Watch the Noise, and fellow Yahoo! experts Brandon Funston and John Murphy, answer your pressing lineup questions for a full hour every NFL Sunday on the Emmy nominated webcast "Fantasy Football Live" at 9 AM PT/11 AM CT/Noon ET.
Step off, Ron Artest. Grand-ma-ma is straight outta Compton.
Overshadowed by the shady ploys of Bill Belicheat and his merry band of Rosenbergs, Kansas City media outlets reported last week that Larry Johnson – or someone pretending to be him – allegedly recorded an off-the-chain, straight to MySpace track at a recent party with a local hip-hop group called the "SBL Mob."
Included in the three minutes of hardcore gangsta bliss the LJ-sounding rapper chastises Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson, gives a fantastically original nickname to a certain legendary KC back and brags of owning munitions that would dwarf a combined Tank Johnson/Maurice Clarett arsenal.
Here's a taste of the Grammy-worthy rhymes:
"Can I come back? Can I come back? And if ya'll don't pay my money I ain't never comin' back. So (expletive) dat.
They say should I be scared of Pri-Ho coming back, he embarrassing himself. So I'm a say it, I'm a leave it like that. Cuz I'm the (expletive) runnin' this (expletive) here.
(Expletive) Carl Peterson, the GM is running it. They see me. They want to treat me like I'm running it. I wouldn't give a (expletive) if I'm not coming back. I'd rather play for another team because I'd rather be running back.
Forget 50 Cent and Kanye West. If BET wants viewers to tune in, they should televise a freestyle bout between LJ and Iron Mike Ditka. Evidently,"Da Coach" is packing some serious lyrical heat …
Johnson's freestyle frustrations are similar to how his owners feel about his inauspicious start.
Hindered by an offensive line in transition and a despicable passing attack, LJ has logged a sorrowful 3.8 YPC and has failed to find pay dirt in his first two games. Lost by the uneducated, both games were on the road and against two talented defenses (Houston and Chicago). Yes, DeMeco Ryans and his Texans cohorts are for real – at least right now.
Brainy owners who reject such knee-jerk doom and gloom LJ observations are ever-wise. However, a significant slice of the fantasy population steadfastly believes that the diamond-cutter is destined for disappointment. Like this over-reactor:
I can't believe you recommended drafting Larry Johnson over Peyton Manning. The other LJ, LaMont Jordan, is ten times the fantasy player than that dope. Thanks for leading my team to the basement. You're a balding doofus with the brain of a dinosaur. – Mark, Los Angeles, CA
Or these obvious rocket scientists …
Recent One-for-One Y! Plus League trades involving LJ:
Larry Johnson/Carson Palmer traded for Peyton Manning/Chad Johnson
Larry Johnson traded for Laurence Maroney
Larry Johnson traded for Adrian Peterson
Larry Johnson traded for Jon Kitna/Marion Barber III
As I discussed last week, I was one of the fantasy analysts that was somewhat sour on Johnson entering this season. However, it's way too early to label him a fantasy disgrace. Concerned Johnson backers don't need magic elixirs or Jon Kitna-inspired miracles to help their troubled star return to statistical dominance. They simply need to exercise patience. Flippant owners who have inexplicably traded away their cornerstone player for the flavor of the week are irresponsible.
Last year, Johnson failed to sniff the end zone in his first two games. But he managed to rebound, scoring in nine straight contests while averaging a beastly 137.3 total yards per game from Weeks 4-12.
Yes, the Chiefs passing offense is a sordid mess. And sure, LJ's upcoming schedule doesn't evoke feelings of a quick turnaround (Min, SD, at Jac). But Herm Edwards is committed to giving Johnson 25-30 touches per game in order to resuscitate a D.O.A. offense.
So, when can we expect a turnaround?
Circle KC's Week 6 tussle with Cincinnati as the day LJ begins his resurrection. From that matchup on, he has nine questionable rush defenses on the docket, including five against AFC West foes Oakland, Denver and San Diego – a bunch he ripped for a combined 145.4 total yards per game and six scores in six encounters last year.
If you're a heist-minded owner looking for the biggest buy-low score of the century, cast an offer for Johnson after his certain egregious effort this week versus Minnesota.
But, please, leave the goon and gun robbing tactics to O.J.
Here are this week's flames, lames and stars of video games:
Each week the Noise highlights five somewhat obscure, unobvious names who he believes are destined for flame madness or lame sadness. In honor of waiver wire hero Ron Dayne's legendary four-game dominance late in '06, the "Shocker Special" segment spotlights one player owned in less than 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues who is poised for one-week greatness. The Noise, an accountability advocate, will tally his hits and misses and post the results, whether genius or moronic, each week using the scoring system listed at the end of the lames segment. You could say, his stones are larger than Rodney Harrison's.
*BNRK = Big Noise weekly position ranking
*Y!% = Percentage owned in Yahoo! leagues through 9/15
|Week 3 Fantasy Flames|
|Lowdown: McCown, a dead-ringer for Dolph Lundgren, will slaughter the Browns like Ivan Drago did Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. Cleveland has allowed an appalling 10 passing touchdowns already this season. The Browns Leigh Bodden is a gifted cover corner, but communication breakdowns in the secondary have been a common occurrence. This week, the Chihuahuas have the thankless task of defending the speed, size and ultra-athleticism of Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter. McCown should be able to rediscover the touch he exhibited in Week 1 versus Detroit (75.0 CMP%, 313 YDs, 2:2 TD:INT) and pour salt into the Browns open wounds. There is a slight chance Lane Kiffin could reverse the tables and insert Daunte Culpepper into the lineup, but as of now, McCown appears entrenched to start. On paper, he's a better play this week than Tony Romo (at Chi), Jay Cutler (vs. Jac) and Brett Favre (vs. SD).|
|Fearless Forecast: 306 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception|
|Lowdown: It's time for MJD to get his sexy back. The squatty second-year bowler has sleepwalked through his first two games, averaging 50.5 total yards per game and 3.5 YPC. Denver has struggled mightily against the run this season, relinquishing 156 ground yards per game and 4.7 YPC to backs. Jack Del Rio is a fan of the play-action pass and will certainly pound the relatively young, undersized Broncos D-line to bait his scheme. It's imperative for David Garrard to continue to manage the game efficiently to ensure MJD's success. If he can keep the Broncos suffocating secondary honest, the Oompah Loompah will summit the Mile High City. Start him with confidence as a No. 2 in 12-team and deeper leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 66 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 18 yards, 1 touchdown|
|Lowdown: Unfortunately for Laurence Maroney owners, not even a prescription for Valtrex could suppress Morris. Cemented for 10-12 carries per week in the Pats 70-30 time-share, Morris should thrive against a diminutive Bills defensive line that has been outmuscled for 178 rushing yards per game. Tom Brady's ability to spread the field will create monster truck-sized holes for Maroney and Morris to plow through. Because the Bills secondary is in shambles after the loss of Jason Webster, expect New England to build an insurmountable lead early. If that prophecy comes true, Morris' workload will increase significantly as a fourth quarter clock eater. Deep-thinking owners in the market for a free agent wunderkind should pick up and plug in Morris as a flex play.|
|Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 63 rushing yards, 1 catch, 8 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Lowdown: Muhammad, the Lando Calrissian of Chicago, will rocket fantasy owners to the Cloud City in Week 3. Rex Grossman's inability to hit the broadside of a barn (56.0 CMP%, 3 INT) has unfairly labeled Muhammad a fantasy Bullwinkle. The crafty vet has averaged a lowly four targets per game and has caught just two passes for 15 yards. Dallas' smallish secondary has been cumbered by large, physical receivers this season – Plaxico Burress and Marty Booker registered a combined 12 catches for 223 yards and four TDs against them – which points to a breakout day for the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Muhammad. Although his skills have dwindled somewhat, Muhammad is still an excellent route runner who should have little trouble exposing soft spots in short-field coverage. Look for Grossman to stretch the Cowboys 3-4 defense early with bombs to Bernard Berrian. Once that happens, the Moose will get loose. Drag and drop him into the No. 3 spot in 12-team and deeper leagues.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 74 yards, 1 touchdown|
|Lowdown: With Andre "3000" Johnson out, Daniels will be far from "Stankonia" in an increased role against the Colts. Indy's Cover 2 is designed to eliminate the long pass, which tends to open enormous voids across the middle of the field. Matt Schaub's dead-eye accuracy – he's completed 72 percent of his passes this year – should find the dexterous Daniels repeatedly in the short field. In two previous tangos with Indy, Daniels registered five receptions for 48 yards and a score. Coming off a seven-target, five-catch, 58-yard performance in Carolina, Daniels will receive double-digit looks en route to a top-10 TE afternoon. Frustrated Vernon Davis owners in shallow leagues may want to scour the wire for Daniels' services.|
|Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 63 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Shocker Special of the Week|
|Lowdown: Born in New Orleans and the all-time leader in receiving touchdowns at Tulane, Williams hopes to return to his Bayou roots with Mardi Gras fair. Williams' confidence is sky-high coming off a noticeable four-catch, 72-yard, one-TD effort against the stalwart Colts. Because of Jason David's ineptness in deep-ball coverage and due to the Saints hellacious pass rush, Vince Young will have oodles of time to connect with Williams in explosive pass plays downfield. Available in 99.7 percent of Yahoo! leagues, owners looking to capture lightning in a bottle should ride the former Green Waver to No. 3 success. It would be no shock if he outperformed Darrell Jackson (at Pit), Lee Evans (at NE) and Isaac Bruce (at TB) this week.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 79 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Week 3 Fantasy Lames|
|Lowdown: Rivers' final tally will most certainly have a Limburger putridity. Over the first two weeks, the second-year starter has lacked pocket poise and has been unable to establish a consistent cadence with his receivers. Chicago and New England easily disrupted Rivers' rhythm with a barrage of blitzes and Green Bay will surely institute a similar strategy. The greatly underappreciated cover duo of Charles Woodson and Al Harris has not allowed a passer to eclipse 250 yards or throw for multiple touchdowns in their past six contests. Over that same span, they've picked signal callers 12 times (2.0 INT/G). LaDanian Tomlinson will be the point of emphasis against a Packers rush defense that has surrendered 4.6 YPC to backs this season – unfortunate news for Rivers owners. After two lethargic games, hopefully you've acquired a more trustworthy No. 1. If you haven't, put your faith behind McCown (vs. Cle; 3.3% owned), Jason Campbell (vs. NYG; 6.1%) or Jeff Garcia (vs. StL, 11.1%) in Week 3.|
|Fearless Forecast: 186 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions|
|Lowdown: Gore, normally a fantasy "Psycho Killer," will make his owners "Run run run run run run run away!" Steely McBeam has stymied the run with bulldozer effectiveness, holding Jamal Lewis and Marshawn Lynch to a combined 99 rushing yards and a paltry 3.3 YPC average. San Francisco's gargantuan bookends Jonas Jennings and Larry Allen can seal off just about any defender off-tackle, but Pittsburgh's Casey Hampton is an inside hole-plunger who pursues the ball vigorously. Alex Smith will have to be less of a game manager and more of a creator this week for Gore to be fruitful. Based on Smith's prior performances (54.2 CMP%, 126.0 YPG, 0 TDs), that likely won't happen. Gore under-whelmed at times last season, posting five games of fewer than 100 total yards and zero scores. Week 3 will be one of those mitigated efforts. It's nearly impossible to bench a consensus top-five pick in deeper formats, but 10-team leagues with All-Pro benches should consider promoting someone with a more favorable matchup.|
|Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 57 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 26 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Lowdown: Through two games, Bush looks like he's prepping for "Dancing with the Stars." Instead of pounding the hole with authority, the uber-talented youngster has pussyfooted in the backfield, averaging a loathsome 3.0 YPC. A sense of urgency has already overcome the once stoic Saints and this week Sean Payton will go back to the basics and power Deuce McAllister up-the-gut 15-20 times – bad news for Bush. Titans linebackers Keith Bulluck and David Thornton did a phenomenal job containing versatile backs Maurice Jones-Drew (50 TYDs vs. Ten) and Joseph Addai (87 TYDs, TD) in Weeks 1 and 2. Look for them to use their frenetic speed to contain Mr. Addidas. Confide in Bush only as a flex play in 12-team and deeper formats.|
|Fearless Forecast: 10 carries, 38 yards, 5 receptions, 41 yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Lowdown: Evans' agonizing start is more of a head-scratcher than Maximus' perplexing friendship with Lloyd Carr. Through two games, Evans' four receptions for 22 yards barely ranks in the top 100 of receivers and rates behind household names Sean Morey, Lance Moore and Jeff Webb. Another Houdini performance is on tap this week as Evans battles an inflexible Patriots defense that limited him to a repulsive three catches for 35 yards in two games last year. Timing has been an issue for J.P. Losman and he can ill-afford to play like a mental midget versus a tenacious Pats D known for bewildering quarterbacks with a variety of confusing schemes. The Bills will most likely be playing from behind early in this game, which could mean double-digit targets for Evans. But because of his horrific history against the Pats and Losman's poor punctuality, he needs to be demoted. Have no fear, disgruntled Evans supporters, with the Jets and Cowboys upcoming, a bounce back is in the forecast – just not this week.|
|Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 24 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Lowdown: In the battle of the beaks, Boldin will be more Tweety than Big Bird. Surprisingly, the Ravens have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to receivers this season, but that ranking is a bit misleading. Yes, Chris McAllister and company were battered by the Bengals in Week 1, but much of Jerricho Cotchery's yardage in Week 2 came in the fourth quarter with the Jets desperately trying to claw back into the game. Matt Leinart was sharper against the Seahawks, completing 62.2 percent of his passes for 299 yards and a touchdown. However, he's averaged an uneventful 1.0 TD/G and notched a dreadful four sub-200 yard efforts in his past five road games stretching back to last year. Chris McAllister and Ed Reed are stonewalls who should blanket Larry Fitzgerald and Boldin effectively. Last year, Boldin disappeared at times, posting six games of 50 yards or less. Given Leinart's skittishness on the road, Boldin could be a fantasy Casper in Baltimore.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 57 yards, 0 touchdowns|
Upset you don't have a forum to express your disdain for drafting Ronnie Brown? Do you question why on earth you're not a fantasy expert? This is the place for you to vent your thoughts, tirades and frustrations. Can you bring the noise?
Your columns are simply unbelievably funny as hell. I read at work and sometimes burst out in uncontrollable laughter. All of those people who "don't get it" are simply idiots and don't understand good humor. Thanks.
– Craig, Dallas, TX
All of you "experts" are always wrong once and a while. However, for the most part, I think you're one of the better ones. I don't start the week without taking a few "Hits from the Brad." Keep bringin' the damn Noise. However, we can all do without Snow references. It makes the world a better place. Informer! Lickey Boom Boom Down!
– Kenny, San Diego, CA
Two things: 1) Never ever stop making pop culture references. Your column is hilarious. 2) About the pictures of Funston you're requesting, let's be honest, he looks more like Yogi Bear. Give that man some honey!
– Chris, Burbank, CA
Does it depress you to realize that half or more of your reading audience happens to be total football knuckleheads? Brandon Jacobs is a man-child and anyone watching that game would have noticed that fact – injury or no injury. I'm sure many would say: "Evans, why can't you just do your job and play fantasy god and predict that LT is going to rush for 27 yards and throw a TD to Gates." These readers are grommets. What's the fun in winning your league if you don't have the sack to make a call on your own? Keep living the dream Brad and send the doubters a gallon of Hater-aid.
– Ckissam, Oakland, CA
Brad, I can't believe there are people in fantasyland that enjoy your misfortune with Jacobs. Obviously, they disagreed with your preseason assessment and felt the need to rub it in. I think that questioning your expert status is a step too far. If Jacobs was a true bust and Derrick Ward legitimately took over, then I can see hate mail. Bottom line, opinions are like … well you know the rest. Relying strictly on one person's opinion is just plain dumb. They should be angry with themselves, not you. If there is a fantasy expert that can accurately predict injuries, please let me know!
– Jason, Montgomery, AL
Brad, I think you take more than you need to. You have all these people ragging your picks and that's not cool. Why don't you create a contest where each week you select one person to write a short piece about their fantasy predictions and see how they stack up. We would then be able to see how "easy" it is to make picks. Keep your head up about Jacobs. He shall return!
– Maxwell, Eau Claire, WI
Noise: As the Guinness scientists would say, "Brilliant!" idea Maxwell. If you're a self-proclaimed fantasy "expert" with the skin of a walrus and the balls of an elephant, listen carefully. Starting Week 4, I will select one lucky reader each week to participate in the "Silence the Noise Challenge." The rules are simple. Send me six unobvious fantasy flames – including your shocker special – and five sensible lames along with your name and City/State via the comments link in the footer below. Each week, I'll select one fortunate reader to go toe-to-toe against yours truly. Picks and results will be posted at the end of the "Notable Noise" section the following week.
Here's your opportunity to back up your trash talk and make me look like a jackass. Bring the noise, wannabes …
Very upset fantasy owner here. I totally went with your advice by inserting Chris Brown into my Week 2 lineup at the last second. Who did I put him in for? Jamal Lewis. I wish I could throw something at you right now.
– Dave, Harrington Park, NJ
Noise: Here's a suggestion: chuck a boomerang. Yes, my Brown prediction was terribly off, but only you are responsible for your misfortune. Just a hunch, but my inner Dr. Phil tells me you're someone who constantly projects your misgivings onto other people. Grow a pair and hold yourself accountable.
Sell high or hold on Jamal Lewis?
– Jake, Boston, MA
Noise: Lewis was a rabid dog on Sunday. His 216-yard explosion was only his third 100-yard performance in his past 19 games. Because fantasy football is overloaded with knee-jerk dimwits who love to buy on a bull market, you could swap him for a reliable No. 1 or No. 2 receiver if you searching for an upgrade. This week alone he was dealt straight up for Andre Johnson, Marques Colston and Donald Driver in Y! Plus Leagues.
After his bout with the Raiders this week, Lewis will face two strangling defenses in Baltimore and New England. Those owners who jumped on the bandwagon will probably bail, but if the right deal doesn't come along, hold onto him. The Browns have a very favorable fantasy playoff schedule (Weeks 14-16) against three defenses (at NYJ, Buf, at Cin) that have surrendered 5.1 YPC, 148.3 rushing yards and 0.83 TDs per game to opposing backs thus far. Offensive success will be elusive at times for Cleveland this season, but Lewis is a durable bruiser who could flourish during the most crucial time of the year.
Do you still have a job after those fearless predictions this week? Nice job on the Bengals D, Chris Chambers, Chris Brown and Michael Pittman. I guess one out of five is enough for you to keep your job. I was indifferent on the status of your fantasy intelligence before I read your predictions for Week 2. Now, I'm convinced that any Joe Schmo could name five players in the entire NFL and get at least equal production out of his picks. You should no longer be writing football columns for Yahoo!
– Bob, Clermont, FL
Noise: Bob, to defog your shamefully clouded brain, Chambers caught 9 passes for 109 yards and Pittman failed to start. Ridicule is deserved for the Bengals/Brown prognostications, but I emphasized last week to start Pittman only IF Cadillac was garaged. To attack my fantasy IQ over Chambers, who had the ninth-best yardage yield among WRs in Week 2, is utterly senseless and makes you look like a boob.
Oh, and way to go out on a limb with your "any Joe Schmo could name five players in the entire NFL and get at least equal production" suggestion. With such unrestrictive rules I'm sure your roster would be filled with spineless selections. If you've noticed I have a tendency to avoid noteworthy names every week.
Greetings to the J.R. Reid of fantasy "experts." You have muffed another week's forecast. I only wish Yahoo! would cut you from their team. And, yes, I'm still mad about Jacobs, you twit!
– Drake, Norristown, PA
Noise: If you're looking for an appropriate NBA lottery pick bust analogy, may I suggest the Carolina sloth Eric Montross? Although a foot taller than me, he possesses similar attributes: the agility of a telephone pole, angelic looks and blood that smells like cologne. Yes, we could be the most interesting men in the world. Stay thirsty my friends …
Seriously, I go a combined 6-4 this week and that's considered a muff job? Dude, I'm hardly Reno Mahe.
Good call on picking up the Cincinnati defense. Between that and Jacobs you're the anti-fantasy guru. From now on anything you say I will do the exact opposite. You're like a fantasy football cancer.
– Chris, New York, NY
Noise: Fantastic, now I have something in common with "clubhouse cancers" A.J. Pierzynski and Cedric Benson. Maybe I should use the moniker "Noiseloma."
Who knew that Derek Anderson would morph into Bernie Kosar, Jamal Lewis would imitate Jim Brown and Braylon Edwards would play, well, like Braylon Edwards. Look, my Bengals choice was backed coherently and I stand by my misfired prediction. As an opinionated columnist, my job is to entertain and to apply reason to generate an educated guess. Shockingly, many of my prognostications will be wrong. But I'm optimistic that I won't misfire a majority of the time. The NFL defies logic at times and if I were a true Noistradomus I would bask in the Caribbean sun and sip Pina Coladas for a living.
Every week I get lambasted unfairly by dozens of readers in hindsight. Amazingly, my near bull's-eye Week 2 outlook of Jeff Garcia (Projected: 238 YD, 2 TD, INT, Actual: 243 YD, 2 TD) did not draw a single complimentary email. Go figure.
So from this point forward, don't waste your time slinging post-game insults. Of course, if you want to criticize a pick prior to knowing the outcome, then, please, hurl your barbs in my general direction. I'll exalt you if you prove me wrong.
Brad, you are the worst fantasy analyst ever. In fact, I win every week now because I just do the opposite of what you say. You say play Chris Brown, I play LenDale White. You say play Cincinnati, I stick with Miami. You kiss Brandon Jacobs, I pass on him and get Benson. Do you still want to canoodle with Jacobs, Brad? Please retire. You're an idiot.
– Bobby, Montcalir, NJ
Noise: Bobby, I recommend you don't jump into a den of lions with zebra steaks strapped to your waist. You said do the opposite.
For your information, I have a Jay-Z view on retirement. In other words, even if I was forced into it prematurely, I would mastermind and implement a triumphant comeback before you even realized I was gone. Like Morten Anderson, I will never go away.
As for my unwavering man-lust for the Football Frankenstein, I've erected a candle-lit shrine dedicated to his memory in my basement. There, each night, I appease the Anti-Christ of fantasy football, Jake Plummer, with a shot of Jameson in the hopes he will kindly accelerate Jacobs' return. For my liver's sake, it better be soon …