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Nine days ago marked the 942nd anniversary of the pivotal Battle of Hastings. For those of you who stared at the cleavage of attractive classmates instead of the blackboard in your high school world history class, here's a quick refresher:
Colston's upended efforts explain why his fantasy value has emitted a not so flowery scent
The clash, fought on October 14, 1066, pitted Norman invader William the Conqueror against Anglo-Saxon King Harold II of England. Both claimed rights to the English throne, but when Harold, who legend says took an unfortunate arrow to the eye, perished in the battle, William seized the crown. The portly king's subsequent 21-year reign forever reshaped Britain along architectural, legal, social, cultural and political lines.
Now centuries later, another French invasion, spear-headed by New Orleans' Marques Colston, is prepared to assault Wembley Stadium, this time with deflated egos instead of swords. His maligned owners are hopeful their cherished investment will encroach upon London with the same ferocity as Jason Taylor's frightening robotic twin did last year.
Coming into this season, the sticky-fingered possession receiver was widely considered a top-10 wideout. A consistency king in '07, he tallied seven games of 90-plus yards. More importantly, his 6.2 receptions, 74.7 yards per game and six total scores in Weeks 12-17 was crucial to owners who hoisted championship trophies. As his surely unedited Fantasy Files commercial depicted, he was destined to catch anything and everything in sight this season.
But the popular Round 2 fantasy pick (21.63 ADP) has been more vanquished than vanquisher. Sidelined for five of the Saints' seven games due to a broken thumb, Colston has contributed minimally. Overall, he's caught just three passes for 26 yards.
In what was expected to be a glorious return to action last week in Carolina, the former Hofstra standout's effort was anything but Pride-ful. Targeted four times by Drew Brees, he showed excessive rust, dropping two very catchable passes. Miserably, his name wasn't visible in the end-game box score.
After Carolina's 30-7 drubbing, Colston, outwardly embarrassed by his performance, remarked to the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
"I wasn't productive, so they pulled me from the game and got a guy in there that was able to make plays today. Through the week I thought I was ready. In pregame I thought I was ready. Then I got out on the field and just wasn't able to make the plays that I normally make. Unfortunately, I ended up hurting the team in the process."
Owners who were humiliated by the wideout's bitter-tasting bagel should've listened to the Piano Man's prophetic tune.
Smoke will finally rise from No. 12's chilly hands on Sunday
But despite the lanky receiver's misfortune, things are looking up. Without Reggie Bush in the lineup for the next 3-4 weeks, his targets should sky-rocket. Assuming the protective splint underneath his left glove isn't overly burdensome, Colston will likely regain his No. 1 prowess as soon as this week. Remember, the Saints are the top passing offense in the NFL and, when healthy a year ago, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound target attracted 27 red-zone looks in 16 games, second only to Randy Moss.
With abundant soft opponents upcoming – e.g. SD (WK 8), at Atl (WK 10), at KC (WK 11), Atl (WK14), at Chi (WK 15) and at Det (Wk 16) – it appears he'll again be instrumental in gridiron glory chases. And considering he's been dealt for the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Earnest Graham and DeSean Jackson in one-for-one Y! Plus league trades this week, he's someone to inquire about before the market price soars.
This week in the Land of Quarrelsome Gallaghers, Colston will strap on brass knuckles. His menacing height, seam savvy and superb adjustment skills presents a perplexing matchup for a San Diego defense which has repeatedly been confounded across the middle this season. Look for him to connect with Brees on numerous mid-field slants and streaks. The Bolts have yielded eighteen 20-yard pass plays, the 10th-most in the NFL. Toss in the fact the Chargers have allowed seven receptions, 73.4 yards per game and six scores to WR depth-chart toppers, many of them possession receivers (e.g. 6-75-TD to Laveranues Coles Week 3), and Colston appears primed for a breakout game. As the cold-handed target told the AP Wednesday:
"This week I definitely want to make a lot of progress. This is an important game for the team, and a game I have to step up and play well in, so I fully expect that."
Minus Bush, Sean Payton will likely feature a more balanced approach, which stands to benefit Colston. Combine that with an expected uninhibited week of practice and the suppressed commodity is poised to recapture his conqueror label – sans the breastplate, sword and shield.
Week 8 Fearless Forecast: 7 receptions, 83 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
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 three-game dominance late in '06, the "Shocker Special" segment spotlights one player owned in less than a third of Yahoo! leagues who is poised for instant 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.
*BNRK = Big Noise weekly position ranking
*Y!% = Percentage owned, started in Yahoo! Plus leagues
|Week 8 Fantasy Flames|
|Jeff Garcia||QB||7||68, 40|
|Lowdown: Similar to the Tampa Bay Rays, Garcia's sudden career resurgence has been an underdog story. Just when you think he's tallied his last efficient performance, the bone-polished thirty-something shockingly wows fantasy owners. Last week against the sorrowful Seahawks, the Bunny-loving QB completed 75 percent of his passes for 310 yards and a touchdown, his second 300-yard game in two years. Still evasive and nifty, Garcia has used his elusiveness to deliver several between-the-numbers strikes in Jon Gruden's pass-friendly West Coast scheme. Amazingly, over the past three weeks he's completed 75.3 percent of his attempts. The ultra-accurate tosser should have little difficulty picking apart a Dallas secondary missing three starters. The plummeting 'Boys have surrendered seven touchdown passes to signal callers since Week 4. Toss in a healthy Joey Galloway and Garcia is certain to sparkle in Big D.|
|Fearless Forecast: 22-30, 234 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 10 rushing yards|
|Cedric Benson||RB||18||50, 23|
|Lowdown: Pepper sprayed, twice incarcerated, forced into unemployment, then re-hired, Benson has run the Chris Henry gamut, minus several other arrests. Now teammates with Henry and Chad Johnson, who said three weeks ago the winless Bengals needed a felony to rally around, Benson, could shockingly be the solution to Cincy's running woes. Even head coach Marvin Lewis has glowed about the former first-rounder: "As a runner, he runs well behind his pads. I think he is decisive and quick into cuts and so forth." Apparently, Lewis isn't familiar with Boo-Boo's previous body of work. However, to the former Bear's credit, he played exceptionally well against a stiff Pittsburgh defense last week, totaling 62 yards on 15 touches. Yes, the entire Cincinnati offense has suffered with |
|Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 61 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 10 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Pierre Thomas||RB||19||30, 14|
|Lowdown: The nearly forgotten Frenchman is destined to caramelize the Chargers as though they were a crme brulee. With Reggie Bush sidelined for at least the next three weeks, Thomas' offensive role is bound to expand. The power complement to Bush earlier this season, PT Cruiser totaled three scores but averaged an uneventful 4.1 yards per touch. Still, his stocky 5-foot-11, 215-pound frame, above average quickness and receiving resourcefulness are ideal attributes needed to fill Bush's vacated position. Yes, he's more of a four-door sedan compared to the glitzy sports car (Bush), but his abilities as a pass catcher should not be undervalued. San Diego has allowed the third-most receiving yards to backs this season, conceding 54.2 yards per contest. Because the Chargers have stymied many north-south runners, Thomas, not Deuce McAllister, has the most Week 8 fantasy upside of any Saints rusher. Remember, Sean Payton raved about his skills in early August, noting he had "a lot of confidence in him (Thomas) as a runner." Aaron Stecker will also net a few totes, but the underrated second-year tugboat could be canonized "St. Pierre" come Monday.|
|Fearless Forecast: 11 carries, 46 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 33 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Donnie Avery||WR||18||41, 18|
|Lowdown: Many pundits credit Jim Haslett for the Rams' remarkable revival. Haslett deserves the accolades but, truthfully, Avery is the unsung hero. The St. Louis speed demon has become the NFC's Eddie Royal. In his past two contests, the rookie has caught nine passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. After stepping into the fantasy spotlight two weeks ago in Washington, Avery has developed into a virtual pigskin playmaker. His dazzling 4.2-forty wheels has proven problematic for defensive backs in one-on-one coverage. This week, against the Patriots, who will be without their most physical and vocal defensive leader, Rodney Harrison, the confident youngster will be more than serviceable. New England has allowed five 40-yard pass plays this season, the fourth-most in the NFL. The Pats have also conceded the 10th-most fantasy points to wideouts this season. Bill "Beelzechick" typically runs zone coverage to disguise blitzes, which doesn't bode well for Avery. But all it takes is one man-on-man situation for the Houston product to explode. Owners in 12-team and deeper leagues should bank on him for solid yardage totals and a funky end-zone dance.|
|Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 75 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Isaac Bruce||WR||14||93, 58|
|Lowdown: The Reverend has been around so long it's believed he issued benedictions alongside Francis of Assisi. However, this week the 15-year vet won't show his ancient age against San Fran's NFC West rival. Defensively, Seattle has performed more like innocent cockatoos than aggressive Hawks. Over the past five weeks, its surrendered six touchdowns and the fifth-most fantasy points to wideouts. Earlier this season at Qwest Field, Bruce burned his divisional nemesis for four catches and 153 yards, his highest single-game yardage total since November 29, 2004. An intelligent route runner who still is equipped with adequate speed, the 35-year-old should prove profitable against a Seattle secondary carved up by Jeff Garcia in Tampa last week (310 yards, 1 TD). Label the Rev a strong WR2 in all formats.|
|Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 117 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
Other Flame candidates: Jake Delhomme (vs. Ari), JT O'Sullivan (vs. Sea), Sammy Morris/Kevin Faulk/LaMont Jordan/Benjarvus Green-Ellis (vs. StL), Le'Ron McClain (vs. Oak), Antonio Bryant (at Dal), Kevin Curtis (vs. Atl)
|Shocker Special of the Week|
|Malcom Floyd||WR||28||13, 8|
|Lowdown: For the pliable Saints, Floyd will be a "Werewolf of London." Aaarrooooo! Norv Turner remarked to the San Diego Union-Tribune October 17 that he had to find a way to include the minimally-used Floyd in sets alongside long-bombers Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson. Fortunately for the inconspicuous receiver, Chambers' nagging ankle injury has opened opportunity's door. Starting opposite Jackson against New England and Buffalo, the 6-foot-5 skyscraper has snagged seven receptions for 140 yards and two TDs. Undersized defensive backs simply haven't been able to cover him. Against the Saints, anticipate similar results. 'Nawlins has surrendered twenty-four 20-yard pass plays this year, the most in the NFL. On the virtual playground, they've yielded the eighth-most fantasy points to wideouts. With Chambers again a major question mark, look for Philip Rivers to challenge the Saints vertically. Because of Floyd's tacky hands and monstrous size, he should have no trouble outmaneuvering Mike McKenzie or the smallish Jason David (5-foot-8) downfield. Bernard Berrian, Greg Jennings, Devin Hester and Brandon Marshall owners petrified of their current alternatives should seek out the widely available Yeti in the waiver forest.|
|Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 77 receiving yards, 1 touchdown|
|Week 8 Fantasy Lames|
|Peyton Manning||QB||11||100, 83|
|Lowdown: Thanks to Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn the Fathead market is recession-proof. Trying to motivate boss hog Albert Haynesworth and his cohorts to apply relentless pressure on the eight-time All-Pro, Washburn slapped the over-sized decal on Tennessee's meeting room wall. To guarantee no teammate will escape thoughts of Manning, Jevon Kearse even placed No. 18s on all Gatorade bottles cooling in the team fridge. Haynesworth told the Nashville City Paper earlier this week, "I'm just looking at getting after Peyton. That's the whole key, just to get him off the spot to hit him as many times as possible, just to rattle him. That's our whole goal as a defensive front." Recently, the Titans have played inspired defense when challenged by Peyton. Last year they held the Colts signal-barker to an average of a mere 203.5 yards per game and a 1:1 TD:INT split in two games. The unblemished Titans have played exceptionally well on defense all year. They've yielded the third-fewest fantasy points to QBs. Of course, Manning shouldn't be demoted, but a road game against a stalwart defense will likely lead to another mundane effort.|
|Fearless Forecast: 22-37, 234 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions|
|Marshawn Lynch||RB||20||100, 91|
|Lowdown: Forget the super creepy Moss Mask, if you're looking to horrify little children and members of the opposite sex this Halloween, sport a Marshawn mask. This week, Beast Mode's end-game line will mortify his owners. Under Tony Sparano's tutelage, Miami's re-tooled 3-4 defense has assaulted running assignments almost flawlessly. Routinely plugging holes and executing on run blitzes, the Fish have limited RBs to one touchdown, 3.9 yards per carry and the sixth-fewest fantasy points over the past five weeks. If it weren't for Lynch's six end-zone dives, he would undoubtedly be "bust" material. The Bills offensive line has left a lot to be desired in terms of run blocking, which explains why the popular late-first/early-second round pick has averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and has yet to surpass the century mark in a game. Combine that with Fred Jackson's emergence in the passing attack and Lynch hasn't exactly been the monstrous grinder many experts had projected. Benching him in 12-team leagues is not recommended, but very shallow formats with deep benches may want to lean on more favorable alternatives.|
|Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 63 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Michael Turner||RB||22||100, 68|
|Lowdown: Turner has better odds of getting pelted by projectile red rubber ducks than eclipsing 100 yards at the Linc. The Burner has scorched soft defenses this season but has underachieved against more formidable foes. Against his three toughest opponents, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Chicago, he's mustered a porous 2.7 yards per carry, 50.7 yards per game and zero touchdowns. Jim Johnson's defensive approach is to attack the backfield aggressively with numerous blitzes and stunts. As Falcons right tackle Tyson Clabo told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "It's a very complex package that can create a lot of issues if you're not on top of your game. They've been very good against the run. They blitz, but they stay gap sound and that's how they can stop the run and blitz at the same time." Over the past four weeks, Philly has allowed only two touchdowns, 3.9 yards per carry and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Because of the Eagles' highly disruptive style and Matt Ryan's inexperience, the Atlanta offense will likely flounder. Anticipate another bitter-tasting performance from the Burner.|
|Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 68 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Plaxico Burress||WR||23||100, 96|
|Lowdown: Don't expect Steely McBeam, who is named after the popular bourbon whiskey Jim Beam, to share a drink with Burress in the receiver's return to Pittsburgh. Excited about facing his old team on familiar ground, Plax remarked to Newsday he'll try to keep his emotions in check, "I'm going to approach this game like I approach it ever week. Relax, just try to let my God-given ability show and go out and make plays. It's not going to be different from any other game." Unfortunately for Burress, divinity won't be on his side. The Steelers have surrendered a meager nine 20-yard pass plays this season, the fewest in the NFL. They've also conceded the eighth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts since Week 3. Include that with Burress' sore shoulder and stiff neck, which he was briefly hospitalized for on Thursday, and it's very probable the lanky receiver will disappoint. Never, ever underestimate Dick LeBeau's defensive wizardry.|
|Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 38 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Steve Breaston||WR||30||78, 35|
|Lowdown: For the first time in the Noise's life he's not a Breaston man. With Anquan Boldin out, the special teams standout has emerged from the deep recesses of the waiver wire to become a trusty WR3 in all leagues, especially PPR-friendly formats. His noticeably improved routes and coverage reads have made the former Wolverine a dependable underneath weapon for Kurt Warner. Upon initial glance, many readers will label this pick gutless, but even if Boldin, who was medically cleared Tuesday, returns to action, he'll likely play a tertiary, not a secondary, role. Keep in mind the fractured-face receiver lost 10 pounds after surgery and is still slurping meals from a straw. As discussed in yesterday's "Noisemakers" Carolina's defense is one of the most underappreciated units in football. They've allowed only two receiver touchdowns, surrendered just two 80-yard efforts and yielded the fewest fantasy points to wideouts in their past five games. Deep PPR leaguers need to keep Breaston active, but eclipsing 100 yards for the third time in four games isn't likely.|
|Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 56 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns|
SILENCE THE NOISE CHALLENGE
Each 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 flames, lames (QB, 2 RB, 2 WR/TE) and shocker special (any position) along with a valid email address here no later than midnight central time on Tuesdays. 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!
Week 8 contestant: Elliot, Fremont, Calif.
JT O'Sullivan, SF (vs. Sea): 285 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Thomas Jones, NYJ (vs. KC): 22 carries, 110 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
Earnest Graham, TB (at Dal): 18 carries, 90 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
Mike Furrey, Det (vs. Was): 9 receptions, 85 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Lance Moore, NO (vs. SD): 6 receptions, 60 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Josh Morgan, SF (vs. Sea): 6 receptions, 95 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Kurt Warner, Ari (at Car): 250 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 2 fumbles lost
Marshawn Lynch, Buf (at Mia): 22 carries, 80 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns
Brandon Jacobs, NYG (at Pit): 18 carries, 75 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns
Roddy White, Atl (at Phi): 3 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Marvin Harrison, Ind (at Ten): 2 receptions, 20 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Week 7 Results: Itachi from Osaka, Japan
Flames: 5-1, 83.3% (W - Sammy Morris, LenDale White, Nate Washington, Dallas Clark, Javon Walker (SS); L - Marc Bulger)
Lames: 3-2, 60% (W - Drew Brees, Ronnie Brown, Laveranues Coles; L - Adrian Peterson, Dwayne Bowe)
Noisers YTD - Flames: 25-17, 59.5%; Lames: 19-15, 55.8%; Shocker Special: 6-1, 85.7%
Challenge Winners: (Brian from Dallas, Noah from Kansas City, Bill from Indonesia, Zhen from Shanghai)
Wondering what happened to the feedback section? Check out our brand new feature "Noisemakers."