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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

What's On Tap: Week 5
Harley Schultz
October 4, 2013
Follow Follow @NewClearHarley
 

So last weekend was busy but fun, I got to enjoy the Autumn Brew Review where I drank far too much delicious beer, many of which I’ll be reviewing over the next couple weeks. Despite my excessive Saturday consumption Sunday started bright and early with my weekly fantasy duds segment on KCSP 610 Sports Radio at 9:15 AM CST, followed by a prime rib buffet at a fabulous “supper-club-like” restaurant in my neighborhood called Sarna’s. That’s right I said prime rib buffet, as in all-you-can-eat typical brunch goodies, some lunch features, and prime rib, oh yeah and desserts too. I’ll definitely give this restaurant a thumbs-up for their food, unfortunately the tap list at Sarna’s was on the weaker side so despite the great food spread and multiple televisions tuned into all the games, I felt the need to travel on to the next location.

Back at home I settled comfortably in to my sofa content to watch some football including the Vikings versus Steelers live from London. Away in England the Pittsburgh steel workers were having fun storming the Cassel while the Nordic Seafarers were busy looting Big Ben. We got to witness Gene Simmons screech our national anthem and all I could think of was why didn’t they have the Stones or Paul McCartney or even Ozzy Osborne. This performance could have been deemed an international incident.

We got to watch the Bears get torched by the Lions thanks to Jay Cutler’s in ability to remember which jersey he was wearing. We also got to watch as the Texans folded a huge lead to Seattle. The Giants, Jets, and Jags also continued their downward spiral into oblivion. We also got to bear witness to perhaps the most ridiculous event of the millennium as the Ravens who have two RBs who would be starting on a lot of NFL teams run the ball only nine times against arguably the worst rushing defense in the league.

In the afternoon session we saw Chip Kelly get treated to a beat down on par with the type he used to hand out to smaller schools while at Oregon. We also watched two of the few remaining healthy unencumbered starting RBs from the beginning of the season suffer injuries and leave the game between Oakland and Washington. BTW Speaking of Washington start any and all QBs and WRs versus NFC East teams as Dallas, Washington, New York, and Philly are #1, 2, 3, and 4 in terms of QB passing touchdowns allowed.

SNF and MNF brought two more offensive shootouts and the Breaking Bad finale for those interested in such things. I might have been the only person I know who watched the SNF game instead of Breaking Bad, call me crazy but I never got into that show despite being a fan of Bryan Cranston.

All in all this was a full weekend of fun featuring a Sunday full of great food and good football and a Saturday filled with a ridiculously self-indulgent day of drinking copious amounts of beer. Now I get to do it all over again this week. Damn, my life is hard, Cheers!

Quarterback

Your Fantasy Four Pack

Peyton Manning, Broncos @ Cowboys
Peyton Manning is going to cost you a pretty penny this week but as long as he continues to throw TDs with reckless abandon he is such a valuable addition to your lineup. Only five teams have allowed more passing yards this year and no team has allowed more passing TDs. Yes they do have a nice pair of cornerbacks but it hasn’t seemed to stop them from allowing points, points, and more points, I mean come on they were just ripped a new one by Philip Rivers who went off for 401-3.

Aaron Rodgers, Packers vs. Lions
You have got to be happy that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are past their bye week. Now you can set it and forget it at QB the rest of the way in your redraft formats. He actually will cost you a pittance each week compared to Peyton, but his numbers will be as close as you can get to Archie’s kid without wasting your money on Eli. The Lions have a good pass rush but their secondary remains suspect despite their eight INT’s which have been more due to taking a lot of risks rather than due to proper technique. Also you do know what is often a side effect of taking big risks? That’s right big reward, but also costly blunders. Rodgers has what it takes to exploit those blunders.

Drew Brees Saints @ Bears
You may be noticing a trend here at the Tap House this week…three consecutive veteran precision-passing QBs who are both the focal point of their offense and who have the complete trust of their coaching staff to lead the troops. This week Brees will throw a pick or two, it’s the opportunistic Bears defense and he throws a lot, it is going to happen, just deal with it. If you can live with a pick or two you’ll get to feed at the trough of a defense that is beatable. Two weeks ago Big Ben Roethlisberger went over the top against them exploiting a hole and posting over 400 yards.

Michael Vick, Eagles @ Giants
Michael Vick gets the Giants this week following another garbage time boosted performance last week against Denver. The Giants have given up ten passing TDs which ties them for the most in the league. Also, Cam Newton scored a rushing TD against them already this year and Vick’s surrounding parts are considerably better than those possessed by Carolina. Oh yeah he also costs about $3000 less than Peyton on Draft Kings.

Sleepers

Philip Rivers, Chargers @ Raiders
Rivers is poised for another good game, but I’m a little concerned about his weekly salary. He’s finally got his salary commensurate with his performance. That isn’t stopping me from investing in him against a defense that has allowed seven passing TDs so far.

Eli Manning, Giants vs. Eagles
The Eagles are putrid on defense, only Minnesota is allowing more passing YPG than Philadelphia. In addition they are allowing the leagues’ second highest QB rating against over their last three games at 199.3. Eli Manning has been awful over the last two games but that has come against two better than expected defenses. I’m still holding hope that the real Eli, the one who had 812 passing yards and five TDs over the first two weeks will return. My belief is that starts this week. Those two troublesome games came against the 2nd and 13th ranked pass defenses at the time of the game, the two dominant performances came against the 30th and 27th ranked defenses respectively. The rest of the way Manning faces only two teams currently ranked above 21st against the pass and one of those is the pathetic but lucky Raiders who are outkicking their coverage so far as far as pass coverage goes. So those of you in non-weekly leagues trade for him now!

Running Back

Your Fantasy Four Pack

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs @ Titans
Tennessee has allowed 121.7 YPG rushing over their last three games including allowing 4.7 YPC to Bilal Powell last week. They also allowed 97 total receiving yards to Powell and Danny Woodhead over the last two weeks. Charles has scored and topped 100 combo yards in every game this season, and last year he topped 100 combo yards in six of his final eight games. In addition it has been a few years since they last met but when Charles did last face Tennessee on the day after Christmas, 2010, he posted 117 total yards and a pair of scores against them giving his 2010 owners a nice fantasy playoff weekend holiday present.

LeSean McCoy, Eagles @ Giants
I mention up above how bad the Eagles defense has been, well the Giants haven’t been much better. Jamaal Charles just posted 127 combo yards and a TD against them and before that they allowed DeAngelo Williams to light them up to the tune of 120 rushing yards before ceding a touchdown to Mike “Alstott” Tolbert. Before that the Broncos three-headed backfield posted 151 combo yards and two touchdowns against them, and finally in Week 1 Demarco Murray hoisted 125 combo yards on them.  What do all these historical numbers add up to? Hysterical numbers for my #2 overall RB this week. Oh yeah did I forget to mention that 15 different Giants have been listed on their injury report this week.

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks @ Colts
The Colts have allowed four rushing touchdowns already this year including three to running backs. Marshawn Lynch is definitely the best back they have faced so far so I like his chances to score as well. Lynch has scored and dominated against two strong rushing defenses already this year (SF & HOU), and Indy is not in their class against the run.

Reggie Bush, Lions @ Packers
Last year Green Bay allowed the combination of Joique Bell and Mikel LeStiff to post a total of 236 combo yards against them over their two meetings. The two games that Bush has been totally healthy for he has averaged 182 combo yards. Cincinnati’s pass-catching back Gio Bernard posted 99 combo yards and a TD last week. A lot of people believe Bernard will end up being a bigger better Bush at some point in the future for the time being I’m happy settling for the real Bush.

Sleepers

Rashard Jennings, Raiders vs. Chargers
In four career games where Rashard Jennings has topped 20 total touches he has topped 100 combo yards in each of them, averaging 118.8 total YPG with touchdowns in two of the four. The Chargers have allowed an average of 120.5 rushing yards per game, this ranks eighth worst in the entire league. Amazingly they have not allowed any rushing TDs yet this year (perhaps because they have been so easy to pick on through the air).

Danny Woodhead, Chargers @ Raiders
The points are gonna come easy for both of these teams this week and the yardage will be there too. Last week Roy Helu and Alfred Morris combined for 155 total yards and a score. The week before that, the Broncos backfield by committee totaled 184 total yards and a score. Danny Woodhead will be sharing backfield touches (that sounds dirty) with Ryan Mathews (that sounds even dirtier), and both make stellar starts this week. I’m definitely putting more backing behind Woodhead this week, since he is the back that will be on the field for all the pass-catching downs. In this matchup we could see a lot of up and down the field making it harder for Mathews to see the field.

Wide Receiver

Your Fantasy Four Pack

Calvin Johnson, Lions @ Packers
Yeah, this game will be a shootout as most games between these two rivals are. Over their last four contests these two teams have combined to score an average of 54.75 PPG. Over that span Megatron has averaged 7.5 catches, 138.5 yards, and 0.75 TDs against Green Bay. Opposing #1 WR have made a mockery of Green Bay’s defense so far.  In Week 1, Anquan Boldin put up a line of 13-208-1, In Week 2, Pierre Garcon posted 8-143-1, and in Week 3 they held A.J. Green to only 46 yards but he also scored. Megatron is a little dinged up but if he is a full go this week there isn’t a better option.

Victor Cruz, Giants vs. Eagles
In the QBs section of the article up above I go into grave detail describing the awfulness that is the Eagles’ pass defense. The beneficiary of said bad defense will be the Salsa King himself, Victor Cruz. Philadelphia has allowed the second most yards to opposing WRs and the most TDs, including allowing each of Denver’s Big Three to top 75 yards receiving and two of them to score. Victor Cruz scored in both contests against Philly last year and this year the Eagles’ secondary is worse. Put on your dancing shoes Victor it’s gonna be a long night on the ballroom floor.

Wes Welker, Broncos @ Cowboys
Welker scored another pair of TDs last week against a putrid Eagles team that averages the leagues’ second worst 325 YPG…the team allowing the third most YPG through the air is Denver (mostly in garbage time), but surprisingly the team allowing the 6th most yards through the air is Dallas. This is one of those “show-me” games for Peyton and the Broncos as they are going into the house that Jerry built. I expect a lot of points scored by both sides as neither team is going to want to slow things down or grind it out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 100 total passes between Romo & Manning this week.

Dez Bryant, Cowboys vs. Broncos
With Peyton sticking his boot across the throat of Dallas in this one expect Dez to go kicking and screaming off into the night with points of his own. Dez has scored in three of the first four and ten of his last twelve…I dare you not to start him against me in a Draft Kings challenge this week just follow me on Twitter at @NewClearHarley for the link to go to battle with yours truly!

Sleepers

DeSean Jackson, Giants vs. Eagles
DeSean Jackson played in only one of the two contests with New York last year, in that game he posted 6-99-1, and that was with Jeremy Maclin in the lineup. There is no Maclin and a more wide open offense this time around. Oh yeah, and the Giants are giving up the second most passing touchdowns in the league this year, including five to WRs.

Cecil Shorts, Jaguars @ Rams
I know, yuck, recommending starting a Jag they should take my fantasy football experts card and shred it right? So why am I suggesting starting Shorts this week? St. Louis has allowed nine passing touchdowns already this year including six to WRs. In addition the Jags may have met their match in futility with the Rams so this might be the Jags high-water offensive week for a while. Shorts, is also getting back his running mate, Justin Blackmon back, which should provide some coverage relief for him. Plus if St. Louis does jump out to a big lead then Jacksonville can jack up Shorts stats in garbage time once again. Did you know over the last three weeks (buoyed mostly my garbage time) Shorts is averaging 8-99 on 14 targets per game?

Tight End

Your Fantasy Four Pack

Jimmy Graham, Saints @ Bears
Its Graham, he’s incredible…I told you I wasn’t going to just say that to you this year but come on. Chicago is allowing 7-75 per game to TE’s but only one has scored. That number is gonna go up this week, it might even triple itself.

Greg Olsen, Panthers @ Cardinals
No team has given up more yards to TEs this year than Arizona and they have allowed the leagues’ third most TDs to the position. Every other game this year (1st & 3rd) the Cardinals have been obliterated by an opposing tight end, this is Week 5…I’m not saying, I’m just saying. Those two weeks they faced a good TE the other two weeks not so much, Olsen qualifies as a good tight end, and this week he qualifies as a top four tight end.

Julius Thomas, Broncos @ Cowboys
My goal going into this year in redraft formats was to make sure I got either Jordan Cameron or Julius Thomas in every one of my leagues. I obviously wasn’t 100% successful but I do have one or the other in most of my leagues. Cameron will have had a good night on Thursday by the time this makes it to the web, meanwhile Thomas will have a good time galloping through the Cowboys on Sunday. Through four games Dallas is allowing the leagues’ most receptions (8) and second most YPG (86.5) to opposing TEs.

Jason Witten, Cowboys vs. Broncos
You know how I just told you that the Cowboys are allowing 86.5 YPG to opposing TEs this year, guess who is allowing 86.25 YPG to tight ends this year. That is correct it is their opponent the Denver Broncos. I should warn you that Denver hasn’t allowed a TE touchdown yet this year but Witten is in your lineup for the yardage and receptions not for his likelihood for scoring TDs. Witten didn’t do much Week 2 against KC, but in his other three starts he has averaged 6-60.

Sleepers

Dallas Clark, Ravens @ Dolphins
The Dolphins have allowed eight passing TDs this year, six of them have gone to tight ends. They have also allowed a ton of yards and receptions to the position. Clark is old and Ed Dickson looms as a TE vulture, but over the last two weeks Clark has out-targeted Dickson 16-3.

Jared Cook, Rams vs. Jaguars
It’s the Jaguars come on if Cook can’t get cooking against them then he isn’t worth a TE1 slot on your roster. Opposing TEs are averaging 5-63 against the Jags this year and they have allowed three scores to the position. Cook hasn’t scored or topped 50 yards since Week 1, but over his last three games versus Jacksonville (all with Tennessee) he has averaged 5-74 and he did score in one of those contests. Give the Cook one more try, if he spoils the broth again give him a C rating and cut bait.

GAMETIME BREW

My recap of the historic Saturday Autumn Brew Review will come next week after I revisit all of my notes from the event. In the meantime I promised you Fresh Hops, so it’s time for me to get fresh with you.

1) Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company out of Denver, Colorado.
Served: Poured into a pint glass I got at a Yelp foodie event sponsored by the Onion that says “I enjoy drinking beer” on the side.
Appearance: Light orange with a huge head and lengthy head retention with thick glass wide lacing.
Smell: Grassy, Mossy, and perhaps a bit piney with a hint of clear lake water.
Taste: Clean with the hops popping off the front of my tongue but immediately disappearing as they go down your throat, leaving zero hoppy after taste.
Mouth feel: Light and airy, slightly over-carbonated, leaves me with a mildly dry finish.
Overall: Impressively fresh and tasty, this beer is almost too easy to drink. Coming from a bomber at 6.1% ABV this is the type of beer I could drink a lot of while sitting out on my patio around a fire pit, or after doing any sort of summer or fall yard work only to be reminded after the fact that this beer is in fact 6.1% and I may not have wanted to drink quite so much.

2) Chasin’ Freshies from Deschutes Brewing Company out of Bend, Oregon
Served: On tap at the incredible local brewery known as Town Hall in a pint glass.
Appearance: Light gold color with a thin rim of white foam head, which lingers for a sizeable amount of time, with hearty lacing.
Smell: Very floral in the “west-coast style” of IPA land and a slight hint of cattiness and citrus. This year they are using Amarillo hops and they are well defined in the nose along with a breadiness which I defend is coming from the flaked oats used in brewing.
Taste: Grassy and grapefruit forward, I’m also getting a little mandarin orange and mango. It does finish very dry and clean.
Mouth feel: As it goes down my throat the floral bitterness coats the back of my tongue and leaves behind that beautiful hoppy resinous that I can almost taste through its smell permeating the back of my nasal passages. Aftertaste is very, very, dry – I found myself reaching for the water glass.
Overall: De-schutes and De-scores! I will be buying many bottles of this one when they arrive in to local stores next week.

3) Fresh Hop 100 from Town Hall Brewing Company out of Minneapolis, MN
Served: On tap at Town Hall in a pint glass.
Appearance: Medium orange color with a thin white head, and very minor white lacing.
Smell: Extreme citrus and full of fresh orange and lemon, almost a bit in your face with the citrus aroma.
Taste: Citra hop taste vanishes quickly but resurfaces at the back of the mouth with very little after taste. This tastes considerably lighter hop-wise then the nose suggests.
Mouth feel: Extremely light-bodied with no residual hop presence or dryness.
Overall: This beer surprised me. It was very tasty and session-able and I could see myself drinking a lot of it. I just feel like I was teased by the extreme citrus aroma since it was really not present in the taste.


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