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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

The Fantasy 6-Pack - Week 15
Paul Sandy
December 17, 2010
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Quarterback

  • The Redskins secondary might not be as bad as you think, so don’t automatically assume Jon Kitna will carry your club to the championship. Yes, Washington has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to QBs. However, peel off a layer of the onion and you’ll see that those numbers were inflated by a couple huge performances, namely Michael Vick’s 6-TD effort. All told, Washington has allowed just four passers to toss multiple scores this season. Not too shabby. They’ve also only allowed one passing touchdown since Week 11. Kitna is playable but don’t set your expectations too high.
  • Giants QB Eli Manning is worth activating against the Eagles. Philadelphia has allowed opposing QBs to tally two or more scores in eight of their last nine outings. Philly has given up the sixth most fantasy points to the QB position. With Hakeem Nicks back to full strength, Manning should find a way to post some useful numbers. I’d look for at least 250 yards and two scores.
  • Consider your alternatives before rolling with Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick. Buffalo faces a Miami defense that has been surprisingly effective against opposing QBs. They’ve held the last five passers they’ve faced to one touchdown or less. Considering the entire season, the Dolphins have allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to QBs. Fitzpatrick is a mediocre option for Week 15.
  • Matt Schaub has been a disappointment in 2010 but he’s worth a start this week against the Titans. Schaub has posted useful stat lines in four straight games against Tennessee. He has also been heating up of late, notching multiple TD passes in three straight games and four out of five. With TE Owen Daniels back in the mix, Schaub is worth trusting with your season on the line.

This Week’s Sleepers: Kerry Collins, Sam Bradford, Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Cassel

Running Back

  • Cardinals RB Tim Hightower will make a fine RB2 or flex option this week against the Panthers. Carolina has been bludgeoned by opposing runners of late. They’ve allowed a shocking nine RB scores in the last three weeks. Hightower has 15 or more touches in two straight games and has supplanted the enigmatic Beanie Wells as the team’s workhorse. Also worth noting: Wells has been battling a stomach illness since last week and has missed practice time. If Hightower gets 15-20 carries this week, there’s a good chance he puts up 100 yards and a touchdown or two.
  • If your roster is feeling a little crowded and you need room to pick up a free agent, I wouldn’t be too shy about dropping LaDainian Tomlinson or Shonn Greene at this point. Both players have been a liability for awhile now and the Jets schedule is brutal over the next couple games. Tomlinson and Greene should be benched this week against the Steelers and next week against the Bears. Frankly, I’d rather own Maurice Morris or Javarris James.
  • Get Jonathan Stewart or Mike Goodson some work this week at home against the Cardinals. Arizona has allowed 12 RB scores in their last seven games. Over that same seven game stretch, they’ve allowed six different RBs to post over 100 total yards from scrimmage. Stewart has been getting more carries of late and is the safer play. However, you can’t argue with Goodson’s production. He’s delivered useful fantasy numbers in five consecutive games.
  • Darren McFadden is a no-brainer play versus a Broncos defense that looks like it’s waving the white flag on most Sundays. McFadden should easily post 100 yards and a score. If you’re in a deep league and you’re desperate for RB help, you could even trot out Michael Bush—who could sneak into the endzone. The last time the Raiders faced the Broncos, they pounded the rock and their RBs collectively punched in a whopping six touchdowns. Look for another ground-based attack with Bush getting a crack or two at the endzone.

This Week’s Sleepers: Tim Hightower, Michael Bush, Maurice Morris, Rashad Jennings and Ricky Williams

Wide Receiver

  • You can pretty much etch a quality stat line in stone for Reggie Wayne this week. Wayne will go up against a Jacksonville team that he’s carved up over the last four years. In his last eight meetings with the Jags, he has put up seven 100+ yard games. That’s consistency. Look for Wayne to have a busy afternoon in this key divisional game. Jacksonville has allowed the seventh most fantasy points to wideouts.
  • Most teams opt to emphasize the running game when they go up against the Panthers defense. I’d look for that to be the case this week with Arizona and wouldn’t be surprised if Larry Fitzgerald had limited success on Sunday. Carolina has allowed just two WR scores in the last six weeks. They’ve done a bang-up job of containing No. 1 receivers, including Roddy White, Anquan Boldin, Mike Williams (TB) and Marques Colston. With a rookie QB under center against an experienced secondary, lower your forecast for Fitz.
  • There’s no time like the present to get Kenny Britt back into your lineup. After an extensive layoff with a hamstring injury, Britt returned last week and looked no worse for wear. He’ll square off against a Texans secondary that has allowed the second most fantasy points to WRs this season. Neither Britt nor Kerry Collins was around for the last meeting between these two clubs. I look for the duo to hook up for at least 80 yards and a score.
  • Broncos WR Brandon Lloyd has been huge surprise in 2010. If you made it this far and own Lloyd, chances are he was a key part of your run to the playoffs. Although moving him to your bench at this point might be hard to swallow, the case for making such a move is clear. Denver’s offense has looked out of sorts over the last couple games and Lloyd’s productivity has plummeted. Denver’s top wideout will also go up against a formidable secondary led by Nnamdi Asomugha. Lloyd was held in check the last time these two clubs met (1 rec. for 64 yds). The Six-Pack considers Lloyd to be a No. 3 WR and even that might be generous.

This Week’s Sleepers: Kenny Britt, Austin Collie, Arrelious Benn, Derek Hagen and Santana Moss

Tight End

  • Giants TE Kevin Boss is worth a spot start this week against the Eagles, who have allowed the most fantasy points to TEs this year. Interestingly, a Giants TE has scored a touchdown in each of the last five regular season meetings with Philly. With Steve Smith on the shelf again, Boss should get some looks in the red zone.
  • The Packers have ceded touchdowns to TEs in three straight games. They’ve allowed the ninth most fantasy points to the position this season. Look to the Patriots if you need to bolster your chances in the TE area this week. It’s difficult to project which New England TE is the best option on a given Sunday but I like Aaron Hernandez, who has scored in two straight home games and has been a strong fantasy contributor in home games as a whole.

This Week’s Sleepers: Kevin Boss, Aaron Hernandez and Bo Scaife

Kicker

  • The Six-Pack advises Mason Crosby owners to pay close attention to the health status of Aaron Rodgers. A decision on whether he will play is supposed to be made on Saturday. That will give you ample time to find an alternate kicker. If Rodgers is on the sideline, Green Bay’s chances of consistently moving the ball against New England are slim, making Crosby a risky option. The Patriots have allowed the seventh fewest fantasy points to kickers this season.
  • Play Texans kicker Neil Rackers with confidence this week against the Titans. Kickers have attempted 3.2 field goal attempts per game in the last seven weeks versus Tennessee. It’s no surprise the Titans have allowed the second most fantasy points to kickers this season.

This Week’s Sleepers: Neil Rackers, Garrett Hartley and Jay Feely

Team Defense / Special Teams

  • Bank on a big-time fantasy performance from the Chicago Bears DST this week against the Vikings. Minnesota will be playing their first outdoor home game in roughly 30 years. Plus they’ll be starting rookie QB Joe Webb. Look for Chicago to take advantage of Webb’s inexperience and post at least three turnovers with a couple sacks.
  • It’s a good time to jump ship if you’ve been using the Green Bay Packers defense this season. The Packers will go on the road to face Tom Brady and the Patriots. Brady has tossed just one interception in his last eight contests. While Green Bay is always a threat to record a couple sacks per game, you might be able to find a team with more upside on your waiver wire.

This Week’s Sleepers: Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons

The Six-Pack

This Week's Six-Pack: Buffalo Sweat Stout

Brewed by: Tallgrass Brewing, Manhattan, KS

Price: $7.99

Appearance: The marketer in me questions the decision to name a beverage after an animal excretion, but I’ll try to focus this review on the beer itself rather than the name.  Buffalo Sweat comes in a six-pack of four tall-boy, 1 pt. cans. It looks every bit like a stout should in the glass, inky black, completely opaque and topped off with a tan frothy head.

Smell: The aroma was also true to form. It smelled of roasted coffee, malt and a smoky soot-like aroma that reminded me of my fireplace chimney.

Taste: The taste follows in lockstep with the aroma. Roasted coffee dominates above all. You’ll also get some sweetness and dark chocolate flavors that dance around in the mouth. The aftertaste is identical to a dark roast coffee with a couple teaspoons of sugar in it. A tasty stout to be sure.

Drinkability: My only complaint is that it’s perhaps a little thin and doesn’t have the stick-to-your-bones heft of some other stouts the Six-Pack has reviewed. Nonetheless, it’s a solid stout that goes down the hatch quite nicely.

Last Call: Buffalo Sweat isn’t perfect but it’s a stout that’s worth your time and money. Four stars out of five.

Next Week's Six-Pack: Mississippi Mud, Black and Tan

Past Beer Reviews

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