Since brevity is a word that doesn't exist in the Noise's vocabulary, your comments, questions and vitriolic derision will run separately from Thursday's flames/lames column for the remainder of the season. Bring the noise, fools!
How easy is it to get a job at Yahoo! Sports? Your picks have been consistent all year long, consistently awful. Stick to helping people with their MySpace pages or whatever the hell you did prior to coming into this position. It would probably be more cost-effective to have a llama make your flames and lames picks each week, by randomly spitting on players' pictures. You are terrible.– Ryan, Akron, Ohio
Noise: Actually, prior to becoming a fantasy sports analyst the Noise worked as a cyber counselor for Facebook, not Myspace. The job entailed helping former NFL cheerleaders adjust to life outside of football after their brief careers dissolved when incriminating snapshots of them drawing salacious imagery on passed out friends surfaced on the Internet. Because the number of clients seen per year was small, I had to search for another unrewarding profession. Since I earned a master's degree in Geoscience (meteorology emphasis) from Jerious Norwood-U, providing readers with inaccurate forecasts was a natural fit.
Yes, given the turmoil of the financial markets, llamas have already been researched as possible fantasy "expert" replacements. However, they are stubborn creatures who demand brushings on a daily basis. It's widely agreed they are not time or cost-effective. So, the purple powers are toying with the idea of employing spitting cobras instead. Cobras are more trainable and the substance they eject is far less putrid than llama saliva. Plus, their venom causes blindness, which means spraying pictures of Mike Shanahan could be a benign way of relieving stress. Ryan, when Cobra Commander makes an appearance on "Fantasy Football Live", you'll know the change has been made.
Mr. Evans, I enjoy your column and it has, from time to time, even helped me coax a win out of my sadly overmatched fantasy football team. But I take exception to one comment in your mailbag column. You described Jerry Porter as "a stinking pile of alpaca feces". Having just spent last weekend at an alpaca ranch, I can assure you that alpaca feces have almost no smell at all, and further, alpacas actually pick specific spots to do their business, making them clean and easy to care for. Comparing alpacas – or even alpaca waste – to Porter is an insult to alpacas everywhere. I'd go so far as to compare alpacas to Lee Evans: not the size of Randy Moss (read: a llama), but great at running, tough to catch, and relatively low-maintenance. Can we start the movement to call him Lee "The Alpaca" Evans? – Adam, Victoria, B.C.
Noise: This is the only place in the industry where you can get in-depth, meaningful information on the pooping habits of alpacas.
Porter may indeed be an insult to alpacas everywhere but he's worth at least 20 Peruvian nuevo soles (about $6 USD). Matt Jones' three-game suspension is expected to be levied at any time (today if you ask Joey Porter) and once that occurs the former Raider should see a major boost in targets. Jones is averaging 8.9 looks per contest.
Yes, Porter is viewed as a bit of a head-case, but anyone who plays under the Crypt Keeper (Al Davis) is bound to suffer psychological damage. Now in a more nourishing mental environment and finally at full-strength after undergoing hamstring surgery in July, Porter is starting to become a player of interest in deeper leagues. Over the past two weeks he's caught four passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Jack Del Rio remarked last week he plans to "expand" the receiver's role going forward. With fantasy friendly games at Houston and Chicago in Weeks 13 and 14, he could develop into a valuable WR3 during the most crucial time of the season.
Playing in Buffalo, Evans may own a thick, wholly coat, but given his speed, he's definitely more yak than alpaca. The Himalayan beasts of burden, which are raced for entertainment in Tibet and Mongolia, show incredible burst over short distances much like the Bills wideout.
Bell's kleptomania has Lucifer keeping a close eye on his valuables
Noise: According to local reports, Samsonite bags are protesting Bell's signing. Considering his alleged antics in Detroit, they have a reason to be concerned.
Taco Tatum's return to the Mile High City does impact Hillis' value greatly. His familiarity with Denver's zone-blocking scheme and excellent open-field speed are reasons enough to pluck him off waivers in 12-team and deeper leagues. However, as his "Taco" nickname suggests, Bell is physically and mentally fragile. His previous exploits with Shanahan were blemished by occasional soft and inept episodes.
Lucifer will likely install a two-back committee with Bell and Hillis. The former castaway will almost certainly revive his role as the explosive "flash" back while Hillis will likely fill the Mike Anderson "bash" component. Both could see roughly 10-15 carries per game, but based on the rookie's bruising, between-the-tackles style he'll probably earn touches inside the five, which means he's the more fantasy attractive of the two. With Oakland (Week 12) and Kansas City (Week 14) upcoming, both could be very useful matchup-only Flex backs.
Because there are several unknowns that currently surround Bell, especially his conditioning, it's hard to pinpoint exactly how much time he'll see versus Atlanta. Unless we hear otherwise, Hillis should shoulder the bulk of the workload this week. Label him a top-flight Flex player in 12-team and deeper leagues. The Falcons have surrendered 4.6 yards per carry to rushers since Week 7.
With all due respect, I don't understand how you did a piece on rookie QBs and their historical success and did not include Ben Roethlisberger. All he did his rookie year was win all 13 of his starts while completing 66.4 percent of his passes and compiling a 98.1 passer rating. That is significantly better than any of the other players you mentioned, including Dan Marino.– Grant, Pittsburgh, Pa.
"With Vince Young, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino the very rare exceptions, rookie quarterbacks traditionally have an enormous learning curve to overcome." Seriously, Brad, how do you forget the best rookie quarterback season ever? Ben Roethlisberger's 2004 season included 16 straight victories, a trip to the AFC championship game, and the best rookie QB rating ever. I may be a little biased since I graduated from Miami and was born in Steeltown, but Manning's, Young's and Marino's rookie seasons just don't compare. And you call yourself an "expert." Pfffsst.– Bill, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Noise: Grant and Bill's nightly slobber sessions with their Roethlisberger Fatheads obviously skews their sense of perception. Yes, Big Ben's rookie season was very magical, but since the Noise is a fantasy column, completion percentages, passer ratings, consecutive victories and playoff runs are irrelevant. What stat-heads care about are the nuts and bolts statistics that are typically scored for in conventional leagues.
As detailed in last week's column, the comparisons drawn from Matt Ryan to Manning/Marino were solely based on passing stats. This is why Young's sensational '06 season was not detailed in the chart. Roethlisberger's 15.7 fantasy points per game average in '04 ranked 25th among QBs. Subtract his rushing totals and that number dips well below 15 FPPG. Remember, he only netted 187.2 passing yards and 1.2 air scores per contest that season.
No offense to your favorite man-crush, but Manning and Marino's rookie years, the two greatest statistical QB seasons in NFL history, were fairer comparisons in terms of Ryan's immediate fantasy upside.
Even elite receivers get routinely flexed by Oakland’s "Black Death"
Brad, what are you smoking? Steve Smith ranked 27th. You must know something no one else in America knows. I need to hear your reasoning.– Todd, Charlotte, N.C..
Noise: Todd, after Smith was smothered last week by Nnamdi Asomugha, the Noise is puffing a fine cigar. The justification for ranking Smith as a fringe starter in 10-team leagues last week was clearly defined:
"If the Bald Bull of Carolina wants to post marquee numbers, he better sucker-punch Nnamdi Asomugha. With DeAngelo Hall no longer under the control of Al Davis' prune hands, the Panthers will likely center their aerial efforts on his replacement, Chris Johnson. Add that to Oakland's soft run defense and it appears Smith could play more of a deceptive role. … Asomugha is a very physical corner who has enough foot quickness and athleticism to hogtie one of the game's most explosive receivers."
Sure, the Noise badly misfired on his other lame recommendations, but the Smith analysis proved spot on.
Unlike previous opponents, the Panthers challenged Asomugha last week, throwing at him seven times. But the corner's pressing style and lateral quickness completely outmatched one of the game's elite wideouts. As the Funmeister pointed out in Monday's "Skinny," Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson, Randy Moss and Andre Johnson owners have a reason to doubt their star's fantasy vitality in their upcoming confrontations with Asomugha. In particular, Moss and Jackson, who are not particularly physical at the line, could suffer greatly. However, the remaining three possess enough strength and athleticism to post serviceable, albeit unspectacular, totals against Oakland's "Black Death."
When do you sit LT? Sometimes I just wish somebody would break his leg, so I can sit 'em. I know if I sit him for any reason other than an injury he will have a break-out game.– Gary, Fort Washington, Md.
Noise: Gary, former Nancy Kerrigan conspirator Jeff Gillooly would gladly take out LT for a nominal fee.
Owners who shelled out top-pick coin to acquire Captain Vizio should be flustered. Entering Week 11 his 13.1 FPPG ranks 16th among RBs, one spot ahead of mid-round pick DeAngelo Williams. Plagued by turf toe and Philip Rivers' aerial explosion, he's moved down a tier in terms of dependability. In other words, he's more of a top-flight RB2 not an elite RB1. Inching your way to the big 3-0 tends to have that effect on backs.
As someone who is a strong matchup advocate, it's justifiable to bench LT in 10-team leagues this week, provided your alternatives have superb matchups. In my preliminary Week 11 rankings, I have LT at No. 16, several spots behind the aforementioned DeAngelo (7), Chris Johnson (5), Matt Forte (6) and Larry Johnson (8). Yes, the Steelers have yielded just one touchdown, 3.3 yards per carry and 110 total yards per game to backs since Week 7, equal to the fifth-fewest fantasy points allowed, but because LT should net at least 20-25 touches he's impossible to bench for say a Jerious Norwood (vs. Den) or LenDale White (at Jac).
Have faith in Tomlinson down the stretch. His next four games against flimsy run defenses (Ind, Atl, Oak, at KC) should reward those who've exercised patience. But those in keeper leagues better seek a trade suitor immediately. Dominating seasons from LT are a thing of the past. The Noise tried to warn you.
I am fed up with Braylon Edwards. What do I do with him? – David, East Lansing, Mich.
Noise: Due to his underwhelming on-the-field efforts, Edwards deserves to pitch Aqua Globes, not energy drinks.
As an Edwards owner in two of five leagues, the Noise understands your plight. Because of his seemingly incurable case of the dropsies, I would rather slather myself in mustard, don an oversized bun and confront a hungry Shaun Rogers than risk trusting the "Zen Master" right now.
In very shallow leagues with limited bench space, Edwards is expendable. Brady Quinn doesn't throw an accurate deep ball, which means Romeo Crennel will continue to tailor the game plan to his QB's strengths. Ultimately, this benefits Kellen Winslow and Donte Stallworth, not the home-run hitting Edwards. Glancing at the Browns' very difficult remaining slate, there are only two games No. 17 would be plugged into my active roster, Week 12 versus Houston and Week 16 against Cincinnati. His other foes (at Buf, Ind, at Ten, at Phi and at Pit) all rank in the top-10 in fewest fantasy points allowed to receivers.