Watch the Noise, alongside fellow Yahoo! expert Brandon Funston and Rotowire's Chris Liss , answer your pressing lineup questions for a full hour every NFL Sunday on the two-time Emmy nominated webcast "Fantasy Football Live" at 9 AM PT/11 AM CT/Noon ET.
Fantasy's other Bush doesn't own Heisman hardware, engage in meaningless conversation with soccer royalty or routinely bounce quarters off the derriÃ¨re of a certain curvaceous reality TV starlet.
However, Oakland's Michael Bush does share something in common with his surname counterpart: he's a freakishly gifted athlete.
Bush's game is more than meets the eye
Standing at a brawny 6-foot-1, 245-pounds, Bush, who once was a high school All-State selection at five different positions, is a backfield Transformer. His deadly concoction of brute power and 4.6-speed could strike fear into linebackers and even the insanely hot Megan Fox. Not a classic north-south pile driver like backs of a similar size, he possesses enough burst to accelerate past defenders off-tackle. Also blessed with excellent vision and sticky hands, his eye-popping cut-back moves and versatility are ideal attributes for the Raiders zone-blocking scheme.
With mouthwatering skills like that, it's understandable why many fantasy pundits and NFL scouts, who've regularly compared Bush to Michael Turner, have fawned over this guy since last season.
But Bush is far from perfect. His vulnerability to injury is Brandon Jacobs-esque. After falling into the fourth round of the '07 draft because of a broken leg, he spent his entire rookie season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list rehabilitating the injury. An upright runner who's not particularly elusive, his body can be exposed to painful shots if his shoulders aren't lowered to cushion blows.
Due to those concerns, prepubescent genius Lane Kiffin toyed with the idea of working Bush as a fullback in August but later retracted those notions after realizing the 24-year-old had otherworldly upside as a tailback. Per the San Francisco Chronicle from Aug. 27:
"Michael Bush is a tailback here. We're going to look at some things in some certain personnels to utilize him because he catches the ball so well and he is a bigger tailback. But don't mistake that. (He) has a chance to be a spectacular tailback in this league and that's what he's here to play."
When Justin Fargas was felled by a severe groin injury in last week's clash with KC, Bush got his chance to display those spectacular skills.
Bush's mitts are Palmolive soft
Late in the game, he lost a crucial fumble but later redeemed himself by blazing a 32-yard trail to the end zone for a game-clinching fourth quarter score. Overshadowed by Darren McFadden's sensational effort (21 carries, 164 rushing yards, 1 TD), his 90 rushing yards on 16 carries (5.6 YPC) gave owners a taste of his colossal potential. And for boy blunder Kiffin it temporarily saved his neck from the Crypt Keeper's sharpened axe.
Yes, with Fargas potentially sidelined for the next 2-4 weeks, it will likely be "Christmas in Hollis" for Run DMC owners. But make no mistake. Bush too will cook up plenty of fantasy goodness in an expanded role.
Keep in mind McFadden is susceptible to nicks and scrapes. He suffered a neck stinger Week 1 and is currently bothered by an apparently serious case of turf toe. When both backs are healthy, Kiffin will feed smasher Bush a minimum of 15-20 times to ease the workload of slasher McFadden.
Because Bush is a precise route runner and receiver, he will also be featured prominently in the passing game. Look for the Raiders coaching staff to incorporate more screens and swing passes for the youngster to help boost JaMarcus Russell's shaky confidence.
On paper, Bush's Week 3 matchup against a stingy Buffalo defense isn't particularly favorable. Anchored by buffet closer Marcus Stroud, the Bills' D-line has yielded just 107.5 total yards and 3.5 YPC to tugboats this season. Still, with McFadden's foot currently in a protective boot and given Oakland's superb execution in the trenches, the now 40-percent owned (two-percent started) plowshare could post strong RB2/flex totals in leagues 12-teams and larger.
Regardless if he thrives or nosedives this week, Bush warrants an immediate pickup in all leagues. After Buffalo, his next two matchups (at SD and vs. NO) are delectable.
Week 3 Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 73 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 26 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 in Yahoo! leagues
Week 3 Fantasy Flames
Cool, calm and collected in his first start since high school, the callow Pats QB managed the offense with Michael Scott-like leadership, but minus the blatant incompetence. Against a stiff Jets defense, Cassel played small ball, completing over 70 percent of his tosses, but only one pass for 10-plus yards. His conservative approach may have appeared Orton-esque, but as the fourth-year QB described to the Providence Journal, he was simply taking "what the Jets gave us." This week, anticipate Bill Belichick to open up the playbook against Miami's insufficient pass defense. So far this season, the Fins have allowed 285 passing yards and 2.5 air strikes per game, equal to the fourth-most fantasy points yielded to quarterbacks. Signal callers have also completed nearly 73 percent of their passes against them. Given Cassel's laser-guided accuracy, expect Belichick to encourage him to target Randy Moss downfield often. If you're a Derek Anderson (at Bal), Carson Palmer (at NYG) or Matt Schaub (at Ten) owner who also holds rights to Cassel, it would be wise to bench the incumbent.
19-27, 214 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 16 rushing yards
Last week versus San Francisco, Jones changed from plodding jackass to Seattle Slew. Once described in the space as a "running back incapable of plowing through a Styrofoam wall," Jones proved this doubter wrong by averaging 4.9 YPC and totaling 141 yards versus San Francisco. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Jones' success was largely due to "getting into a rhythm" and his offensive line "opening up holes." This week the Hawks' trench hogs should have little difficulty creating wide lanes against a repugnant Rams 4-3 that has conceded 174.5 total yards per game and five end-zone dives to rushers, equal to the second-most fantasy points allowed. More encouraging, the desperate signing of former 1,000-yard receiver Koren Robinson should have Jones owners giddy. Why? If the Seattle front office is willing to risk employing K-Rob based on his "wet" history, it shows how committed they are to running on Sunday. With Maurice Morris out, 30 carries for J-squared is fathomable.
29 carries, 130 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 11 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Not inserting the Mississippi Missile into your lineup this week against a bendable KC front is the equivalent of pulling a Hochuli. Mike Smith has stuck to his word of expanding Norwood's touches this season. In his first two contests, the Hotlanta drag racer has averaged 11.5 touches per game, up from 8.7 in 15 contests last season. When awarded opportunities the 25-year-old has thrived, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Teams, like Tampa Bay last week, will continue to overload the box to force rookie Matt Ryan to beat them through the air. However, if Kansas City mimics that plan in Week 3 it will end disastrously. The Chiefs are starting two rookie corners this week which should puncture a hole in their Cover 2 umbrella, inevitably opening up the ground game for the Falcons. Even when Patrick Surtain was healthy, KC surrendered 232 total yards per game and three scores to tugboats, the fourth-most fantasy points yielded. Expect Norwood to kick on the afterburners at least once.
13 carries, 74 rushing yards, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Matched against an elastic Houston secondary, the temperature Gage could reach triple digits for only the third time in his career. Despite the blustery conditions in Cincinnati last week, the Titans' lengthy receiver snagged five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he was targeted seven times, twice inside the 20. Kerry Collins is a prototypical pocket passer who needs ample time to step and fire. Yes, Houston's Mario Williams is one of the AFC's premiere pass rushers, but he should be stymied by Tennessee's inflexible offensive line. If Collins isn't routinely hurried, Gage will eclipse 80 receiving yards and find pay dirt versus a Texans secondary that yielded two touchdowns to Steelers wideouts Week 1. Because Gage's towering 6-foot-4 frame is a definitive advantage over Houston's diminutive cover duo of Fred Bennett and Jacques Reeves, Collins will target the wiry wideout numerous times in the red-zone. Activate him in the WR3 spot in all 12-team leagues.
6 receptions, 93 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Johnson will be Lucky Charms O'Sullivan's four-leaf clover. Cloaked by the gigantic shadows cast by Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin for five seasons in Arizona, Johnson is creeping his way into the spotlight in San Francisco. Last week in Grunge City, he caught a team-high six passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. With J.T. O'Sullivan's confidence growing and a very favorable matchup with Detroit on the docket, the former '03 first-rounder is likely to post extraordinary totals. The Lions have allowed the third most fantasy points to receivers this season. Johnson, currently only active in 25 percent of Y! leagues, is a borderline top-20 wideout play who is likely to outscore notable standouts Santonio Holmes (at Phi), Dwayne Bowe (at Atl) and DeSean Jackson (vs. Pit) this week.
6 receptions, 85 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Shocker Special of the Week
McClain, whose name is similar to a certain geriatric running for President, along with his effeminate running mate, Willis McGahee, and smallish sidekick, Ray Rice, are poised to bulldoze the Browns. Tagged as the Ravens' short-yardage back last week, the bruising 256-pound fullback will be utilized often between the tackles and in the passing game. Due to Joe Flacco's inexperience, look for John Harbaugh to feed his three-headed mongoose early and often to control tempo. With Browns starting defensive end Robaire Smith out for the season, Cam Cameron told the Carroll County Times on Wednesday he plans to assault the Ravens' AFC North rival, "north and south. We want our backs downhill." McClain will be Cameron's rolling boulder. The Browns have surrendered 4.6 yards per carry, 149 total yards per game and three scores to plowshares, equal to the ninth most fantasy points allowed. Expect McClain to build on his breakout 110 total yard performance against Cincinnati in Week 1. Label him a borderline RB2/flex play in 12-team and larger leagues.
16 carries, 68 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 20 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Week 3 Fantasy Lames
Big Ben's dinged wing will be problematic in the showdown for Keystone State supremacy. Diagnosed as a sprain, not a mild separation as originally reported, Roethlisberger's shoulder is bulletin board material for a frenzied Philly defense that aggressively pursues signal barkers. Jim Johnson will likely blitz Big Ben incessantly to put the QB into uncomfortable positions. Despite getting picked apart by Tony Romo on Monday, the Eagles possess one of the best coverage tandems in the league in Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel. With Santonio Holmes battling knee soreness and given the unfriendly matchup, Roethlisberger will again have to resort to dink-and-dunk tactics. In two games against soft secondaries (Houston/Cleveland), he's only averaged 161.5 passing yards per contest. The forecast calls for another fruitless yardage performance. Jake Delhomme (at Min), Jon Kitna (at SF) and Kerry Collins (vs. Hou) are friendlier fantasy options.
15-23, 192 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception
When time expires at Soldier Field, Graham will come to the realization that Bears truly are untamable fire-breathing beasts. Disrespected by the general consensus, Graham is putting together another fine season. Through two weeks of action he's averaged 123 total yards per game and an obscene 8.3 yards per carry. However, those numbers were accumulated against pliable defenses (Houston/Atlanta), not the run-stopping likes of Chicago. The Bears resurrected trench unit has limited backs to 3.9 yards per carry and 82 rushing yards per game. Because the hallmark of Chicago's defense is penetrating the line and swarming the ball, Jon Gruden will try to force the Bears to play sideline-to-sideline. But Lovie Smith's four-man front is simply too quick for Graham to excel in space. The Bucs' back is still a reliable flex play in 12-team PPR-heavy leagues, but shallow-minded owners need to look elsewhere (e.g. LenDale White (vs. Cin), Pierre Thomas (at Den) or Selvin Young (vs. NO)).
14 carries, 52 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 24 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Right now, LT stands for "Lamentable Toe." Crippled by a jammed right big toe, Tomlinson is cautiously optimistic he'll be effective Monday night versus Brett's Jets. Per the Associated Press, "Well, with another day of rest and treatment, it's feeling a little better today, so hopefully, I'm just going to play it by ear this week, see how it feels later in the week. I'm hoping that it's going to make big progress this week and by Monday night hopefully I'll be as close to 100 percent as possible." Reading between the lines, LT's questionable confidence suggests he won't be making any dazzling moves on Vizio screens anytime soon. As my esteemed colleague Grizzly Behrens mentioned earlier this week, the big toe is highly important in cutting and shifting. Even if he's operating at 90 percent, the juke button may not work. The Jets have stuffed backs this season, holding them to 3.0 yards per carry. Overall, they've allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to rushers. Because micro machine Darren Sproles is a matchup nightmare and given his home run hitting dexterity, he'll be heavily involved with or without LT at full strength. Sure, under normal circumstances it's not recommended you bench your No. 1 pick, but unless Tomlinson's toe rapidly improves in the next couple days, he's prime pine material.
16 carries, 58 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Edwards' dreadful case of banana hands contradicts his totally believable ability to catch passes while blindfolded. Two weeks into the season Yahoo!'s Zen master is still 17 touchdowns away from winning his mysterious bet with legendary
5 receptions, 48 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
In two short weeks, the once consistently ferocious Bengal has morphed into an undependable Garfield. Cincinnati's insufferable offense isn't expected to suddenly reverse course anytime soon. Without a stalwart offensive line and adequate running game, Carson Palmer has been pressured relentlessly by opposing defenses. Facing a Giants frontline that feasts on quarterbacks, the same old broken record will continue to skip. In two games no receiver has surpassed 80 yards against New York. Corners Corey Webster and Aaron Ross have performed brilliantly in zone and man coverage. Because Palmer has been wildly inaccurate (49 comp percentage) and based on the expected pass rush, Housh will once again underperform. With only 70 total receiving yards on the season, it's conceivable he won't eclipse the century mark in yardage until Week 4. That would be astonishing, especially when you take into account his draft position (26.5 Y! ADP) and history of steady production. Isaac Bruce (vs. Det), David Patten (at Den) and Anthony Gonzalez (vs. Jac) are more trustworthy plays in 12-team leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 36 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
QBs: 15+ fantasy points
WEEK 2 FLAMES RESULTS
W: Chris Johnson = 12 Points
WEEK 2 LAMES RESULTS
QBs: 15+ fantasy points
QBs: 15+ fantasy points
WEEK 2 FLAMES RESULTS
W: Chris Johnson = 12 Points
WEEK 2 FLAMES RESULTS
W: Chris Johnson = 12 Points
WEEK 2 LAMES RESULTS
WEEK 2 LAMES RESULTS
Do you ever 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?
You are an absolute moron, and I woe the day I listened to your dumb arse. As a fantasy "expert," you should have known that the Steelers had no plans whatsoever to give Mendenhall touches. After little to nothing in Week 1, we're in the 4th quarter of Week 2 and not even a damn carry in the game. Idiot! I could have drafted Michael Pittman and been better off. I could have pulled a name out of the hat and been better off. Thanks toolbag!– Brian, Man-crushed, OH
Noise: Is the Noise a toolbag? Absolutely. Just call me "Brad the Builder."
Can I fix Mendenhall? Umm, no I can't.
It's apparent that Mike Tomlin distrusts the rookie after his fumbling gaffes in the preseason. Given the blustery and slippery conditions in Cleveland on Sunday, there was no way Omar Epps (Tomlin) was going to insert Mendenhall into the game.
Bruce Arians made it very clear throughout the preseason he would give the Undertaker a minimum of 10 touches per contest, but Mendy's missteps have altered that strategy. Yes, Willie Parker has looked fabulous. But eventually the rookie will develop into an impact back. He's too talented to waste away on the sidelines. However, it may not be until Week 10.
Currently, Mendenhall is expendable in shallow leagues (10-teams or smaller), but he remains an imperative FWP handcuff and upside RB4 in 12-team and deeper formats. Since you probably acquired him late in your draft, the misery of owning him really isn't that bad. Be patient.
Look at Brad Evans, having himself a nice start to the flame-lame game. I used to do the opposite of what you said, but you are actually turning in some viable fantasy advice, good for you. (Note: none of that was sarcastic)– Andy, Philadelphia, PA
Noise: Yes, look at the big brain on Brad. But give it time. Come Week 17, you'll probably think my cranium is the size of DeSean Jackson's.
Thank god you didnâ€™t write this piece a few weeks ago. I totally agree Chris Johnson is the steal of the draft this year. I've been loading up on my man CJ in all my drafts. I was able to scoop him up in 8 out of my 10 teams on the million dollar ffoc.com contest, usually in rounds 9-12. I added Matt Jones five times another Pierre Thomas (have him seven of 10 times now) to my teams this week and then I found your column a few hours later. Great minds … Your Flames-Lames column helped me win $125k last year, and if I win more than six figures again this year, drinks are on me. I'm currently 1st out of 6,660 teams so it's looking good. Drop me a line if you make your way to Chicago. Thanks for the knowledge yo.– Chris, Chicago, Ill.
Noise: You help a brother win six figures in a poor economy and all he can offer is a round of drinks. Chris, you couldn't reward my advice with a spanking new Smart Car? Or better yet, a totally awesome five-foot inflatable Bears helmet? People just aren't gracious to their fantasy experts like they used to be …
Actually, wait a minute. I take that back. A night of heavy imbibing on Rush Street would surely run well into the hundreds, especially given my Dana Jacobson-like, Goose-chugging prowess.
Brad, Dear god man lose the facial hair look for the love of god and all things holy. I think you are the best at what you do, but how can I take you seriously if you look like a cross between a skinny Dan Fouts and the Unabomber. You need to get a razor and get some bling, a Rolex, a Tag , some gold or even a grill would be better. I want the guy who I consider the Fantasy guru to play the part. I want to see a guy who has worked over two dozen fantasy leagues and has taken the candy in all the leagues. In conclusion I am not tuning in to see Ted Nugent bringing the noise.– Brad, Los Angeles, Calif.
Noise: Brad, your complaint is fair and deserving. At this point, the beaver pelt on the Noise's face could probably build a dam. Seriously, the sliver of physical attractiveness my wife once saw in me has vanished. More disturbing, robins have tried to build nests out of my facial scruff. And, for some odd reason, NBC's Chris Hansen has followed me around asking if I've engaged in virtual conversations with teenage girls.
But despite the distractions, I'm determined to adhere to the bet (Beating Funston three weeks consecutively in the "Fantasy Football Live" guru challenge before shaving). Hey, maybe we can attract a sponsorship from Gillette.
If the losing endures, I'm honestly contemplating going with a throwback "Color Me Badd" look at some point. Your idea of wearing a Rolex and other assorted bling would fit perfectly with the leisure suit style.
Fantasy "babies" love "Kojak" after his 9-catch, 137-yard effort Week 2
I'm disappointed. So many of your nicknames are totally sweet, but the best you can do for Anthony Gonzalez is "A- Gon?" Look at his Yahoo! mug shot and his weird shaped head! How can he not be the Football Phallustein or something like that?– Derek, Baltimore, MD
Noise: Yes, speaking as someone who relishes ridiculous nicknames that was a pathetic attempt. Since the Noise aims to please, I deliberated for hours (really seconds) on possible bone polish monikers for Gonzo. The winner: "Kojak." All the man is missing is a couple of catch phrases and a bag of Dum Dums.
Hey Brad. I read all your stuff and laugh as you pick apart all the haters. But I've gotta say that the goofy porn music whenever they start showing the photos in the Sit/Start weekly things MUST GO NOW.– Steven, Providence, RI
Noise: Yeah, every time the pulsating music is pumped into my earpiece it feels like I'm at a rave with disguised Goth queen Rachel Nichols. Don't be surprised if you see the Noise playing with glow sticks and chugging gallons of water in future segments.
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 thatâ€™s required are your player selections and projections. Winners earn a league spot to compete against yours truly next season. Good luck!
Week 3 contestant: Steve from Lynnfield, Mass.
JT O'Sullivan, SF (vs. Det): 316 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 23 rushing yards
Fred Jackson, Buf (vs. Oak): 12 carries, 76 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 65 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Selvin Young, Den (vs. NO): 15 carries, 96 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
David Patten, NO (at Den): 6 receptions, 65 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Bryant Johnson, SF (vs. Det): 6 receptions, 125 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Atlanta Defense (vs. KC): 3 interceptions, 2 sacks, 1 defensive touchdown, 3 points allowed
Peyton Manning, Ind (vs. Jac): 175 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions
Marion Barber, Dal (at GB): 18 carries, 64 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 10 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Darren McFadden, Oak (at Buf): 8 carries, 16 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 6 receiving yards, 2 fumbles lost
Dwayne Bowe, KC (at Atl): 4 receptions, 36 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Reggie Wayne, Ind (vs. Jac): 7 receptions, 56 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Week 2 Results: Noah from Kansas City, MO
Flames: 4-2, 66.7% (W - Darren McFadden, Chris Johnson, Hines Ward, Brandon Jackson (Shocker); L - Matt Cassel, D.J. Hackett)
Lames: 3-2, 60% (W - Carson Palmer, Joseph Addai, Braylon Edwards; L - Dwayne Bowe, Marion Barber)
Noisers YTD - Flames: 8-4, 66.7%; Lames: 7-3, 70%; Shocker Special: 2-0, 100%
Challenge Winners: (Brian from Dallas, Noah from Kansas City)