- Not only is Bucs QB Josh Freeman a clutch performer, he’s also a viable fantasy QB. Under common scoring systems, Freeman is averaging about 15-16 fantasy points per week. Better still, Freeman is as consistent as they come. If you’re in a tricky situation with a QB who’s on bye or injured, roll with the Bucs QB. He should post a useful stat line against the Falcons. In their last two outings, Atlanta has allowed 355.5 passing yards per game with five TDs though the air.
- I’d go out of my way to find an alternative to Carson Palmer this week. The Bengals QB has been miserable from a fantasy standpoint against the rival Steelers. In his last four games versus Pittsburgh, Palmer has not exceeded 205 yards passing nor has he thrown for multiple touchdowns. The Steelers also happen to be allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points to passers this season. Palmer would be fortunate to escape this game with 220 yards and a touchdown.
- Lower your expectations for Drew Brees. Brees shot down reports that he’s been playing with a fracture and a torn meniscus in his left knee. Whether he’s healthy or not, Brees continues to produce and is a top 5 QB for fantasy purposes. And yet things just don’t seem to be as crisp for him this year. Maybe it’s the nine interceptions. Whatever the case, a matchup against the Panthers this week isn’t necessarily going to help matters. Brees hasn’t fared too well against Carolina, especially from a TD perspective. He has just two multi-TD performances in nine career meetings with the Panthers.
- Don’t automatically assume that Mark Sanchez is in for a monster performance just because he’s facing the Lions. Detroit has quietly been making strides on the defensive side of the ball. In their last five games, the Lions have held every QB they’ve faced to 210 yards or less through the air. This includes Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning and Brett Favre. Yes, Rodgers and Manning posted multiple touchdowns. But the point is the Lions secondary is better than you think. Sanchez figures to finish this contest with less than 210 yards and a touchdown.
This Week’s Sleepers: Josh Freeman, Chad Henne, Matthew Stafford and Brett Favre
- Chargers RB Darren Sproles is teetering on must-start status this week for PPR leaguers. Sproles has been a major fantasy contributor while a number of San Diego’s pass catchers have been nicked up. He has put up 77 yards in two straight games and he scored a touchdown last week. Sproles also leads the team with 13 receptions over those two outings. Look for another useful contribution from him as he takes advantage of a choice matchup against the Texans. Houston ranks dead last in the NFL against the pass. Not only do they give up the most yardage, they also allow the third most receptions per game. Sproles has an outside chance to catch double-digit passes this week.
- Cowboys RB Felix Jones will be hard pressed to turn things around this week against the Packers. Jones has been mired in a three game slump, failing to produce more than 35 rushing yards in any game since early October. The tailspin figures to continue since Green Bay has allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to RBs this year. Keep Jones out of your lineup until the Cowboys show some pluck on offense.
- Twenty rushes per game is a sexy number for a fantasy running back. If you own a RB that gets that amount of work per week, you can get a leg up on the competition in your league. Only six RBs in the NFL are achieving that benchmark. One dark-horse candidate to join Club 20 over the second half of the year is LeGarrette Blount. Blount powered his way to 22 carries last week and he didn’t get his first rush attempt until late in the first quarter. He gives Tampa’s offense the physical presence it’s been lacking. Look for the team to continue to pound the undrafted rookie game after game. Although the Falcons pose a challenge in Week 9, Blount will get enough work to net you at least 85 yards with a touchdown.
- Seahawks RBs Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett have no business being in your lineup this week against the Giants. Seattle’s offensive line is in shambles. Due to injuries, the team will likely be forced to start the game with its fifth different offensive line configuration of the season this week. They’ll no doubt struggle to find any continuity against a Giants defense that ranks third in the NFL against the rush. Don’t be surprised if Lynch and Forsett combine for fewer than 65 yards rushing.
This Week’s Sleepers: Darren Sproles, Brandon Jackson, Julius Jones, Chester Taylor and Shonn Greene
- The Six-Pack is banking on a breakout game for Wes Welker against the Browns. Welker hasn’t exceeded 70 yards receiving this year and hasn’t crossed the stripe since Week 2. Welker’s arrow is pointing up this week though. Cleveland has given up some huge games to opposing #1 WRs over the last five games. They’ve been bloodied by Marques Colston (10-112-1), Hines Ward (5-54-1), Roddy White (5-101-1), Terrell Owens (10-222-1) and Anquan Boldin (8-142-3). Look for Welker to find the endzone and reach season highs in receptions and yardage.
- The Ravens secondary has been vulnerable of late. They’ve allowed an eye-bulging seven touchdowns to WRs in their last three games. Taking into account their full body of work this season, Baltimore’s defense has yielded the eleventh most fantasy points to wideouts. Start your Dolphins WRs if you normally would. Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess have an excellent chance to combine for 15 receptions, 170 yards and a touchdown or two.
- If you haven’t already done so, this might be a good time to move Chad Ochocinco to the bench. #85 will face a Steelers defense that’s historically held him in check. In his last 10 games against the Steel Curtain, Johnson/Ochocinco has failed to score a touchdown or post 100 yards. It’s a slump that dates back to 2005. The days of Ochocinco’s highlight reel touchdown celebrations are long gone.
- Count on a big performance from Anquan Boldin, who faces a Dolphins defense that has ceded five WR touchdowns in the last three games. Four of those scores went to the opponents’ top WR. It’s also worth noting that the Ravens are averaging 30.7 points per game at home this year. Look for Boldin to play an integral role in another 30+ point effort on Sunday.
This Week’s Sleepers: Davone Bess, Mario Manningham, Michael Jenkins and James Jones
- Take a look at Ben Watson as a sneaky TE play this week. Watson leads Cleveland with 30 receptions. Prior to getting shut down by a stingy Saints pass defense in his last game, Watson had pulled down five or more receptions in four straight games. He’ll have added incentive this week going up against his former team, the Patriots. New England has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to TEs. Watson has a decent shot to put up 55 yards and a score.
- Start Detroit’s Brandon Pettigrew even though the Jets defense has allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to TEs this year. The bottom line on New York is they gave up four useful fantasy stat lines to TEs at the beginning of the season. They managed to stymie the last three TEs they faced but we’re talking about Donald Lee, Daniel Graham and a gimpy Visanthe Shiancoe. Look for Pettigrew to put up 60+ yards and a handful of receptions.
This Week’s Sleepers: Ben Watson, Owen Daniels and Randy McMichael
- Due to Minnesota’s lackluster offense this season, Ryan Longwell is lurking on lots of waiver wires. If you’re lacking confidence in your regular kicker this week, Longwell might not be a bad one-week fill-in. The Vikings will play host to a Cardinals defense that has been generous to opposing kickers. In fact, every kicker that’s faced the Cards this season has booted multiple field goals. Don’t fret about Minnesota’s offense. Adrian Peterson should have no trouble moving the ball against an Arizona run defense that ranks fourth worst in the NFL.
- Don’t overlook Chargers replacement kicker Kris Brown. He’s scored 17 points in two starts since Nate Kaeding was sidelined with a groin pull. Brown should have another productive outing against the Texans. Houston has allowed the sixth most fantasy points to kickers in 2010. Look for Brown to chip in eight points this week (not including yardage bonuses).
This Week’s Sleepers: Ryan Longwell, Kris Brown and Garrett Hartley
Team Defense / Special Teams
- The New York Giants defense could propel many fantasy squads to a victory this week. They’ll face a Seahawks outfit that will be without starting QB Matt Hasselbeck. Instead the team will start Charlie Whitehurst, who has never attempted a pass in the NFL. Whitehurst will also be playing behind a makeshift offensive line that’s been ravaged by injuries. Considering the Giants have knocked five QBs out of games this season and they rank third in the NFL with 24 sacks, Whitehurst could be in for a long afternoon. Look for the G-Men to register at least four sacks and two turnovers with a good chance for a defensive score.
- Coming off their best performance of the season last week against the Steelers, the New Orleans Saints defense is worth a look for Week 10. They’ll square off against the Panthers and QB Matt Moore. Moore has thrown multiple interceptions in three of the five games he’s played this season. Taking into account the full season and both QBs the team has used, Carolina has given up an NFL-high 13 interceptions and they’re tied for sixth with 21 sacks allowed. Oh, and they’ve lost 10 fumbles. Play the Saints and expect good things to happen.
This Week’s Sleepers: New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans
This Week's Six-Pack: Fischer Tradition Amber (France)
Brewed by: Brasserie Fischer, France
Appearance: Fischer Tradition Amber is packaged in a brown bottle with a concave shape. It doesn’t have a label on the body. Instead it’s embossed with the brewery logo and shield. There’s a small neck label that doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than to house the government warning and a barcode. The beer glugs out of the unique bottle and forms a respectable off-white head. It diminishes after a few minutes. The color looked out-of-bounds for a beer classified as an amber. It sort of had a brown stained look to it with maybe a slight red tinge. Very clear and filtered.
Smell: Light in this area. Hints of apple, yeast and something sour.
Taste: Oh my. Not good. Maybe it’s because I love a good American amber beer but this just seems all wrong. It starts out fruity but it’s also watered down. If you’ve ever added water to a toddler’s apple juice and had a sip, that’s kind of what we’re dealing with here. Diluted and dull. The finish is sour and a bit like a bad Chardonnay.
Drinkability: Light bodied but I lost interest midway through.
Last Call: My first French beer might be my last. One star out of five.
Next Week's Six-Pack: Carnegie Stark-Porter (Sweden)
Past Beer Reviews