington will become a centerpiece of the Jets' gameplan, but seemingly every week they are "disappointed" by the back's lack of involvement. On the season, he's averaged just 62 total yards per contest and has yet to splash pay-dirt. However, this week, the versatile rusher should inflict significant damage on approximately 15-20 touches. Decimated by injuries, the Bills defense is a very vulnerable unit in all facets, especially on the ground. Buffalo has yielded 4.6 yards per carry, 171.8 total yards per game and eight touchdowns to RBs equal to the fourth-most fantasy points conceded. If there was ever a week to march with Washington, Week 6 is it.
Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 54 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 35 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Den
The animated mini-keg, who was voted the third most-underrated player in the NFL by his peers last week, has been grossly underutilized since LT's return. Used sparingly against Pittsburgh just before the Bolts' bye, he touched the rock just one time for a 16-yard reception. Though Tomlinson will tote the lion's share of carries this week against the unblemished Broncos, Sproles' role should expand. Interiorly the Broncos are an inflexible unit, yielding just 3.3 yards per carry to rushers. But, as Tashard Choice(notes), Cedric Benson(notes) and Sammy Morris(notes) have showed, they are exploitable in space, especially on the peripheries. Denver has allowed 6.4 receptions and 50.2 receiving yards per game to backs this season, the fifth-most in the NFL. To take advantage of what the defense gives him, Philip Rivers(notes) will likely target Sproles on several swings and screens. In a more involved role, the Pocket Rocket should accumulate appreciable totals in PPR-intensive formats.
Fearless Forecast: 8 carries, 29 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 38 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 11 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Bal
Against an underachieving Baltimore secondary, the BB Gun is cocked, locked and loaded. The Larry King of quarterbacks, Brett Favre(notes), who Berrian gifted a rocking chair to for his 40th birthday, admitted earlier this week he's still learning each of his receivers' habits and tendencies. Targeting Berrian 6.6 times per contest, the elderly gunslinger appears comfortable with his primary deep threat despite the learning curve. This week, the two should connect on at least one long bomb. The Ravens have struggled in man-on-man coverage this season, especially downfield. Ed Reed(notes) and his cohorts have surrendered an uncharacteristic seventeen 20-yard pass plays, the second-most in the league. They've also conceded the 10th most fantasy points to wideouts. Like Berrian, Percy Harvin(notes) and Sidney Rice(notes) could also easily achieve flame status, but the BB Gun should have the finest fantasy day of the trio.
Fearless Forecast: 4receptions, 64 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 12 fantasy points
Matchup: at Jac
Avery's Tootsie Roll after scoring a meaningless touchdown last week against Minnesota is the everyday equivalent of breaking out the running man at funerals, high-powered business meetings and encounters with law enforcement. In other words, it was totally inappropriate, though somewhat understandable. Really, how many times will Avery, or any Ram for that matter, find the end zone? Despite St. Louis' general offensive ineptitude, it could have some success vertically this week against Jacksonville. The Jags have allowed the most yards, second-most scores and second-most fantasy points to receivers this season. With Marc Bulger(notes) back behind center and given the Rams' inefficiencies defensively, Avery should again attract ample targets, labeling him an upside WR3 in deeper formats. Another 80-plus yard effort could be on the horizon.
Fearless Forecast: 4receptions, 58 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 11 fantasy points
Matchup: at NE
The Jerry Garcia of NFL receivers, Washington, who will be selling autographed tie-dye shirts and incense on a Foxboro street corner after Sunday's game, remarked this week despite the Titans winless record, his teammates are, positively and negatively, motivated by "love." Pass the bong, dude. Due to Tennessee's stiffness in the trenches and inadequacies in downfield coverage, quarterbacks have feasted vertically on the Titans which has forced Jeff Fisher to abandon the run, a common occurrence that has benefited Washington. Ranked No. 39 in points per games at his position, the former Steeler has averaged 7.4 targets per game and totaled three touchdowns. Just three receivers have surpassed 80-yards against the Pats, but in a game in which Tennessee could once again be buried early, the Titans' top target should be thrust into an opportunity to rack numerous catches.
Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 39 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 9 fantasy points
Matchup: at Min
Heap, no longer the butt of fantasy jokes, has become one of Joe Flacco's(notes) most trusted targets, averaging a robust 6.2 looks per game. Though he hasn't crossed the chalk since Week 2 and has failed to eclipse the 50-yard mark in four consecutive games, the Ravens skyscraper should flirt with the tight end top-five this week. In terms of TE defense, Minnesota is the new San Diego. Susceptible across the middle, the Vikings have yielded 7.6 receptions, 93.6 yards and 0.80 touchdowns per game to monolithic targets equal to the most fantasy points allowed. Even the Rams were successful in TE conversions last week totaling eight catches for 90 yards. Activate Heap in all formats.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 74 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Cle
On the WWE circuit, Big Ben may one day unleash the "Slamburger" on opponents, but this week against the run-vulnerable Browns, he won't be worthy of a shot at the Intercontinental Belt. Because adversaries have pounded the Puppies into the ground, the Steelers' intradivisional rival has surrendered just 220.2 yards per game and a 5:2 TD:INT split to QBs equal to the ninth-fewest fantasy points allowed. Bruce Arians may install a conservative approach early to attack Cleveland's primary weakness. At Big Ben's expense, Rashard Mendenhall(notes) and, to a much lesser extent, Willie Parker(notes) will undoubtedly run uninhibited. If the ground game is successful early, Pittsburgh could build an insurmountable lead, which would limit Roethlisberger's scoring opportunities. Assuming this scenario unfolds, the aforementioned Hasselbeck (vs. Ari), Flacco (at Min) and Brett Favre (vs. Bal) are sounder options.
Fearless Forecast: 18-26, 204 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions, 14 fantasy points
Matchup: vs. Den
LT, traveling down the Shaun Alexander(notes) path of rapid decline, is a shell of his former self. Prior to the Chargers' bye, the multi-time All-Pro admitted he was still "a little rusty" against the Steelers. Now close to 100 percent, he will likely total roughly 15-20 carries against Denver. However, due to San Diego's run-blocking shortcomings and their rival's sturdiness against the run, he's virtually unusable in shallow formats. The Broncos have surrendered just 3.3 yards per carry, 123.4 total yards per game and two scores to rushers this season equal to the seventh-fewest fantasy points allowed. Simply put: Philip Rivers is and will continue to be the star of the San Diego show, not LT. The more versatile Sproles will be the better Bolts back in Week 6.
Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 49 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 11 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6 fantasy points
Matchup: at GB
Although he's racked respectable, not special, numbers this season, Detroit's "Mall Rat" has started to receive recognition from scouts and coaches across the league. An anonymous defensive assistant told the Green Bay Gazette this week, Smith is "a guy who could get to the next level, a rising starting running back in this league." Averaging just over 12 points per game in standard leagues (No. 14 among RBs), the Lions tugboat has been one of virtual pigskin's best RB2s. However, with Calvin Johnson(notes) and Matthew Stafford(notes) potentially sidelined this week, the rusher will surely encounter a sea of green and yellow at the line of scrimmage. Despite their issues vertically, the Packers' 3-4 has performed brilliantly against the run, limiting runners to a mere 3.5 yards per carry and 132.4 total yards per game. They've also surrendered the sixth-fewest fantasy points to backs. Because of his featured presence in the passing game, he's still useful in PPR formats, but standard leaguers should seek other alternatives.
Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 58 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 23 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8 fantasy points
Matchup: at Sea
Against the run, Seattle exudes a Jekyll and Hyde persona. At home, the Hawks have not conceded a touchdown to rushers, holding them to just 3.3 yards per carry and 84.3 total yards per game. However, away from Qwest Field things have transpired much differently. Right Frank Gore(notes) owners? For the PPR masses, Hightower has turned an enormous profit, averaging 6.3 receptions per contest. But, similar to last season, he's been an eyesore between the tackles netting a deplorable 3.3 yards per carry. Ken Whisenhunt noted earlier this week he wants to incorporate bruising rookie Beanie Wells(notes) more into the offensive flow, especially against Seattle. Though the tacky-handed rusher will be deployed often on passing downs, he could cede a few touches to Wells in the red zone. Couple that with the unfriendly matchup, and the Arizona RB should be net pine time in shallow, non-PPR formats.
Fearless Forecast: 10 carries, 31 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 32 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6 fantasy points
Matchup: at Cin
According to many in Fantasyland, the mere contemplation of benching arguably the league's most talented wideout is a prison-worthy offense. To those, the Noise is stockpiling soap-on-a-rope. But Cincinnati has done a masterful job containing No. 1s this season. Based on data compiled by Football Outsiders, Leon Hall(notes) and company have held foes 102.4 percent below the league average. Brandon Marshall(notes), Greg Jennings(notes), Santonio Holmes(notes), Braylon Edwards(notes) and Derrick Mason(notes) have all been victimized. As Johnson's shown twice already, he isn't void of vanishing performances. Due to his incredible talents and ridiculous 10.4 targets per game average, he's impossible to demote. But a lackluster effort is certainly plausible.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 43 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 fantasy points
Steve Smith, NYG, WR (Noise WR Rank: 23, Bench: No Bench)
Matchup: at NO
The receiving Smith you want to own, the slick Giants wideout has been the biggest surprise sensation of the early season at WR. Currently setting the pace in points per game at his position, the former USC standout has averaged an otherworldly 9.6 targets, 7.4 receptions and 96.2 yards per contest with four touchdowns. Unquestionably Eli Manning's(notes) most reliable weapon, he's quickly become a dominating force in PPR-heavy formats. But in Eli's return to the bayou, Smith may tally his first mediocre performance of the season. Under the visionary guidance of coordinator Gregg Williams, the Saints defense has improved significantly, especially versus the pass. Picked apart aerially a season ago, New Orleans has allowed just four 70-yard games and two TDs to wideouts this year. Smith is notorious for finding creases in zone coverage and will likely do so with some success against Williams' blitz-intense schemes. However, with the Giants recommitted to the ground game and given the Saints' defensive prowess across the middle, he could notch muffled totals.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 65 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 6 fantasy points
Matchup: at SD
The Mile High Monarch finally adorned a jeweled crown last week, snagging 10 receptions for 90 yards against New England. But owners shouldn't immediately jump back on the bandwagon. As Josh McDaniels remarked after last week's emotional triumph, Royal benefited from "a lot of weak side reads." The baby-faced coach emphasized the second-year target is still a part of the rotation. In other words, he's still largely unreliable. Since a wounded sea lion could waddle its way to 100 yards against the Chargers frontline, Knowshon Moreno(notes) will be the focus of Denver's gameplan. Throw in San Diego's above average secondary, which ranks eighth in fewest fantasy points allowed to receivers, and Royal is destined to slide back into obscurity. Sunnier days are ahead, but this week will likely yield a gloomy result.
Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 27 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 fantasy points
Matchup: at Cin
In this year of the tight end, the towering Texan has been one of virtual pigskin's steadiest performers. Tallying an almost identical point per game output as Tony Gonzalez(notes) (8.3), Daniels have averaged 7.6 targets, 5.0 receptions and 59.2 yards per game. He's also cannonballed into the invisible pool twice. Coming off his finest yardage effort of the season (8-94 at Ari), the Wisconsin product is seemingly unbenchable. But Keith Rivers(notes) and company have performed solidly against sizable targets this season. In five clashes, no tight end has eclipsed 60 yards against them. Daniels should still yield serviceable stats in PPR formats, but for standard leaguers, Jermichael Finley(notes) (vs. Det), Brent Celek(notes) (at Oak) and Jeremy Shockey(notes) (vs. NYG) are more trustworthy options.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 fantasy points
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