October 11, 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 6 Flames in the comments.
Andy Dalton(notes), Cin, QB (Noise Week 6 QB Rank: 12, 7-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Ind
To the prejudiced, particularly Eric Cartman, redheads suffer from "Gingervitis," an incurable affliction that causes sun-sensitive paleness and Leprechaun-ish looks. However, in a bye-heavy week, Cincy's Heat Miser will be a cure-all. Dalton, greatly overshadowed by fellow rookie Cam Newton(notes), has adjusted to the pros almost seamlessly. In five starts he's completed nearly 60-percent of his attempts, averaged a respectable 209.4 yards per game and accounted for seven touchdowns (one rush). Based on the matchup, most would assume the Bengals would pound Indy's vulnerable interior into oblivion. After all, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who wasn't pleased with his team's ground performance last week against the Jags, will be hell-bent to get Cedric Benson(notes) going. Though Marvin Lewis will likely write a balanced script, Dalton should have plenty of scoring opportunities. The Colts, who could be minus top corner Jerraud Powers(notes), have trampled few QBs. On the year, passers are averaging 8.3 yards per attempt, 267.8 yards and 1.8 touchdowns per game against them. Last week, Matt Cassel(notes) lit them up for 254 yards and four scores. Expect Dalton-to-A.J. Green(notes) to be an unstoppable combination. Take note Philip Rivers(notes) owners. Cincy's "Red Power" is ready to rescue your team from bye-week despair.
Fearless Forecast: 22-36, 254 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 19.7 fantasy points
Ryan Torain(notes), Was, RB (Noise Week 6 RB Rank: 14, 19-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Phi
Putting your faith in a Shanahan back immersed in a full-blown RBBC is akin to dangling a bucket of fried chicken in a locked room full of "Biggest Loser" contestants — an extremely dangerous exercise. But after exploding back onto the fantasy scene two weeks ago in St. Louis (19-135-1), the All-Torain Vehicle is the only 'Skins rusher worth turning the key for. Yes, Tim Hightower(notes), who now claims he's 100-percent after being limited by a shoulder injury in his previous two games, and Roy Helu(notes) will be involved, but, it's fairly clear Torain will be deployed on early downs and, presumably, at the goal-line. Naturally, Lucifer, in an attempt to pump the competitive juices of his RBs, has yet to name a starter, but provided Torain doesn't crack a testicle before Sunday, he will be the primary rusher against Philly. The matchup couldn't be friendlier. The Eagles have surrendered 5.6 yards per carry, 206 total yards per game and seven touchdowns to backs on the young season equal to the most fantasy points allowed. Washington, fresh from the bye, will have its way up front. On 15-18 carries, Torain should flirt with the position's top-10. Do you have the huevos?
Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 98 rushing yards, 1 receptions, 5 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.8 fantasy points
James Starks(notes), GB, RB (Noise Week 6 RB Rank: 17, 21-percent started)
Matchup: vs. StL
Mike McCarthy's game of musical chairs at RB has been maddening. Though Starks has outplayed Ryan Grant(notes) in four of five games, the sloth-footed veteran remains the starter. But after Grant's fumble and porous overall play Week 5 in Atlanta, the door of opportunity has again swung open for the backup. Expect him to net the heavy side of the usual 60-40 snap disparity. This week, no matter the carries distribution, both backs are very capable of posting their best efforts of the season. Because of the Rams' depleted secondary, Aaron Rodgers(notes) will have little difficulty picking apart his competitor through the air, potentially leading to a lopsided score. Assuming that happens, the ground attack should receive plenty of work and see wide holes to plow through, paving the way for Starks to have a big fantasy day. Keep in mind the Rams have yielded 5.6 yards per carry, 196.5 total yards per game and four touchdowns to RBs this year, equal to the fourth-most fantasy points allowed. The second-year back is determined to sharpen his vision and become more elusive in the open-field. Considering the weak opponent, he will have numerous opportunities to hone his craft. If there was ever a week for him to log 15-plus carries, this is it.
Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 77 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 9 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.1 fantasy points
Victor Cruz(notes), NYG, WR (Noise Week 6 WR Rank: 13, 32-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Buf
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, punch me in the face. Warming up to Cruz has been a gradual process, but after three consecutive stellar weeks (17-369-3 in total on 25 targets) and a top-15 per game ranking among wideouts, the undrafted product from Marcus Camby-U (Massachusetts) deserves to be fully embraced. He's no Steve Smith, as Y! contributor Michael Salfino unbelievably compared him to, but he could be this season's Stevie Johnson(notes). Cruz's flair for the dramatic, whether acrobatic catches or non-fumble gaffes, has been enthralling to watch. The receiver certainly has a knack for being the center of attention. Against Stevie's Bills he should again keep onlookers glued. Though leading the NFL in interceptions, Buffalo has allowed the sixth-most 20-yard pass plays in the league this season and the 10th-most fantasy points to WRs. Slot receivers, in particular, have tortured the Bills, evident in Jason Avant's(notes) 9-139-0 line last week. With Eli Manning's(notes) confidence in him soaring and Mario Manningham(notes) seemingly in the rearview mirror, Cruz has become must-start material. Feed the machine.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 86 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 19.1 fantasy points
Mike Williams, TB, WR (Noise Week 6 WR Rank: 19, 59-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NO
Speaking as a disgruntled Right Coast Mike owner, soul-crushing frustration best summarizes the receiver's season thus far. One of the position's consistency kings last year, the dethroned royal is mired in mediocrity (No. 70 among WRs in points per game), a true sophomore slump. Tampa receivers coach Eric Yaber told TBO.com last week defenses have rolled more corners over to Williams' side and "halves over the top." The added attention has forced Josh Freeman(notes) to look elsewhere, which explains the emergence of slot weapon Preston Parker(notes). According to Pro Football Focus, the Saints' Jabari Greer(notes) is one of the league's stingiest corners, ranking No. 15 in coverage. But in a game where points will be aplenty, especially through the air with LeGarrette Blount(notes) likely out, Williams must be trusted one more time. As Freeman recently predicted, the slumping receiver is on the brink of a 100-yard game. That may not happen this week — only Andre Johnson(notes) has eclipsed the century mark against New Orleans this year — but he should at least return to top-20 territory. Listen to Biggie. Give the Buc "One more chance."
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.5 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Montario Hardesty(notes), Cle, RB (Noise Week 6 RB Rank: 25, 4-percent started)
Matchup: at Oak
Unhappy camper Peyton Hillis(notes), quite the controversial subject of late, is in the midst of fighting for a long-term contract extension. Though he and Pat Shurmur claim their relationship isn't on the rocks, trade rumors suggest otherwise. Without question, Hillis will start this week at Oakland, but Hardesty's role is destined to grow this week and possibly beyond. Shurmur spoke highly about the second-year back when he filled in for the sick starter three weeks ago, describing him as a "very instinctive runner." Netting 12 touches against Tennessee before the Browns bye in Week 5, Hardesty figures to grip the leather roughly 10-15 times again this week in Oakland. To say the Raiders D has struggled in the trenches would be a gross understatement. The Silver and Black has allowed the most 20-yard run plays in the league along with 5.3 yards per carry and 194.2 total yards per game to RBs. Even on a limited workload, the backup could accumulate useful flex numbers in deeper leagues. Ryan Mathews(notes), Chris Johnson and Beanie Wells(notes) owners scrambling for alternatives should throw a bone to the Brown.
Fearless Forecast: 9 carries, 42 rushing yard, 4 receptions, 27 receiving yards, 1 touchdown. 15.9 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 6 FLAMES
Image courtesy of the AP