Watch the Noise, and fellow Yahoo! experts Brandon Funston and John Murphy, 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.
The invitation reads:
"You're invited to the Big Noise Fang-tastic Halloween Extravaganza. Party starts at 7 pm. Ends when the kegs run dry. Costume contest at 9 pm sharp. Raiders fans feel free to wear normal attire. As always, pants and healthy livers are optional."
As you walk up to the sage-colored house dressed as your favorite fantasy hero, "The Oompah Loompah" Maurice Jones-Drew, you hear the unmistakable beat of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" resonating throughout the entire neighborhood.
Once inside you notice that normally conservative soccer moms are feeding their salacious sides disguised as provocative nurses, French maids and, for the Pacman Joneses in attendance, exotic performers.
Stashed in the corner, you see Brandon Funston guarding the keg as though it were a coffin filled with chocolate puffs and marshmallows. He's dressed, appropriately, as cereal vampire Count Chocula. You grab a drink and chat with him briefly, discovering that underneath his accentuated widow's peak sobering thoughts of Shaun Alexander torture him.
Near the dance floor you notice Andy Behrens playfully twirling a detached arm from his Monty Python Black Knight guise. When you mutter the words "Adrian Peterson" in his presence, he offers up the attached arm and a leg as potential compensation for the Purple Jesus' services. His reasoning: "It would only be a flesh wound."
Finally, from afar, you observe a loud-mouth buffoon near the DJ booth masquerading as a Brandon Jacobs-inspired Frankenstein. New York Giants insignias and the phrase "man-tasy" are strategically placed on his body. Per your prior conversation with Funston you realize it's the party host Brad Evans – the same imbecile who was embarrassingly caught earlier in the evening smooching on a Jacobs Fathead in a darkened spare bedroom.
You approach him and ask simply, "Why?" The Noise remarks, "Jacobs' three 100-yard games since Week 5 mixed with several cups of witch's brew can make a fantasy owner do strange things."
You reach deep into your pockets for dollar bills in the hopes a soccer mom will ask you to "make it rain … "
Due to an unfathomable number of significant injuries, underachieving performances and Tom Brady touchdowns, the first-half of the fantasy season has indeed made us all do strange things – whether influenced by alcohol or not.
In the spirit of Halloween and with half the season officially six feet under, here is a list of three intriguing tricks and treats from the first-half along with their future prospects:
Trick 1: Laurence Maroney, NE
'07 Stats: 4.8 YPC, 71.6 RSYPG, 7.4 RCYPG, 0 TDs
Current Y! Rank: 145
Outlook: An arcane groin injury and Bill Belichick's deceptive ways have crushed Maroney's value this year. Even with the Pats putting up 40-plus points seemingly every week, Maroney has failed to sniff the end zone. With Sammy Morris expected back in two weeks, its highly unlikely Sir Laurence will be anything more than a glorified version of Julius Jones. Still, with the deplorable Jets and Dolphins on tap for Weeks 15 and 16, he is worth taking a gamble on. At this point, a frustrated owner in your league would probably ship him off for a forty of Olde E.
Trick 2: Cedric Benson, Chi
'07 Stats: 3.1 YPC, 58.3 RSYPG, 13.0 RCYPG, 2 TDs
Current Y! Rank: 74
Outlook: Benson is the manager of the Curtis Enis Emporium of Ineptitude. Indicative of his horrific 3.1 YPC mark, Benson continues to tap dance behind the line instead of attacking the hole ferociously. Well-rounded backup Adrian Peterson has looked more effective in limited doses and could see his role expand over the second half. Also, the Bears have a brutal second-half schedule with only two favorable matchups remaining (WK 10: at Oak; WK 12: vs. Den). Salvage what you can before Rob Bironas for Benson sounds like a great deal.
Trick 3: Frank Gore, SF
'07 Stats: 4.0 YPC, 62.1 RSYPG, 17.8 RCYPG, 3 TDs
Current Y! Rank: 50
Outlook: The Niners' incompetent offense has led the popular first-rounder to post Gore-y numbers. He has failed to top 90 rushing yards in a single game this season and has not found pay dirt in five straight games. If Alex Smith can at the very least be serviceable in the second half, Gore should rebound. Including this week's potentially profitable tilt against Atlanta, six of his remaining nine games are against fantasy-friendly defenses (WK 9: at Atl, WK 11: StL, WK 12: at Ari, WK 15: Cin, WK 16: TB, WK 17: at Cle). Traded straight up for Reggie Bush, Kevin Curtis and Laurence Maroney in Y! plus leagues this week, now is a great time to shoot a low-ball offer for the disgruntled Gore.
Treat 1: Derek Anderson, Cle
'07 Stats: 249.1 YPG, 2.4 TD/G, 1.1 INT/G, 2 rushing TDs
Current Y! Rank: 7
Outlook: The D.A. has thrown the book at his opponents. Shockingly, Anderson ranks third behind Tom Brady and Tony Romo in fantasy points per game. He has six multi-TD performances in seven games and has racked quality numbers against formidable defenses. With a cakewalk schedule from Weeks 14-17 (at NYJ, Buf, at Cin, SF) he could easily amass 250 yards and 2-3 touchdowns per game during the most pivotal time of the fantasy season. Brady who?
Treat 2: Kevin Jones, Det
'07 Stats: 4.4 YPC, 54.4 RSYPG, 16.6 RCYPG, 4 TDs
Current Y! Rank: 92
Outlook: KJ, a player advertised an uncountable number of times in this space, is a fearsome fantasy force that will likely be a top-15 RB the rest of the way. Since overtaking the starting role in Week 7, he's averaged 4.8 YPC, 112.5 total yards per game and scored twice. With only two favorable matchups in the second half (WK 9: vs. Den, WK 10: at Ari), it will be tough sledding for Jones. But his well-rounded talents and Jon Kitna's ability to stretch the field will continue to make him a useful No. 2 in PPR leagues. Somehow he was still available in 34 percent of Y! leagues heading into the new week.
Treat 3: Ryan Grant, GB
'07 Stats: 4.7 YPC, 21.8 RSYPG, 5.5 RCYPG, 0 TDs
Current Y! Rank: 1836
Outlook: Grant is the latest installment in the Packers' on-going backfield soap opera. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound undrafted rookie out of Beluga Whale-U (Notre Dame) showcased supreme vision and cut-back ability – vital tools needed in Green Bay's zone-blocking scheme – against Denver, totaling 111 yards on 25 touches. With DeShawn Wynn now on the IR, his starting role appears to be cemented. Come fantasy playoff time he could be a difference maker. In Weeks 14-17, Green Bay faces four flaccid defenses (Oak, at StL, at Chi, Det) that each rank in the top-seven in fantasy points allowed to running backs on the season.
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 10/27
|Week 9 Fantasy Flames|
|Lowdown: If "Judas Priest" connects with Lee Evans for a TD bomb on the first play from scrimmage, a throng of fantasy owners should congregate in the end zone and go Georgia Bulldogs on Cincinnati. On Tuesday, Losman officially regained the starting job and it couldn't have come at a more opportune time. The Bungles despicable secondary has allowed 249.5 yards and 2.5 touchdowns – equal to the fifth-most fantasy points – to signal callers since Week 5. Losman may not be as judicious with the football or possess the Einstein smarts of Trent Edwards, but his physical skills are far superior. Cincy has yielded 23 pass plays of 20-plus yards – the fifth-most in the NFL – which suggests Losman's bubbling chemistry with Evans will be unmitigated. Playing possibly for a permanent job, he should post top-15 QB numbers. Eli Manning or Brian Griese owners with ugly secondary options should put their faith behind J.P.' s Buffalo wing.|
|Fearless Forecast: 257 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions|
|Kenny Watson/Rudi Johnson||RB||8||63.6/97.4|
|Lowdown: My dear, it's elementary to start this Watson. Beat writers close to the Bengals organization believe Watson's versatility and unrivaled burst may supplant Rudi permanently as the starter. Based on his 104.3 total yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry average, his case to remain the featured back is strong. Although statistically mundane, K-Dub was sensational in Week 8, compiling 114 total yards and averaging 4.6 yards per carry mark against the stingy Steelers. This week he'll be more profitable against a Bills defense that has allowed 132.3 total yards per game to tugboats since Week 5 and four 100-yard rushers in seven games. Cincinnati's offensive line is currently in a transition period due to injuries, but there is enough talent still in place to outmuscle an undersized Buffalo front. As of Wednesday, Watson, who is still experiencing wooziness from a concussion sustained in Week 8, had missed two consecutive practices. If he's unavailable, Rudi, who practiced for the first time since September 19 on Wednesday, would be an imperative start. If both are active, each is worthy of a flex start in 12-team leagues, but anticipate a near 50-50 split in carries.|
|Fearless Forecast: 21 carries, 98 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 22 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Lowdown: Graham, criminally misused by Jon Gruden last week, will not have his touches impaired this week. In Week 8, Gruden understandably shied away from the run against Jacksonville's Herculean frontline – Graham and speedy pace changer Michael Bennett combined for only 16 touches. That number should surge well over 30 this week as Arizona has conceded 131.5 total yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry to rushers since Week 5. Also, look for Graham to again become an integral part of the Tampa Bay air attack. Prior to Week 8, Graham averaged a Larry Fitzgerald-like 13.5 targets per game as the starter. Gruden's West Coast scheme depends upon executing play-action, which will make Graham the point of emphasis in most weeks. Start him with confidence as a No. 2 in all 12-team leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 72 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 38 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Lowdown: In Detroit, Stokley, who reminds me of Linus van Pelt, will rise from the pumpkin patch and deliver toys to all the sincere fantasy girls and boys. Apparent on Monday Night, Stokley has become Jay Cutler's most trustworthy target in crucial situations. In his past two games, Stokley has crossed the chalk once and has averaged 7.5 targets, 5.0 receptions and 70.5 yards per game. His slippery moves and reliable hands will again be profitable against a loathsome Lions pass defense that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to receivers this year. Interestingly, Detroit ranks third behind Indy and Tampa Bay in fewest 20-yard pass plays allowed. This means they are very vulnerable in the short field, a place where Stokley typically operates. Insert the slot sensation into your lineup as No. 3 in all 12-team formats.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 73 yards, 1 touchdown|
|Lowdown: Patten will flash his mits on Bourbon Street. The 11-year vet has had a career resurgence of late, averaging 83.7 yards per game since Week 6 – the seventh-highest total during that span. Drew Brees has rediscovered his mojo, executing the Saints' robust offense flawlessly. With Devery Henderson hampered by drops, Patten has become Brees' preeminent long-bomb threat. They will again hook-up numerous times this week. Although the Jags have limited wideouts to just two touchdowns, they've surrendered three straight 100-yard receivers. Corner Brian Williams has been susceptible to conceding big pass plays, which bodes well for Patten to have a fruitful day. Pluck him off waivers and activate him as a No. 3 in 12-team and deeper leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 81 yards, 1 touchdown|
|Shocker Special of the Week|
|Adimchinobi Echemandu/Ron Dayne||RB||27||0.02/2.3|
|Lowdown: Move over Hakeem, there's a new Nigerian "dream" in Houston. If healthy, the new Nigerian Nightmare will gash a repulsive Raiders frontline. Last week versus a stalwart San Diego defense, Obi-1, without an NFL address just two weeks ago, emerged from the shadows and rushed for an impressive 62 yards on 10 carries (6.2 YPC). His laser vision and burst through the hole was eye-popping. Gary Kubiak plans to expand Echemandu's workload this week against an Oakland defense that has surrendered an abhorrent 169.3 rushing yards and 2.0 ground scores per game – the third-most fantasy points – to rushers since Week 6. However, Echemandu suffered a deep hamstring contusion in San Diego and his status for this week's contest is uncertain. If he suits up, plug him in the flex spot in 12-team and deeper leagues. If he sits, buffet closer Ron Dayne, owned in 2.3 of Y! leagues, could be a lucrative workhorse with Ahman Green unlikely to play.|
|Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 70 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Week 9 Fantasy Lames|
|Lowdown: Against a rapacious Buccaneers defense, Warner will overflow his adult diaper by halftime. Tampa Bay's pass defense has been spectacular this season, limiting quarterbacks to 180 yards and 0.80 touchdowns per game – the fourth-fewest fantasy points allowed since Week 4. On the season, they've surrendered a meager one multi-TD passer and, since Week 5, no quarterback has totaled more than 150 yards against them. Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is notorious for applying copious amounts of pressure and will make Warner feel like he's trapped in an Iron Maiden. Blessed with the legs of a giant tortoise and nursing a tender elbow, he could be in the infirmary early or rendered ineffective. Eli Manning and Brian Griese owners in search of a bye-week filler should employ the services of someone with a more favorable matchup.|
|Fearless Forecast: 231 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions|
|Lowdown: Versus the Saints, MJD's fantasy totals could mimic the number of correct responses Channing Crowder and Miss Teen South Carolina would muster in a middle school geography bee. Unbelievably, the Saints have been heavenly against the run. In their past five, they've limited backs to 3.7 yards per carry and 74.3 yards per game, the second-fewest fantasy points allowed over that span. Even more incomprehensible, no rusher has eclipsed 60 yards against them in a single game since Week 2. Jones-Drew does present a mismatch for the sluggish Saints linebackers but, with the unproductive Quinn Gray starting, the Saints will surely overload the box and challenge the Jags to pass. Stupidly, MJD continues to play second fiddle to Fred Taylor, evident in the 24-to-12 disparity in touches last week. Throw in LaBrandon Toefield's sudden emergence as a goal-line gremlin and MJD becomes a sit candidate in shallow 12-team leagues. Sure, he could break a big play at a moment's notice, but the odds for a banner day are against him.|
|Fearless Forecast: 11 carries, 45 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 29 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Lowdown: Even if walking corpse Jeff George was behind center, Peterson would have difficulty finding adequate running lanes against a stifling San Diego defense. Since Week 5, the Chargers have electrocuted opposing backs, limiting them to 3.9 yards per carry and 88.8 yards per game – good for the fifth-fewest fantasy points allowed. Because the Vikings aerial show consists of sparklers and smoke bombs, the Chargers will most certainly overload the box and force Minnesota to play classic smash-mouth football. Peterson has been nearly unstoppable when running off-tackle behind all-world lineman Steve Hutchinson. But, as the Eagles proved last week, speed in the linebacker corps is Peterson's kryptonite. Of course, keep him active in all 12-team leagues, but expect another negligible performance.|
|Fearless Forecast: 21 carries, 76 rushing yards, 1 reception, 9 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Lowdown: For the first time since 2003, Driver has not topped 60 yards or found pay dirt in four straight games. Seemingly invisible, Double-D has become the victim of Brett Favre's new management style. Evident on Monday Night, James Jones and Greg Jennings have emerged as Favre's primary downfield threats, leaving Driver to grovel for short-yardage scraps. Anticipate more of the same in Week 9. The Chiefs have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to receivers, surrendering just four 80-plus yard receiving performances in seven games. Despite their advanced age, Patrick Surtain and Ty Law have played with the aggression and vigor of twenty-somethings. Against a Cover 2 defense designed to exterminate the big play, one would think Driver would have a profitable day. However, the clamp-down nature of Law/Surtain should keep Driver garaged. Keep him active in all 12-team PPR formats, but expect another disheartening day.|
|Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 51 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Lowdown: With the terrifying David Carr likely at the helm, the S.S. Smith will sink into a fantasy abyss. In relief of caveman Vinny Testaverde last week, Carr chucked abundant wounded ducks. Carr's inability to run the Panthers offense fluidly is the paramount reason why Smith will have a fruitless day. The Titans are assailable through the air as they've allowed three 80-yard receivers and four touchdowns – equal to the tenth-most fantasy points – to wideouts since Week 5. However, Keith Bullock and company will likely bring the house and force Carr to deliver inaccurate passes. Then again, he'd likely do just that even with abundant pocket time. Obviously, keep Smith active in all 12-team leagues, but prepare yourself for another Houdini act.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 49 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, freaking hilarious analogy between Brian Griese and Bill Lumberg of Office Space! Please feel free to use as many obscure Office Space references (or Anchorman for that matter!) as you can squeeze into your column … I gotta get back to my TPS reports. I love lamp.
– Ben, Topeka, KS
Hilarious! Where do you go for fantasy football analysis and get a Coolio reference out of it? Priceless.
– Slappy, Joliet, IL
Your bust on Jesse Chatman being the product of Bert and Ernie had me laughing so loud that not only did my friends in cubicle land hear me, but also the stiff at the end of the isle that for some reason doesn't agree that reading about fantasy football is an appropriate way to spend Friday afternoons at work. Almost got me busted!
Danno, Columbia, MO
"Lowdown: Chatman, who reminds me of a love-child conceived by closet couple Bert and Ernie" What are you trying to say here? I am confused and feel a little gross at the same time even trying to understand what you might mean.
Seth, Lillinton, NC
Noise: Seth, take a couple of minutes and examine the pictures closely. For your convenience here they are again: Ambiguously gay duo Bert and Ernie and Jesse Chatman. Notice that Chatman has Ernie's infectious ear-to-ear grin and Bert's pointy pinhead. Luckily for Chatman, Bert's bushy confluence of the eyebrows, known to cosmetologists and fans of Sam the Eagle as a unibrow, was not inherited.
I loved the Skeletor reference, but I believe all of your examples pale in comparison to the man everybody knows actually played Skeletor in the series: Otis Nixon.
Kyle, Toronto, ON
Noise: For the second straight week several loyal Noisers forwarded me another bundle of Skeletor sports clones. Here are some of my favorites:
Next week's assignment: Forward me male sports figures that bear a resemblance to She-Ra.
I can't tell which villain Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan looks like. In my opinion he looks like either Skeletor or an evil elf.
– Brandon, Waterford, MI
Noise: Brandon, fair attempt at trying to uncover Lucifer's sinister clone. However, I'm convinced that he and B-movie horror icon The Leprechaun were separated at birth. Judge for yourself: Warwick Davis as the Leprechaun. Mike Shanahan. They could share similar DNA.
Joseph Addai's a lame? C'mon buddy. The "inflexible" Carolina front ranks just ahead of the Detroit Lions in rushing defense! Now I called you out before when you had Derrick Ward as a lame against the Eagles and I'm doing it again. Don't worry though. I won't be surprised when you don't post this one either. It's not easy when someone bashes your prediction and they happen to be right.
– Jay, Piscataway, NJ
That's right. Addai and Keith are not "entrenched" in a damn platoon. How about using some common sense from now on? And while you're at it, post an apology to all the Addai owners who can't trade him because of your garbage polluting the flow of information! Learn to differentiate between a backup spelling an injured star that's coming off an injury and an "entrenched" platoon. Jackass!
– Tsean, Sacramento, CA
Noise: Yes, I am a jackass. Thanks for pointing out the obvious.
I'm convinced Tony Dungy is beginning to take on a deceptive persona similar to Belichick, Shanahan and Mangini. On Friday, two days after the Noise was penned last week, it was finally revealed that Addai's shoulder injury was a lingering issue after the Colts bye. It clearly explained why he split carries with Keith in a 50-50 platoon in Jacksonville. Although I described the time-share situation as "entrenched," each sentence was written with a small shred of vagueness as the words "appear" and "possible" were strategically used. That's hardly "polluting the flow of information." It was simply my misinterpretation of fictitious words that were spewed from Dungy's mouth. No apology is needed. It goes to show that no matter how one analyzes the information, only the head coach really knows the truth. Speculating is all I can do. Next time, I'll hope Dungy is injected with sodium pentothal.
Keith will continue to be a source of 7-10 touches per week, occasionally spelling Addai in short-yardage situations. The hat trick Addai had in Week 8 silenced the suspicions surrounding his shoulder. However, if he was hampered by a significant setback during the fantasy playoffs, Keith would be a monster. The Colts face two pliable defenses in Week 15 and 16, Oakland and Houston, who've combined to allow an average of 126.3 rushing yards and 1.1 rushing scores per game to tugboats. Keith, who's only owned in 28.9 percent of Y! leagues, should be rostered in all 10-team and deeper formats.
You said that Hannah Montana goes through your IPod. Well, I know you were being sarcastic. But I'm 20, in college, and I listen to her. Stop making fun of good young talent.
– Mitchell, Seattle, WA
Noise: Wow. And all this time, I thought lip-synching to Abba's "Dancing Queen" at college bars when I was 20 was embarrassing.
Mitchell is quite possibly the only college student in America who owns a digital clock that counts down the hours, minutes and seconds until Hannah Montana's eighteenth birthday. Just a hunch, but I'm guessing a typical Friday night in Mitchell's dorm room consists of Yoo-hoo, "High School Musical" DVDs and Hannah karaoke sessions in front of the bathroom mirror. Now that's a party.
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 9 contestant: Ben from Chapel Hill, NC
Alex Smith, SF (at Atl): 27-40, 238 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Shaun Alexander, Sea (at Cle): 18 carries, 70 yards, TD
Adimchinobi Echemandu, Hou (at Oak): 15 carries, 93 yards, 4 receptions, 20 yards, TD
Chris Chambers, SD (at Min): 7 receptions, 112 yards, 2 TDs
Brandon Marshall, Den (at Det): 11 receptions, 120 yards, TD
Quinn Gray, Jac (at NO): 14-24, 171 passing yards, 2 TDs
Ben Roethlisberger, Pit (vs. Bal): 17-28, 199 passing yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs
Edgerrin James, Ari (at TB): 22 carries, 74 yards, 1 receptions, 2 yards, 0 TD
Willis McGahee, Bal (at Pit): 19 carries, 68 yards, 3 receptions, 13 yards, FL, 0 TD
Reggie Wayne, Ind (vs. NE): 5 receptions, 67 yards, 0 TD
Terrell Owens, Dal (at Phi): 3 receptions, 22 yards, FL, 0 TD
Week 8 Results: Mike from Grand Forks, ND
Flames: 3-3, 50% (W – Steven Jackson, Jesse Chatman, Santonio Holmes; L – David Carr, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Kelly (Shocker Special))
Lames: 4-1, 80% (W – Adrian Peterson, LaMont Jordan, Chad Johnson, Roy Williams; L – Brett Favre)
Noisers YTD: Flames: 14-16, 46.7%; Lames: 15-10, 60.0%, Shocker Specials: 0-5