- The Six-Pack advises owners of Mark Sanchez to lower their expectations this week. The game will be played in the Meadowlands, where it looks like weather will be a factor. Sanchez hasn’t proven he can perform when the mercury dips and the wind blows. Let’s examine his numbers in four career “cold weather” regular season games in December and January. In those four outings, Sanchez posted a miserable 2:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio, completed just 52% of his passes and averaged only 139.3 passing yards per game. With the weather forecast calling for rain and wind, it’s best to look in a different direction and bench Sanchez.
- Don’t fear the Eagles defense this week if you’re a Jon Kitna owner. Philly has allowed opposing QBs to throw multiple touchdowns in seven of their last eight games. Despite some injuries to his receiving targets, Kitna should be able to net you a useful stat line in Week 14. Look for something in the neighborhood of 285 yards with two scores.
- Texans QB Matt Schaub finally showed some life last week against the Eagles. But don’t chase his performance. Another multi-touchdown 300-yard effort is unlikely against the Ravens. Baltimore has only allowed one QB (Matt Ryan) to throw for multiple touchdowns in their last five games. Overall, the Ravens have given up the fourth fewest fantasy points to QBs this year.
- On the flip side, the Texans have allowed quality fantasy performances in every game but one this season. The only reason Joe Flacco should be on your bench this week is if you have an elite QB. There have been some grumblings recently about Baltimore’s offense and their inability to score touchdowns. However, the bottom line is Flacco has put up at least 260 yards and a touchdown in seven straight games. Look for a three touchdown game on Monday night.
This Week’s Sleepers: Jon Kitna, Drew Stanton, Alex Smith and Matt Hasselbeck
- If you’re placing bets on which player will be the top fantasy RB in Week 13, Michael Turner should be at or very near the top of your list. Turner has owned the Panthers in recent meetings. He has three straight 100-yard performances against Carolina with five touchdowns over that stretch. It’s also worth noting the Panthers have been wretched against RBs lately, allowing nine RB scores in their last four games. Turner is a good bet to hang 120 yards and two scores on the board this week.
- If you acquired Brian Westbrook via free agency last week, the move obviously didn’t pay immediate dividends. He was rendered irrelevant by the Packers. Don’t lose faith though. Starting the veteran RB versus the Seahawks is a savvy move. Seattle has allowed at least one RB score in nine straight games. RBs have averaged 53 yards receiving against them per game — second most in the NFL. Given Westbrook’s skills as a pass catcher, it’s easy to picture him ending this game with 90+ all-purpose yards and a touchdown.
- Consider moving New York’s Brandon Jacobs to the bench this week against the Vikings. Minnesota’s run defense is air tight at home. They haven’t allowed an opposing RB to score a touchdown at Mall of America Field this year. While Jacobs has been getting more work lately, his fantasy value is still largely predicated on his ability to score touchdowns. His chances of crossing the stripe against the Purple are slim so it’s a good idea to avoid him if you have a good alternative.
- If you’re a low seed in the playoffs and need a high upside RB, roll the dice with hot free agent pickup James Starks this week against the Lions. Detroit has allowed multiple touchdowns in three of their last four games. They’ve allowed the fourth most fantasy points to RBs this season. If the Packers get out to a lead, Starks could again approach 20 carries, which would have him flirting with 100 yards and a touchdown.
This Week’s Sleepers: Brian Westbrook, James Starks, Tashard Choice, LaGarrette Blount and Ryan Torain
- Packers wideout Donald Driver has scored or put up 100 yards in six straight games against the Lions. He looks healthy for the first time in awhile and is useful this week. Detroit has been touched up by opposing No. 2 WRs this season, including: Earl Bennett (7-104-0), Deion Branch (3-113-2), Braylon Edwards (3-78-1), Anthony Armstrong (3-92-0) and Danny Amendola (12-95-0). Look for Driver to chip in 75 yards and a score.
- Avoid Chad Ochocinco this week against the Steelers unless you’re desperate. I know #85 finally showed up last week against New Orleans, but his track record against Pittsburgh is horrible. In his last 10 outings against the Steel Curtain, Ochocinco has just one touchdown and zero 100-yard games. He’s a WR3 at best.
- Look for Miles Austin to come up big on Sunday against the Eagles. With Dez Bryant out for the season, Austin should get plenty of looks. Eagles top corner Asante Samuel (knee) suffered a setback in practice this week and seems unlikely to play. That’s another plus for Austin who has recorded seven receptions in two straight games against Philly. Austin should go for 90 yards and a touchdown here.
- As the week has progressed, it’s become more and more likely that Giants WRs Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks will play this week against the Vikings. Their return pushes Mario Manningham down the depth chart and he should be considered a matchup-based option going forward. Considering this week’s opponent, the Vikings, have allowed multiple WR touchdowns in just one of their last seven games, Manningham should be benched in all but the deepest fantasy leagues.
This Week’s Sleepers: Donald Driver, Earl Bennett, Derrick Mason, Robert Meachem and Roy Williams
- Texans TE Owen Daniels (hamstring) makes his long awaited return to action this week. With a couple TEs getting nicked up last weekend, you might be tempted to take a flier on Daniels. On any other week, that might not be such a bad idea. However, Houston faces a Baltimore defense that has allowed the second fewest fantasy points to TEs this year. In fact, they’ve allowed just one TE touchdown in their last nine games. Wait another week before trusting Daniels.
- Cleveland TE Ben Watson posted a career game last week (10-100-1). Don’t be too quick to dismiss it as a fluke. Watson has been solid this season and is Cleveland’s most reliable receiver. He should fare well again versus a Buffalo defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points to TEs. The Bills also give up 27.3 points per game, third most in the NFL.
This Week’s Sleepers: Ben Watson and Jimmy Graham
- Be mindful of the weather this weekend, especially when it comes to the kicking game. Forecasts suggest the country will be blanketed with poor weather on Sunday. Kickers who could be impacted include Shayne Graham, Robbie Gould, Nick Folk, Dan Carpenter, Rian Lindell, Phil Dawson, Graham Gano, Connor Barth and Shaun Suisham.
- As a general rule, whatever kicker happens to be facing the Cardinals on a given Sunday will produce useful fantasy numbers. Every single kicker to face Arizona this season has scored seven or more points. With so many kickers potentially facing the prospect of kicking in bad weather, it might be in your best interests to grab Denver’s Matt Prater.
This Week’s Sleepers: Matt Prater and Dave Rayner
Team Defense / Special Teams
- You probably don’t want to drop the Chicago Bears defense but if you have a roster spot to claim a second defense, the move makes sense. Chicago faces Tom Brady and the Patriots, who have ceded the fewest fantasy points to opposing DSTs. Brady has thrown just one interception in his last seven games. The Bears might get you a token sack or two but they’re highly unlikely to get you much else. When your season is on the line, every point counts, so check to see what else is available.
- After they got embarrassed by the Patriots on Monday night, the New York Jets will be out for blood this week. A well-timed home game against the Dolphins will have them tasting it, too. Miami QBs have thrown at least one interception in 10 straight games. They’ve also been sacked 10 times in the last three contests. The fact that this game will be played in rain and wind makes the Jets all the more attractive against the warm weather Dolphins.
This Week’s Sleepers: Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos
This Week's Six-Pack: Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale
Brewed by: Brewery Du Bocq for brewery Corsendonk, Oud-Turnhout, Belgium
Appearance: Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale comes in a brown wine-sized bottle (750 ml) topped off with a cork. The “best before” date on the neck indicates it should’ve been consumed by 11/25/10. It’s at least a couple weeks past its prime. The first thing I noticed about the appearance of the beer itself is that the head was extreme — four fingers thick. It resembled root beer in the glass, both in terms of the head and the color.
Smell: Smells a little fruity, which was somewhat surprising. Also had some yeast aromas along with a smoky peat quality.
Taste: Up front, dark fruits (raisins and dates) are the dominant flavor. But that gives way to butterscotch or toffee. Finally at the end, a licorice aftertaste along with an earthiness kicks in. Overall an interesting dance of flavors. Maybe a little too light in intensity.
Drinkability: 7.5% ABV is masked nicely. A buttery quality to this beer makes it go down smoothly. I easily pushed through the full bottle.
Last Call: An enjoyable brew overall. Easy drinking and well-balanced — but it misses the mark a bit in terms of complexity and depth of flavor. Four stars out of five.
Next Week's Six-Pack: Buffalo Sweat Stout, Tallgrass Brewing, Manhattan, KS
Past Beer Reviews