November 02, 2011
Each week the Noise highlights 10 bold names who he believes are destined to torpedo your team. For those playing the Lames home edition, each player must be started in at least 50 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 9 Lames in the comments.
Ben Roethlisberger(notes), Pit, QB (Week 9 Noise QB Rank: 16, 72-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Bal
In his first battle against Baltimore Week 1, Roethlisberger was fortunate to emerge from the beat-down with head still attached. Sacked four times and forced into five turnovers, he succumbed repeatedly to the Ravens' relentless pressure. Since then, though, Big Ben has clocked the competition. Over his past four games he's posted a 11:2 td:int split and averaged a hefty 288.5 passing yards per game. Excluding Jacksonville, however, many of his recent opponents would struggle containing a one-legged Tim Tebow(notes). Tennessee, Arizona and New England all rank in the bottom half of the league in pass defense. Clearly the strength of the Ravens defense is defending the run, but Ed Reed(notes) and friends are no slouches against the pass. They have not surrendered a multi-TD passer this season and they've not allowed a 230-yard passer since Week 2. Speed demons Mike Wallace(notes) and Antonio Brown(notes) are a handful for any secondary, but Baltimore has done a fantastic job of bracketing deep-threats downfield, yielding a mere 16 pass plays of 20-plus yards, the second-lowest number in the league. Plus, Roethlisberger has logged only marginal success against the division rival in recent clashes, scoring 20 fantasy points only once in his past six turns. Weighing history and how suffocating the Ravens have played recently, predicting Big Ben a lame is a no-brainer.
Fearless Forecast: 21-36, 254 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 14.7 fantasy points
Ryan Mathews(notes), SD, RB (or Mike Tolbert(notes)) (Week 9 Noise RB Rank: 18, 73-percent started)
Matchup: vs. GB
It never ceases to amaze how quickly the tables can turn in fantasy. Entering Week 8, Mathews was the indisputable workhorse in the Chargers backfield. After he racked 123.8 total yards per game over his previous four contests, most believed, despite constant nicks and scrapes, he was finally living up to the mammoth expectations fanalysts placed on him as a rookie. Sadly, one nasty case of fumbilits and a strained groin later, and he again has the appearance of a committee back. According to local sources, his status for this week's tango with the Packers is in serious doubt, especially given the short week. Practice reports Thursday and Friday will ultimately determine his availability. However, even if he goes, don't expect spectacular totals. Green Bay was ripped for 175 yards and a score pre-bye by Adrian Peterson, but it's still allowed just 3.3 yards per carry and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to plowshares this season. Unless Philip Rivers(notes) rediscovers his mojo, he could find little daylight. All elements combined, the second-year back's short, and potentially long-term, worth is very cloudy. If the Charger is officially unplugged Sunday, count on Tolbert, who will be scored in this space in Mathews' stead (if necessary), only as a back-end RB2 in standard formats. The Pack, fresh off the bye, will likely jolt the sliding Bolts.
Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 53 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 32 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 11.5 fantasy points
DeMarco Murray(notes), Dal, RB (Week 9 Noise RB Rank: 26, 73-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Sea
Two weeks ago, Murray, after establishing a new team record for rushing yards in a game, became fantasy's latest "it" player. But even after a solid encore performance in a blowout loss at Philadelphia (8-74-0), his RB1 days may be behind him. Before you know it, his initial fame, fortune and high rank on several "hot" lists will give way to work ethic questions, drug addiction, jail and, the ultimate nail in the career coffin, displaying your goods for a once iconic magazine barely staying afloat in a digital age. Hey, it could happen. Indications are Murray will soon undergo a value makeover, possibly starting this week. Felix Jones'(notes) potential return could transform the rookie into a committee back. Jason Garrett hinted Wednesday he's toying with the idea of installing a two-back system. Under that scenario, Murray would function as the early-down back with Jones working as a Kevin Faulk(notes)-like change-of-pace, but game flow, as always, would determine distribution, a maddening proposition. No matter how many carries the youngster logs this week, don't anticipate banner numbers. Seattle boasts one of the league's fiercest run defenses. On the season, the 'Hawks have allowed just 3.1 yards per carry and 85.9 rushing yards per game to RBs, equal to the third-fewest fantasy points allowed. Only Montario Hardesty(notes) has surpassed the 80-yard mark against them this year. And it took the Brown 33 carries to do it. Undoubtedly, Murray has star potential, but based on his unfavorable matchup and unpredictable workload, he's avoidable in shallow leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 63 rushing yards, 1 reception, 3 receiving yards, 0 tds, 7.3 fantasy points
Anquan Boldin(notes), Bal, WR (Week 9 Noise WR Rank: 28, 78-percent started)
Matchup: at Pit
Boldin, motivated against his former employer, was in full-on destructo mode last week against Arizona. Limited only by Joe Flacco's(notes) sketchy execution, he hauled in a game high seven catches for 145 yards, marking the second time in three games he's eclipsed the century mark. However, the degree of difficulty in this week's matchup is significantly higher. Overall, Mike Tomlin's club has yielded the fewest fantasy points to WRs this season. In fact, only two wideouts have reached double-digits against it. Coincidentally, Boldin was one of them. In the rematch, look for Pittsburgh to exact its revenge. Keep in mind quarterbacks have completed just 30.4 percent of their passes against Ike Taylor(notes), Boldin's probable shadow. Only Darrelle Revis(notes) has dashed more attempts. Physical, hard-nosed battles typically favor the gritty receiver. But in a critical division battle on the road, the Raven gets Steely McBeamed.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.7 fantasy points
Jermichael Finley(notes), GB, TE (Week 9 Noise TE Rank: 9, 54-percent started)
Matchup: at SD
Historically, the Chargers are a team tight ends have throttled. Over the past several years they've ranked perennially in the top-10 in points allowed to the position, a strange outcome for a club that understands how damaging a tight end can be. However, this year, San Diego has actually devoted more resources to defending the position, doing a fairly good job overall. Outside the twin-killing provided by Rob Gronkowski(notes) and Aaron Hernandez(notes) Week 2, TEs have done little when facing SD. In fact, oversized targets are performing 43.9-percent below the league average against the Bolts. Finley, again, is sure to garner plenty of attention, a feeling he's all too familiar with. Double-teamed often this year, which has forced Aaron Rodgers(notes) to look elsewhere, the uber-athletic target has greatly frustrated his followers. Takeaway his TD hat-trick in Chicago, and he's barely posted starter-worthy numbers in deep leagues. Over the past four weeks he's attracted a mere 4.8 targets per game, grabbing 2.8 receptions for 32.0 yards per game. Brandon Funston would lead you to believe this is Finley's week to break out. But defensive coordinator Greg Manusky's newfound commitment to stopping TEs says temper expectations.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 38 receiving yards, 0 touchdows, 6.8 fantasy points
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