Welcome to the first playoff edition of What’s On Tap! Here’s hoping that you all had successful seasons, and that you have lots of fantasy teams still playing this week, or in the best of worlds you have a first round bye.
In case you got bounced from your fantasy playoffs last week because Russell Wilson was still in the game and throwing the ball despite being up 27 points with 2:00 to go, I feel your pain. I lost at least $400 in guaranteed money just because of that final catch by Zach Miller. Of course others amongst you may have lost due to facing Eric Decker, Alshon Jeffery, and/or Josh Gordon. I actually was high on both Jeffery and Gordon last week and started the pair together in a few weekly league contests (including one I didn’t cash in – it’s a long story).
This week for Drink it or Dump it, I will be once again using dollar figures from www.DraftStreet.com. They came through big for me last week making up some of the moolah that I lost the previous week. They also took some of the sting out of losing that guaranteed money in my seasonal leagues. I was also quite pleased with their interface as it wasn’t as wonky as some other sites have been this year.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Matthew Stafford, Lions @ Eagles
Philadelphia has given up six passing touchdowns over the last three weeks. On the year, they’ve given up more passing yards than any other team. Matthew Stafford has eleven touchdowns over the last four weeks. He has also thrown for 302 yards per game over that span.
Nick Foles, Eagles vs. Lions
Over their last six games the Lions have allowed 14 passing touchdowns. This number is weighted down slightly since last week they allowed zero passing touchdowns. Foles has multiple touchdown passes in four of his last six.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks @ 49ers
I admit I was wrong on Wilson last week. I thought he would struggle against New Orleans. He’s earned every week consideration for me, even against a tough San Francisco defense. San Fran actually has allowed the third fewest passing touchdowns. Of course going into last week the Saints ranked sixth in passing touchdowns. Simply put he can beat the best. Russell Wilson also has thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of his last six games.
Josh McCown, Bears vs. Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are allowing the second most passing yards per game. They’ve also allowed six passing touchdowns over their last three games. McCown has averaged 354-2 the last two weeks. With so many premium quarterbacks with awful matchups this week, this backup actually looks like a pretty safe play.
Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Vikings
Minnesota is tied with the Cardinals for most touchdown passes allowed. Flacco has faced only four crappy pass defenses this year: Buffalo, Denver, the Jets, and the Pack; in those four games he has thrown for an average of 331 yards. The problem with Flacco is that he has been unreliable in general this year. In seven of his games he has scored one or zero touchdowns. I believe the Vikings are the cure for what ails him.
Alex Smith, Chiefs @ Redskins
After performing half-assed most of the middle portion of the year, Alex Smith has heated up of late. With multiple scores in four out of five, he is actually reliable enough to get consideration for your playoff lineup. The Redskins have allowed the fourth most passing touchdowns and the sixth most passing yards per game.
Tony Romo ($12731), Philip Rivers ($11995), Ryan Fitzpatrick ($11963), Andrew Luck ($11854), Matt Ryan ($11778), Carson Palmer ($11406), Andy Dalton ($11250), E.J. Manuel ($10078), Mike Glennon ($9839), Matt Flynn ($9823), Eli Manning ($9673), Matt McGloin ($8648)
Peyton Manning ($15111), Cam Newton ($15080), Drew Brees ($14628), Robert Griffin III ($12947), Colin Kaepernick ($11379), Ben Roethlisberger ($10608), Ryan Tannehill ($9993), Matt Cassel ($7473)
Your Fantasy Four Pack
DeMarco Murray, Cowboys @ Bears
Chicago has given up five rushing touchdowns over the last three games. For the season, they have allowed more total yards to opposing running backs than any other team. This total includes 211 to Adrian Peterson last week, 196-2 to Benny Cunningham/Zac Stacy the week before, and 131-1 to Ray Rice the week before that.
Knowshon Moreno, Broncos vs. Titans
If the Broncos are wise they would realize that the strength of the Tennessee Titans is their pass defense. They should also realize that they are rotten against the run. Only Washington has allowed more rushing touchdowns this year.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs @ Redskins
As I mention above Washington is at the very bottom of the league when it comes to allowing rushing touchdowns. Charles has scored at least once in nine different games and he has topped 100 combo yards in ten different games.
Matt Forte, Bears vs. Cowboys
As bad as the Bears have been against the run, the Cowboys have been equally atrocious. They have given up ten running back rushing touchdowns already. What really makes them attractive as an opponent this week is that they have allowed the most receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns to opposing running backs. Matt Forte lives and dies on his pass-catching ability.
Rashard Mendenhall, Cardinals vs. Rams
St. Louis has allowed the fifth most rushing touchdowns. They have given up six running back scores in their last four games. Andre Ellington is likely going to miss another game, leaving all of the carries to Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall has averaged 77 total yards over the last two weeks scoring once.
Shane Vereen, Patriots vs. Browns
LeGarrette Blount is a stiff, Brandon Bolden is more of a change of pace type back, and Stevan Ridley is so far into Bill Belichick’s doghouse that Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan are calling for him to be set loose. All of this leaves Shane Vereen, who very well might be the most talented back in New England. Cleveland has only allowed seven running back rushing touchdowns this year, but they have given up two touchdowns on passes to backs. They are also allowing an average of five receptions per week to opposing RBs.
LeSean McCoy ($11639), Eddie Lacy ($11248), Andre Brown ($11104), Reggie Bush ($10998), Ray Rice ($8923), Gio Bernard ($8900), Alfred Morris ($8882), Steven Jackson ($8783), C.J. Spiller ($8132), Chris Ivory ($7697), Danny Woodhead ($7387), Lamar Miller ($6978), Darren Sproles ($6893), Joique Bell ($6373), Montee Ball ($5771), Darren McFadden ($4910)
Adrian Peterson ($12542), LeVeon Bell ($11506), Marshawn Lynch ($11350), Chris Johnson ($9755), Bobby Rainey ($9625), Fred Jackson ($9469), Zac Stacy ($8804), Frank Gore ($8614), Ryan Mathews ($7936), Pierre Thomas ($7828), Donald Brown ($7028), Rashad Jennings ($6979)
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Calvin Johnson, Lions @ Eagles
Philadelphia has given up the most touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and they have allowed over 150 more yards to WRs than the next closest team. Calvin Johnson destroys quality defenses, this game could be called off due to Megatron’s mass genocide of Eagles. Calvin has averaged 8-160-1.3 over the last six games…that average will actually go up this week.
A.J. Green, Bengals vs. Colts
If you can forget about the Iron Haden performance from Week 11, A.J. Green has averaged 6.5-122.5 over the other most frequent six games. He also has four touchdowns over that span. Nineteen different wide receivers have topped 50 yards against the Colts this season. Twelve have topped 75 yards and six have topped 100 yards against them.
DeSean Jackson, Eagles vs. Lions
Detroit is right there behind Philly allowing one fewer WR touchdown this year. Eight different number one WRs have topped 70 yards against them. This includes a five game stretch from Week 6 to Week 10 where opposing number ones averaged 6-128 against them, with seven touchdowns. BTW – Number two WRs have also smacked around the Lions, five have topped 100 yards against them, and seven scored at least one touchdown against them. If you can’t afford to squeeze DeSean onto your roster, perhaps Riley Cooper might fit under your cap.
Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers vs. Bills
The Bills are yet another team tied for the second most touchdown receptions for WRs. Even more agonizing for their fan(s), they have given up an amazing 2.4 passing touchdowns per game in road games this year. This is even more amazing when you consider that their road opponents this year featured such powerhouse offenses as: Cleveland, Miami, Pittsburgh, and the Jets. Vincent Jackson is the clear cut number one in Tampa Bay and another number one, Roddy White just posted 10-143 on this secondary.
Andre Holmes, Raiders @ Jets
Rotoworld lists Holmes at 6’4”, 210, with 4.45 speed. He used those tools to dominate the Cowboys secondary last week to the tune of 7-136. Some of his catches looked spectacular. He even went up and fought for the ball in a manner that would impress guys like Megatron, Andre Johnson, and Josh Gordon. I’m going on the record now stating this guy is the real deal, and he should be rostered in every dynasty format already. The Jets’ defense has allowed 15 WR touchdowns, including one each of the last three weeks to speed receivers (Marquise Goodwin, Jacoby Jones, and Mike Wallace).
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs @ Redskins
Remember when Dwayne Bowe was an every week certainty at WR? Yeah, Me neither, and I’m a Chiefs fan. Bowe has scored in two of three and Washington hands out receiving touchdowns like Halloween candy. If you have him on your roster, you might as well start him this week. If not this matchup, when?
Josh Gordon ($13013), Dez Bryant ($12900), Brandon Marshall ($12863), Alshon Jeffery ($12479), Larry Fitzgerald ($10593), Keenan Allen ($10436), Torrey Smith ($10022), Jordy Nelson ($10015), Michael Floyd ($9878), Wes Welker ($9815), Victor Cruz ($9525), Harry Douglas ($9343), Mike Wallace ($9086), Kendall Wright ($8593), Roddy White ($8300), Riley Cooper ($8115), Stevie Johnson ($7096), Nate Burleson ($6926), James Jones ($6747), Michael Crabtree ($6054), Rueben Randle ($5717)
Demaryius Thomas ($11124), Antonio Brown ($10678), Pierre Garcon ($10063), Julian Edelman ($8850), T.Y. Hilton ($8673), Anquan Boldin ($7476), Jarrett Boykin ($6920), Hakeem Nicks ($6271), Marques Colston ($6231), Danny Amendola ($6128)
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Jimmy Graham, Saints vs. Panthers
The one position that Carolina has been beaten by this year is tight end. Of the twelve touchdowns their defense has allowed this year, five have gone to tight ends. Jimmy Graham is a beast if anyone can dominate this defense it is him. In his last four games against Carolina, Graham has posted a total of 32-412-3.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots vs. Browns
Only three teams have allowed more tight end touchdowns than the eight that the Browns have given up. This includes two touchdowns last week by the completely unrecognizable duo of Marcedes Lewis and Clay Harbor. Rob Gronkowski has been electric since his return to health scoring in four straight and topping 90 yards in four of six.
Jason Witten, Cowboys @ Bears
The Bears have allowed only three tight end touchdowns, but the 901 yards allowed to the position is the third most in the league. In addition only two teams have allowed more receptions to the position. Jason Witten should be able to exploit this defense for a line right around 8-90 this week with an outside shot at a score.
Jared Cook, Rams @ Cardinals
Another week, another three tight end touchdowns allowed by Arizona. This is starting to get hilarious. I’m sure some site has a record of it, so I’ll try to research it for next week, to find out which team holds the historical record for most TE touchdowns allowed in a season. This record may be in serious jeopardy. I wouldn’t be shocked if Cook scores twice in this game. There is little chance he is not in each of my weekly league lineups.
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons @ Packers
The Packers have given up six tight end scores. Tony Gonzalez scored last week and has been getting regular looks despite the miserable performance of the Falcons offense this season. With the return to full health of Roddy White last week, defenses will not be able to double Gonzo anymore. Another score seems likely this week in a matchup of two fairly poor secondaries.
Anthony Fasano, Chiefs @ Redskins
Three straight games with a touchdown has put Anthony Fasano on the fast track to a boost in fantasy football ownership. The Redskins have given up the second most touchdowns to the position this year. If you want a cheap flier for your weekly leagues, Fasano could be your man. Of course watch the injury reports because he was being bothered by a concussion.
Vernon Davis ($8373), Heath Miller ($6468), Martellus Bennett ($5603), Ladarius Green ($4639), Brandon Pettigrew ($3882), Zach Ertz ($3689), Jacob Tamme ($2424), Taylor Thompson ($2000)
Julius Thomas ($8335), Greg Olsen ($7630), Antonio Gates ($7018), Delanie Walker ($6855), Jordan Reed ($6696), Coby Fleener ($6483), Jordan Cameron ($6191)
Check it out – The perfect black and tan is a great stocking stuffer for your beer drinking friends or even just for you! Here’s the video showing how it works.
Before I started writing today, I plowed the half-foot of snow out of my driveway. It’s clear to me that winter has finally reared its’ ugly head here. Of course from a fantasy football standpoint foul weather can change the aspect of a game. QBs and Kickers each have difficulty in windy, cold, and blustery conditions. Along the same thought line, bruising running backs (think Peterson, Morris, and Lacy) have more success. Of course everyone becomes more prone to turnovers as the ball can become the opposite of a hot potato. Since it is so cold and snowy out, I felt why not break down some winter theme beers today.
1) Road Slush Stout from New Glarus Brewing Company out of New Glarus, WI.
Served: Served slightly chilled from the bottle into a Leinenkugel's pint glass.
Appearance: Light black in color, slightly transparent, with a thin beige head that retains.
Smell: You can really smell the malt in this beer, and the oatmeal aroma is well defined as well.
Taste: Dark chocolate is the primary flavor; imagine a slightly sweeter version of Hershey’s Special Dark. The oats are not as prevalent in the flavor as the aroma would indicate. It still tastes sweet, a little like brown sugar.
Mouth feel: Ridiculously light for being oatmeal stout. I expected more with the name Road Slush, but I was pleasantly surprised at how drinkable it was.
Overall: Score a win for New Glarus. This is a winter release, but technically not a “winter ale”. The name just reminded me so much of the horrible commute I suffered through yesterday, I couldn’t help but include it here. I’m normally not a huge New Glarus fan but this is a great starter stout and certainly something I could drink multiples of. It’s just nowhere near the body of what you expect in an oatmeal stout.
2) BRRR from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company out of Portland, OR.
Served: Served at refrigerator temperature from the bottle into a Leinenkugel’s pint glass.
Appearance: Dark orange and crystal clear with a thin white head that didn’t dissipate at all, and which left thick lacing.
Smell: Traditional caramel and biscuit malt aromas. Faint hop aroma and mild juniper or pine spice aroma, am I also picking up a hint of cinnamon.
Taste: More hop presence than most red ales, but not your prototypical hop bomb either. I’m also getting a hint of winter spice: ginger, cinnamon, bitter orange. Surprisingly, I’m not getting as much caramel as I expected from the aroma. My mind is fighting back and forth that this is red ale versus winter ale.
Mouth feel: Smooth, crisp and medium bodied with a small citrus hop aftertaste that disappears fast.
Overall: One of my winter go-to’s. This beer is smooth and refreshing. I wish I knew what it really was though. Is it a red? Is it a winter? Is it a pale? I suppose it doesn’t matter because it is just easy drinking and tasty.
3) Arctic Panzer Wolf from Three Floyds Brewery out of Munster, IN.
Served: Served at refrigerator temperature out of a bomber into a Leinenkugel’s pint glass.
Appearance: Extremely light orange in color. This beer poured slightly cloudy at the bottom of the bottle, it also had a pillowy white head that held with extreme lacing.
Smell: Extreme aromas of pine and fresh green grass. I’m also getting traditional citrus fruit (grapefruit, pineapple, Clementine).
Taste: Now this is a hopbomb. There is a moderate amount of sweetness produced by the extra alcohol, but this is mostly citrus and pine. The more I drink of it I think I’m picking up some apricot or peach.
Mouth feel: There’s little doubt of the size of this beer. It’s imperial and boozy but much lighter up front and much bigger on the backend – like soak you with a bucket of water until your clothes adhere to your skin big. There is also an extreme dryness in the aftertaste assumedly caused by the huge hop profile.
Overall: My friend was kind enough to drive into Indiana to pick me up, this four-pack. Once again, not a true “Winter Ale” but the name brings up mental images of arctic cold environments which we have suffered through the last couple days. Big and delicious imperial IPA, not the best I’ve ever had but definitely in the upper echelon. On Edit: Now that I’ve finished this bomber, I’m craving another, so it must be better than my first impression even. I’d love to try this one on draft to compare and contrast.