Each week the Noise will guide desperate, deep-thinking owners into the dark corners of the waiver wire to mine a last-minute diamond. Turn on your helmet light and pack a pickaxe. We're digging for drop-jaw surprises owned in less than 10 percent or started in five percent or less of Yahoo! Plus leagues.
Over the first two weeks, Aaron Rodgers(notes) has been the victim of constant physical harassment. Badgered, blitzed and bruised, the popular early round selection has underperformed against two secondaries (Chicago and Cincinnati) many pundits considered suspect entering the season. Not even the warm, well-cushioned embrace of his swimsuit-modeling snuggle buddy has eased the pain.
The demonstrative tight end, who openly criticized Rodgers' abilities as a rookie last season, has matured both mentally and physically. At 6-foot-5, 247-pounds, Finley is an incredibly gifted receiver with the size, speed and athleticism to develop into one of the game's premiere weapons.
As we discussed previously, the former Texas standout splashed onto the fantasy scene this preseason, establishing a budding rapport with his QB. Though targeted minimally Week 1, Rodgers' latest flame was thrown to seven times last week, the same number of looks position titans Antonio Gates(notes), Tony Gonzalez(notes) and Jason Witten(notes) attracted in their matchups. In total, he snagged four passes racking 56 yards -- a mere 18 yards shy of his entire tally in 14 games a season ago.
Expect his role to expand even more in Week 3.
In a move many would find odd, Rodgers, presumably a masochist, made an impassioned plea to the Packers coaching staff earlier this week to actually limit, not increase, the amount of pass protectors at the line. From the Green Bay Gazette:
"I think one of the things that happened last week was because of struggles (in protection) in Week 1, we've kept more guys in (to block)," Rodgers said. "Our backs were staying in a little bit longer, and so our stuff was all down the field because we didn't have any of our check downs out.
"The push, hopefully, this is week is, ‘Hey you guys got to hold up up front.' We need more options underneath the coverage. When they're dropping off so far, you need some check downs."
Logically, Rodgers' request makes sense. Because Green Bay's spread system is predicated primarily on short-timing routes, having more aerial weapons available actually depressurizes the pocket, a feeling the haggard signal caller desperately needs.
Finley is the perfect weapon to meet A-Rod's demands. His skyscraper frame would be easy to locate in the short-field when a hard-charging linebacker is on the verge of splitting your melon.
Traveling to St. Louis this week to face the repulsive Rams, Rodgers is an ideal situation to test his hypothesis. Since the Rams struggled so mightily containing John Carlson(notes) Week 1 (6 rec, 95 yds, 2 TDs) and Chris Cooley(notes) last week (7-83-0), Finley will likely be the focal point of the Cheeseheads' vertical blueprint.
Owned in a tiny 10 percent and started in only a fraction of Y! leagues (three percent), the supremely confident tight end, who has a prizefighter's ego, could be Green Bay's Super Macho Man of sorts in St. Louis -- pectoral flexes included. Consider employing his services in 12-team and deeper leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 63 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Who is your Week 3 Shocker Special? Post your pick with projection below.
SILENCE THE NOISE CHALLENGE
Starting next week one lucky aspiring fantasy prognosticator is chosen to go toe-to-toe against the Noise. If you want to be a guest "expert" submit your Week 4 flames, lames (1 QB, 3 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE for each, 16 total) and shocker special (one player at any position) along with a valid email address and your location here no later than 7 PM central time on Thursday. Oh, and please, no long dissertations to justify your picks. All that's required are your player selections and projections. Winners earn a league spot to compete against yours truly next season. Good luck!
This week's contestant: Matthew in Colden, NY
QB: David Garrard(notes), Jac, 20-33, 262 yards, 2:1 TD:INT
RB: LeSean McCoy(notes), Phi, 12 carries, 75 yards, 3 receptions, 25 yards, TD
RB: Ahmad Bradshaw(notes), NYG, 11 carries, 66 yards, 2 receptions, 14 yards, TD
RB: Beanie Wells(notes), Ari, 9 carries, 62 yards, TD
WR: Mike Sims-Walker(notes), Jac, 6 receptions, 91 yards, TD
WR: Kelley Washington(notes), Bal, 7 receptions, 75 yards, TD
WR: Johnny Knox(notes), Chi, 5 receptions, 81 yards, TD
TE: Brandon Pettigrew(notes), Det, 5 receptions, 60 yards, TD
QB: Matt Ryan(notes), Atl, 15-26, 205 yards, 1:1 TD:INT
RB: Frank Gore(notes), SF, 21 carries, 80 yards, 21 receiving yards, 0 TDs
RB: Chris Johnson, Ten, 14 carries, 55 yards, 28 receiving yards, 0 TDs
RB: DeAngelo Williams(notes), Car, 19 carries, 77 yards, 19 receiving yards, 0 TDs
WR: Dwayne Bowe(notes), KC, 5 receptions, 59 yards, 0 TDs
WR: Anquan Boldin(notes), Ari, 4 receptions, 45 yards, 0 TDs
WR: Santonio Holmes(notes), Pit, 3 receptions, 42 yards, 0 TDs
TE: Kellen Winslow(notes), TB, 5 receptions, 46 yards, 0 TDs
Week 2 Results: Adam in Virginia
Flames (3-6): W - (Trent Edwards(notes), Steve Smith, Todd Heap(notes)); L - (Michael Bush(notes), LeSean McCoy, Ahmad Bradshaw, Nate Burleson(notes), Bryant Johnson(notes); Shocker - Matthew Stafford(notes))
Noisers Season: Flames (3-6, 33.3%), Lames (25.0%)
Image courtesy of US Presswire