Watch the Noise, and fellow Yahoo! expert Brandon Funston, answer your pressing lineup questions for a full hour every NFL Sunday on the Emmy nominated webcast "Fantasy Football Live" at 9 AM PT/11 AM CT/Noon ET.
Trade in your gas-guzzling SUV for a downsized hybrid coup. Watch "An Inconvenient Truth" a dozen times. And get your grubby little hands on as many Green Bay Packers as possible.
Fantasy owners, it's time to go green.
Sure, they may not be able to reverse sea change, glacial recession on Mount Kilimanjaro or rescue polar bears, but this group of green gods will save the one thing you cherish most, your fantasy reputation.
With the trade deadline looming this week in most Yahoo! leagues the environmentally friendly "Go Green!" catch phrase has become an anthem for playoff-minded owners looking to maximize matchup potential.
Across the board, Green Bay has a ridiculously friendly fantasy playoff schedule.
From Weeks 14-17 the Packers are matched against four defenses with ozone layer-sized holes: Oakland, at St. Louis, at Chicago and Detroit.
From a passing perspective, with Oakland being the exception, each unit has struggled mightily. The Rams, Bears and Lions have surrendered a combined average of 246.2 passing yards and 1.4 air strikes per game.
Because Brett Favre wears comfortable jeans, never has heartburn and sports a Bowflex-chiseled body, it's safe to assume he'll average close to 300 yards and two touchdowns per game during the most crucial weeks of the season.
Even against Oakland, whose allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, Favre will transcend greatness. Although the Raiders have limited quarterbacks to a lowly 142.8 passing yards and 0.40 touchdowns per game since Week 4, those numbers were accumulated against signal callers who are bench waste in 20-team leagues – Trent Green, Philip Rivers, Damon Huard, Vince Young, Sage Rosenfels and, for a half, Rex Grossman.
Remember when Oakland faced more formidable foes Jon Kitna, Jay Cutler and Derek Anderson in Weeks 1-3, the Silver and Black yielded 268.7 passing yards and 1.7 scores per game. Also be aware that starting corners Nnamdi Asomugha and Fabian Washington have battled injuries in recent weeks and may not be anywhere near 100 percent in December.
Favre's soft playoff schedule and judiciousness with the football implies that his bevy of talented receivers will also have noticeable value. Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Donald Lee and, heck, even the forgettable Ruvell Martin, could be profitable producers. The Rams and Lions both rank in the top 12 in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. And in Week 5, the three-headed Jennings-Driver-Jones monster collected a combined 13 receptions for 195 yard and a touchdown versus Chicago.
On the ground, upstart Ryan Grant could be the most crucial piece of owners' championship puzzle. The undrafted free agent rookie out of "Shamu-U" (Notre Dame) has exploded onto the fantasy scene. Since taking over full-time for DeShawn Wynn in Week 8, he's averaged an impressive 114 total yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry motoring behind a Packers offensive line that finally discovered its identity. He's also become an asset in the passing game as a check-down receiver, averaging four receptions per game in his past three.
Grant's playoff slate is saliva-inducing. The aforementioned flaccid four defenses all rank in the top six in fantasy points allowed to running backs, conceding a combined average of 161.1 total yards and 1.1 touchdowns per contest. Collectively, opposing running backs have tallied 16 games of 100 total yards or more against them.
As long as Grant can avoid being bitten by the unforgiving injury imp, it's possible he could average over 100 total yards per game and total 2-4 end zone plunges during your fantasy playoffs. In statistical speak, he's the reincarnation of Samkon Gado '05 or Ron Dayne '06. Amazingly, Grant's still available in over 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
If Grant isn't doing backstrokes in your league's free agent pool, don't fret. He can still be acquired at a discounted rate. In recent one-for-one Y! Plus league trades this week, Grant commanded the likes of Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Jeff Garcia, Heath Miller and Rudi Johnson. By year's end, all of these deals will seem grossly lopsided.
So, before the ball drops on your league's trade deadline, remember that green is fantasy gold.
Oh, and for those who believe hairstyles like these are still fashionable, be aware that Aquanet products may lead to ozone depletion.
Here are this week's flames, lames and stars of video games:
*BNRK = Big Noise weekly position ranking
*Y!% = Percentage owned in Yahoo! leagues through 11/10
|Week 11 Fantasy Flames|
|Lowdown: Schaub, rested and healthy coming off a bye, will march all over the Saints. The Houston gunslinger, who has not taken an in-game snap since being concussed in San Diego in Week 8, plans to "play with some vigor" against a New Orleans defense that has surrendered 296.2 yards and 1.6 air strikes per game – equal to the seventh-most fantasy points – to signal callers since Week 6. All-World wideout Andre Johnson is also expected to return, which greatly enhances Schaub's chances of posting lucrative fantasy numbers. Recall that when Schaub was healthy during the first six weeks of the season he averaged a productive 259.7 yards per game. Saints corner Jason David's utter incompetence in limiting the big play should spring Johnson for at least 2-3 long pass plays. Schaub, a borderline top 10 play this week, could shockingly notch more fruitful totals than weekly starters Carson Palmer (vs. Ari), Jay Cutler (vs. Ten) and Jon Kitna (vs. NYG).|
|Fearless Forecast: 272 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception|
|Lowdown: Lucifer Shanahan's latest pet project has turned into a prodigy. The supposedly innocent Travis Henry, who passed a polygraph and hair test with flying colors, will beg for leniency at Warden Goodell's feet on Friday. At this point, it seems unlikely Henry, who is also battling an undisclosed knee injury, would start even if Goodell grants him clemency. Last week versus the Chiefs, Young became only the second back since 2004 to surpass 100 rushing yards in KC. For the past couple of weeks, Denver's offensive line, stricken by injuries, has been glued together with backups. Their collective inexperience will be under extreme duress against a Titans frontline that has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to plowshares this season. However, the Titans, absent Albert Haynesworth, were gashed for 147 rushing yards and three scores by Jacksonville last week. If their premiere run stopper sits again, Young could run wild on Monday Night. Assuming Henry is inactive, count on the upstart as a strong No. 2 in 12-team leagues. If Henry miraculously plays, look for the speedier Young to net 15-18 carries on the heavy side of a 70-30 time-share.|
|Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 88 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 25 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Lowdown: Taylor may not be divinely graced like the Purple Jesus, but this week he'll appear to have celestial powers. No other run defense on the planet has been more putrid than the Oakland Raiders. Since Week 6, the Silver and Lack have been bulldozed by rushers for 5.0 yards per carry, 149 rushing yards and 1.8 ground scores per game. In terms of straight-line speed, Taylor is more of a zebra than Cheetah, but his contributions as a backfield receiver cannot be overlooked. Taylor, averaging a stout 5.0 yards per tote, will scoot through gargantuan holes opened by the Vikings convoy of armored cars. Guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera have dominated defensive lines and will hardly break a sweat this week. Because of the Peterson frenzy, it's easy to forget that Taylor racked seven games of 100 total yards or more last season. This week, he'll surpass the century mark for the first time in '07. Start him with confidence as a No. 2 in 12-team and deeper leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 92 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 29 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Lowdown: Bennett, whose hairstyle must have been inspired by Tom Hanks during his "Bosom Buddies" days, could be a StatTracker sensation with Isaac Bruce (hamstring) slated for the inactive list. Bennett, hampered by a nettlesome quad injury for much of the season, appeared the healthiest he's been in weeks in New Orleans. He ran routes uninhibited and totaled four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown. Gold Panners corner Walt Harris was manhandled for eight receptions and 145 yards by Isaac Bruce in Week 2. Given Harris' miniature 5-foot-11 frame, Bennett's 6-foot-5 skyward height presents an obvious mismatch, which the reinvigorated Marc Bulger will take advantage of in the red zone. As long as Bennett doesn't strain anything in practice this week, he could post respectable numbers against a San Francisco defense that has conceded the eighth-most fantasy points to wideouts since Week 6. Have confidence in him as a No. 3 in all 12-team leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 56 yards, 1 touchdown|
|Lowdown: Just call this D.J. the Grand Master Flash of red-zone receivers. Since returning to the starting lineup, Hackett's fantasy value has soared. In his past two contests he's been targeted 18 times, catching 14 passes for 154 yards and two scores. The Bears previously pliable secondary has tightened in recent weeks, allowing just one wideout touchdown and zero 80-yard receivers since Week 6. Still, with Nathan Vasher expected to be out yet again, they are vulnerable. With the Hawks running game in a perilous state, Matt Hasselbeck will again exercise his arm. In his past four games, he's averaged 41.3 attempts per contest and thrown eight touchdowns. Given Mike Holmgren's recent pass-first, run-second philosophy near the goal-line, look for Hackett to be a primary target in scoring situations. Hackett, remarkably still available in nearly two-thirds of Y! leagues, will find pay-dirt for the third straight week. Trust him as a No. 3 in all 12-team leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 72 yards, 1 touchdown|
|Shocker Special of the Week|
|Lowdown: If you're desperately seeking to pull a Gardner-Webb or Mercer-like upset over an intimidating opponent, start Faulk in your flex spot. The shifty scatback has performed admirably since stepping in for Sammy Morris in Week 7. Over that span Faulk has become an integral piece of Bill Belichick's high-powered offense, averaging 9.7 touches, 3.7 receptions and 57.3 total yards per contest. The Bills' defensive line has shown steady improvement in recent weeks, but the lack of speed in their linebacker corps has made it difficult for them to stop check-down receivers. Soft-handed running backs have averaged 6.4 receptions and 46.3 receiving yards per game against the Bills this season. Tom Brady paints the field like Picasso and will incorporate Faulk into the offensive flow often. Have confidence in Faulk as a No. 2 or flex play in all PPR-friendly formats.|
|Fearless Forecast: 6 carries, 31 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 48 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Week 11 Fantasy Lames|
|Lowdown: Against a merciless Giants defense, Kitna will finally lend credence to the rumors that, yes, he really does have hairy man-boobs. Surprisingly, Kitna has underachieved at home, averaging 222.8 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game. This week will be another disappointing effort. Kitna, who has been sacked a league-high 37 times, faces a Giants defense which leads the NFL in QB takedowns. Not even divine intervention could save Kitna from the relentless pressure Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan will apply. To make matters worse, the G-Men have not allowed a passer to eclipse 250 yards since Week 2 and have yielded only two multi-TD air performances in their past seven games. The likelihood of Kitna having his neck in a brace by halftime is high. Marc Bulger (at SF), Matt Schaub (vs. NO) and Kurt Warner (at Cin) are more useful options.|
|Fearless Forecast: 221 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions|
|Lowdown: Lynch's mugshot answers the age-old question: What would happen if you mixed the DNA of Lil' Jon with the Jack Link's Sasquatch? Lynch, battling a sprained ankle, missed practice on Wednesday but is confident he'll suit up versus the unblemished Pats. If the rook starts, he'll be leaned upon heavily as Dick Jauron will use the classic "offense can be the best defense" tactic against New England. Lynch has been a rock of consistency this season, scoring in six of nine games and, on paper, the matchup appears friendly – the Pats have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to tugboats since Week 7. However, the Pats' hyperactive, physical 3-4 defense will mimic the Dolphins, who limited Lynch to a season-low 61 rushing yards last week by calling several run blitzes. This should limit the youngster's totals despite a 25-30 carry workload. Anticipate a lackluster performance. If he’s inactive – Jauron said on Wednesday he was not “overly optimistic” Lynch would play – the three-headed ferret of Anthony Thomas, Dwayne Wright and Fred Jackson would split carries. None are a recommended plays, even in 20-team leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 25 carries, 76 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 17 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Lowdown: Portis, whose Choo-Choo alter-ego eerily resembles a buff Charo, will have a difficult time shaking Cowboys tacklers – and his maracas – in the Big D. Washington's oinkers up front have overcome injury and ineptitude to lead Portis to the second-most rushing yards since Week 9. However, they will have the monumental task of stopping a frenetic Cowboys defense built on speed. Dallas linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Bradie James are bloodhounds on rush defense who carry out gap assignments almost flawlessly. Since Week 6, Dallas has held running backs to 3.8 yards per carry and 85.8 yards per game. Unless the effective Jason Campbell makes an appearance, safety Roy Williams will be an extra defender in the box. Portis, who averaged an unexciting 3.7 yards per carry versus Dallas last year, will be lassoed.|
|Fearless Forecast: 26 carries, 78 rushing yards, 2 reception, 14 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Lowdown: Coles will be extinguished by Steely McBeam. Through nine games, the stalwart Steelers have yielded a lowly five touchdowns and two games of 80-plus yards to wideouts, equal to the fourth-fewest fantasy points. Kellen Clemens will show some improvement after getting comfortable with the Jets first-team during the bye. But defensive mastermind Dick LeBeau will throw a plethora of blitzes, twists and stunts at Clemens to confuse him. The Jets have struggled immensely in pass protection this season, which means Clemens will succumb to the pressure all afternoon. Coles may accumulate a serviceable amount of receptions, but for low yardage. Drew Bennett (at SF), Amani Toomer (at Det) and David Patten (at Hou) are more favorable options.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 41 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Lowdown: Kyle Boller's perpetual ineffectiveness is more annoying to Mason owners than the new IPod Touch "Music is my king-sized bed" commercial is to my ears. Obviously Boller is an improvement over walking corpse Steve McNair, but his infatuation with Mark Clayton makes Mason a secondary option. The Browns' pass rush took a noticeable step forward last week, registering four Big Ben sacks. Given the Ravens' porous trench play, Boller, and the entire passing game, could fold if the blitz proves effective. With McNair behind center, Mason logged 13 targets and 10 receptions for 78 yards versus Cleveland in Week 4. Yes, the Browns have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to receivers since Week 6, but Boller, whose completed a mere 60.7 percent of his '07 passes, is abominable. Strongly consider demoting Mason in non-PPR 12-team leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 48 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
Upset you don't have a forum to express your disdain for drafting Carnell Williams? Do you 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?
Brad, your columns always crack me up when reading them. Your comparisons to a Saluki, Jesse Spano, and Dennis the Menace were truly hilarious this week. Oh yeah, and thanks for the fantasy advice too!
– Bubba, Stephenville, TX
"Chatman will play like another Jesse, Spano, coming down from a caffeine pill high." Dude, that's one of the funniest references I've heard in a while. "I'm so excited, I'm so excited, I'm so … scared." Thanks, keep up the mediocre work
– John, Ft. Worth, TX
Noise: Ever since I shelled out a pretty penny to see "Showgirls" when it debuted in '95, I've seen the former Bayside High student class president in a completely different light. We can only hope that if there's ever a "Showgirls" sequel, Dustin Diamond gets casted as a tyrannical dance instructor. But, please Dustin, keep your clothes on.
You couldn't be more right about Brady. He's the unquestioned MVP, and he's having an insane year, and I had a hunch he would be going after Manning's "coveted" record this year. But did I take Brady with my 8th overall pick in the 1st round? No way. I took Addai. It is much easier to find a top 5 QB in the late rounds (Romo) than a top 5 RB. Brady is nice, and I could use his production, but I'm in first without him.
– Alex, San Francisco, CA
You say that next year, Brady wont surpass 35 TDs because of coaching changes, injuries, and roster changes. Well, where do you think Bellichick is going? What makes you think Brady is going to get injured behind that unstoppable O-Line? And what makes you think Randy Moss and Wes Welker won't still be tearing up the field? I agree with you when you say he probably won't have 50 TDs, but c'mon, why not 35? He's had years with 28 TDs and all he had were Branch and Givens to throw too. Please don't insult Tom Brady and say something as ridiculous as he wont get 35 TDs next year.
– Ryan, Boston, MA
Noise: Ryan, just a hunch but I'm willing to bet you have an extensive Irving Fryar football card collection. Am I right?
Obviously Ryan is a die-hard Patriots fan who's speaking from the heart, which is fine, but I'm convinced that it's unlikely Brady will throw 35 touchdowns next season. As I mentioned in great detail last week, due to a variety of unpredictable factors – which includes injuries and personnel/coaching changes – it's always wise to keep expectations tempered when selecting a player coming off a career year.
Just take a look at recent history. Here's a short-list of player letdowns after a record-setting season:
2004: 284.8 YPG, 49 TDs, 10 INTs
2005: 234.3 YPG, 28 TDs, 10 INTs
2005: 5.1 YPC, 117.5 RSYPG, 28 TDs
2006 (10 games): 3.6 YPC, 89.6 RSYPG, 7 TDs
2006: 5.2 YPC, 113.4 RSYPG, 31.8 RCYPG, 31 TDs
2007 (Pace): 4.2 YPC, 81.1 RSYPG, 29.8 RCYPG, 16 TDs
Yes, with the lethal weapons Brady has returning, 35 touchdowns is attainable. But remember, Belichick is a chess master who historically alters his game plans from year-to-year to create confusion and maximize player potential. With a healthy Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris, the run could be emphasized more next season.
Also, keep in mind that by nature NFL coaches are workaholics who will hibernate in film rooms during the offseason in attempt to discover new ways to stymie the Patriots offense. Defensive adjustments across the league will be made.
After Adrian Peterson, Brian Westbrook, Joseph Addai and Tomlinson are crossed off your cheatsheet next year, Brady is undoubtedly worth a look. However, I, like Alex in San Francisco, would rather pass on the Golden Boy in favor of Marshawn Lynch or Brandon Jacobs. I'll be very satisfied filling my quarterback requirement with a discounted Carson Palmer, Marc Bulger or upstart Derek Anderson some 3-5 rounds later. Brady will alter the drafting landscape, but I'm one pundit who won't pay for his career year.
Brad, you had me in stitches with your crack about His Girthiness, Charlie Weis. Weis, Colon and Siragusa are definitely three of the most disgusting sports figures around. Ripping on fatties never gets old. Keep up the good work!
– Joe, Buffalo, NY
Brad, you dropped the ball this time on the blue whales of sports bit. Ralph "The Fridge" Friedgen, head coach of the University of Maryland Football, takes the cake (quite literally). Weis and Mangino ain't got nothin' on that gut.
– Will, Paris, France
Noise: Will, you're absolutely right. Friedgen is definitely someone who could create a world-wide Krispy Kreame shortage.
For those of you who are obsessed with the expanded waistlines of the collegiate blubber brass, the tubby trio of Friedgen, Weis and Mangino will forever be known from this point forward as the "Triple Bypass." If they ever simultaneously converge on a Pizza Hut lunch buffet, Armageddon will ensue.
Evans, you're a moron. You have one of the best jobs in the world. You play fantasy sports for a living! Then in all of your infinite wisdom you decide to take cheap shots at the very people that have made it possible for you to do what you do (Colon/Siragusa/Weis). And then you have the audacity to say that Weis is "a burden on our healthcare system." Our? Do you mean Charlie Weis' healthcare provider? Or do you mean Charlie Weis' checkbook? Get a clue, Evans, or at least stop and think before your fingers start moving and you "Bring the Noise."
– Brian, Normal, IL
Noise: Um, Brian, for your information, because you're a U.S. citizen you're also member of "our" (as in "general") health-care system. Then again, maybe you're an illegal alien. You're really nitpicking there …
If Colon, Siragusa and Weis truly made it possible for me to "do what I do" my blood-pressure would be astronomically high, visions of my feet would be a distant memory and my 40-time would be significantly slower than the Lions' Shaun Rogers. Seriously, what does that comment mean?
I popped by to see how your football team was going at the half way point. 3-7 and behind the "Ghelken" guy Y! picked at random to participate. Can we remove the "expert" moniker from your name yet? A lot of guys play their whole career in the minors, because they just don't have the talent to make it to the big show. That's you – career Triple-A Evans.
– Nick, Old Towne, MA
Noise: Hmm, I guess that would make me the Jack Cust of fantasy sportswriters. Better yet, since Yahoo! is a major league fantasy affiliate, I'm more Quadruple-A Washington Nationals material. Thankfully, I can hit above .200 unlike Ryan Langerhans .
For those readers who are unaware, Nick is spouting off about my underachieving Yahoo! Friends and Family team. As Chris Liss mentioned in his East Coast Offense column a couple of weeks ago, my team has been plagued by a Miami Dolphins-like virtual defense. My squad is loaded from top-to-bottom with notable names, which include Donovan McNabb, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Terrell Owens, Brandon Jacobs, Marion Barber and Kevin Jones. Unfortunately, opponents seemingly have had career weeks against me and despite having the third-highest total points mark in the league I'm wallowing in the Family division dungeon at 3-7. As one of my readers pointed out to me last week, with Brandon Funston's schedule my team would be comfortably atop the standings with an 8-2 record.
Call Team Evans the Cincinnati Bengals of the Friends and Family League. Maybe I should relieve some stress by showering a random parking attendant with expletives.
Crap! You're married! Lucky devil woman …
Denise, Salisbury, MD
Noise: For the record, this is the first time in the known history of the world another woman has thought my wife "lucky" for marrying such an obnoxious buffoon.
Denise might be the first and only Big Noise groupie. At least now I share something in common with Sports Blooper Hall of Shamer Bill Gramatica. Oh, and 90s crooner/vomit-inducer Michael Bolton. Women everywhere are thankful Nicolette Sheridan has taken Bolton off-the-market.
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 and shocker special via the link in the column footer 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. Good luck!
Week 11 contestant: Justin from Pittsburgh, PA
New York Giants DEF/ST (at Det): 28 points allowed, 6 sacks, 4 turnovers
Warrick Dunn, Atl (vs. TB): 25 carries, 50 yards, TD
Chester Taylor, Min (vs. Oak): 20 carries, 80 yards, TD
Derrick Mason, Bal (vs. Cle): 9 receptions, 50 yards, TD
James Jones, GB (vs. Car): 5 receptions, 58 yards, TD
Jerry Porter, Oak (at Min): 5 receptions, 80 yards, TD
Jeff Garcia, TB (at Atl): 196 passing yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
Eli Manning, NYG (at Det): 220 passing yards, TD, 2 INTs
Willis McGahee, Bal (vs. Cle): 14 carries, 42 yards, 4 receptions, 18 yards, 0 TD
Tony Gonzalez, KC (at Ind): 3 receptions, 26 yards, 0 TD
Torry Holt, StL (at SF): 5 receptions, 52 yards, 0 TD
Week 10 Results: Lisa from Boston, MA
Flames: 2-4, 33% (W – Marshawn Lynch, Isaac Bruce; L – Brian Griese, DeShaun Foster, Calvin Johnson, Najeh Davenport (Shocker Special))
Lames: 1-4, 40% (W – Julius Jones; L – Derek Anderson, Brandon Jacobs, Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Bowe)
Noisers YTD: Flames: 18-24, 42.8%; Lames: 18-17, 51.4%, Shocker Specials: 1-6