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 5 Flames in the comments section below.
Matchup: vs. GB
From the neck up, Luck has the appearance of a rocket scientist. His geeky smile and occasional Amish-beard are not exactly representative of an insanely talented athlete. But similar to fellow football dweebs Peyton Manning and Eli Manning, the Stanford product is an incredibly smart passer who's transitioned somewhat smoothly to the pro game. Over his first three games, the No. 1 pick averaged 23.4 points per game, good for 11th-best among signal callers. His lowly 53.4 completion percentage is nothing to write home about — Coby Fleener drops have done him zero favors — but his 40.6 attempts per game and contributions on the ground (26.7 rush yards per game) have masked otherwise discouraging inefficiencies. Still, expect 'Pump up the Volume' to be the rookie's theme song again this week versus Green Bay. Thus far, the Pack has defended the pass unevenly. Against meek competition (e.g. Russell Wilson and Jay Cutler) it thrived. However, versus Alex Smith and Drew Brees it dived. In those two contests, Sam Shields and friends surrendered 8.2 yards per attempt. Indy's protection issues are a concern, but due to the Colts' accommodating defense, another 40-plus throws are in the offing for Luck. With Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford and Carson Palmer on bye, he's a borderline top-10 option in Week 5.
Fearless Forecast: 27-46 313 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 16 rushing yards, 23.2 fantasy points
Matchup: at StL
With Beanie 'The Weenie' officially cooked until November, the door of opportunity was wide open for Williams last week versus Miami. Unfortunately, he tripped on the threshold. The popular waiver add finished with a meager 27 total yards on just 14 touches. The Cardinals, playing from behind most of the game, employed no-huddle, forcing Williams, who has struggled mightily in pass protection, to the sidelines. In total, he saw action on only 33 of 74 snaps. Despite underwhelming in the blocking department, other questions loom about the second-year back. Running behind 'Zona's sketchy offensive line, he's seen few holes and when lanes have opened up, he's exuded a lack of explosiveness. Still, he's the most talented rusher currently on the Cardinals' active roster. And, based on the friendly matchup, this could be the week he finally delivers. Under Jeff Fisher's direction, the rancid Rams have greatly improved in pass defense, but remain a sieve up front. They've conceded 4.5 yards per carry, 102 total yards and 1.0 scores per game to RB1s. Though his yards total will likely be modest, Williams should be considered a low end RB2 in 12-team plus leagues this week.
Matchup: vs. Cle
In his return to the starting lineup last week in Philly, Bardshaw's totals were largely pedestrian. He averaged a woeful 3.0 yards per carry, saved only by his contributions in the pass game. Overall, he totaled 77 yards on 16 touches. The silver-lining in an otherwise uneventful performance, he out-snapped Andre Brown 55-to-9, reestablishing his standing as Tom Coughlin's primary ball carrier. Still, Kevin Gilbride's insistence on riding the 'hot hand' doesn't mean Bradshaw is a weekly lock for 15-20 touches. David Wilson, who was spectacular in the return game Sunday, may reenter the conversation soon. The rook's electric speed and break-tackle ability are exactly what the Giants ground game needs. Provided he shackles the pill, he could see more reps out of the backfield in short order. However, Bradshaw should remain the bell-cow this week versus Cleveland. The Browns, anchored by nose tackle Athyba Rubin, have sniffed out the run fairly well this year. They've yet to allow a rushing touchdown and held Ray Rice to just 2.7 yards per carry last Thursday. But the Dawg Pound's ongoing back-end problems, primarily due to Joe Haden's absence, should pave the way for the G-Man to earn a few goal-line carries. Despite the Giants' fluid backfield and suspect offensive line play, Bradshaw is start worthy this week.
Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 65 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 20 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.7 fantasy points
Matchup: at Cin
Lost in the Brian Hartline hysteria, the Tenderoni continues to do what he does best: run precise routes, exploit soft spots in zone or man coverage and suck up everything within arm's reach, all the while racking superb PPR numbers in challenging formats. Against the Jets and Cardinals he recorded 12 receptions for 209 yards. And among receivers with at least 30 targets, he ranks seventh in catch percentage (66.7). Yes, end-zone splashes are few and far between for the veteran, but, like Hartline and Ryan Tannehill, he's excelling within Joe Philbin's Green Bay-styled offense. At first glance, this week's matchup in Cincinnati isn't for the faint of heart. Only one receiver, Mohamed Massaquoi in Week 3, surpassed 65 yards in a game against the Bengals this season. However, corners Nate Clements, Terrance Newman and Pacman Jones combined have yielded a 58.1 catch percentage to their assignments. Given Bess' ability to get open, Tannehill's growing confidence and the added attention Hartline will likely draw, the former Hawaii standout is an above average WR3 play this week in PPR settings.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 79 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 12.4 fantasy points
Matchup: at NO
With only six receptions for 92 yards (on 15 targets) and zero touchdowns it seems Meachem is enrolled in a witness protection program. Expected to fill the void left by departed target Vincent Jackson, he's fallen completely off the fantasy grid. But in a homecoming game that will likely offer plenty of offensive fireworks, the ex-Saint should emerge from his early season hiding. Though he's contributed little in the box score, Meachem has seen 71.5-percent of the team's snaps, second only to Malcom Floyd. Uncharacteristically, however, he's grabbed just one pass beyond 10 yards, deployed often as a shallow cross receiver. But look for him to get back to his 'streaky' ways in what promises to be a shootout Sunday night in the Superdome. New Orleans has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs and 15 pass plays of 20-plus yards, the 11th-most in the league. If there was ever a week for Meachem to register a pulse, this is it.
Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.8 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)
Matchup: at NYG
The buttery-handed wide receiver is in desperate need of a hand transplant. Owners who have loyally stuck by his side can only hope Jerry Rice is a willing donor. Little has always possessed the physical tools needed to be a reliable pass catcher. However, his concentration lapses and questionable route-running has stunted his growth. Stretching back to last year, he's dropped 19 passes, the most in the league. His late miscue in last week's near upset at Baltimore was a definite black eye. But, despite his problems, Pat Shurmur admitted his WR1 has "made progress" in "areas that may not always be obvious to people." On the brink of a breakout, he has sound odds of finally putting it all together this week at The Met. The Giants secondary, ravaged by injuries and ineptitude, presents an excellent matchup. Overall, New York ranks sixth in most fantasy points allowed to WRs. Five receivers have eclipsed the 10-point mark against it this season. Worst yet, its top cover-man, Corey Webster, ranks dead last in pass coverage according to Pro Football Focus. Obviously, the Browns offensive line must adequately protect Brandon Weeden against NY's aggressive pass rush. If it can carry out that task, Little will bark loudly.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 83 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.1 fantasy points
BONUS WEEK 5 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: 16-11 (59.3%)
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