Flames: Arizona's 'Desert Swarm' D to bury 'Hawks in sand, sacks

Each week the Noise highlights seven 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 scoring system listed here. Cyber-bullies, tweet the Noise your often violent rants here.

Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes), Buf, QB (Noise Week 10 QB Rank: 6, 27-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Det

The Buffalo quarterback's unexpected production isn’t the luck of the Irish. The passing brainiac, a Harvard product, has developed into an exceptional talent. Aggressive, accurate and decisive, he has flourished in Chan Gailey’s spread offense. Suffice it to say, getting Patrick Fitz-Ryaned has definitely taken on a more flattering meaning. Astonishingly, only Philip Rivers(notes) has outpaced him in per week average. Still, the casual fantasy player idiotically remains obtuse to Fitzpatrick’s production, evident in his remarkably low weekly start percentage. Be sure to promote him this week. The Lions boast a rising defense, but are still vulnerable against the pass. On the season, they’ve yielded 250.9 passing yards per game and 12 touchdowns to QBs equal to the eighth-most fantasy points allowed. Because the Bills’ passing offense continues to improve each week, largely due to the offensive line’s execution, Fitzpatrick could finish inside the position’s top-five. Buffalo has become very efficient on third-downs, sustaining long, clock-eating drives. Considering the matchup, the well-rounded passer will likely direct a number of scoring possessions. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.

Fearless Forecast: 26-41, 287 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1interception, 26 rushing yards 23 fantasy points

LeGarrette Blount(notes), RB (Noise Week 10 RB Rank: 12, 49-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Car

Fantasy prognosticators are fickle by nature. One minute a player is labeled a pauper; the next, a prince. The rookie is a prime example. Two weeks ago, everyone was rolling the Blount. Facing an overmatched Cardinals frontline, he was ranked consistently inside the top-15. However, against a stingier Falcon defense last week, Blount created a schism within the expert community. Many believed he would keep puffin’ along. Others believed the buzz would temporarily cease. This week, the majority is back on the bandwagon, for good reason. The strength of Carolina’s defense clearly resides with corners Chris Gamble(notes) and Richard Marshall(notes). In the trenches, however, is where it suffers. On the year, rushers have totaled 140.8 total yards per game and seven TDs against the Panthers. Even suspect attacks have basked in success – Matt Forte(notes) morphed into Walter Payton in Week 5 (22-166-2). Blount’s humiliating straight-line style is no match. This week, the youngster rediscovers the moxie.

Fearless Forecast: 23 carries, 106 rushing yards, 1 reception, 3 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16 fantasy points

DeAngelo Williams(notes), Car, RB (Noise Week 10 RB Rank: 16, 24-percent started)
Matchup: at TB

For the entire 2010 season, DeAngelo has been trapped in football purgatory. A foot injury and epically bad offense has sapped his once burgeoning value. However, loyal supporters could recuperate a small portion of their draft day investment. Sans Matt Moore(notes) and right tackle Jeff Otah(notes), superficial viewers would consider Williams irreparable. The fallen star, whose career has sunk faster than Cuba Gooding Jr.’s, ranks 34th in points per week among RBs. Stacked boxes will continue to shackle the Panther. However, probably not the worst run defense in the NFC. Overall, the generous Bucs have given up 5.2 yards per carry, 175.4 total yards per game and eight touchdowns to rushers. More encouraging for Carolina, they’ve been especially vulnerable on the peripheries, an area where D-Will excels, conceding 5.3 yards per carry off-tackle. Without Jonathan Stewart(notes) in uniform he should contribute a profitable yield. Ignore the lackluster effort against Tampa from Week 2 (64 total yards, 0 TDs). The incredibly skilled rusher can create explosive gains on his own. Sheer volume implies at least a top-20 performance. Give him one more shot. (Update: With DeAngelo ruled "out" for Week 10, we'll score for, gulp, Mike Goodson(notes))

Fearless Forecast: 21 carries, 88 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 9 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15 fantasy points

Mike Thomas(notes), Jac, WR (Noise Week 10 WR Rank: 21, four-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Hou

Peel back Kareem Jackson’s(notes) jersey and burn scars are visible. Houston’s maligned corner has been torched by just about every receiver he’s encountered, including Seyi Ajirotutu(notes) a week ago. Right now, a handicapped basset hound could post top-25 numbers against him. That’s great news for those who choose to stream Thomas. Though undersized, the second-year wideout has the extra gear needed to gain separation from defenders, which against Jackson shouldn’t be difficult to achieve. On the year, No. 2 wide receivers have averaged 75.9 yards per game against the Texans. Overall, Houston has surrendered nine 80-plus yard performances and 12 touchdowns to pass catchers equal to the second-most fantasy points allowed. If David Garrard(notes) is protected adequately, he will surely fire numerous passes downfield to Thomas and Mike Sims-Walker(notes). Gary Kubiak’s insistence to stick with Jackson will once again blow up in his face. Bag the Jag off waivers (80-percent available) even in 10-team leagues.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 77 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13 fantasy points

Derrick Mason(notes), Bal, WR (Noise Week 10 WR Rank: 19, 22-percent started)
Matchup: at Atl

Last week, the old codger verbally eviscerated “spit on” defenders off-the-field. This week, he’ll let his game do the talking on it. Unlike another 36-year-old (Terrell Owens(notes)), Mason has meandered south this season, on pace for just 60 catches for 798 yards. Despite his advanced age and dwindling production, he is still one of the game’s most underappreciated route runners. Quick and precise, he has the ability to carve up defenses underneath. Playing second fiddle to Anquan Boldin(notes) in a somewhat conservative offense is the primary reason for the downturn, but against soft secondaries Mason is capable of turning a sizable profit. In New England Week 6, he snatched eight passes for 100 yards and last week versus Miami he hauled in a very useable four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Coverage woes have plagued the Falcons the entire season. Opposite Dunta Robinson(notes), Brent Grimes(notes) has played well sporadically. However, as a whole, wide receivers have performed 54.5 percent above the league average against the undynamic duo. Because of Atlanta’s stiffness up front, Mason could attract a larger than normal workload. Turn back the clock with the graybeard as a WR3/flex in deeper leagues.

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 11 fantasy points

Arizona Cardinals D/ST (Noise Week 10 D/ST Rank: 4, 25-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Sea

In reality, Arizona ranks 28th in the league in total defense. Most casual observers would describe the unit as overly friendly. However, to the intense fantasy player, the Cardinals are a consistent scoring machine, routinely pecking out the eyes of all who are matched against them. The Seahawks better don the Dickersons. Led by spark plug LaRod Stephens-Howling(notes) on special teams and Darnell Dockett(notes) on defense, Arizona is 2010’s version of the New Orleans Saints. The opportunistic unit has splashed pay-dirt seven times in its past five games. Over its past three, ‘Zona has also coaxed six turnovers and racked 10 sacks. Seattle’s offense should receive a shot in the arm with the likely return of Matt Hasselbeck(notes) and left tackle Russell Okung(notes). Still, due to poor execution up front, this is a disheveled team offensively. Because the ‘Hawks will struggle exploiting the Cardinals’ primary defensive weakness, stopping the run, they will lose the battle at the line of scrimmage. If forced to the air, Arizona feasts. Seattle QBs have been sacked 22 times this season. Available in over 65-percent of Yahoo! leagues, fantasy’s highest scoring defense (on a per week scale) deserves more respect.

Fearless Forecast: 17 points allowed, 4 sacks, 3 turnovers, 1 touchdown, 16 fantasy points


Shaun Hill(notes), Det, QB (Noise Week 10 QB Rank: 10, two-percent started)
Matchup: at Buf

Because Matthew Stafford(notes) could separate his shoulder diving into a pool brimming with fluffy cotton balls, Hill is once again back at the helm for the competitive Lions. In his previous stint as the starter, the journeyman performed quite well. Over five starts he recored a top-20 QB line, averaging 244.2 yards per game with a 9:6 TD:INT split. Similar to last year, the Bills are a deceptively good pass defense. Five quarterbacks have thrown for under 200-yards against them. However, the 16:1 TD:INT allowed suggests otherwise. Not to mention most teams have trampled Buffalo in the trenches, skewing its perceived effectiveness defending the pass. Since the Lions don’t have much of a running game, Jim Schwartz will likely devise an air-centric game plan. As a result, Hill-to-Johnson will undoubtedly haunt a Bills secondary possibly minus Terrence McGee(notes). Aaron Rodgers(notes) owners looking for a quality bye-week filler should throw a steak to the Lion. If Hill, who is recovering form a broken arm, returns to full practice this week, a top-10 effort in the Wing City is certainly attainable. (Note: We will score Drew Stanton(notes) if Hill is unavailable).

Fearless Forecast: 24-34, 252 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 19 fantasy points

Other potential Week 10 Flames: David Garrard, Jac (vs. Hou), Sam Bradford(notes), StL (at SF), Fred Jackson(notes), Buf (vs. Det), Brandon Jacobs(notes), NYG (vs. Dal), Mike Hart(notes) (If he plays, vs. Cin), Steve Breaston(notes), Ari (vs. Sea), Nate Washington(notes), Ten (at Mia), Blair White(notes), Ind (vs. Cin), Marcedes Lewis(notes), Jac (vs. Hou), Brandon Pettigrew(notes), Det (at Buf)


Image courtesy of Getty

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