Flames: Michael Bush, Bears set to shear Rams
Each week the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, unobvious names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. To qualify, each player must be started in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post the results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, post your Week 3 Flames in the comments section below.
Andy Dalton, Cin, QB (6 percent started)
Matchup: at Wash
Fantasy's favorite ginger may be a soulless being hell-bent on blinding the world population with his Flaming Hot Cheetohs hair and ghostly pale skin, but, overlooked by most, he's quite an effective fantasy quarterback. Through two weeks Raggedy Andy has averaged 20.2 fantasy points per game, the 14th-best mark among signal callers. He's also completed nearly 68 percent of his attempts tallying a healthy 7.9 YPA. The emergence of slot threat Andrew Hawkins has greatly bolstered a passing attack that was loaded with question marks outside A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham. With viable weapons at his disposal and given the gross inadequacies of the Bengals' secondary, Dalton has been pressed into a couple high-volume situations, fueling his overall worth. Expect that trend to continue in the nation's capital. Considering Robert Griffin III's elite standing and Cincy's defensive issues, another 35-plus attempts are on the docket for Dalton. The 'Skins, smarting after season-ending injuries to Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker, are very vulnerable. No defense has surrendered more passing TDs through two weeks (six). Without a formidable pass rush, the Bengals should thrive downfield. Roll with Big Red.
Fearless Forecast: 25-36, 279 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 6 rushing yards, 21.5 fantasy points
Michael Bush, Chi, RB (44 percent started)
Matchup: vs. StL
According to an ESPN Chicago report, Matt Forte, who Lovie Smith claims didn't suffer a high ankle sprain in Green Bay, hasn't been ruled out for Week 3. However, unless he possesses the magical healing powers of Tim Tebow, it seems highly unlikely the incumbent will suit up versus St. Louis. Assuming Forte is deactivated, owners need to crack open an ice cold BUSH!!! The backup may never be the flashiest rusher on the field, but he's a tough, old-school bruiser who typically racks appreciable yards through attrition. Filling the void for Darren McFadden last season in nine games last season in Oakland, he averaged a fabulous 116.3 total yards per game and totaled five touchdowns. Yes, the Bears offensive line couldn't repel a hard-charging stuffed animal right now, but its run-blocking has been semi-adequate. Because of his bulldozing nature, Bush can generate laudable yards in unfavorable situations. He ranked 14th in the league in total yards after contact last year. Look for him to tattoo St. Louis. The Rams have yielded 4.9 yards per carry to opposing RBs thus far. Kevin Smith and Alfred Morris looked terrific against them. Due to Jay Cutler's ongoing problems, look for Mike Tice to load up Bush's plate some 20-plus times, making the Bear a top-15 play in Week 3.
[Outside the Game: Lamarr Woodley gives back to his hometown]
Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 82 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.7 fantasy points
Peyton Hillis, KC, RB (23 percent started)
Matchup: at NO
The biggest eyesore for 0-2 KC might be its run game, an area most fanalysts, including yours truly, thought would be the team's primary strength. Jamaal Charles, though commendable versus Atlanta Week 1, was befuddled in Buffalo, totaling a miserable 21 yards on nine touches. Hillis, equally deplorable, also hasn't measured up. Through two weeks he's averaged just 5.8 fantasy points per game, the 42nd-best output among rushers, one spot ahead of "living legend" Curtis Brinkley. His humiliating fumble lost at the goal-line in Buffalo pretty much sums up his woeful production thus far. However, all hope isn't lost. Yes, New Orleans has sound odds of hanging a 40 spot on the Chiefs at home this week, but KC, desperate to establish its ground game and control the clock, will lean heavily on its un-dynamic duo. Because the Saints are arguably the league's worst defense, multiple goal-to-go situations are in the offing, possibly setting Hillis up for more than one end-zone kneel. New Orleans has given up five ground scores and the third-most fantasy points to RBs already this year. Given Charles' worrisome knee soreness and the friendly matchup, the former fantasy star is flexy sexy in 12-team and deeper leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 66 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.9 fantasy points
Michael Crabtree, SF, WR (35 percent started)
Matchup: at Min
So far this season, Crabtree has resembled a Dyson vacuum. The receiver is sucking up everything in sight, a testament to his tacky hands and Alex Smith's accuracy. He's hauled in 13 of 16 targeted passes, good for an outstanding 81.3 catch percentage. A valuable asset in PPR leagues, he could develop into a one-man wrecking crew this week in standard formats. Minnesota's secondary is quite sheepish. Paltry pair, Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook, have allowed a combined catch rate of 62.5 percent. Last week, they were repeatedly torched by Reggie Wayne and Donnie Avery. And let's not worry about Randy Moss wresting away looks from Crabs. Sure his return to his old stomping grounds is a fantastic headline for mainstream journalists, but he'll likely make a minimal fantasy impact. The future HOFer has seen only 28.5 percent of the Niners' snaps thus far. Vernon Davis is arguably Smith's true No. 1, but Crabtree isn't far behind. This week, employ him as a WR2 in 10-team and deeper leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 76 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.1 fantasy points
Kenny Britt, Ten, WR (19 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Det
After serving a one-game suspension, Britt barely made a peep in his return. Against San Diego he was eased back into action, playing 19 snaps while recording just one catch for five yards. However, he emerged from the game unscathed, noting his tender knees experienced no repercussions. Expected to have his workload ramped up this week versus the Lions, he should be reinserted into starting lineups. The Titans offense may be in a discombobulated state, but Jake Locker's howitzer arm bodes well for Britt's fantasy chances. So does Detroit's ravaged secondary. Though starters Chris Houston, Louis Delmas and Bill Bentley are close to returning, there are no guarantees they will be available in Week 3. Drayton Florence, meanwhile, is out indefinitely after shattering his forearm last week in San Fran. Due to the numerous setbacks, it's no surprise the Lions have conceded 7.6 yards per attempt on the young year. Provided he isn't incarcerated prior to kickoff, Britt is worth sliding in as a WR3 in 12-team and deeper leagues.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 72 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.9 fantasy points
[More NFL: Owner admits that confidence in replacement officials is eroding]
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10 percent started)
Mikel Leshoure, Det, RB (4 percent started)
Matchup: at Ten
The buzz around Leshoure is building. Fresh off serving a two-game suspension, the Lions coaching staff, specifically offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, continues to talk up the second-year back from Illinois. Kevin Smith has performed admirably over the first two games, but Leshoure is clearly the better talent. Don't let his lackluster 2.2 YPC in exhibition play fool you. He's a between the tackles grinder with excellent open-field burst, terrific vision and plush hands. In other words, he's the consummate three-down back, and a perfect fit for the Lions' zone-blocking scheme. This is why Linehan and company believe "He's the real deal" and why the Free Press recently proclaimed he'll be the starter "before long." Detroit, desperate to establish a consistent power run game, sorely needs his services. Smith may supplant him initially in passing situations, but look for Leshoure to be deployed immediately on early downs. Tennessee, battered in all facets defensively, is a zesty matchup. The Titans surrendered 125 rush yards to Stevan Ridley Week 1 and made Jackie Battle look like Natrone Means last Sunday. Overall, they've allowed 4.2 yards per carry and 185.5 total yards per game to RBs equal to the fourth-most fantasy points. Turn Leshoure loose.
Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 57 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 10 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.2 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 3 FLAMES
TEAM HUEVOS PICKS OF THE WEEK
Each week one fortunate guest prognosticator will have a chance to silence the Noise. Following the rules stated above, participants are asked to submit their "Flames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Mondays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?
Reader Record: 8-6, 57.1%
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