Well this is the week where we finally get to kill the keg, the final week of the NFL regular season. I’m glad that so many of you took time this year to check out my beverage recommendations and fantasy insight. Hopefully, I helped fill out your refrigerator with some delicious bottles of malt and hops. Also hopefully, I helped fill out your bankroll with the best weekly plays on fantasy football weekly games. As always, continue to follow myself and all of the other huddle staff on Twitter, as we continue to dole out sage advice throughout the playoff fantasy season, and into the offseason as you begin to construct next year’s juggernaut.
For the final regular season week I will be using prices from www.DraftStreet.com. This website is very popular and has a huge player base. Plus they come with some good cred thanks to their partnership with www.MyFantasyLeague.com which I personally believe is the best full-season league management web site on the market.
As for the imbibing this week, since we’ve come to the end of the season, as well as the end of the calendar year, I thought it would be nice to talk about one of the hottest trends in beverages right now…beer-tails. I mean what better way to toast in 2014, than with a bubbly Black Velvet. The blending of beer and booze, ah, two of my favorite things combined into one. Kind of like fantasy football and beer!
OH YEAH WHEN YOU GO OUT THIS NEW YEARS – REMEMBER DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE – YOUR DYNASTY TEAM THANKS YOU!
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Drew Brees, Saints vs. Buccaneers
The Saints are home, and they are angry following a tough loss at Carolina. These two things add up to a lot of headaches for the Buccaneers this week. Drew Brees is averaging 3.3 passing touchdowns per game at home versus 1.5 on the road. Tampa held Brees “In check” at their stadium earlier this year. He “only” posted 322-1. This game has that feeling of the Buccaneers being speared; I wouldn’t put it past Brees to go 400-4 here.
Cam Newton, Panthers @ Falcons
Only two teams have given up more passing touchdowns than the Falcons. In his last three games versus the Falcons, Cam Newton has thrown for 778 yards and four touchdowns. He also has gained 238 yards and two touchdowns on the ground over that span. The Falcons have particularly struggled at home, allowing 2.4 passing touchdowns per game.
Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Chiefs
The Chiefs have decided to rest their starters, the Chargers have not. Philip Rivers lit up the Chiefs varsity team defense earlier this year to the tune of 392-3. I’m guessing he’ll perform at least somewhere in that same vicinity against the backups.
Nick Foles, Eagles @ Cowboys
Minnesota is the only team allowing more passing yards and touchdowns than Dallas. They also have surrendered four quarterback rushing touchdowns. Nick Foles has ten total touchdowns over the last four weeks, and 21 total touchdowns over his last seven.
Matt Cassel, Vikings vs. Lions
The Lions are allowing the sixth most passing yards per game, and they have nothing to play for this week. This follows an epic six week collapse that saw Detroit go from the top of the NFC Central to a team with a good chance to finish under .500. I’m gonna give Matt Cassel the benefit of the doubt that he can do very well against this fiasco of a team. Christian Ponder did nothing against Detroit Week 1, but Matt Cassel is considerably better than Ponder.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Browns
Ben Roethlisberger has 20 total touchdowns over the last eight games. Cleveland has allowed seven passing touchdowns over the last three weeks. In their last two meetings, Big Ben has thrown for miniscule yardage but he does have five touchdowns.
Aaron Rodgers ($13902), Russell Wilson ($13739), Andy Dalton ($13447), Tom Brady ($13436), Ryan Fitzpatrick ($11973), Ryan Tannehill ($11541), Matt Flynn ($11080)
Peyton Manning ($17920), Jay Cutler ($14085), Andy Dalton ($13447), Colin Kaepernick ($12790), Matthew Stafford ($12718), Terrelle Pryor ($10989), Matt Ryan ($11110700), Kirk Cousins ($10627), Kyle Orton ($10424), E.J. Manuel ($10015), Matt Schaub ($9558), Carson Palmer ($9285), Mike Glennon ($8554)
Your Fantasy Four Pack
LeSean McCoy, Eagles @ Cowboys
Chicago is the only team that allows more yards per carry rushing than Dallas. They also have given up the fifth most rushing touchdowns. LeSean McCoy has been on fire of late. Here are his last six game lines (combo yards & touchdowns): 161-0, 147-2, 115-0, 221-2, 106-0, and 162-2. I hope the trend doesn’t imply he is going to be held out of the end zone. Of course, the guaranteed century mark in yardage is pretty good in and of itself.
Eddie Lacy, Packers @ Bears
This game is for all the marbles so to speak, as the NFC Central crown will be awarded to the victor this week. Chicago has given up a ridiculous 7.2 yards per carry over the last three weeks. They’ve given up more than 300 more rushing yards than the next closest team, and the 20 total touchdowns they have surrendered to opposing running backs ranks second behind only Washington. Eddie Lacy has scored in eight of ten games, including posting a 22-150-1 versus the Bears in Week 9. Lacy does have an ankle issue he is battling, but all reports are he is good to go. If he cannot play then take advantage of the matchup and start James Starks, who would instantly be a low-end WR1.
Matt Forte, Bears vs. Packers
Green Bay is allowing 5.3 yards per carry over the last three weeks. Meanwhile, Matt Forte has topped 100 combo yards in five of the last six and eight of the last ten. That stretch included a 179 combo yard, one touchdown performance against these very same Packers.
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks vs. Rams
St. Louis has allowed nine running back touchdowns over the last seven games. Of course in the game before that streak started, the Rams held Marshawn Lynch to a total of 27 yards and no score. Lynch has put up crappy yardage numbers recently, but he has scored six times in the last six games.
Montee Ball, Broncos @ Raiders
This ranking is all about the fact that Knowshon Moreno will spend the majority of the game, pads off on the sidelines relaxing. Montee Ball has such an appealing price tag that I’d be hard-pressed to not want to pencil him into one of my running back slots. In their earlier meeting, Ball played significant minutes netting a solid but unspectacular 11-61. So why am I so high on the Broncos back up this week? Perhaps it is that the 19 total running back touchdowns that Oakland has allowed ranks fourth worst.
Andre Brown, Giants vs. Redskins
Washington has allowed the most running back rushing touchdowns and the most overall running back touchdowns. Andre Brown is back from his concussion, just in time to face a Redskins’ team that he scored twice against earlier this year.
DeMarco Murray ($13757), Le’Veon Bell ($13254), Ryan Mathews ($12655), Adrian Peterson ($11755), Knowshon Moreno ($11444), Fred Jackson, ($11213), Chris Johnson ($10435), Rashad Jennings ($10161), Chris Johnson ($7400), Ryan Mathews ($7100), Shane Vereen ($6700), Gio Bernard ($6700), Joique Bell ($9882), DeAngelo Williams ($9746), Bobby Rainey ($8688), Pierre Thomas ($8635), C.J. Spiller ($8371), Knile Davis ($7263), Edwin Baker ($7097)
Alfred Morris ($11572), Zac Stacy ($11214), Maurice Jones-Drew ($10277), Shane Vereen ($10074), James Starks ($9816), Gio Bernard ($9570), Donald Brown ($9432), Frank Gore ($9325), Reggie Bush ($9020), Steven Jackson ($8034), Jamaal Charles ($7913), Ray Rice ($7256)
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Brandon Marshall, Bears vs. Packers
Brandon Marshall is happy that Jay Cutler is back under center for the Bears. He has scored in each of the last two games with Cutler at the helm. Only Philadelphia and Minnesota have allowed more WR touchdowns than Green Bay, including one by Brandon Marshall earlier this year. That was the start of an eight week stretch where opposing number one wide receivers have averaged 6.5-95-0.5 against the Pack.
DeSean Jackson, Eagles @ Cowboys
DeSean Jackson has scored in two of the last three weeks, including a 10-195-1 performance two weeks ago versus the Vikings. Dallas, meanwhile, has allowed the fourth most yards to opposing wide receivers. Over the last four weeks, opposing wide receivers have lit up the Cowboys. Andre Holmes, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Jordy Nelson, and Pierre Garcon have all posted huge yardage days against them and three of them have scored. They also gave up two more WR touchdowns to James Jones and Earl Bennett during that span.
Marques Colston, Saints vs. Buccaneers
Marques Colston has returned to prominence over the last few games. Drew Brees has targeted him 36 times over the last three weeks. He has 22 receptions, 277 yards, and three scores over that stretch. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have given up the eighth most touchdowns to opposing wide receivers.
Jordy Nelson, Packers @ Bears
The Bears have allowed 178 points over the last five weeks. A lot of this has come on the ground as teams have run right through them. They have also allowed five wide receiver touchdowns over that span including three to opposing number one wide receivers. Jordy Nelson has scored in only one career game against the Bears, this week I am expecting that number to double as Aaron Rodgers returns to the field for the Packers.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings vs. Lions.
I think it is safe to say that the Vikings replacing Percy Harvin with Cordarrelle Patterson has been a complete and total victory for Rick Spielman and the Vikings’ brain trust. Patterson has been a beast since the Vikings have given him regular snaps, including a score in each of the last four games. He also is a stud returner and can score at any time on a return as well. The Lions have packed it in and they were already amongst the worst in the league against opposing wide receivers. They may actually be worse this week, if that is possible.
Julian Edelman, Patriots vs. Bills
The eighteen touchdowns the Bills have given up to opposing wide receivers ranks fourth worst. Julian Edelman has 62 targets over the last five weeks. This goes along with 44 receptions, 491 yards, and four touchdowns. He basically is doing everything a lot of us thought Danny Amendola would be doing right now. My only concern here is that Bill Belichick went to the media to heap praise on Edelman this past Monday. Knowing the cageyness of Belichick this probably means that he is gonna get benched for the first half of this game.
Pierre Garcon ($13166), Eric Decker ($12570), Dez Bryant ($12114), Alshon Jeffery ($11526), Keenan Allen ($11310), Mike Wallace ($9577), Riley Cooper ($9136), Kendall Wright ($8783), Anquan Boldin ($8776), Danny Amendola ($8199), T.Y. Hilton ($7969), Michael Crabtree ($7844), James Jones ($7552), Greg Jennings ($7550), Rod Streater ($6592), Brandon LaFell ($6190)
A.J. Green ($14134), Josh Gordon ($14018), Demaryius Thomas ($13989), Calvin Johnson ($13718), Antonio Brown ($12955), Andre Johnson ($10981), Vincent Jackson ($10860), Wes Welker ($9827), Larry Fitzgerald ($9019), Torrey Smith ($8014), Roddy White ($7321), Dwayne Bowe ($7169), Harry Douglas ($6965), Stevie Johnson ($6243)
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Vernon Davis, 49ers @ Cardinals
Ugh, Vernon Davis forgot his eye drops last week and cost many fantasy owners their championships. It was a virtual sure thing last week, and it is even a better certainty of a sure thing this week. Arizona has been historically bad against tight ends. They have given up the most receptions, yards, and touchdowns to the position by light years above the next worst team. Remember Week 6 when these two teams met…Davis laid an 8-180-2 on the Cards in what was a premonition of the tight end horrors yet to come for the Cardinals.
Jimmy Graham, Saints vs. Buccaneers
15 touchdowns in 16 weeks and 300 more yards than the next closest tight end. Yeah, Jimmy Graham is a freak of nature. The Buccaneers have been ordinary against tight ends this year allowing 56 yards per game to the position.
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons vs. Panthers
This is going to be Tony Gonzalez’ final game in the NFL. It is a shame that his final season has been mostly a cluster. The only offensive factor that has been successful this season against the Panthers has been opposing tight ends. Seven of the eleven passing touchdowns they have allowed this year have come to tight ends. With this being his final game, I expect the Falcons to do everything in their power to send him out with a bang in front of his home fans.
Jason Witten, Cowboys vs. Eagles
Jason Witten has scored four touchdowns over the last five weeks. The Eagles have been tough on opposing tight ends this season, but Witten has averaged 64 yards against them over his career.
Antonio Gates, Chargers vs. Chiefs
The old man, Antonio Gates, gets another matchup with the Chiefs. He has a lot of experience against this team. For his career he has averaged 63.2 yards per game against them. He also has 13 touchdowns in 17 career games. Oh yeah, and the Chiefs are planning on benching their starters.
Joseph Fauria, Lions @ Vikings
The Vikings have given up the second most touchdowns to the TE position. They have been dominated particularly at the goal line by big targets. It doesn’t get much bigger than 6’7” and 255 (I think both of those numbers are underscored BTW). Joseph Fauria caught a touchdown earlier this year versus the Minnesota Vikings; and the Lions will be without Brandon Pettigrew and quite possibly Calvin Johnson this week.
Greg Olsen ($8342), Delanie Walker ($7761), Marcedes Lewis ($7474), Martellus Bennett ($7457), Charles Clay ($6975), Ryan Griffin ($6144), Heath Miller ($5361), Dennis Pitta ($5157), Brandon Myers ($5066), Coby Fleener ($4763)
Julius Thomas ($10199), Jordan Cameron ($7114), Tim Wright ($5550), Jermaine Gresham ($5505), Andrew Quarless ($4430)
So this week I am going to help you ring in the New Year with some Beer-Tails. The first one is time and classic the next two are new to me, and hopefully new and enjoyable to you. Instead of breaking out just some boring bottle of Asti on the 31st mix things up with these concoctions! Note I’m not including a couple of my favorite Irish drop-shot mixed drinks such as Irish Car Bombs and Johnny Jump-Ups. These are both delicious and should be explored and tried but they are very main stream.
1) Black Velvet
Makeup: Traditionally poured half-and-half (you can use your black and tan spoon to layer this). This beer will be stout and champagne. There is also a poor man’s version – I drank a lot of this as a kid – featuring Guinness and hard cider.
Overall: An Irish pub classic with the cider and Guinness, this holiday beauty can be produced using any combo of sparkling wines/champagnes/ciders and stouts. Everyone wants cider on New Year’s Eve; this is a great opportunity to get these people to try a dark beer with it.
2) Tennessee Moon
Makeup: Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey, Lemon Sour, Apple Brandy, Angostura, Blue Moon Beer, Orange peel and lemon peel on the rim.
Overall: Blue Moon never saw this coming. Imagine injecting this brew with whiskey and apples and then picture yourself around the fire on a cold fall day slamming back some cocktails with your friends.
3) Great Pumking (courtesy of Borough and Parlour restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Makeup: Pumking, Lime, Ginger Beer, Black Bottle Scotch, Blackstrap Bitters
Overall: You had me at Pumking and scotch, and then you threw some of my favorite flavor profiles into it. I know what I’m making this weekend. Or maybe I’ll just go over to Borough and Parlour and work my way through their fall cocktail menu! By the way for those Huddlers in the Twin Cities this restaurant in the North Loop is one of the best new restaurants in the city. You should definitely check them out both for their food and their speakeasy-esque cocktails.