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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 2 Flames in the comments section below.
Andrew Luck, Ind, QB (11-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Min
The Peyton Manning comparisons to Luck are downright eery. Both are highly intelligent. Both exude leadership. Both were No. 1 picks. And both probably relish Papa John's pizza. Most remarkably, their NFL debuts were nearly identical (PM: 302-1-3, Luck: 309-1-3). Against Chicago, the rookie was, for the most part, uneven. At times, he exhibited superstar form, delivering passes crisply in the short-to-intermediate field. Other times, however, he pressed the issue, under-throwing balls that led to costly interceptions. But, as Reggie Wayne commented post-game, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Growing pains are par for the course for any inexperienced QB, even if his name is Robert Griffin III. In Luck's home debut, expect a more favorable outcome. Last week against Jacksonville, the Vikings made Blaine Gabbert look like vintage Mark Brunell, surrendering 260 yards and two touchdowns. Jared Allen could have a field day against an Indy frontline that yielded four sacks in Chicago, but when given time, look for Luck to dissect Minnesota's questionable Cover 2. Versus the Jags, Antoine Winfield allowed a catch rate of 66.7 percent. Meanwhile, fellow DB Chris Cook gave up a whopping 19.8 yards per catch — great news for Reggie Wayne and, if healthy, Austin Collie. Saddle up Luck in deeper leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 22-35, 266 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 13 rushing yards, 21.6 fantasy points
C.J. Spiller, Buf, RB (30-percent started)
Matchup: vs. KC
In preseason play, the rusher was just somebody owners use to know. Spiller's tap-dancing style and uncomfortable number of negative plays buried him behind Fred Jackson on the depth-chart. However, after the incumbent exited stage left in New York due to a sprained knee, the backup resembled the explosive quicksilver that guided owners to championship glory late last year. His 56-yard TD scamper was a thing of beauty. He also forced a league-best eight missed tackles on just 16 total touches. Now with Jackson out for at least the next month, it's Spiller's time to shine. Look for him to again seize the moment. Kansas City, minus six starters on defense last week, is a team ravaged by injuries. Though it did a quality job bottling up Michael Turner in Week 1, don't bank on a repeat performance, with or without Tamba Hali. Buffalo, despite its shortcomings in the pass game, is capable of running the ball effectively. In terms of run-blocking, the offensive line is one of the AFC's best. Combine that with Spiller's fantastic versatility and likely 20-plus touches, and a top-five line is likely in order. Consider him must-start material in any sized league.
Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 79 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 22 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.4 fantasy points
Stevan Ridley, NE, RB (42-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Ari
Riddle me this. Riddle me that. The Riddler's numbers will be phat. The ground centerpiece in New England's suddenly balanced attack, the second-year rusher was resplendent in Tennessee. Running behind a retooled Pats offensive line, he totaled 152 yards overall, racking up a ridiculous 82 yards after contact. New England hasn't had a top-12 fantasy producer at RB since the days of Corey Dillion, but Ridley could buck that trend. His powerful build and attacking style will continue to inflict plenty of damage between the tackles. Shane Vereen, once up to full speed, will likely supplant him on third downs, but the youngster has strong odds of splashing six on a consistent basis. The Pats will live inside the red-zone, especially this week. Arizona was highly active last week versus Seattle, limiting Marshawn Lynch to a bland 4.0 yards per carry. Darnell Docket, in particular, was outstanding. However, this is a team that hasn't fared well outside the UPS historically, especially when forced to travel east. When weighing the blowout potential and Bill Belichick's confidence in Ridley, the rusher is a slam-dunk RB2 in Week 2.
Fearless Forecast: 21 carries, 98 rushing yards, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.3 fantasy points
Nate Burleson, Det, WR (4-percent started)
Matchup: at SF
Throughout the draft season many owners and analysts, including yours truly, were gaga for Titus Young. His eye-popping plays in camp and glowing headlines prompted many to prop him up on a pedestal. Mr. Burleson, our apologies. Though overshadowed by the Young hype, old reliable remains Matthew Stafford's clear-cut No. 2. In a hard-fought win versus St. Louis, Burleson enticed eight targets, hauling in six receptions for 69 yards. No question traveling to San Francisco is an intimidating assignment. Last week in Green Bay, Carlos Rogers and company did a reasonably good job capping Aaron Rodgers. Still, however, they allowed a 71.4 catch rate. With so much attention drawn to Calvin Johnson's side and given the Niners' staunch linebacker corps, Burleson could become the weapon of choice in the Lions' pass game. His 'shadow,' Tarell Brown, was abused by the Pack, giving up over 20 yards per catch. Plug him in as a WR2/3 in 12-team and deeper formats.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.9 fantasy points
Randall Cobb, GB, WR (12-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Chi
In a league where versatility is cherished, Cobb is worth his weight in cheddar. Green Bay's answer to Percy Harvin lined up in the backfield 19 times and also saw ample action in the slot in his 2012 debut versus San Francisco. The results, for the PPR masses, were dreamy (9-77-0). He also chipped in a nifty 75-yard punt return for a TD. Because Cedric Benson's hands were forged from stone and Alex Green is still not up to speed, Mike McCarthy's has essentially designated Cobb as his third-down back, a strategy that will likely continue. Chicago, which runs Cover 2 almost exclusively, is a defense vulnerable underneath, indicative in the copious numbers Coby Fleener and Wayne racked in Week 1. Because McCarthy wants to create mismatches and given the uncertain availability of Greg Jennings, the underrated slot machine is slated to hit pay-dirt. Pull the lever on the WR3 even in shallow formats.
Fearless Forecast: 7 receptions, 71 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.4 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Andrew Hawkins, Cin, WR (0-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Cle
Just exactly who would complement budding star A.J. Green in Cincinnati was one of the exhibition season's greatest mysteries. A number of young, unexciting candidates were on the list, including third-round pick Mohamed Sanu, but it appears a former reality TV standout is the man for the job. Hawkins was one of the few highlights in Baltimore's declawing of the Bengals Monday night. The former Montreal Allouette and runner-up to Jesse Holley on "4th and Long" looked like a cross between Danny Amendola, Darren Sproles and a whippet. Targeted a team-high 11 times he snagged eight passes for 86 yards, exhibiting cartoon wheels (4.34 40-yard) and eye-catching elusiveness. Though he's no longer a secret, look for him to build on his initial effort. Cleveland executed well against Philadelphia in its opener, but the loss of Joe Haden to suspension in Week 2 will greatly hinder its performance in the encore. With coverage rotating to the side of Green, Hawkins could again thrive picking apart zone sets underneath. PPR owners in challenging formats need to say hello to this kitty.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions. 68 yards, 1 touchdown, 17.3 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 2 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: 4-4 (50.0%)
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