November 09, 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 10 Flames in the comments.
Christian Ponder(notes), Min, QB (Week 10 Noise QB Rank: 10, 2-percent started)
Matchup: at GB
Fluid mechanics. Composed demeanor. Fantastic hair. For a rookie, Ponder looks every bit a future superstar. In his first two starts, the first-round pick played about as well as anyone could expect. He completed 52.7-percent of his attempts for 227.5 yards per game while notching a 3:2 td:int split, an effort, as Visanthe Shiancoe remarked to the Star-Tribune last week, that sparked a team-wide culture change. If Donovan McNabb(notes) was Debbie Downer, Ponder is Peppy Pete. The youngster's cool-under-pressure mentality has rubbed off on the entire locker-room, providing players with a renewed sense of confidence. Under the prime-time lights Monday, the unfazed passer, who tallied 22 standard league points Week 7 against the Pack, could be even better in the rematch. Green Bay's defense, particularly against the pass, has been very suspect this season. Through eight games the Cheeseheads have given up a mind-blowing 315.6 passing yards and 2.0 passing touchdowns per game, equal to the second-most fantasy points allowed to QBs. Only Matt Ryan(notes) and Sam Bradford(notes) in Weeks 5 and 6 failed to surpass the 20-point mark against them. Yes, Lambeau Field can be an intimidating place for any quarterback, but Ponder's unflinching attitude combined with the Packers' inefficiencies on defense and the Vikes' play-from-behind potential suggest this is the week he could reach sensation status alongside fellow rookies Cam Newton(notes) and Andy Dalton(notes). Sound the horn.
Fearless Forecast: 19-34, 266 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 18 rushing yards, 0 tds, 22.1 fantasy points
Willis McGahee(notes), Den, RB (Week 10 Noise RB Rank: 14, 41-percent started)
Matchup: at KC
McGahee is to fantasy running backs what Jennifer Connelly is to the realm of hotness, horrifically underrated. Running as though Nevin Shapiro was trying to chase him down with $100 bills gripped between his fingers, the 30-year-old throttled the Raiders totaling 168 yards and two touchdowns, his fourth 100-yard effort in eight games. Take away his uneventful Week 1 (35 total yards, 0 tds), and the 'U' product has averaged a rock solid 14.6 points per game, a mark that ranks 10th overall among RBs, one spot ahead of Mr. Century Mark, Frank Gore(notes). Given his advanced age, it's truly amazing what McGahee has accomplished. Don't think it's a fluke. With Tim Tebow(notes) under center, John Fox has turned back the clock, emphasizing the run at a 54.8-percent clip over the past three weeks. He's even leaned on the read option, a play rarely seen on the professional level. Oakland, bewildered often last week, couldn't solve it. This week, Kansas City may also struggle figuring it out. The Chiefs have only surrendered one 100-yard rusher this year (Fred Jackson(notes) Week 1), but Ryan Mathews(notes), Michael Bush(notes) and, of all people, Reggie Bush(notes) each flirted with triple-digits against them. Overall, they've yielded the seventh-most fantasy points to RBs. In a revamped Broncos offense, McGahee should again be McGood on the road.
Fearless Forecast: 21 carries, 95 rushing yards, 1 reception, 5 receiving yards, 1 td, 16.8 fantasy points
Ben Tate(notes), Hou, RB (Week 10 Noise RB Rank: 21, 18-percent started)
Matchup: at TB
The true headquarters of ground and pound isn't in New York. It's actually located in Houston. With Andre Johnson(notes) slowly mending from a hamstring injury, Arian Foster(notes) and Ben Tate, on pace to become the seventh 1,000-yard duo in NFL history, are routinely pulverizing opponents into dust. Though the former is the clear bell cow, the latter, too, has mooed in limited doses. Tate, who's averaged an insane 8.2 yards per carry over his past 27 totes, runs as though someone just kicked his dog. He's an extremely physical back with great speed and a terrific initial step, vital attributes in Gary Kubiak's one-cut-and-go system. As the Piano Man crooned Monday, if not for Foster, Tate, similar to Michael Bush, would be a sure-fire RB1. His tremendous skill set combined with Houston's dominating offensive line are a match made in fantasy heaven. Expect Tate, and Foster, to pay a divine reward this week in Tampa. The Bucs, who last week lost their best run defender, Gerald McCoy(notes), to a season-ending biceps tear, are very vulnerable up front. Even with the hole-plunger on the field, they conceded 4.9 yards per carry, 118.8 rushing yards per game and eight touchdowns to rushers, equal to the fourth-most fantasy points allowed. Tate, who playfully reminds Foster after every big run "I'm coming after you," is very trustworthy despite an expected 10-12 carry workload. Play the second fiddle.
Fearless Forecast: 11 carries, 73 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 13.3 fantasy points
Laurent Robinson(notes), Dal, WR (Week 10 Noise WR Rank: 17, 7-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Buf
With Miles Austin(notes) on the shelf for the next 2-4 weeks nursing a hamstring injury, the under-the-radar backup could soon bask in statistical stardom. Robinson, a plus-sized receiver with stellar downfield speed (16.1 yards per catch), has come on of late, even with Austin in uniform. Targeted 13 times by Tony Romo(notes) since Week 8, he's hauled in 10 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns. As Jason Garrett noted earlier this week the wideout is a playmaker who's consistently made contested catches, providing a noticeable spark for a team that's occasionally struggled in vertical execution. Yes, Buffalo may lead the AFC in interceptions, but it's nowhere close to an unfriendly matchup for receiver purposes. On the year, the Bills have allowed the ninth-most 20-yard pass plays and seven 75-yard WR performances. Corner Drayton Florence(notes), Robinson's likely shadow, has given up a very generous 15.5 yards per catch. Add. Start. Reap. Dallas' new WR2 is about to become must-start material.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 86 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.4 fantasy points
Steve Breaston(notes), KC, WR (Week 10 Noise WR Rank: 24, 17-percent started)
Matchup: vs. Den
Well-endowed numbers could be in the offing for Breaston. Before Week 7's battle in the Black Hole, the Chiefs' No. 2, after a fairly slow start, expressed he and Matt Cassel were finally on the same page. Since that admission, the pair have connected 12 times (on 24 targets) for 241 yards, including a season-best 115 yards last week in a blowout loss to Miami. The tandem should continue to carry momentum over this week against Denver. The Broncos, even with Champ Bailey(notes) back, continue to give up a ton of fantasy points through the air. In fact, they've allowed the most fantasy points to WRs on the season. With Andre Goodman(notes), who Pro Football Focus ranks as the 97th-best cover corner in the league, expected to draw Breaston, the receiver has strong odds of finishing well-inside the position's top-30 for the second consecutive week. Keep in mind No. 2s are averaging a healthy 61.6 yards per game against the Mile High Messiahs this year. Play motorboat.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 72 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.9 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (UNDER 10-PERCENT STARTED)
Jason Hill(notes), Jac, WR (Week 10 Noise WR Rank: 35, 1-percent started)
Matchup: at Ind
Save for Maurice Jones-Drew(notes), Jaguars have corrupted fantasy lineups more than Silvio Berlusconi has Italian bank accounts, and floozies. Jacksonville, for the most part, is a statistical wasteland. However, Hill could an oasis of production this week. Why? The Colts, specifically corner Jacob Lacey(notes), are just that bad. QBs have completed 73.5-percent of their passes to the rookie CB's side. Hill, who's averaged a healthy 16.1 yards per catch, has a great shot of burning Lacey deep, possibly more than once. On the year, Indy has allowed the sixth-most 20-plus yard pass plays. And, overall, wide receivers are performing 26.5-percent above the league average against it. Because Blaine Gabbert(notes) is under center, any Jags WR is a bit risky, but the friendly matchup could make Hill, who has splashed pay-dirt in three of his past four games, plenty relevant even in 12-team leagues. Count on him as a WR3 or FLEX option, deep thinkers.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 57 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.7 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 10 FLAMES
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