When I was first asked to come on board here I was tasked with sharing with each of you some of my favorite brews that I’ve experienced in my 20+ years of working in the beer industry. In addition to providing this great beer insight to all of our readers I also wanted to provide something insightful and different from a fantasy perspective.
One thing I’ve noticed as a fantasy footballer is that every single site on the internet answers your start/sit questions (and if you follow me on twitter at @NewClearHarley I will too) and tells you each week “should I start Vincent Brown, Marlon Brown, or Donald Brown”, but none of them addresses a different and perhaps more valuable question. Who do I start this week Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, or Drew Brees? But, But, But, Harley there’s no way that you could possibly own all three of them, so why even address this? Well what if you do have the choice between all three of them every week, should you be offered any less fantasy insight for your money because of this?
So I’ll admit it would take some serious maneuvering and trading to end up with that Holy Trinity of QB’s in any standard auction or redraft format. It would even be nearly impossible to attain such a notable stable in a keeper or dynasty format. Now if you have had the fortune of assembling a superstar three-way QB option each week then more power to you this article will definitely help you choose which of those three is your best option to roll with this week. That was not the driving force behind this weekly article though. I wanted a weekly fantasy article that addressed weekly fantasy leagues.
So what makes these formats so appealing to me? If you play in only redraft leagues and one of your top three draft choices suffers a season ending injury or turns into Ryan Williams or Beanie Wells overnight than you are basically screwed. All the fun and promise of a full season can be flushed down the toilet in one quick moment due to injury or reality setting in. If you had that same player in multiple leagues it only exponentially rains the pain down on you. Now sure you can swing a bunch of trades and hunt and peck the free agent wire in hopes of turning around your season – AND YOU SHOULD!, but that doesn’t negate the fact that your team is probably hosed from winning the big money this year. So you either settle for an outside shot at one of the bottom pay slots or you just lose interest altogether. Either way your yearly entry fee is likely kaput so all you have left in captaining the ship is bragging rights.
With weekly and daily leagues you can make up some of that “lost income”, but in these formats it’s not about unearthing the next great rookie or post-hype sleepers that you can rest on the lemming edge of your bench waiting for their big breakthrough appearance. No, here you are trying to put together the single best roster for that day, week, or in some cases even afternoon. That is why it is essential that somebody tell you why you should start Aaron Rodgers over Drew Brees over Peyton Manning each week.
Weekly money winning and beer – that’s a WIN-WIN – Just stop in and pull up a stool at the Tap!
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Peyton Manning, Broncos vs. Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have assembled a hodge-podge of cast-offs to fill out their new look secondary and none of them is going to be able to stop the Peyton-Juggernaut. I’m pretty certain Denver could start Brock Osweiler with their great stable of receivers and this game would still be a blowout.
Matthew Stafford, Lions vs. Redskins
Let’s place the guy who threw the most passes last year against the team that gave up the third most passing yards and second most passing touchdowns last year and what do you have? I believe what we have is a recipe for a guaranteed 300-3 passing performance. Only Baltimore (and their 7-TD performance against Denver) has allowed more passing touchdowns this year than the Redskins. Assuming the Lions jump out to a big league we may also see more garbage time crushing it by RG3 this week making him a sleeper too.
Drew Brees, Saints vs. Cardinals
The Cardinals have allowed 288 yards per game and two touchdowns per game so far through the air this year facing starting grade quarterbacks but not facing anyone quite at Brees’ level of talent. Brees recorded three or more touchdowns 11 times last year and he has topped 300 yards in each of his last seven starts. I expect this game to be high scoring so 3-325 is definitely in play here.
Matt Schaub, Texans @ Ravens
I know it is a rebuilding year for Baltimore’s defense, but did any of us really believe it would be as bad as it was Week 1 versus Denver? They also aren’t as good as they looked shutting down a shorthanded and under-talented Browns offense this past week. This week they face Matt Schaub and the Texans who have six TDs over the first two weeks. If the Ravens defense splits the difference between those starts, that should mean 3+ touchdowns for Schaub this week.
Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Packers
One thing we associate with the Green Bay Packers is people playing catch-up. In the past they would get up so much early their opponents would be forced to throw the ball to hang with them. Well over the first two games this year we have seen two teams throw the ball over them. They have already allowed over 700 yards passing and six touchdowns and this is after facing two “running quarterbacks”. Andy Dalton will never be called a “running quarterback”, and he has the weapons to be successful in this matchup. If you need a QB2 this week or want to slough the position to load up at RB/WR start Dalton on the cheap.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers vs. Colts
Colin Kaepernick won’t have to face Seattle’s tough defense this week. This week he faces a defense that would be hard pressed to find starting jobs on the Seahawks. I cannot expect Kaepernick to produce the type of numbers he recorded Week 1 versus Green Bay but I still have to assume he’ll do better than the crappy passing line he laid on us in Seattle. He also started to get his running legs last week against the Hawks and he should be in line for more of that going against a defense that allowed Terrell Pryor to rush for over 110 yards on 13 carries. I’m sniffing three total TDs and 350 total yards for Colin this week.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks @ Jaguars
The only reason Russell Wilson didn’t make my top four QBs this week is that I don’t imagine that Seattle will need to throw the ball in this game. From the get-go expect Seattle to run the ball down the throats of a defense that has allowed nearly 350 rushing yards so far through two games and that has allowed 5.7 YPC on the season so far.
Doug Martin, Buccaneers @ Patriots
With their passing attack grounded by a lack of NFL talent, the Patriots have not been able to jump out to huge leads in either of their first two games despite facing bottom rung opponents in the Jets and Bills. With the games close both of these franchises were able to establish a rushing attack and both used a two-headed backfield by committee monster to roll up 163 & 122 combo yards respectively. Doug Martin IS NOT sharing carries with any one, in fact he has 53 of Tampa Bay’s 54 running back rushing attempts (their only other players with a rushing attempt are QB, Josh Freeman with 4 carries for 16 yards and RB, Brian Leonard with 1 carry for zero yards). Through two games Martin has averaged 105 yards per game rushing but he has not got it going through the air just yet. That should change this week, I’d imagine he splits the difference and ends up at right around 140 combo yards.
Adrian Peterson, Vikings vs. Browns
The Browns have actually held the Dolphins and the Ravens backfields in check the first two weeks, but this week they face Adrian Peterson and the Vikings. Adrian is due for another huge game this week and it scares me to think what kind of numbers he will put up if the Vikings’ offensive line finally starts playing up to its ability. Last year the Browns were torched by upper echelon backs such as LeSean McCoy (20-110), Ray Rice (25-98-1), Alf Morris (27-87-2), and Ahmad Bradshaw (30-200-1), and they even allowed stiffs like Tashard Choice, Vick Ballard, and The Law Firm (twice even) to top 60 yards against them. This defense hasn’t improved that much this year, in their first two games flukes allowed them to look elite against the run (the Ravens lost Rice to injury last week and the Dolphins mismanaged their backfield Week 1) the Browns D will come back down to earth after All Day scorches it.
Frank Gore, 49ers vs. Colts
There are not a ton of sure things left at RB this week, with all the injuries and with the Trent Richardson trade. T-Rich was originally going to be ranked fourth in a cake matchup versus the Vikings, so instead everyone else gets bumped up one slot putting Frank Gore into the top four. Say what you want about the Browns but the fact is they have 99 Problems but T-Rich ain’t one, at least not anymore. Indianapolis has already given up three rushing touchdowns and only three other teams have given up more rushing yards per game. I’m not sure if Richardson will suit up for this game but the deal cost him a good matchup – now instead he gets to watch a good matchup against his new team.
Joique Bell, Lions @ Redskins
This pick is dependent on the assumption that Reggie Bush sits this one out to nurse his injuries. If Bush plays at 80% or above he is a top four back, otherwise Bush and Bell are basically plug-and-play in real life due to their similar skill sets so I’d still consider a benched Bush to equal a top ten Joique Bell this week as well. Washington has allowed the most rushing yards of any team and they are tied for the most rushing TDs allowed so far this year. James Starks and LeSean McCoy combined to top 300 yards rushing and over six yards per carry against these stiffs. Even if Bush plays those in regular leagues might want to consider Bell as a flex option.
Knowshon Moreno, Broncos vs. Raiders
Knowshon Moreno basically just blew up the RBBC approach that Denver was using going into last week by destroying the New York Giants in Manning Bowl III. This week he faces an Oakland team that gave up the fourth most RB rushing touchdowns last season including a 51-231-2 line over two games against Denver, one of those games was started by Moreno and the other by Willis McGahee.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Calvin Johnson Lions @ Redskins
Washington has already given up six passing touchdowns and of those four have gone to wide receivers. In addition they have allowed four different wide receivers to either top 100 yards and/or score already despite the season being only two weeks old. This seriously may end up being Calvin Johnson’s best statistical game of the year.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys vs. Rams
Well I predicted that Cortland Finnegan would shut down Larry Fitzgerald Week 1 and instead he got torched for 8-80-2. Then I expected Finnegan to rebound and shut down Julio Jones last week – nope wrong again 11-182-1. Ok I give up Finnegan is apparently no longer an elite cornerback, either that or the Rams are just content to shut everyone else down and allow a team’s stud WR1 to beat them up as much as possible each week in hope that this still adds up to a victory. Considering the abuse that has been brought upon them so far this year, Bryant’s ceiling is astronomical this week.
A.J. Green, Bengals vs. Packers
This week all the studs get to come out to play catch as A.J. Green gets to dissect a Packers’ secondary that has allowed three passing TDs each game so far and that allowed opposing WR1’s Anquan Boldin and Pierre Garcon to combine for 21-351-2.
Demaryius Thomas & Eric Decker & Wes Welker, Broncos vs. Raiders
We here at the huddle.com like to use advanced statistical metrics some of which are actually real. This one is not but seems like it should be. We’ll call this the Peyton/Henne ratio. It is a pretty simple formula that measures the difference in talent between Chad Henne and Peyton Manning. To calculate this ratio you take Henne’s production times it by 2 and then you will get Manning’s floor statistical output. Henne passed for 241 yards last week, you can do the math. Thomas went for 10-186 against Oakland last year and Decker went 15-167-1, this year they are sharing the wealth with a third mouth to feed in Welker but all three should absolutely destroy this Oakland secondary this week.
Nate Washington, Titans vs. Chargers
San Diego has allowed the most passing yards per game so far through the first two weeks and they have also allowed five passing touchdowns. Kenny Britt-le chose the wrong week to go on a cry-baby spree as he finds himself planted on the bench and Kendall Wright is having visions of sugar plums dancing in his head following his concussion leaving Nate Washington as the unquestioned #1 WR role this week for Tennessee. So far this year #1 WRs DeSean Jackson and Andre Johnson have combined for 21-339-1 against San Diego and this comes after they gave up the fourth most TDs to wide receivers last year.
Jerome Simpson, Vikings vs. Browns
We should probably rename this the “the starting WR facing the Browns who will not line up opposite Joe Haden commemorative WR Sleeper slot” Since once again my deep sleeper of the week is the WR2 that gets to draw the second cornerback for Cleveland. Through two weeks both Brian Hartline and Marlon Brown scored out of this spot…this week I go for the trifecta. In full season leagues if you want to get a head start on Week 4 you may want to nab Mohamed Sanu.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Owen Daniels, Texans @ Ravens
Through the first two weeks the Ravens have allowed Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron to combine for 10-205-2 and this week they face the Texans who already have five tight end touchdowns including three to Owen Daniels. The only thing that might slow up Daniels from being a super-stud this week is that for some absurd reason Garrett Graham also gets his looks and he has stolen a couple TDs from Daniels already. This is beginning to remind me of previous years when Houston would steal touchdowns from Daniels with Joel Dreessen.
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons @ Dolphins
Last year Miami allowed only three tight end touchdowns, unfortunately for them their success holding TE out of the end zone didn’t extend across the rest of the field as they allowed the third most yards to the position. Through two games this year they have allowed Jordan Cameron and Coby Fleener to both score and each has topped 65 yards receiving. Tony G.’s got next.
Greg Olsen, Panthers vs. Giants
The Giants have been completely helpless on defense this year allowing a league worst 77 points so far. A lot of that damage has come thanks to the tight end position where Jason Witten and Julius Thomas combined for 14-117-3 over the two games. Cam Newton has been struggling so far this year to get anything going…if this matchup doesn’t kick start his season it might be time to start seeing if you can get anything for him on name value alone. A third of Cam’s completed passes have found the waiting hands of Greg Olsen, he also has accounted for 40% of their receiving yards so far and he did score a TD last week. Olsen is an every week starter but until Carolina rights their offensive woes this is one of the few games you should feel excited to start him.
Jimmy Graham, Saints vs. Cardinals
The Cardinals just got done holding Brandon Pettigrew to a line of 3-32 of course Pettigrew is not a very good receiving tight end. The week before that Jared Cook torched Arizona for 7-141-2. Last year Arizona only allowed three tight ends to top 40 yards against them: Delanie Walker, Anthony McCoy, and Rob Gronkowski and Gronk were the only roster-able TE to score against them last year. It should be known that aside from Gronk’s 6-75-1 line they faced five other TE1 last year: Kyle Rudolph, Jermichael Finley, Vernon Davis (2x), Tony Gonzalez, and Brent Celek and none of them topped 36 yards receiving. I’m certainly not going to recommend benching Graham this week, but be aware his line might not be as studly as you are used to. Of course with him half of his line is better than a full day from a lot of other tight ends.
Brandon Pettigrew, Lions @ Redskins
Yes, this is the same Pettigrew I just disparaged up above…and as far as I am concerned this is his last chance to be fantasy relevant for my team this year. Both Jermichael Finley and Brent Celek have topped 55 yards and scored versus Washington this season. This comes after they allowed the most yards and the second most touchdowns to the position last year. If Pettigrew doesn’t come through this week you have my blessing to punt him as far as you physically can.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals vs. Packers
The Packers just got done allowing something called Jordan Reed to score last week, that follows them giving up 6-98-2 to Vernon Davis. Tyler Eifert appears to be the home run threat in the TEBC for the Bengals with Jermaine Gresham working the underneath stuff. With all the points the Packers allow both might have some value as a one week plug in.
What is a Fresh Hop Ale and how does it differ from a Wet Hop Ale? Typically at the end of the summer the hop harvest is in full swing as breweries pick their hops and begin to brew their fresh hop beers as soon as possible in an attempt to capture their maximum flavor potential. These beers are not meant to be cellared or stored for future consumption. These are meant to be enjoyed right away so that you gather all the aromatic beauty that is the hop fresh from the farm.
The fresh hop beers fall into two categories “Fresh Hop” and “Wet Hop” to distinguish the two all “wet hop” beers are technically “fresh hop” but not vice versa. Sierra Nevada who make both one of the best wet hop beers and one of the best fresh hop beers define the difference as such: Wet hop defines any hop used in brewing within 24 hours of being picked without going through a drying process. Fresh hop includes any hop used in brewing that is used within a week of being picked that has been dried for storage or shipping. When hop farmers dry their hops, they want to capture that aroma and flavor so that it will last for an extended period of time. With wet hops they don’t get that opportunity as they go directly into the brew kettle or fermentation vessel cone and all, so that you get the most natural and authentic flavor profile from the hop.
I believe a lot of the demand for wet hop and fresh hop beers comes from America’s quest for sustainability and a desire to limit the footprint from farm to glass. Imagine any herb or spice you buy when you first open the container the spice is more dynamic than it will be several weeks or months later. The same goes for meat and seafood the fresher the better. If fresh is good for food why shouldn’t it also be the best option for beer. I really do love this style and since there are so many great fresh hop beers I decided to split them up. This week I am breaking down two of the best wet hop beers and next week we will analyze more of the fresh hop beers.
1) Surly Wet from Surly Brewing Company out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Served: Poured from a can at slightly below refrigerator temperature in a glass stein.
Appearance: Light blonde if you were to see this from across the room you might think it was Miller Lite. With a quarter inch head that retained.
Smell: Dank and earthy with a hint of lake water
Taste: Bitter and grassy with just enough caramel sweetness to balance it out yet not overpower the hop presence
Mouth feel: Light and refreshing at first but the dryness definitely leaves your tongue heavy afterwards
Overall: I realize it is a homer pick but this is really the “wet hop” ale to judge all others by.
2) Northern Hemisphere Harvest from Sierra Nevada out of Chico, California
Served: Poured from the bottle at refrigerator temperature into an American pint glass.
Appearance: Dark Copper color with a light amber or dark tan hued head.
Smell: Yee-haw there is some pine going on in here. As it warms I get more of the caramel malt, and as it comes through my nose it reminds me almost of malt-forward red ale, but there is no loss of the citrus and pine.
Taste: Bitterness in the front with grapefruit and orange, with a faint taste of toasty bread near the end. The next swig however immediately engulfs that sweetness with more hop presence.
Mouth feel: Medium body with a little bet of residual resinous material leaving your mouth slightly numb. Like the way your mouth feels after eating a couple slices of delicious ruby red grapefruit.
Overall: This is the original, the one got that got everyone so excited about hops going from farm to glass and it features two of my favorite hops centennial and cascade. It is bigger than I remember but I’m not complaining in fact I will soon open another, just need to find me a designated driver.