Since brevity is a word that doesn't exist in the Noise's vocabulary, your comments, questions and vitriolic derision will run separately from Thursday's flames/lames column for the remainder of the season. Bring the noise, fools!
Ok, Brad, your flames/lames are starting to bug me. All you do for the flames is look at which team is playing the weakest defense, and pick an underachieving player from that team. And for the lames, you pick struggling stars playing lockdown defenses. I mean, a blind monkey with arthritis could do what you do, and not be nearly as annoying.– Jon, Boston, Mass.
Noise: Let's be specific with our monkey species. A blind/deaf orangutan with severe carpal tunnel could do what I do.
Every week a derisive email from the greater Boston area somehow lands in my inbox. What the hell did I do to you, Boston? Did the Noise unknowingly desecrate Paul Revere's grave? Did I mistakenly throw actors dressed in Mohawk costumes instead of tea overboard during a historical reenactment of the Boston Tea Party? No, wait a second. I know why Bostonians would never share a Sam Adams with the Noise. It's because I've repeatedly trashed Ben Affleck's Shakespearian acting prowess. Sorry bean-eaters but his line-reading in "Reindeer Games" in no way, shape or form could be characterized as "wicked awesome."
Jon, congratulations! You've deciphered the easily solvable riddle that is the Noise. You're right. A handicapped primate could analyze the numbers and pick favorable/unfavorable matchups with equal success. But would he present the information in a more entertaining or, from your point of view, annoying fashion? Probably not.
Look, each week the Noise strives to paint a broad picture. It's not every week Player A versus Detroit or Player B versus the Giants is discussed. To savvy fantasy owners, many selections appear obvious, but every column is peppered with different perspectives on a few obscure picks. Take last week's entry for instance. Davone Bess and Michael Turner weren't exactly blatant flame/lames, we're they?
First off, let me say that I feel you're the most trustworthy of writers to read/listen to on Yahoo!. I often use your advice on Fantasy Football Live just before kickoff to decide my coin tosses. Now that I have a substantial amount of "brown" on my nose, I must say I'm baffled by all the Matt Schaub love going around. He does have tons of options on offense, but let's look at some facts. First, in his last game against TEN, he threw for only 188 yds and three INTs. Against PIT, another good defense, he had 202 with two picks and one TD. He did go off on poor defenses (JAC, MIA, DET, CIN), but so has every other QB to face them. Second, I feel his upcoming schedule is not so user-friendly. We all know GB can defend the pass, as can OAK, and I've already mentioned TEN. Add those figures to rebounding from a knee injury (Peyton Manning's early season performance ring a bell?) and you're looking at a very strong bust candidate.– Jeremy, Little Rock, Ark.
Noise: Jeremy, if you read the Schaub write-up word-for-word in the Pickups of the Week, I didn't advocate purchasing his Fathead, slapping it on a wall and telling his owners to continuously lick it. You're absolutely right noting his "upcoming schedule is not so user-friendly." The Packers, Titans and Raiders have brutalized passers this season limiting them to just 201.3 passing yards and 0.97 touchdowns per game.
However, for those masochists out there who relish full slate fantasy, Schaub's Week 17 home clash with Chicago is very enticing. The Bears have struggled all season defending the pass. Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson's size and playmaking advantage completely outclasses Peanut Tillman and Corey Graham. Since Week 5, the clawless Bears have yielded 250.8 passing yards and 1.4 air strikes per game to QBs, equal to the 11th-most fantasy points allowed.
Yes, Schaub should only be stashed in 12-team and deeper leagues, and he's not a recommended play in single-QB formats during standard fantasy playoffs. But, assuming he's healthy Week 17, he'll be an unstoppable, difference-making monster.
Owners who followed the Noise’s advice to sit Westbrook last week would gladly show their gratitude by extending a digit – just not the good-natured No. 1 sign pictured above.
Brad, I listened to you about Brian Westbrook. Bad call. Didn't see that one coming? – Clint, Cincinnati, Ohio
Noise: The only explanation I can derive for Westbrook's miraculous 130 total-yard, four-TD performance on Thanksgiving night: he was touched by God.
Due to the abbreviated week, our rankings had to be submitted Tuesday evening. At the time, Westbrook, who was battling a myriad of injuries, was operating at roughly 60 percent capacity. Based on how abysmal the running game looked Week 12 and due to the likelihood he could tweak his ankle at any time, the Noise chose a conservative route, ranking him at No. 30 among RBs. I was slightly off. But, hey, that's fantasy.
This week, my outlook for Westy is obviously more positive. However, his 59 total yards against New York in Week 10 combined with playing on the road against arguably the stiffest run defense in the NFC implies he's not must start material. Since Week 9, the G-Men have stuffed opposing backs limiting them to 2.7 yards per carry, 78.4 total yards per game and three touchdowns, equal to the fewest fantasy points allowed.
Although the Giants have posted gaudy defensive numbers, versatile backs have had some success against them via the air. Over the past five weeks, they've surrendered 4.9 receptions per game to rushers, the ninth-most in the NFL. Westbrook will undoubtedly be most effective as a receiver, good news for those in PPR leagues.
Still, if you're trying to decide between Westbrook and say Peyton Hillis (vs. KC), LenDale White (vs. Cle) or Pierre Thomas (vs. Atl) this week, you're definitely playing the favorable matchup. Sure he could post serviceable totals, but compared to Arizona, the Giants are far superior defensively.
Kevin Walter is quietly moving up my must start list. However I already have Terrell Owens, Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Bowe on roster. It’s a nice problem to have, but my question is will Houston be competitive to make him even more valuable next year? Also, should he be counted on this week in frigid Green Bay? – Scott, New Cumberland, Pa.
Noise: Aretha Franklin would agree, Walter deserves a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T (just a little bit).
An All-Mancrush preseason selection, Houston's Ed McCaffrey clone, as predicted, has greatly outplayed his 128.3 ADP, which interestingly was one pick behind Ronald Curry. Although he disappointed Monday against a Jags defense he ripped for 76 yards and two scores earlier this season, he's still been largely productive. On the year, his 9.4 FPPG ranks No. 16 among wideouts, three spots behind Wayne and two notches ahead of Bowe.
In a way, Walter is the Leon Washington of the wide receiver position. Because he's overshadowed by Andre Johnson, he doesn't garner the accolades he deserves. Next year his ADP will surely rise, but he'll likely be available somewhere around picks 90-110 or the eighth-tenth round in 12-team drafts. With Johnson drawing much defensive attention, it wouldn't be at all surprising if he finished with 70-75 receptions, 900-1000 yards and 8-10 scores again next year.
As for this week, Walter is a borderline WR3 start in 12-team leagues. With New Orleans the lone exception, the Packers have defended the pass exceptionally well this season. Only five receivers (Calvin Johnson, Miles Austin, Roddy White, Lance Moore and Steve Smith) have accumulated more than 72 yards against them in a single game. On paper, the matchup is without a doubt ominous. However, last week due to various injuries in the Green Bay secondary, WR strangler Charles Woodson split time between safety and corner, which greatly aided Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad on a handful of plays. With Atari Bigby probably out again this week, the same scenario will likely unfold. This means, both Johnson and Walter could find more open spaces, assuming the presumably rusty Schaub (or Sage Rosenfels) can deliver crisp passes in bitterly cold conditions.
Shane Lechler’s PBR-chiseled physique and thunderous foot would be a sexy addition to any fantasy team that adheres to the Noise’s Ray Guy Rule
Hey Big Noise, big fan here, I was discussing next year's fantasy football plans with another member of my league and we thought it would be a great idea if we had a full 22 (23 with kicker I guess) player roster, 11 offense 11 defense, which sounds great but then we realized that the Yahoo! player system doesn't include offensive linemen. What would be better than staying up on Monday night watching to see if Joe Thomas got a pancake to put your team over the top for the win? We both agreed that if anyone at Yahoo! could make it happen that O-linemen entered the fantasy world, it would be the Noise. Pancakes and sacks allowed are really the only two stats that would be usable (maybe false starts … vaulting Jeff Backus into first round status) but it would still add a unique element that I think many, including yourself, would enjoy. Anyways work your magic with the head honchos and make it happen! Then after it happens, you can join our league and show us how a real expert does it. Keep up the good work.– Logan, Atlanta, Ga.
Noise: The day the Noise racks his brain over a question asking who to start between Al Faneca or Steve Hutchinson on "Fantasy Football Live" is the day I get insanely inebriated at a Big Ten football game and engage in salacious activities with a random soccer mom in an unclean bathroom stall.
Allowing offensive lineman to be drafted would not only complicate the game, it would lead to massive meltdowns. If holding penalties, false starts and chop block infractions scored negative points, the position would routinely yield in-the-red results.
Logan, your idea is noble, but the only unconventional position I would like to force into Yahoo! default settings is punter. Call it the Ray Guy Rule. Why? Because the greatest punter in NFL history deserves to have his likeness cast in Canton bronze. Think about it. You could sit around on Sundays and ridicule your opponent when late-round bargain Sam Koch nails a coffin-corner kick inside the five, carrying you to victory. Man, just imagine how humiliating it would feel losing to a punter.
Noise, Davone Bess was in every expert's Maui Wowie dreams last week, but how good of a play is he this week against Buffalo? I've got a big playoff matchup in a PPR league, and it's either Bess or Torry Holt. I know this is his cliff season, but Holt's still playing Arizona and the Rams should be three scores down midway through the first quarter. Who's the play?– Brad, Indianapolis, Ind.
Noise: The NFL should seriously consider seizing control of the remaining funds left on Marc Bulger's ridiculous $65 million contract and donate it to various charities in the greater St. Louis area. Because the Bulge has done backstrokes in a giant slushy machine for most of the season, Holt is completely untrustworthy even in what could be deemed a favorable matchup. Yes, terrible Torry scored a meaningless touchdown in garbage time Week 9 versus Arizona, but you can't count on lightning striking twice.
Bess packed quite the Hawaiian Punch last week against the Rams. Chad Pennington clearly favored him over Ted Ginn Jr. targeting the rookie 10 times, connecting on six passes for 84 yards. Since this week's game against Buffalo will be played indoors in Toronto, Bess is again a viable third option in deep PPR leagues. The Bills have only conceded four 60-yard games and three scores to wideouts since Week 9, but considering the inconsistent state of the Dolphins' ground game and Pennington's prior success against his AFC East rival this year (313 yards, TD Week 8); the youngster is clearly your best option. Another tally around 5-7 receptions for 70-80 yards is very attainable.
Nice call with Plaxico Burress laming this week. It's like you read the future seeing that he would shoot himself and not play.– Kaz, Naperville, Ill.
Noise: At times, the Noise's lame designations are voodoo in nature. If Pacman Jones ever made the list, a strange voice in his head would encourage him to carry a machete to a Nashville night club where he would accidentally stab himself, ask his friends to conceal the weapon, check into a hospital under a boring fictitious name and then divulge to caretakers he was viciously assaulted by a vengeful Bloomin' Onion at a suburban Outback Steakhouse. Be worried, Jerry Jones. Be very worried.
On another note, Burress' deactivation has sent championship-chasing owners scurrying to acquire Domenik Hixon. Yes, the third-year wideout will be a fine WR3 in 12-team and deeper formats, but the player who really benefits most from Plaxico's absence is ancient Amani Toomer. Next to Kevin Boss, the 34-year-old receiver is Eli's most reliable red-zone target. Over the past two weeks, only Anquan Boldin, Randy Moss, Laveranues Coles and surprisingly Bryant Johnson have tallied more looks inside the 20. His nine catches for 115 yards and two scores since Week 12 were not an aberration.
The 62 percent-owned (23 percent-started) Toomer is a strong WR3 candidate in 10-team and deeper leagues this week. New York's Week 14 opponent, Philadelphia, has surrendered seven scores and three 75-yard games to wideouts since Week 9, equal to the ninth-most fantasy points allowed.