October 11, 2008
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 less than five percent of Yahoo! leagues.
JaMarcus Russell (30 percent owned, five percent started) is ready to rise up to the challenge of a rival.
In the same sweet-smelling stadium where he was crowned Sugar Bowl MVP in 2007 (the Superdome) the former LSU standout returns, this time in Silver and Black.
While playing in Lane Kiffin's ultra-conservative offense, Russell's kid gloves rarely came off. Probably for good reason. In eight career games he's posted a mere 54.5 completion percentage.
But Al Davis' delusional management style has actually benefited the former No.1 pick. With boy blunder Kiffin at home playing electric football, new head honcho Tom Cable plans to overhaul the Raiders' smash-mouth offense. Per the Oakland Tribune:
"We have to be more balanced, be willing and enjoy the fact that we're going to take shots down the field on people. Those two concepts have to happen for us to keep people off-balance."
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is focused on developing Russell into a QB prizefighter, something the second-year rocket launcher, who totaled a career-high 277 yards last week versus San Diego under Knapp's direction, is thrilled with.
"Last game you could tell the difference with the pass and the run. With him (Knapp) calling the plays, you could see it open up a little bit more."
Yes, Russell is still extremely green and his primary weapon Javon Walker has tallied more facial fractures than touchdowns since June but, with Knapp's guidance, he should finish with appreciable totals in consecutive weeks. The Saints have surrendered 257 yards and 1.2 scores per game, equal to the 12th-most fantasy points conceded to quarterbacks. They've also allowed nineteen 20-yard pass plays, the most in the NFL.
Knapp will surely take advantage of 'Nawlins' weakness by attacking them vertically. Given Russell's cannon arm, look expect him to connect with Walker or fleet-footed jet Johnnie Lee Higgins on a couple of explosive pass plays.
This week, Russell's "Eye of the Tiger" won't blink.
Week 6 Fearless Forecast: 23-38, 264 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Who is your Week 6 Shocker Special? Post your selection with projection in the comments section below.
Image courtesy of US Presswire