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 4 Flames in the comments section below.
Kevin Kolb, Ari, QB (1-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Mia
The much maligned Kolb, designated the "Suckiest QB in the League" by yours truly after Blaine Gabbert looked semi-competent in Week 1, hasn't exactly lived down to his rather disparaging handle. In actuality, he's performed exceedingly well after seizing the starting reigns from gimpy John Skelton two weeks ago. Over two-plus games, he's played interception-free football, scoring five touchdowns (4 pass, 1 rush) while completing 64.4 percent of his attempts. To ensure Kolb's success, Ken Whisenhunt and company have tailored the playbook to the QB's strengths. Knowing his issues with passes beyond 20-yards, the staff has installed more plays indicative of a West Coast scheme, short hooks, shallow crosses and quick slants familiar to Kolb during his days in Philly. So far it's worked. Expect that trend to continue this week against Miami. The Fins' back-end has been problematic this year for Joe Philbin. Corners Sean Smith and Richard Marshall have performed marginally at best. Through three weeks, the tandem has allowed a YPA of 7.6 and consecutive 300-yard passing games (To Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez). With Kolb's confidence sky-high and Larry Fitzgerald finally back on track, a useful Week 4 tally is in the offing.
Fearless Forecast: 18-27, 243 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 12 rushing yards, 21.3 fantasy points
Fred Jackson, Buf, RB (13-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NE
It's official. Jackson possesses the regeneration power of the Incredible Hulk. According to the rusher, he's '70-75 percent' sure he will retake the field this week against New England. Chan Gailey, astonished by the rusher's rapid recovery, is also optimistic his starter will return to practice by Thursday at the latest. Assuming he doesn't trip over any speed-bumps, the plowshare is highly employable in Week 4. The NFL's third-leading rusher, C.J. Spiller, is likely to miss this week's contest with a shoulder strain. And although he filled in admirably last week, third-stringer Tashard Choice will assuredly take a backseat to the hungry incumbent. The Pats, led by buffet closer Vincent Wilfork, have defended the run stiffly thus far, conceding just 3.1 yards per carry to RBs. But pounded between the tackles by Ray Rice last week, they are hardly impenetrable. The Bills offensive line, one of the league's best in terms of run-blocking, should control the line of scrimmage. Jackson's history against New England also bodes well. In eight career contests versus the Pats, he's averaged 5.0 yards per carry. Ready to prove he's not ready to relinquish the starting job to Spiller, he should be counted on as a RB2 in 10-team and deeper leagues . After all, motivation is a very influential fantasy fueler.
Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 76 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 16 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.4 fantasy points
Cedric Benson, GB, RB (28-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NO
Entering the season, many within the fantasy community believed Mr. 3.0 YPC would emit a rather putrid, Limburger cheese odor. But the rusher's first three weeks, though rather bland, haven't smelled like unwashed feet. In spurts, he's looked terrific. He's displayed surprising versatility, tackle-breaking power and plus vision, a key trait in Green Bay's zone-blocking scheme. His double-digit effort in the Seattle screwing, though modest in total yards (63-4-1), was laudable. After Monday's shipwreck at CenturyLink, Aaron Rodgers will undoubtedly unleash hell on New Orleans (Believe me, the Devil would be kinder), which should thrust Benson into many goal-to-go situations. An end-zone dive or three could be on the horizon. The Saints, thumped by the JC of KC in Week 3, have allowed a whopping 215.3 total yards per game, six touchdowns and 4.8 yards per carry to rushers this year. Given the unusual circumstances and juicy matchup, it would be no shock if Benson finished inside the RB top-5 this week. Start him with the utmost confidence.
Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 113 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns, 25.6 fantasy points
Justin Blackmon, Jax, WR (8-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Cin
For most rookie wide receivers not named T.Y. Hilton, the adage "Rome wasn't built in a day" applies. Most often it can take weeks, months or even years for targets to fully transition into the league, no matter how talented. Even Calvin Johnson took his lumps in his rookie season. Blackmon could follow a similar path. Nonexistent over the first three weeks, the first-round pick has barely registered a blip on the fantasy radar. As a result, he's been mass-dropped, even in competitive formats. Mike Mularkey attributes his struggles to poor routes and a pressing attitude. Still, he leads all Jags receivers in snaps (Blackmon - 164, Robinson - 122). Inevitably, he'll arrive. He's simply too gifted not to. If there was ever a week for Blackmon to make a splash, this is it. The Jags host Cincinnati, a defense reeling in all facets. Down Dre Kirkpatrick until the end of October and, possibly, Leon Hall (calf) again this week, the already vulnerable Bengals secondary is even more exploitable. Combined Nate Clements and Terrance Newman have surrendered a 68.0 catch percentage through three games. In the Battle of the Cats, look for the rookie to pack some thunder.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 57 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.4 fantasy points
Owen Daniels, Hou, TE (28-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Ten
Hampered by nagging injuries over the past couple seasons, the now healthy oversized target has regained respectability among deep leaguers. Through three weeks he's quietly attracted 22 targets, the seventh-most among TEs, hauling in 13 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. His subsequent 7.3 per game average in standard formats ranks ahead of roster mainstays Brandon Pettigrew, Jermichael Finley and Jermaine Gresham. Expect his standing to rise come Sunday. Suffice it to say, the Titans are allergic to defending tight ends. Thus far, they've allowed a staggering 19.8 fantasy points per game to TEs, the highest amount in virtual pigskin. Even Dante Rosario torched them for three scores in Week 2. Given Tennessee's shortcomings against the run, Arian Foster and Ben Tate should dominate touches, but when forced skyward look for Matt Schaub to lock in on No. 81.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 53 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.0 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Ronnie Hillman, Den, RB (0-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Oak
Inactive the first two weeks of the season due to physical and mental limitations, Denver's diminutive spark-plug, who logged his first action of the season last week against Houston, is on the verge of becoming a household fantasy name. Starter Willis McGahee, highly questionable after suffering a rib injury in the third quarter last Sunday, has strong odds of sitting this week. If he's unable to go, a committee of unknown distribution will likely be installed. Because Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball are about as exciting as eating tofu, the more flavorful Hillman has a shot to head up the platoon, provided he can protect Peyton Manning. The San Diego St. product is a dynamic, slashing runner with plus acceleration and tender hands, a Darren Sproles-type. If gifted an opportunity, he will pay instant dividends. Oakland, which hasn't defended the flat particularly well, has given up the second-most receptions to RBs on the young year. The Raiders have also allowed 4.2 yards per carry and 161.3 total yards per game to rushers. Add it up, and those hard-pressed for options at the FLEX should roll the dice on the rookie.
Fearless Forecast (If no McGahee): 11 carries, 44 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 23 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.7 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 4 FLAMES
TEAM HUEVOS PICKS OF THE WEEK
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: 14-7 (66.7%)
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