Bringin’ the Noise: Reverse the curse
Watch the Noise, alongside fellow Yahoo! expert Brandon Funston and Rotowire’s Chris Liss , answer your pressing lineup questions for a full hour every NFL Sunday on the two-time Emmy nominated webcast “Fantasy Football Live” at 9 AM PT/11 AM CT/Noon ET.
Whether you believe in their supernatural powers or not, curses are ingrained in the collective sports conscious. From Madden to Sports Illustrated to Chicago’s Billy Goat, legendary athletes have been perplexed by these crippling spells for decades.
Concentrate on the spiraling object, young grasshopper!
Yahoo!’s fantasy cover athlete jinx is no different.
Starting with the dual Andruw Jones/Johnny Damon promotion two years ago, those who have graced the Y! front have been felled by a series of unfortunate events. Chad Johnson and Jimmy Rollins can attest to that. Now Braylon Edwards has suffered a similar fate.
His fantasy owners, the Noise included, are obviously thrilled.
The Dharma transmission the Zen master received from Ocho Stanko has been disastrous both on and off the field. In uniform, the popular second-round choice has been targeted a sizable 8.3 times per game (12th-most among WRs) but he’s reeled in just eight passes for 73 yards and zero touchdowns. His 2.4 fantasy points per game (FPPG) output ranks 85th among wideouts, behind such memorable names as Bobby Wade, Michael Bumpus and Devard Darling. Sadly, at this point last year Edwards had already snagged 15 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns, ranking him in the top three in FPPG.
Away from the gridiron, Edwards has also had difficulty escaping misfortune. In late August he was busted for doing 120 mph in his Bentley, 50 mph over the speed limit. Initially he was administered a warning, but after a local TV affiliate broadcast the story a ticket magically appeared in his mailbox three weeks later. Sometimes karma can be downright cold.
So what exactly is troubling the ’07 Pro Bowl selection?
Edwards is partially responsible for his detestable totals. Humiliated by several dropped passes, including a sure long touchdown Week 1 versus Dallas, he’s routinely appeared lost and bewildered. It seems every time the ball is thrown in his general direction somewhere in the fourth dimension Lord Voldemort is painfully slapping Edwards’ doppelganger with a yew wand. For those who’ve had to endure the discomfort, like the receiver’s wispy double, the headaches have been excruciating.
Derek Anderson’s deplorable play is also to blame for Edwards’ sluggish start. In several instances, passes targeted for No. 17 have been air-mailed. Other occasions, both players, who seemed to forge an unbreakable chemistry last year, have experienced lost-in-translation moments. Yes, injuries have hobbled the Browns’ offensive line, but when a quarterback cannot deliver crisp passes unmolested to his premiere playmaker, it’s extremely difficult to establish cadence and thus yield appreciable fantasy returns. Even Anderson, who sounded vanquished after Sunday’s loss to Baltimore, agrees. Per the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
“I put the offense in a bad situation with the plays I made (most notably misfires) and it was tee-off time.”
Other fingers can be pointed at the pesky injury imp. Edwards missed the entire preseason with a lacerated foot and has been hampered recently by a sore shoulder. Meanwhile, setbacks to Joe Jurevicius and Donte Stallworth have applied added pressure to the 25-year-old. Defenses have aggressively draped him, stymieing his ability to find exploitable seems. Edwards acknowledged this to the Plain-Dealer Wednesday:
“If opponents take away the deep ball, we should be able to come back with something short, something on the ground. [Offensive coordinator] Rob Chudzinski is going to put us in situations to win even if we’re double-covered.”
Dawg Pounders would get fixed to see this combo on the field Week 4
With or without D.A. behind center the entire game, Edwards should break free of the Y! curses’ sinister grip this week against intrastate foe Cincinnati. Sure, the Bengals have surrendered the seventh-fewest fantasy points to receivers, but they could be without starting defensive backs Jonathan Joseph and Dexter Jackson once again. Last week, with both sidelined, Eli Manning ripped Cincy for 289 passing yards and a score. Also, recall that last year Edwards torched his AFC North rival for 16 receptions, 198 yards and four scores in two contests.
Based on the questionable names he’s attracted in one-for-one Plus league deals this week (e.g. Fred Taylor, Chad Johnson, Randy Moss and Eli Manning) the maligned receiver is someone to inquire about while the price is slashed. He’s simply too talented to underperform for much longer. Stallworth’s anticipated return combined with Quinn’s possible hostile takeover is reason enough to expect a dramatic turnaround.
It’s time for Edwards to reverse the curse.
Week 4 Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 93 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Here are this week’s flames, lames and stars of video games:
Each week the Noise highlights five somewhat obscure, unobvious names who he believes are destined for flame madness or lame sadness. In honor of waiver wire hero Ron Dayne’s legendary three-game dominance late in ’06, the “Shocker Special” segment spotlights one player owned in less than a third of Yahoo! leagues who is poised for instant greatness. The Noise, an accountability advocate, will tally his hits and misses and post the results, whether genius or moronic, each week using the scoring system listed at the end of the lames segment.
*BNRK = Big Noise weekly position ranking
*Y!% = Percentage owned, started in Yahoo! Plus leagues
|Week 4 Fantasy Flames|
|Brian Griese||QB||10||30, 9|
|Lowdown: The Bill Lumbergh of quarterbacks is so cucumber cool in the pocket, he could sip coffee, file TPS reports and deliver accurate passes simultaneously. Jon Gruden, who commented about his QB’s play last week to the Chicago Tribune, definitely agrees, “He’s a guy that is as cool and calm as anybody I’ve ever been around. He doesn’t come unglued. He doesn’t get rattled.” Avenging his dismissal from the Bears, Griese smoked his former team for 407 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3. This week, Griese faces another, yet more delicate NFC North foe, Green Bay. Expected to be without the services of blanket corner Al Harris, who could miss the rest of the season with a ruptured spleen, the Packers’ already vulnerable secondary just got worse. So far this season, the Cheeseheads have surrendered 240 passing yards and 1.3 passing touchdowns per contest, equal to the seventh-most fantasy points yielded to signal callers. In an attempt to take advantage of the void created by Harris’ absence, Griese’s blossoming chemistry with resurrected wideout Antonio Bryant will be featured prevalently. Another 67 skyward chucks isn’t likely, but 30-40 attempts seem inevitable. Even if speedster Joey Galloway is unavailable, Lumbergh should tally top-10 QB totals.|
|Fearless Forecast: 24-39, 248 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions|
|Jonathan Stewart||RB||10||98, 49|
Stewart appears to be wrestling the upper-hand from right-leaning teammate |
|Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 93 rushing yards, 1 receptions, 11 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns|
|Steve Slaton||RB||13||76, 19|
|Lowdown: Houston’s slippery Slaton, a preseason All-Mancrush Team selection, will dig his Texas-sized spurs into the competition again this week. After a body-dodging 116-yard (6.4 YPC), one-touchdown performance versus a tough Tennessee defense, Gary Kubiak immediately anointed Slaton the near-term starter, telling the Houston Chronicle, “He deserves the opportunity to come right back out there (against the Jaguars). He’s played extremely well. I’m very impressed with him. He got stronger as the game went on.” The rookie’s versatility, blazing burst and jaw-dropping cutback skills will be on display in Jacksonville. Surprisingly, the Jags have yielded the ninth-most fantasy points to backs this season, giving up 153 total yards and 1.7 scores per game. With Matt Schaub’s confidence shattered, look for Kubiak to mime Jack Del Rio’s ball control blueprint by feeding his rising star early and often. Still available in roughly half of Y! Public leagues, Slaton is primed to outplay notable names Steven Jackson (vs. Buf), Ryan Grant (at TB) and Matt Forte (vs. Phi) this week.|
|Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 98 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Dwayne Bowe||WR||14||99, 79|
|Lowdown: The demotion of anatomy enthusiast Tyler Thigpen is terrific news for Bowe’s Week 4 fantasy prospects. Already matched against a pliable Denver defense, the second-year standout should see several more accurate passes thrown his direction. Pigpen’s replacement, Damon Huard, has completed 62.5 percent of his attempts this season, nearly 22-percent more than the Coastal Carolina product. Bowe should gain adequate separation from an underachieving Broncos secondary that has surrendered 13 20-yard pass plays, the most in the NFL. In fantasy terms, Denver has yielded the sixth-most fantasy points to wideouts. Bowe caught a respectable 11 passes for 140 yards in two contests against the Chiefs’ AFC West rival last year. More mature and restrained, he’s learned to take what defenses give him underneath rather than attempting to convert explosive downfield plays exclusively. Denver typically employs man coverage, which is fantastic news for the uber-athletic RamBowe. Trust him as an upper-tiered WR2 in all 12-team leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 87 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Robert Meachem||WR||18||44, 17|
|Lowdown: Owners who’ve waited anxiously for Meachem to have the definitive breakout game, this might be your week. With Marques Colston, Jeremy Shockey and possibly David Patten in street clothes, the former Tennessee product will step out from the shadows and into the spotlight. Local reports have the second-year wheel-churner behind Devery Henderson and Lance Moore on the depth-chart, but because New Orleans employs several three- and four-wide receiver packages, his position in the pecking order is somewhat irrelevant. Given the injuries to the receiving corps, Sean Payton may turn to a more ground-heavy strategy to move the chains. But remember the backbone of his system is to relentlessly attack opponents aerially. Due to Meachem’s lengthy 6-foot-2 frame and gangly arms he’ll likely be a prime red-zone target for Drew Brees. Yes, San Francisco has conceded the seventh-fewest fantasy points to receivers this year, but the Bayou Blazer’s expected spike in targets is too irresistible to ignore. Activate him in the FLEX or WR3 spots in all 12-team leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 98 yards, 1 touchdown|
|Shocker Special of the Week|
|Robert Royal||TE||7||28, 4|
|Lowdown: If you’re a John Carlson or Dallas Clark owner desperately seeking someone off waivers who could yield monarchial riches, Royal is your fabled prince. More King Hippo than Prince Charles, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound tight end has excellent odds of crossing the chalk for the second time this season. The Rams have played repulsively against the pass, yielding the most fantasy points to receivers. Royal’s mammoth size will present a mismatch for St. Louis’ smallish battery of linebackers. Averaging a healthy 4.3 targets per contest, the sixth-year monolith has seen an expanded role in Turk Schonert’s conservative scheme. Since his standout Week 1 versus Seattle (6 catches, 52 yards and a score), budding star Trent Edwards has pleaded to Schonert to design even more plays for his top tight end, “He understands the offense, he understands his role in the offense. I hope we can get him the ball more. He’s going to be huge in opening our receivers and opening up our run game a little bit. We’re going to need to get him the ball.” Based on the very friendly matchup, any player dressed in Bills blue is capable of a fantasy bonanza, especially Royal. Consider him a top-10 tight end in Week 4.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 49 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Week 4 Fantasy Lames|
|Kurt Warner||QB||12||98, 64|
|Lowdown: Jets defensive backs will have Barbasol in one hand and Quatros in the other in an attempt to shave the Sultan of Stubble. In an unorthodox move the Cardinals, who played in D.C. last week, decided to stay in the nation’s capital in order to avoid making two additional cross-country trips. Warner believes squatting a few extra days on the right coast will yield positive results, “I think it’s going to be a huge benefit Friday through Sunday. Even coming in last week on Friday is a tough process, to get in late on a Friday and try to get acclimated, rested and get everything done by Sunday. We’re not going to be out of sorts and in a rush to get everything done.” Although Mangenious’ defense has yielded 222 yards and 1.7 air strikes per game, equal to the 10th-most fantasy points surrendered to QBs, they should find success pressuring the 37-year-old gunslinger in the pocket. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will turn up the heat in an attempt to rattle the stone statue’s cage. The Larry Fitzgerald/Anquan Boldin tandem is the most dangerous in the league, but if Warner is hurried incessantly, corners Darrelle Revis and Justin Miller should rebound after being embarrassed in San Diego last week. Because of his upside and given the plethora of teams on bye, it’s wise to keep Warner active in 12-team leagues. However, a lackluster performance is likely.|
|Fearless Forecast: 18-28, 199 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions|
|Steven Jackson||RB||25||100, 94|
|Lowdown: In just a few short years the Greatest Show has turned into the Greatest Doh! on Turf. Despite dropping to 0-3 in a loss to the Giants last week, Jackson, ever the fantasy schmooze, proclaimed that he “had a pretty nice day.” Owners in PPR leagues would probably concur, but others in standard formats would strongly disagree. Why? Jackson has yet to find paydirt. This week, don’t expect the popular first-rounder to tally his first end-zone plunge. Buffalo back snackers Marcus Stroud and Kyle Williams view opposing plowshares as canned hams. The portly combo has conceded the sixth-fewest fantasy points to RBs, yielding just 3.4 yards per carry. Rams head coach Scott Linehan has practically overhauled the entire depth-chart in a last-ditch attempt to save his job. Still, because the offensive line has played so poorly, St. Louis will continue to have trouble moving the football with Trent Green. Jackson is unbenchable in PPR formats, but given the push the Bills interior will likely generate, he’s pine worthy in shallow standard formats.|
|Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 64 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 32 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Darren McFadden||RB||26||99, 71|
|Lowdown: Dealing with a nagging case of turf toe and an unappealing matchup, “It’s Tricky…Tricky (Tricky) Tricky (Tricky)” to trust Run DMC this week. Wearing a steel plate in his shoe last week in Buffalo, the electric rookie compiled a pedestrian 48 total yards on 17 touches. McFadden claimed the toe wasn’t a factor in his effort, telling the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on Monday, “For me it was making wrong cuts or cutting off my inside foot a lot of times. I wasn’t planting on my outside foot and making my cut like I was supposed to.” Lane Kiffin commented earlier this week that his cherished back’s toe has improved, but considering San Diego has held backs to the ninth-fewest fantasy points this year, he’s only useful as a FLEX option in 12-team leagues. Sure, Oakland’s ultra-conservative offense enriches McFadden’s fantasy potential, but all signs point to another uneventful effort.|
|Fearless Forecast: 17 rushes, 59 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 16 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Santonio Holmes||WR||27||99, 83|
|Lowdown: Come Tuesday, Pittsburgh’s legendary lady pursuer won’t have many salacious emails sitting in his inbox. Well, at least not from his fantasy backers. Projected by many pundits to launch into the next tier at the beginning of the season, Holmes has wallowed in mediocrity. Battling a sore knee, he’s yet to cross the chalk and has compiled an atrocious 4.8 fantasy points per game, 51st among wideouts. The Ravens have revived their suffocating defensive days of yore. In two games, they’ve only surrendered two 20-yard pass plays. Due to Ben Roethlisberger’s fragile physical state, Ray Lewis and company will bombard the pocket with blitzes. Circumstances like that would normally favor Holmes, but given the remarkable play of Ed Reed, it will not be a fruitful situation. Look for the third-year receiver to vanish once again in what will surely be a kicker-dominated game.|
|Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 27 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|DeSean Jackson||WR||26||98, 76|
|Lowdown: Rookie wide receivers typically flop in their initial campaigns, but Jackson is one Eagle that has soared in the early going. Averaging the same amount of targets as Braylon Edwards (8.3 per game), the former Cal Bear has totaled 5.7 receptions and 85.3 yards per contest. His 8.5 FPPG average in standard scoring leagues has outpaced supposed draft day studs Randy Moss, Andre Johnson and Torry Holt. Donovan McNabb credits Jackson’s torrid start to a strong work ethic, “He works extremely hard, he prepares himself, and when the ball is in his hands, he’s one of those electrifying football players.” Eventually, he’ll hit the proverbial wall, which could happen this week in Chi-town. Despite yielding the eighth-most fantasy points to wideouts, Charles Tillman and his Cover 2 cohorts should be able to stymie long Eagles pass plays, Jackson’s strength. Likely without Brian Westbrook and with McNabb a possible game-time decision, the Bears secondary will rebound after being humiliated by Brian Griese last week. Start Jackson only as a WR3 this week in 12-team leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 54 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
Do you ever question why on earth you’re not a fantasy expert? This is the place for you to vent your thoughts, tirades and frustrations. Can you bring the noise?
What’s up Brad? Unfortunately, I was busy this weekend which meant I got to bed on time and was up drinking coffee and devouring last minute fantasy crap Sunday morning. I stumbled upon a “live” piece you did which involved your peach-fuzz beard. I can’t say much for your beard, but great call on Le’Ron McClain… I added him before waivers set in for the week and I like his TD Hawk Upside… much like my fantasy sleeper prediction of Pierre Thomas (4 TD’s/3 Games). I’m still not buying in to “D-Will” though! Keep up the good work man. – Adam, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Screw a question, keep up the good work and keep the scruff McGruff going. I read some of the comments by people who didn’t like your advice and think you’re not an expert on fantasy football and I only have one thing to say…. what a bunch of dumb arses. Your and Brandon’s advice has got me through some tough decisions and pay off a whole lot more than they let down. And the day you get everything 100 percent right all of the time is the day that I build the “Brad Evans Church of Facial Fur.” To all the haters out there, why don’t you give Fantasy Golf a try and leave Fantasy Football to people who can actually read between the lines and have their own opinions on who is the best starting option each week. By the way - Yahoo! Fantasy Football Live is the best fantasy show out there. Keep up the good work!– Matthew, Baltimore, MD
Noise: Appreciate the comment, but Matthew, I had no idea questions were equipped with reproductive organs. Maybe this explains why Raiders senior executive John Herrera is afraid of specific reporter inquiries.
If you ever do build the “Brad Evans Church of Facial Fur,” make sure to decorate the walls with iconic snapshots of Abraham Lincoln, Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, Chuck Norris, Dumbledore, Barry White, Merlin Olsen, Dan Fouts, Ricky Williams (Himalayan Hiker Phase) and, of course, Amanda Beard – the highest deity of the Noiseian bearded religion.
For the love of fantasy please do Yahoo! a favor and quit your job!! Three or your five “Lames” went off in Week 3!! Needless to say, your advice had me bench two of them. Guess what that did to my week? Well anyways, I’ll still watch your sit/start and laugh at your “Boy Beard”. P.S. Funston is a fantasy god!! Maybe you can be like him someday.– Ryan, Chicago, Ill.
Yes, the Noise missed LT and TJ Housh spectacularly last week, but the other three featured “Lames” (Roethlisberger, Graham and Edwards) were spot on. I suppose if you throw Ronnie Brown in from the secondary group that would pad your bottom line, but including Mr. Five TD with everyone else from the bunch, the Noise went a combined 8-3.
Sure there are seventh graders who could grow fuller beards than the Noise, but to say Funbags is celestial in nature is laughable. He may be considered divine among vampires but his picking prowess is no better than mine. Remember who destroyed your Zeus in the “Fantasy Football Live” guru challenge last year.
Hey Brad, I just started reading your material this year, and after three weeks, I’ve concluded that your flame picks are just way off the charts, but your lame picks are definitely worthy of a look each week. I think you have a knack for picking losers – a talent not every expert possesses or can work on. So congratulations, Brad the lame Evans, I will keep reading your lame material.– Karl, Monterrey Park, Calif.
Noise: Since a hand-gestured “L” is permanently attached to my forehead, the Noise understands the complexities of losers very well. However my schmuck uncovering skill pales in comparison to franchise torpedo Matt Millen, who may find new employment difficult in a struggling economy. Rejoice, Lions fans.
In Week 3, the Eagles were the smear and Big Ben the…inefficient engineer
Noise: Yes, at times, the Noise acts as though he suffers from some sort of mental deficiency. My wife would most definitely concur. But my recommendation to bench Big Ben wasn’t one of those occasions. See Brian? Sticking your neck out there isn’t that easy. Your logic was sound, but you misunderstood my viewpoint for demoting Roethlisberger. Let me refresh your hazy memory:
“Big Ben’s dinged wing will be problematic in the showdown for Keystone State supremacy. Diagnosed as a sprain, not a mild separation as originally reported, Roethlisberger’s shoulder is bulletin board material for a frenzied Philly defense that aggressively pursues signal barkers. Jim Johnson will likely blitz Big Ben incessantly to put the QB into uncomfortable positions…The forecast calls for another fruitless yardage performance.”
Nailed. The Eagles blitz bended and contorted Big Ben into a pretzel. He was hurried repeatedly and was sacked eight times finishing with a mere 131 yards and a pick.
No victory was added to the Lames tally with more joy than this one. Thanks for your brilliant foresight, Brian.
I couldn’t help but notice the sponsor results at the bottom of your column page. Are you really that noisy? I mean lead barriers, foam composites, and absorption chambers? It seems your sponsors are trying to quell “the noise” instead of shouting it from the mountain tops!!! Keep on truckin’ B-rad… you rule!– Jason, Rochester, NY
Noise: Evidently, Jason hasn’t heard the Noise regularly on radio or webcasts. Let me put it to you this way, if the Noise ever starred in a Hollywood horror flick, he would be the first one axed. Why? The booming volume of my voice, even when dialed down to a whisper, would give away any hiding place. The advertisements for noise-muffling products are completely apropos. Now if only my scruffy Fidel could attract a Remington sponsorship….
SILENCE THE NOISE CHALLENGE
Each 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 flames, lames (QB, 2 RB, 2 WR/TE) and shocker special (any position) along with a valid email address here no later than midnight central time on Tuesdays. 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!
Week 4 contestant: Joe from Oakland, Calif.
JT O’Sullivan, SF (at NO): 285 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 35 rushing yards
Jonathan Stewart, Car (vs. Atl): 16 carries, 90 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
Selvin Young, Den (at KC): 12 carries, 70 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 25 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Antonio Bryant, TB (vs. GB): 7 receptions, 95 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Lance Moore, NO (vs. SF): 5 receptions, 80 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Brady Quinn, Cle (at Cin): 200 passing yards, 25 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
Brett Favre, NYJ (vs. Ari): 205 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions
Michael Turner, Atl (at Car): 18 carries, 55 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns
Adrian Peterson, Min (at Ten): 15 carries, 40 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns
Greg Jennings, GB (at TB): 3 receptions, 40 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Hines Ward, Pit (at Bal): 2 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Week 3 Results: Steve from Lynnfield, Mass.
Flames: 2-4, 33.3% (W - JT O’Sullivan, Atlanta D (Shocker); L - Fred Jackson, Selvin Young, David Patten, Bryant Johnson)
Lames: 1-4, 20% (W - Darren McFadden; L: Peyton Manning, Marion Barber, Dwayne Bowe, Reggie Wayne)
Noisers YTD - Flames: 10-8, 55.5%; Lames: 8-7, 53.3%; Shocker Special: 3-0, 100%
Challenge Winners: (Brian from Dallas, Noah from Kansas City)