November 16, 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 11 Flames in the comments.
Carson Palmer(notes), Oak, QB (Week 11 Noise QB Rank: 6, 10-percent started)
Matchup: at Min
Gamers, what does Carson have to do to earn your respect? Run for touchdowns? Join the Occupy Oakland movement? Out-wrestle the Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental Belt? It's criminal the "Red Baron" A) Isn't universally owned. He's still available in 60-percent of Y! leagues. B) Hasn't received widespread support from fanalsyts as an every-week starter. After back-to-back top-10 performances, it's time to shower the former Pro Bowler in adoration. For a player just four weeks removed from eating Cheetohs while reclined in his barcalounger, what he's accomplished with a condensed playbook is nothing short of spectacular. Yes, his six picks are a black-eye, but his progressions, delivery and exceptional play in the no-huddle have erased doubts. It's scary to think, as Hue Jackson remarked last week, the QB "is just getting warmed up." This week, Carson reaches the boiling point. Minnesota's secondary, sans Antoine Winfield(notes), is an exposed unit. Without its leader on the field from Weeks 5-8, the Vikes surrendered 8.0 yards per attempt, 286.5 yards per game and 2.0 air strikes per game. Look for Palmer, who's notched 9.8 yards per attempt in three games, to take numerous shots downfield with Denarius Moore(notes) against Minnesota's broken Cover 2. Expect the pair to connect often. Throw in the Raiders' vulnerabilities on defense, and Palmer is destined for QB1 numbers yet again. Enough is enough. Unless you have unbenchable alternatives, the underappreciated passer needs to be in your lineup.
Fearless Forecast: 21-34, 279 passing yards, 3 passing TDs, 1 interception, 24.9 fantasy points
Marshawn Lynch(notes), Sea, RB (Week 11 Noise RB Rank: 8, 25-percent started)
Matchup: at StL
Quietly, over the past five weeks, the Beast has been unleashed. Lynch, running with the anger of 100 comic book villans, has declared war on would-be tacklers, racking substantial yards after contact. Against the Cowboys and Ravens, two of the NFL's unkindest run defenses, the 'Hawk scratched and clawed his way to 310 total yards and two scores, extending his TD streak to five games. The reason for his midseason emergence is largely due to an increase in aggressiveness. Earlier this year, he plodded timidly to the line, rarely netting more than three yards per carry. But, finally comfortable with Seattle's zone-blocking scheme, Lynch, as Tom Cable noted, has exercised more discipline, seeing the hole more clearly. He's also, finally, been utilized more in the pass game. Still, despite his consistent level of play, few owners have taken notice, indicative in his low start percentage. Wake up fools. The rancid Rams have shown some improvement versus the run. Two weeks ago Beanie Wells(notes) managed just 20 yards on 10 carries. But this is still an exploitable unit. Last week, Chris Ogbonnaya(notes) totaled 109 yards against it. And since Week 6, St. Louis has surrendered 5.0 yards per carry to RBs. Given his back-breaking workload and dandy matchup, it's time to feed the Beast.
Fearless Forecast: 23 carries, 127 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 td, 21.4 fantasy points
Brandon Jacobs(notes), NYG, RB (Week 11 Noise RB Rank: 15, 34-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Phi
The Football Frankenstein is ALIVE! HE'S ALIVE!!! Since Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) was felled by a foot injury in Week 8, Jacobs, who has vowed to "play hard until they (the Giants) ax me," has run with renewed vim and vigor. Against New England and San Francisco, the league's unfriendliest run defense, he totaled 172 yards and a touchdown, even providing a spark in the pass game. Bradshaw hasn't practiced since October 28 and remains very doubtful to return against the Eagles. Assuming he sits, Jacobs should again log upwards of 20 touches. Philly, which has been spanked often between-the-tackles, is a team in complete disarray, especially defensively. On the year, the Eagles have surrendered 5.0 yards per carry, 112.4 rushing yards per game and eight scores to RBs, equal to the sixth-most points allowed. Jacobs' powerful running style should inflict heavy damage. Recall in Week 3, the Giants, then with a healthy Bradshaw, rolled up over 100 yards on the ground against this same defense. Reanimate him.
Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 81 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 11 receiving yards, 1 td, 16.7 fantasy points
Earl Bennett(notes), Chi, WR (Week 11 Noise WR Rank: 19, 15-percent started)
Matchup: vs. SD
The real reason Jay Cutler(notes) dumped Kristin Cavallari: He's head-over-heels in love with Bennett. Since the receiver returned to the lineup two weeks ago, the pair have reforged a bond, connecting 11 times (on 11 targets) for 176 yards and a touchdown. Recall preseason Mike Martz prognosticated Bennett would catch upwards of 75 balls this season, a bold, but fair prediction. Historically, slot receivers in the coordinator's system have performed well. Remember Mike Furrey's(notes) 2008? The Bears wideout, like Furrey, is a fantastic route runner who routinely exploits soft spots in zone coverage. That skill combined with the trust of Cutler makes him a very attractive WR3 in Week 11 and beyond. The Chargers, reeling defensively, are in a dark place. Injuries and underperformance have unplugged the trendy preseason Super Bowl pick. In particular, the secondary, battered by injuries, has struggled mightily. Since Week 6, only the Minnesota Vikings have yielded more fantasy points to wide receivers. Without question Matt Forte(notes) is the centerpiece of the Bears offense, but don't be surprised if Earl pays a noble dividend for the third-straight week.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 76 receiving yards, 1 td, 17.4 fantasy points
Mike Williams, TB, WR (Week 11 Noise WR Rank: 21, 44-percent started)
Matchup: at GB
For those that have endured Williams' horrific sophomore slump, this is your theme song. Speaking as a jilted owner, the underachiever has infuriated many. Suffocated by increased double teams, he's yet to eclipse 80-yards in a game this year and hasn't scored since Week 1. Though he didn't single-out his young No. 1, Raheem Morris' scathing words that his receivers haven't competed enough for balls, particularly those thrown in the red-zone, speaks to Williams. The wideout ranks 86th in catch percentage (54.2). Yes, part of the problem is Josh Freeman's(notes) regression, but Williams, who has the third-most drops in the NFL (8), bears a great deal of responsibility. Still, despite his enormous decline, he's a commodity to lean on in Week 11. Green Bay, which has had its problems against the pass, is a terrific matchup. Eleven WRs have reached the 70-yard mark against the Pack this year. And on the season, Green Bay has allowed the third-most fantasy points to the position. If there was ever a week for Williams to snap out of his season-long coma, this is it.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 72 receiving yards, 1 td, 16.9 fantasy points
Kevin Smith(notes), Det, RB (Week 11 Noise RB Rank: 26, 0-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Car
"The Director," once a Heisman candidate while at Central Florida and a respectable RB2 in fantasy circles only three short years ago, quickly saw his career fade to black after he was let go by the Lions earlier this year. But with Jahvid Best(notes) sidelined indefinitely and Detroit's running game stuck in neutral, Smith auditioned for a roster spot two weeks ago. Jim Schwartz, amazed by the runner's mobility and overall shape at the RB's workout, immediately jumped on the opportunity to reacquire Smith. Last week in his first game since re-signing, he touched the rock six times (on 28 snaps) compiling 29 yards in a blowout loss at Chicago. His workload could expand in his second game. Maurice Morris(notes) has played fairly well since sliding into the starter's role, racking 4.8 yards per carry. But MoMo isn't the greatest interior runner. Overall, the junior Smith, who is still only 24-years-young, might actually be the better fit. Because Matthew Stafford(notes) is dealing with a broken finger on his throwing hand, the air-heavy Lions may follow a more conservative approach in Week 11. The matchup practically demands it. Carolina, which ranks 28th in the league versus the run, has conceded 4.9 yards per carry, 175.1 total yards per game and 13 TDs to RBs, equal to the second-most fantasy points allowed. Sure it's a gamble, but flexing Smith in deep leagues could make you look like a genius.
Fearless Forecast: 11 carries, 51 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 td, 14.6 fantasy points
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Image courtesy of the AP