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The Fantasy 6-Pack - Week 16
Paul Sandy
December 24, 2010
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Quarterback

  • Don’t be afraid to place your championship hopes on the shoulders of Tampa’s Josh Freeman this week. Freeman and the Bucs will host Seattle. The Seahawks play poorly on the road and this trip will have them flying clear across the country. Seattle’s defense has yielded monster fantasy performances (3+ TDs) to opposing QBs in four of their last five outings. The Six-Pack likes Freeman’s chances of putting up 250 yards and two scores at a minimum.
  • It’d be a gutty call but rolling with Denver rookie QB Tim Tebow in your championship game could be worth the risk. Tebow will face a Texans defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to QBs in 2010. Every QB to face Houston this year has turned in a quality fantasy performance except Tennessee third-stringer Rusty Smith. Tebow has the upside to net you three total touchdowns with at least one of them coming on the ground.
  • Look for Saints QB Drew Brees to notch his third straight three-touchdown game this week against the Falcons. Atlanta’s defense has held up well in the last three outings. However, that was against Charlie Whitehurst, Jimmy Clausen and Josh Freeman. Brees has historically given the Falcons fits; he has recorded multiple touchdowns in eight straight games against them. Bank on 300 yards and three scores here.
  • Look for alternatives to Jay Culter, who will face a Jets defense that has held five of the last six QBs they’ve faced to just one passing score. Cutler fared well last week in the elements against a Vikings defense that has given up. But he’s been too inconsistent to trust with the fantasy title on the line. Cutler has thrown one touchdown or less in three of his last five outings.

This Week’s Sleepers: Josh Freeman, Tim Tebow, Rex Grossman and Jon Kitna

Running Back

  • Earlier this week, it looked like Cowboys RB Tashard Choice would provide tremendous upside for fantasy owners. After all, the downtrodden Cardinals defense is up next. The Cards have allowed the second most fantasy points to RBs this season. Plus Marion Barber and now Felix Jones were both ailing and looked iffy for Saturday’s game. However, reports out of Dallas now suggest that all three RBs will play and split carries. Even with the cushy matchup, it might be best to avoid Dallas’ RBs all together unless you like to live dangerously.
  • Fantasy owners desperate for some help could lean on Marshawn Lynch, who will face a Bucs defense that has suffered some key injuries. Tampa has been gashed by the likes of Maurice Morris and Ryan Torain over the last two games. Lynch hasn’t been anything special but the positive matchup gives him a good chance to put up 85 yards and a touchdown.
  • Don’t chase Brandon Jackson’s 99-yard effort from last week. Jackson saw a spike in carries with Aaron Rodgers on the sideline. With Rodgers back this week, Green Bay won’t be so balanced. Plus the Packers will face a tough defensive test against the Giants. New York has allowed the third fewest fantasy points to RBs in 2010.
  • Joseph Addai is slated to return to action this week. If you held onto him this long, you might be tempted to plug him into your active lineup this week. That would be far too risky considering he’s coming off a lengthy layoff and the Colts are likely to split the carries among their suddenly deep backfield. Indianapolis faces a schizophrenic Raiders run defense that can shut down runners one week (Mike Tolbert and Rashard Mendenhall) and get bloodied by them the next (Ricky Williams and Maurice Jones-Drew). The Six-Pack recommends owners err on the side of caution with Addai.

This Week’s Sleepers: Marshawn Lynch, Danny Woodhead, Michael Bush and Brian Westbrook

Wide Receiver

  • Ravens wideout Anquan Boldin has been tough to figure out this season but the Six-Pack likes him against the Browns. Boldin had a huge game earlier this year against Cleveland, posting 142 yards and three touchdowns. Cleveland has been relatively tough against opposing wideouts, allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points to the position. However, that doesn’t tell the full story. The Browns have allowed 14 receiving touchdowns. Nine of them went to opposing No. 1 receivers. Boldin should reach pay dirt this weekend.
  • The Texans have been victimized by opposing No. 2 WRs this season, making Jabar Gaffney a sneaky plug-and-play option for Week 16. Take a look at the stats of recent No. 2 WR who have torched the Texans: Nate Washington (2-20-1), Derrick Mason (6-78-2), Braylon Edwards (4-86-1), Mike Thomas (8-149-1), Seyi Ajirotutu (4-111-2) and Pierre Garcon (7-78-0). Gaffney is worth starting as a WR3 or flex, especially in PPR formats.
  • Get Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn some work this week against the Seahawks. Seattle has allowed 10 WR touchdowns in their last five games. Factoring in the entire season, the Seahawks have allowed the third most fantasy points to the position this season. Look for Williams and Benn to combine for 185 yards and a couple scores.
  • With Terrell Owens out, you might be tempted to activate Bengals wideout Chad Ochocinco. The Six-Pack advises against that move. San Diego has allowed the second fewest fantasy points to WRs this year. With the exception of Brandon Lloyd, opposing No. 1 receivers haven’t done anything of note against the Chargers over the last six weeks. Plus it looks like Ochocinco will likely only play half of Cincinnati’s snaps this week. He’s unlikely to help fantasy squads until 2011.

This Week’s Sleepers: Jabar Gaffney, Steve Breaston, Mike Williams (SEA) and Lance Moore

Tight End

  • Giants TE Kevin Boss has gone from fantasy afterthought at the beginning of the year to must-start TE. He’s scored in five of New York’s last seven games and faces a dream matchup in Week 16 against the Packers. Green Bay has ceded five TE touchdowns in the last four weeks. Start Boss with confidence.
  • The Dolphins defense has allowed just one TE touchdown in their last 11 games. Consider benching Detroit’s Brandon Pettigrew, who has cooled off lately after a red hot midseason stretch. All three of Pettigrew’s touchdowns this year have come at home . . . another bad sign since this game will be played in Miami.

This Week’s Sleepers: Kevin Boss, Jimmy Graham and Randy McMichael

Kicker

  • Dallas kicker David Buehler is a must-start Saturday against the Cardinals. As improbable as it sounds, Arizona has allowed kickers to connect on multiple field goals in 12 out of 14 games this season. They’ve allowed the most points to the position by a wide margin. Meanwhile, Buehler has been lights out lately, posting double-digit points in four straight games. If Buehler doesn’t put up 11 points, the Six-Pack would be shocked.
  • There’s no sense in trusting a kicker who has lost his confidence. That appears to be the case with Dan Carpenter who missed four field goals in Sunday’s loss to the Bills. Bench him and look for an alternative. Carpenter has a less than ideal matchup against the Lions this week anyway. Detroit has allowed multiple field goal kicks just once in their last six games.

This Week’s Sleepers: David Buehler and Josh Brown

Team Defense / Special Teams

  • The Philadelphia Eagles defense could make the difference for fantasy owners in Week 16 with a dream matchup against the Vikings. Minnesota will start either Brett Favre or Joe Webb. In either case, Philly should get plenty of opportunities to stir up trouble. Last week against the blitz-heavy Bears, Minnesota gave up six turnovers and a special teams TD. If the Eagles don’t score a defensive touchdown this week, it would be a disappointment.
  • The Bengals have ceded five DST touchdowns in their last six games. Give the San Diego Chargers defense the nod this week and look for a nice fantasy contribution. Prior to last week against the Browns, QB Carson Palmer had been sacked multiple times in six straight games and had thrown a boatload of interceptions. With their season on the line, look for the Bolts defense to make an impact.

This Week’s Sleepers: St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Six-Pack

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

Brewed by: Mississippi Brewing Company, Utica, New York

Price: $3.99 (1 jug)

Appearance: This brew is uniquely packaged in a brown jug. Much like you’d see in an episode of the Dukes of Hazard—one with a plot that revolved around moonshine smuggling. The color resembles that of cola, although the head is somewhat thicker and frothier. The beer isn’t “black and tan” in the layered-style ale/stout combination you’d get in an Irish bar. Instead, this beer is a blend of porter and pilsner styles.  

Smell: The aroma is all malt all the time. Some roasted nuttiness, perhaps.

Taste: The beer is a blend but it’s a pretty lopsided distribution of flavors—heavily weighted to the porter side. It has some bitter coffee, roasted malt and earthy flavors. The only purpose the pilsner serves seems to be to dilute it all down. I suppose maybe that’s the purpose. In the end, it sort of tastes like a brown ale.

Drinkability: Fairly watery and loose. ABV is 5%.

Last Call: Overall not a terrible beer. It might be a good dark beer to stock in the fridge during the summer since it’s not as heavy as a standard porter and has a refreshing quality to it. I’ll give it two out of five stars.

Next Week's Six-Pack: None

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