FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

What's On Tap: Week 7
Harley Schultz
October 18, 2013
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So as you lament your teams mounting losses perhaps you can take solace in the fact that I have a redraft team with Jimmy Graham, Julio Jones, and Randall Cobb as my first, second, and fourth round picks respectively. This league has me down in the dumps because I hate having a redraft league where I am drawing dead at only Week 7. I mean I figured I could survive the loss of Julio with some smart free agent moves and perhaps a deal or two. Now I am out Cobb for basically the rest of the year, and Graham is on bye and may not be 100% when he returns.

Fortunately for me, I play in a ton of leagues so one hard luck redraft league is not going to kill me. To make a successful profit in a gambling venture such as this you have to secure enough “sure things” to cover your higher risk investments. It is kind of like diversifying your stock portfolio. You need to have enough low risk mutual funds making a small profit to cover your higher risk purchases.

Perhaps the easiest way to secure your fantasy bankroll is playing in weekly leagues where you can double up, or triple up just by finishing in the top half or third of the league. If you are here reading our content than you should have the tools necessary to consistently be doubling and tripling through on these leagues. What you need to be on the lookout for though, if you want to make a real sizeable profit is “Guaranteed money” tournaments. Often times these tournaments end up with unsold spots, which can increase your odds of cashing, exponentially.

This week, the Bills, Dolphins, Chargers, Jaguars, Rams, and Panthers all compete in games that no one outside of their home markets are going to care to watch. This of course means that they will be the games that CBS and FOX probably will choose to air to the national audiences, instead of letting us watch the point orgies in Philly and Washington. This is why I love the NFL Network and the Red Zone channel. I can get my fantasy fix while not having to be subjected to Sam Bradford being picked off again, or watching Ryan Tannehill take another brutal sack.

In the late games we get a couple of black and blue defensive battles between PIT/BAL and HOU/KC as well as a game that most of my One-Week league players will come from this week: The Broncos at Indy. Finally, Monday the 0-6 Giants take on the 1-4 Vikings, early lines in my mind, suggest these two hopeless teams will end in a tie at 14-14 with Minnesota scoring twice on Eli Manning pick-sixes and New York scoring twice on 80-yard passes that Josh Robinson is supposed to be covering. Josh Freeman gets his first start with the Vikings; let’s hope he doesn’t complain about the post game food spread. We know what happened last time a Viking’s trade target did that.

Since the Vikings are going to be playing in New York this week, I have decided to review a couple New York breweries this week. Each of these two had a couple limited release products on display at ABR a couple weeks ago. So after setting your lineup over at Draft Kings and Fan Duel head over to the local liquor store and try to land a bottle or two of these limited releases before they sell out. You won’t be disappointed.

Quarterback

Your Fantasy Four Pack

Tony Romo, Cowboys @ Eagles
Tony Romo couldn’t one-up Peyton Manning in their head-to-head matchup a couple weeks ago, but this week he leaps past Manning on the Fantasy Four Pack. Philadelphia is a deserving whipping boy of a pass defense having allowed the third most passing yards, the fourth most passing touchdowns, and the most completed passes against so far. Romo should be good for close to 400-4 here.

Peyton Manning, Broncos @ Colts
He didn’t slide far, dropping only to number two this week. Peyton Manning is coming home to the Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time as a Denver Bronco, and you know the media are chomping at the bit to report how this storyline will play out. Luck vs. Manning - sign me up for what should be a roller-coaster of a game. Indy has a good pass defense, having allowed an average of only 199 passing YPG over their last three. Meanwhile, Manning has thrown for 345 YPG over the last three weeks along with a measly ten touchdowns…so he’s going through a mid season slump, by his early season standards. The Colts organization is going to honor Peyton prior to the game and it is assumed the fans will cheer. It remains to be seen, how they will react if Denver jumps out to a huge early lead behind Peyton’s arm.

Andrew Luck Colts vs. Broncos
A side effect of the Broncos huge offensive start to the season, is that their opponents have been forced to throw it repeatedly from the get-go as well, in an attempt to stave off the inevitable blowout. Luck gets to exploit the Broncos soft pass coverage scheme this week. The Broncos have allowed nearly 160 more passing yards than the next closest team. Luck struggled last week in a game he should have mashed-it in, let’s hope the bright lights of this matchup don’t blind him again.

Cam Newton, Panthers vs. Rams
Cam Newton gets another get-well-soon card this week in the form of the Lambs secondary. St. Louis has allowed the moribund Texans and Jaguars to each throw for 284 and 270 yards respectively against them the last two weeks. They also got burned by actual NFL quarterbacks in their earlier games too. Newton should go off here.

Sleepers

Nick Foles, Eagles vs. Cowboys
Remember a few paragraphs ago where I was telling you about how bad Philadelphia’s pass defense was? Well meet one of the teams that has produced worse pass defense against stats this year.

Jay Cutler, Bears @ Redskins
The Washington Redskins remain one of the worst in the league against the pass. They are allowing an average of 293-2 to opposing quarterbacks. They did however hold Tony Romo in check last week…I’m calling mirage on that. Cutler should be able to pick apart this secondary on the backs of his big two wide receivers.

Running Back

Your Fantasy Four Pack

LeSean McCoy, Eagles vs. Cowboys
Dallas has faced over the last three weeks Washington, Denver, and San Diego. During that span each of their opponents RBBC’s have combined for 158, 209, and 189 combo yards respectively. McCoy is not currently hurt, nor is he currently part of a RBBC; he can get this many yards himself this week.

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs vs. Texans
Two weeks in a row at number two for Charles, I hope he doesn’t get a big head over this. Only seven teams give up more yards per game rushing than Houston. In addition, every opposing featured back has scored and/or topped 90 combo yards versus the Texans. Charles’ 775 total yards is second to only McCoy, and his seven total touchdowns ranks first amongst rushers.

Alfred Morris, Redskins vs. Bears
The Bears are coming off of a game when they allowed the Methuselah-ean Brandon Jacobs to truck them for 114 combo yards and a pair of TDs. Before that they allowed the equally ancient, Pierre Thomas to rack up 91 combo yards and a pair of touchdowns. If the Bears couldn’t stop those two antiquated stiffs what are they going to do against the fresh legs of Alfred Morris? Morris is not a threat through the passing game, but if Jacobs can gouge them for big chunks of real estate on the ground, then so can Morris.

Eddie Lacy, Packers vs. Browns
The Browns have given up the most rushing TDs per game this season. This week they get to face a Green Bay team that will likely be without two of their top three wide receivers. This will add up to additional looks for Jermichael Finley, but also a game plan change to lean heavier on their running game. Lacy’s two-week performance, since returning from injury, has put to rest any RBBC concerns that his owners may have had. I’d like to see him add to his touchdown ticker as he only has one so far. That should change this week as I expect this to be his breakout game.

Sleepers

DeAngelo Williams, Panthers vs. Rams
No team has allowed more running back rushing yards, total yards, or touchdowns than St. Louis. DeAngelo has topped 100 combo yards three times this year, but he has yet to score a touchdown. I think he’ll do both this week. For those of you in redraft leagues, as soon as DeAngelo’s big game is official trade him as quickly as possible because Jonathan Stewart will be back in the next week or two.

Fred Jackson, Bills @ Dolphins
This week Jackson is less dinged up than Spiller making him a very good sleeper. Miami has allowed nearly as many total yards to opposing running backs through five games as a lot of teams have allowed through six. They have also allowed six running back TDs this year. Spiller will likely play and eat in to some of Jackson’s looks but in leagues that reward you with PPR points it is nice to be able to start the Bills’ leading receiver as a running back or FLEX.

Wide Receiver

Your Fantasy Four Pack

Dez Bryant, Cowboys @ Eagles
Bryant has scored in four of six this year, and eleven of his last 14 dating back to early November last year. The Eagles have allowed the most wide receiver receptions, touchdowns, and the third most total yards on the year. Another battle of NFC Least teams, another offensive throw down game. Bryant disappointed me last week; I expect reparations in the forms of a pair of touchdowns this week.

Wes Welker, Broncos @ Colts
Despite splitting catches with everyone else in Denver, Wes Welker has established himself as Manning’s favorite TD target as he has hauled in eight already. The Colts secondary is good but they have not faced an arsenal like this yet, and they will have to pick their poison. I expect them to try and stop the outside receivers and this should leave opportunities for Welker and Julius Thomas inside.

Victor Cruz, Giants vs. Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings secondary is damaged goods right now and they will likely be without their best defensive back, Harrison Smith for this weeks’ game against the pass-heavy Giants. Eli has got to be smiling to know that he may actually not throw an INT this week. There is no one on the Vikings roster that can cover Victor Cruz, Reuben Randle, or Hakeem Nicks and I expect them all to go off this week, but I am going to put my money behind the guy who loves to salsa. The fact is he is due to cross the stripe, and he also has a tendency to hit those home run ball touchdowns. Mr. Cruz, meet your dance partner for the week, Josh Robinson. Josh just allowed a nearly 80+ yard touchdown last week.

Mike Wallace, Dolphins vs. Bills
The Bills are starting to get pieces of their injured secondary back, hopefully this helps them improve upon their league second worst 1365 yards allowed to opposing wide receivers. They also rank second worst in wide receiver touchdowns allowed with ten. Wallace was targeted 16 times in Week 5, so it is obvious that Ryan Tannehill is trying to force feed his number one threat. If that continues, than based on volume alone Wallace makes a good play the rest of the season. Of course, when he faces a bad team like Buffalo it makes him a great play.

Sleepers

T.Y. Hilton, Colts vs. Denver
There are just a ton of great wide receiver matchups this week, choosing the best of the best of the sleepers is daunting. This game is my favorite of the week as Denver’s secondary doesn’t seem to feel it’s worth their time to play defense. We also know that this will be a shootout so Andrew Luck will be forced to air it out all game long. Hilton got a little dinged up against San Diego last week so make sure to check his injury status before game time but if he is good to go than he should be in your lineup.

Reuben Randle, Giants vs. Vikings
I’m going for the New York daily double this week – which I will also do in the beer section below! Seeing as how no one on the Vikings can cover either of their two top receivers, what are they going to possibly do to stop this dynamic number three receiving threat? Randle has three touchdowns over the last two games, and on most teams he would be their #1 or #2 wide receiver at worst. I’m not sure the Vikings could stop him if their secondary was fully healthy, and of course they are not. Pittsburgh’s third option Jerricho Cotchery posted 5-103-1 on them a couple weeks ago and Carolina’s number two-option, Brandon LaFell posted 4-107-1 last week.

Tight End

Your Fantasy Four Pack

Antonio Gates, Chargers @ Jaguars
Jacksonville has allowed five tight end TDs over their last four games.  Meanwhile, Antonio Gates has finished with fewer than 55 yards only twice this year and he is averaging 6-77 so far. He also has scored twice.

Jordan Cameron, Browns @ Packers
Opposing tight ends have averaged 6-77 against the Packers and they have allowed four tight end touchdowns, despite facing only one upper-tier tight end. What is Green Bay going to do when they face another premiere tight end? All we have to do is look at how “well” they handled the only premiere tight end they have faced, Vernon Davis. Davis’ posted a 6-98-2 line against them…I’m not saying, I’m just saying…

Vernon Davis, 49ers @ Titans
…Speaking of Vernon Davis, Davis torched Arizona last week for a line of 8-180-2. This means he has scored now in four of the five games he has played in. The Titans have allowed four tight end touchdowns already so we know they can be burnt by the position.

Julius Thomas, Broncos @ Colts
This was a close call between Thomas and Witten. Earlier this week I actually had Witten ranked higher, but with Miles Austin fully healthy and lined back up as the slot receiver for Dallas, I expect that he may eat into some of Witten’s targets. Thomas, we know, will share targets. Of course it hasn’t mattered yet this year as he has been an offensive force scoring at least one touchdown in every game but one.

Sleepers

Heath Miller, Steelers vs. Ravens
Baltimore is allowing an average of 5-74-0.5 to tight ends. Since returning to health, Heath Miller has averaged 5-63, and over his last three contests against Baltimore he is averaging 4-64. I’m not sure if a score is on the docket for this week, but I expect him to be very active in the passing game once again.

Scott Chandler, Bills @ Dolphins
This is a pure shot in the dark play, but he might get some run in my weekly leagues this week. Miami has allowed 5-76-1.2 to opposing tight ends on the season. You are not going to play him expecting a lot of yardage, but he has the size to be a red zone threat. Stevie Johnson will likely play here, but if he is a no-go, that only adds to the intrigue that Chandler presents this week.

GAMETIME BREW

So this week I’ll be briefing you on a couple New York breweries that I enjoy that brought some of their limited release stuff to ABR this year.

1) Three Philosophers from Brewery Ommegang out of Cooperstown, NY.
Served: Poured from the bottle, at room temperature into a Southern Tier tulip glass.
Appearance: Dark orange color, with a ¼ inch tan head.
Smell: Boozy, malt-heavy, raisin, bready.
Taste: Black cherry, fig, or plum present in front of mouth, slight chocolaty undertone in back of my mouth, or perhaps that is more of an earthy mushroom note with a hint of spice.
Mouth feel: Sticky, thick mouth feel really coats the interior of your mouth but thins out in your throat. Letting this linger in my mouth reminds me of drinking a warm brandy from a snifter.
Overall: Is it a Quad? Is it a Kriek? Does it matter? I am normally not a huge Belgian beer fan, but this stone fruit loaded beauty is a pleasant temptress. This is the perfect warmer for when it begins to get colder out. I want to snuggle up under a blanket with this beer when the snow starts falling…speaking of which, the weather lady said we might see snowfall tonight, yuck.

2) Game of Thrones – Take the Black from Brewery Ommegang out of Cooperstown, NY.
Served: Poured into the small 8 oz ABR sample cup.
Appearance: Dark brown with a brown head that lingers for the entirety of the glass.
Smell: Coffee bean, chocolate malt, and star anise with a slight hint of vanilla.
Taste: The dark roasted malts are prevalent upfront along with a burnt coffee taste (damn midnight wheat malt) that wasn’t super pleasant. Standard Belgian candy and stone fruit backbone, and the anise flavor is quite prevalent in the aftertaste.
Mouth feel: Medium-bodied, not as sticky-sweet as most Belgian style beers, actually the volume of carbonation makes this one feel very smooth and creamy. Unfortunately the aftertaste is so overwhelming.
Overall: I admit I don’t watch the show, but I was intrigued that they were releasing a beer based on it. I’m just never gonna be a fan of the midnight wheat because it produces such a burnt flavor on the front end. If you are a fan of Belgian darks or robust porters it might be more your cup of tea, but be ready for that typical Belgian aftertaste in a beer that sells itself as a stout.

3) Hop Manna from Shmaltz Brewing Company out of Clifton Park, NY
Served: Poured into the small 8 oz ABR sample cup.
Appearance: Hazy amber color with fairly sizeable lingering head.
Smell: Citrus and pine but not over the top. The citrus is more orange than grapefruit or lemon. There is a fair amount of caramel malt aroma present as well.
Taste: The Citra and Amarillo hops bring a fair amount of citrus (and a little dank) to the taste buds, and the caramel is there too, it’s literally just like it smells. As I drink it the orange turns to more of a tangerine, but I’m still not getting any grapefruit. This is strange because my tasting partner is swearing that he is getting a mouthful of grapefruit rind.
Mouth feel: Thick and resinous especially for an IPA beer. The bubbles popped sharp off the front of my tongue, but the taste lingered throughout my mouth as I drank it.
Overall: They are calling this a “sessionable” IPA, but at 6.8%, I don’t know how many people are going to be throwing these down. I’ll gladly order one if I see it on draft though. It’s your prototypical citrus-forward IPA, and I’ll never complain about that.

4) Rejewvenator Dubbel Doppel from Shmaltz Brewing Company out of Clifton Park, NY
Served: Poured into the small 8 oz ABR sample cup.
Appearance: Medium red in color with a light tan head that hung around for a while.
Smell: Booze, brown sugar, bread, cinnamon, clove, date…but mostly booze.
Taste: Extremely sweet but loaded with Belgian fruit flavor upfront (think banana, apple, fig, and date). Unfortunately, the flavor vanished faster than most beers leaving an alcohol forward slightly stale aftertaste on the back of my tongue
Mouth feel: Syrupy and sticky this borders closer to a Doppelbock than a Belgian Dubbel in my book. It is very dry, almost under-carbonated, on the backend and the alcohol is way too sharp and prevalent.
Overall: Kind of a letdown, but like all beers definitely worthy of a second tasting so I have a bottle aging for a later date. This may have been a case of the beer just wasn’t quite ready yet. I mean, It is supposed to be a winter warmer and winter isn’t here yet, Right…Right?...Bueller?


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