Flames: End-zone spikes could be aplenty for Ballard, Colts

Each week the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, unobvious names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. To qualify, each player must be started in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post the results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, post your Week 10 Flames in the comments section below.

Ryan Tannehill, Mia, QB (3-percent started)

Matchup: vs. Ten
Preseason the only positive view most had about Tannehill, he was married to an attractive blond with yeti feet. With only 19 career starts at QB under his belt during his collegiate career at Texas A&M, most believed his learning curve would be steep. Naturally, the fantasy community underestimated him. Though still unpolished, the rookie has greatly exceeded expectation, showing measurable improvement from week to week. Smart and tough, he's displayed veteran acumen on pre-snap reads and stood poised in dirty pockets. His 78.2 passer rating isn't worth writing home about, but he hasn't committed a turnover since Week 4 and is coming off a rock solid 290-yard, 1-TD effort against the Colts. Another plus performance is on deck in Week 10. Tennessee, losers of two straight, is a team heading nowhere fast. Chris Johnson has found his groove, but, defensively, the Titans are a group of blind buffoons. Six quarterbacks have recorded multi-TD games against them in nine games, including 'His Smugness' Jay Cutler last week. Overall, they've yielded 7.9 yards per attempt and the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs this year. With Brian Hartline and the run game back on track, Miami, desperately trying to keep pace with New England in the AFC East, will dispose of the sliding Titans with ease. Yes, he only has two 20-point fantasy games this season, but, given the friendly matchup, count on Tannehill to play like a fish out of water.

Fearless Forecast: 20-33, 244 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 7 rushing yards, 20.9 fantasy points

Pierre Thomas, NO, RB (43-percent started)

Matchup: vs. Atl
Please Joe Vitt, set the man free. The fantasy community is begging you. Mysteriously parked for large portions of New Orleans' triumphant win over the Eagles Monday, the PT Bruiser, expected to take on an expanded role with Darren Sproles sidelined, saw his customary 35-40 percent of the snaps, ceding touches to Mark Ingram and little used fourth-stringer Chris Ivory. Of course when toting the rock, the yards after contact machine revved his engine totaling 70 yards on just eight touches. The coaching staff's underutilization of PT is beyond maddening. When fed often in the past (e.g. 2008/2009) he's delivered RB1 level numbers. He is more than capable of handling a 15-20 carry load. Still, even if he racks his usual 8-12 touches, he should prove useful this week in a pivotal division game against undefeated Atlanta. The Falcons, pounded often in the trenches, have given up 4.6 yards per carry and 4.4 receptions per game to RBs this season. Thomas, who is a snowplow between the tackles and a superb receiving back, should inflict heavy damage. The Saints' carousel at RB will continue, but the committee back is employable at the FLEX given the likely high-scoring affair.

Fearless Forecast: 9 carries, 54 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 35 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.9 fantasy points

Vick Ballard, Ind, RB (12-percent started)

Matchup: vs. Jax
On a club loaded with ballyhooed freshmen, Ballard's contributions might be the most overlooked. Since being inserted into the starting lineup three weeks ago, he's tallied meaningful stats, netting 5.1 yards per touch and a 11.1 points per game average in standard formats, the 19th-best mark during that stretch at the position. With Donald Brown likely sidelined by a hip injury, Ballard should again shoulder a burdensome workload. The new Hello Kitties of the NFL were declawed on the ground last week by the old, Detroit, surrendering 137.4 rushing yards and four ground scores to Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell. Overall, only Buffalo, New Orleans and Tennessee have allowed more fantasy points to rushers. Ballard is a straight-ahead, downhill runner who won't juke dudes out of their shoes, but his quality yards after contact and better-than-advertised versatility should be problematic for Jacksonville's forgiving front, especially given Andrew Luck's influences. On short rest, count on the Colt to play like a stallion.

Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 87 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.6 fantasy points

Emmanuel Sanders, Pit, WR (2-percent started)

Matchup: vs. KC
In what was supposed to be a breakthrough season for Antonio Brown, the wideout has flopped somewhat. His 84-998-2 pace is a far cry from the common 90-1200-8 projection many fantasy sites offered preseason. Now hobbled by a mild high-ankle sprain, the receiver's availability is in jeopardy for this week's friendly matchup against KC. Enter Sanders. In four career starts, the third-stringer has only posted modest results averaging 45.5 yards per game with zero touchdowns. Still, because of the added attention Mike Wallace draws, the wideout is an upside WR3 play in challenging formats. The basement-dwelling Chiefs continue to search for answers defensively, which they will probably never find. Defensive back Standford Routt was kicked to the curb earlier this week and Romeo Crennel rightfully stripped himself of defensive duties. The moves will likely make a minimal impact. On the year, KC has allowed 16.8 yards per catch to WRs, the highest mark in the league. Sanders isn't as explosive or as complete of a receiver compared to Brown, but he isn't a slouch either. On an expected 6-8 targets, he is very capable of tallying a starter-worthy line. If you're in dire straits for a WR3, give him a one-game audition.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.2 fantasy points

Danario Alexander, SD, WR (1-percent started)

Matchup: at TB
During the Rams' days of complete incompetence, receiving a pink slip from management usually spelled the end of one's career. If you weren't good enough for that busted franchise, you were barely UFL material. But for the fragile Alexander, his dismissal from the Gateway City swung open the door of opportunity. Picked up by the Chargers just over a week ago, he is already rebuilding his career. If he can stave off the pesky injury imp, he may make a significant fantasy impact, starting this week. Last week against the Chiefs, he caught three passes for 63 yards in his San Diego debut. Gifted a chance to showcase his wares with Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal down, he displayed excellent separation skills and athleticism versus KC, playing 37 of 52 snaps. Shockingly, his reconstructed knees didn't disintegrate. For now, Norv Turner plans for the receiver to "be a big part of what we do" moving forward. If slotted opposite Malcom Floyd Sunday, Alexander 'The Great' could mow down Bucs like the conquerer did Persians. Tampa could be sans top corner Eric Wright, whose suspension is expected to be levied at any time. Even if he suits up, the secondary is extremely vulnerable. A whopping 10 wide receivers have surpassed 10 fantasy points against it this year. If you're trying to capture lightning in a bottle, snatch up the Charger.

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 69 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.8 fantasy points

SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)

Danny Woodhead, NE, RB (1-percent started)

Matchup: vs. Buf
Blessed with a last name only a beaver could love, Woodhead is in prime position to gnaw on the competition in Week 10. Buffalo is a complete disaster defensively. Breaking the bank to acquire Mario Williams didn't do wonders. Routinely picked up and tossed about like rag dolls, the Bills' defensive front is unrivaled among AFC teams in their generosity. On the year, Buffalo has surrendered a staggering 5.3 yards per carry, 170.6 total yards per game and 12 touchdowns to rushers. Eight RBs have achieved 'Flame' status against them. Bill Beelzechick's revolving door at running back is hard to decipher, but it's becoming increasingly clear the pecking order is 1) Stevan Ridley, 2) Shane Vereen/Woodhead 3) Corey Dillon, 4) Marion Butts … Brandon Bolden, who pounded the Bills in the teams' first meeting, has yet to return to practice. The diminutive rusher will likely only notch 20-25 snaps, but he's caught at least four passes in three straight and has received 6.0 rushing attempts per game overall. Assuming he's deployed similarly, he should finish with laudable numbers. Simply put, a corpulent Ewok could scoot it's way to a top-30 line against Buffalo. If you're strapped for options, flex him in deeper leagues.

Fearless Forecast: 5 carries, 26 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 31 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.4 fantasy points



Each week one fortunate guest prognosticator will have a chance to silence the Noise. Following the rules stated above, participants are asked to submit their "Flames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Mondays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?

Reader Record: 28-32 (46.6%)

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