September 27, 2011
Each week the Noise highlights 12 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 revamped scoring system shown here . If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, post your Week 4 Flames in the comments.
Kyle Orton(notes), Den, QB (Noise Week 4 QB Rank: 11, 11-percent started)
Matchup: at GB
What a difference a year makes. At this point on the fantasy calendar last year, people were sacrificing limbs for Orton's services. Thriving in Josh McDaniels' pass-first system, the Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) of 2010 was coming off a 476-yard spanking of the Colts. But this year, under the conservative direction of John Fox, The Neckbeard hasn't exactly smothered the competition in hair grease. His yards per attempt, an outstanding 7.3 last year, has plummeted to 6.1 this year. As a result, his overall production has turned south, evident in his 18.2 points per game output, the 23rd-best mark among QBs in virtual pigskin. However, there's hope for a flashback this week against Green Bay. The Packers, one of the league's best in handcuffing QBs last year, are one of the worst this season. Signal callers are averaging a ridiculous 8.7 yards per attempt, 384.3 passing yards and two touchdowns per game against them. With or without Tramon Williams(notes), the secondary hasn't exactly delivered flavorful results. In a contest in which the Broncos will likely fall behind early, Orton could easily eclipse 40 attempts, and accumulate plenty of garbage points, en route to a strong QB1 effort.
Fearless Forecast: 26-48, 324 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 22.2 fantasy points
Arian Foster(notes), Hou, RB (Noise Week 4 RB Rank: 12, 27-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Pit
Foster's maddening hamstring issue has driven the Noise to the bottle. My liver dwarfs Snooki's. But this week no long Wild Turkey consultations will be needed. Foster is poised for a major breakout. On Gary Kubiak's Monday radio show, the coach predicted the rush king will be "full-speed, ready to go" against visiting Pittsburgh. If he puts in an entire week's worth of practice, he should not only play, but start and carry most of the load. Ben Tate(notes), who's averaged 4.6 yards per carry and 100.3 rushing yards per game, was terrific in his absence, but the Texans miss Foster's all-around efficiency, particularly in the red zone. As the Chronicle's Richard Justice recently noted, on 26 carries inside the 20 Houston backs have logged 1-yard or less 11 times. Last season, Foster scored 14 times on 56 red-zone touches, a success rate of 25-percent. On the surface, a matchup with Pittsburgh looks very unappealing. But the Steelers have been battered between the tackles, noted in their 4.6 yards per carry allowed to RBs. When Joseph Addai(notes) is shedding tackles and finding the end-zone that's usually a bad sign. Because the Texans are a balanced offensive team, boast a premier O-line and are at home, Foster should thrive. Yes, Tate will supplant him on a series or two, but for the popular No. 1 pick, this is his week to finally live up to preseason expectations. (UPDATE: Kubiak said Wednesday Foster need to be brought along "the right way." It appears he could be eased back into the lead role this week, possibly totaling around 14-17 touches. As a result, I've adjusted my projection below.)
Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 74 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.4 fantasy points
Darren Sproles(notes), NO, RB (Noise Week 4 RB Rank, 23, 54-percent started)
Matchup: at Jax
So far this season, the Pocket Rocket's value has soared to the moon. Despite only 36 total touches, the lowest amount of any back currently ranked in the top-15, he's averaged a potent 10.6 points per game in standard formats. With 21 catches through three games, he's been even more indispensable in PPR settings. Interestingly, he's seen the most snaps of any Saints rusher, totaling 97 plays compared to 72 for Pierre Thomas(notes) and 61 for Mark Ingram(notes). This week, another stellar effort is on tap. Jacksonville's run defense, one of the friendliest in the league last year, has stiffened significantly in 2011. The addition of linebackers Clint Sessions and Paul Posluszny(notes) has done wonders. Overall, the Jags have yielded 3.0 yards per carry and the second-fewest fantasy points to RBs. But Sproles isn't your everyday up-the-gut back. His strength resides in exploiting matchups on the peripheries, an area where the Jags have performed marginally. Don't expect spectacular totals, but numbers close to what he achieved Week 1 at Green Bay are certainly possible. Activate him in PPR formats big or small.
Fearless Forecast: 3 carries, 9 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.9 fantasy points
Denarius Moore(notes), Oak, WR (Noise Week 4 WR Rank: 19, 20-percent started)
Matchup: vs. NE
Moore, pimped heavily by yours truly preseason (Note: I was a wee bit off on Cam Newton(notes)), is following the Mike Williams (TB) formula for first-year success. Catchless in Week 1, the fifth-rounder from Tennessee has since stepped to the forefront compiling nine receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown in his past two games. Last week against the suddenly flightless Jets, he also chipped in 23 rushing yards and a ground score. The rookie will never be the fastest or strongest player on the field, but he's a savvy route-runner with plus quickness and above average cutting and leaping ability. Without much competition for targets, he has become the apple of Jason Campbell's(notes) eye. This week, the duo will be inseparable. New England is a disaster defensively, especially versus the pass. Already this season the Pats have given up 23 pass plays of 20-plus yards, the most in the league. Expect Moore to be a thorn in the side of terribly average corners Devin McCourty(notes) and Ras-I Dowling(notes). Earlier this week Hue Jackson expressed his desire to give No. 17 the ball more. Week 4 presents the perfect opportunity. Consider him a strong WR2 in 12-team formats.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 93 receiving yards, 9 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 20.7 fantasy points
Sidney Rice(notes), Sea, WR (Noise Week 4 WR Rank: 23, 22-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Atl
Usually, anyone associated with the Tarvarisaurus is hazardous to one's fantasy health. But because of the passer's man-love for Rice, he's actually quite helpful. Last week, in the wideout's return to the starting lineup, the former Vikings plundered arguably the worst secondary in the NFC (Arizona) connecting eight times for 109 yards. "Comfortable" with one another after spending four seasons together in Minnesota, the tandem's rekindled bromance should carry over this week against Atlanta. For the most part, Brent Grimes(notes) has performed well this season, checking in as the 22nd-most valuable corner in the league thus far according to Pro Football Focus. However, the Falcons secondary as a whole has been relatively mediocre. Opposing QBs have averaged a healthy 8.0 yards per attempt and completed 12 passes for 20 or more yards against it. Rice, who has a six-inch height advantage over Grimes, will be fed early and often. Seattle is typically a wasteland of fantasy production, but this week, the Uncle Ben's of fantasy receivers is a tasty side worth scooping onto your plate.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 83 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.8 fantasy points
Stevan Ridley(notes), NE, RB (Noise Week 4 RB Rank: 26, one-percent started)
Matchup: at Oak
Believe it or not, Ridley is the New England back to own not only this week, but possibly beyond. BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) and Danny Woodhead(notes) haven't inspired much hope for the Pats run game. The underachieving pair have averaged a combined 3.9 yards per carry. Coming off his best performance of the young season (7-44, 1-8 at Buf), Ridley could see double-digit touches for the first time this year. Monday New England personnel director Nick Caserio said the rookie "made the most of the opportunity," but offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien stressed he still has "a long way to go." Regardless, the unbalanced Pats must establish a ground game to keep an overworked, and generally porous, defense on the sidelines. Tom Brady(notes) alone can't carry this team to a division title. Ridley could be the solution. At 5-foot-11, 225 pounds, the LSU product is a tough interior runner with above average versatility, a skill set which could prove problematic for the Raiders. Oakland has surrendered 5.8 yards per carry, 196 total yards and four touchdowns -- equal to the third-most fantasy points allowed -- to RBs this season. In a game where ball control will likely be emphasized, look for The Riddler to leave the Raiders bewildered
Fearless Forecast: 10 carries, 55 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.2 fantasy points
WEEK 4 BONUS FLAMES
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