September 12, 2009
Each week the Noise will guide desperate, deep-thinking owners into the dark corners of the waiver wire to mine a last-minute diamond. Turn on your helmet light and pack a pickaxe. We're digging for drop-jaw surprises owned in less than 10 percent or started in five percent or less of Yahoo! Plus leagues.
For years fantasy owners were tortured by the head-slamming backfield tactics of Lucifer Shanahan. Though the secrecy of his actions was understandable in the context of reality, in virtual circles, it was completely unacceptable.
Now, under the direction of a new sinister beast, Josh McDaniels (AKA The McDevil), Denver's discombobulated backfield is less decipherable than ever before. The roster is brimming with talented, suitable cogs, but no one, possibly even The McDevil himself, knows exactly how the touches will be divided or what the defined roles truly are.
After deep internal reflection, heavy imbibing and digesting hours of Harry Potter films, the Noise has concocted a magical potion that once consumed, sheds light on the Broncos backfield. Its ingredients: orange Kool-Aid, one Terrell Davis cleat, a shredded Olandis Gary tendon, film of a Mike Anderson(notes) Mile High salute, Shanahan orange glow and man-boob sweat from the Barrel Man.
(Noise removes cork and drinks potion)
The second-year bruiser is a Swiss Army knife the Bob Vilas of the world – not to mention country music stars – appreciate. Equipped with workhorse brawn, adequate speed and tacky hands, he's a key contributor on the ground, through the air and on special teams.
Because of his incredible versatility, Hillis is a matchup concern for Cincinnati's improved but still vulnerable defense ('08: allowed 3.9 ypc, but 131.5 total ypg to RBs). To alleviate pressure on Kyle Orton(notes), look for McDaniels to maximize Hillis' assets by deploying him in the red zone and on swing passes in the flat. As observed throughout the preseason, he's essentially a more powerful version of Kevin Faulk(notes) within Denver's spread system.
Naysayers will argue Knowshon Moreno(notes) and Correll Buckhalter(notes) are the more trustworthy tugboats to employ. Though the veteran, who is listed No. 1 on the depth chart, could be the true sleeper this week, the tender-kneed rookie, who has practiced sparingly, will likely see a limited workload. Here's what McDaniels said Thursday about the first-round pick's status (Hat tip Mile High Report):
"He is working hard every day, too, to try to be ready to go full strength on Sunday. He is doing a nice job and is progressing. We are going to evaluate all of those players with injuries here the next couple days and make sure that we feel like we are fielding the healthiest and best 45 we can to get out there and try to win the game on Sunday."
At best it seems Moreno will net 8-10 carries, which opens the door for Hillis and Buckhalter to receive the lion's share of touches.
Obviously, the former Arkansas standout isn't useable in smallish leagues, but in deep, PPR-heavy formats, the 18 percent-owned (one percent-started) Bronco is an excellent flex option who could compile shocking results.
Fearless Forecast: 9 carries, 39 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 47 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13 fantasy points.
Who is your Week 1 Shocker Special? List your unobvious player and projection below.
SILENCE THE NOISE CHALLENGE
Starting next week one lucky aspiring fantasy prognosticator is chosen to go toe-to-toe against the Noise. If you want to be a guest "expert" submit your Week 2 flames, lames (1 QB, 3 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE for each, 16 total) and shocker special (one player at any position) along with a valid email address and your location here no later than 7 PM central time on Thursday. Oh, and please, no long dissertations to justify your picks. All that's required are your player selections and projections. Winners earn a league spot to compete against yours truly next season. Good luck!
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