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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

The Fantasy 6-Pack: Week 10
Paul Sandy
November 11, 2011
 

Quarterback

  • Benching Tom Brady this week against the Jets would be over-thinking your lineup decisions. Yes, New York has allowed the fewest fantasy points to QBs this season but this is Brady we’re talking about here. In his last five games against the Jets, his worst fantasy performance was 310 yards with one touchdown. He’ll find a way to get you some decent production. Unless your QB position is stacked with a guy like Cam Newton backing up Brady, there’s no reason to get cute.
  • Ravens QB Joe Flacco has gone over 300 yards passing in three of his last four games. Yet during that four-game stretch, he has thrown just two touchdowns. The Six-Pack believes those numbers are a bit of an anomaly. Baltimore has drawn a number of pass interference penalties in the endzone setting up several one-yard touchdown runs by Ray Rice, which might have otherwise been passing scores for Flacco. A matchup this week against the Seahawks favors a more meaty fantasy stat line for Flacco. Look for 280 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.
  • Although Tampa’s pass defense isn’t terrific, the Bucs are even worse against the run. You get the feeling this might be another game in which the Texans pound the ball on the ground. In the last three games, Houston QB Matt Schaub has averaged just 25.3 pass attempts per game. The ground-and-pound strategy has paid off as the team has gone 3-0 over that stretch. Given the lack of passing opportunities, it’s hard to trust Schaub as a starting fantasy QB. Consider other options.
  • The Six-Pack isn’t entirely sold on the Lions secondary. Detroit ranks sixth in pass defense but they’ve only faced two really strong aerial attacks this year (Dallas and Atlanta). In those games, both Tony Romo and Matt Ryan managed to turn in useful fantasy numbers. Jay Cutler will be fine in Week 10. He passed for a serviceable 249 yards and a touchdown one month ago against Detroit. Chicago’s offense and pass protection are much better now than they were then. Expect Cutler to post 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

This Week’s Sleepers: Joe Flacco, Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Mark Sanchez

Running Back

  • As if Tampa’s run defense wasn’t leaky enough, the club will now be without DT Gerald McCoy, who suffered a season-ending biceps injury Sunday. The Buccaneers have the seventh-worst run defense and only three teams have allowed more fantasy points to RBs. What’s more, they’ve given up the second-most runs of 20+ yards. Those explosive plays point to a productive afternoon for backup bruiser Ben Tate. Tate should have little difficulty turning his 12-14 carries into a useful stat line. Look for at least 70 yards and a score. 
  • It’d be easy enough to recommend owners bench Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch outright this week against the Ravens. After all, Baltimore has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to RBs this season. However, the Six-Pack is going against the grain. Lynch has proven time and again that he can put up a helpful stat line even when facing stiff competition. He has scored in four straight games—the last two coming against the elite run defenses of the Bengals and Cowboys. Also, the Ravens aren’t terrific on the road and they’ve given up serviceable fantasy numbers to RBs in every away game this year. Lynch won’t come close to matching his 23-135-1 effort from a week ago but he’ll chip in okay RB2 or flex stats . . . say 75 yards with a possible score.
  • Owners of Brandon Jacobs should look in a different direction this week. The Giants face a 49ers defense that has not allowed a single rushing score all season. Even with Ahmad Bradshaw likely out for the game, Jacobs will struggle to get anything going. The 49ers have already shut down power RBs like LeGarrette Blount and Cedric Benson.
  • The lightbulb must’ve turned on for the Rams a couple weeks ago because after being gashed by RB after RB, their defense has improved dramatically of late. St. Louis held both the Saints and the Cardinals to just 70 yards on the ground. With the Rams no longer playing like total pushovers, Cleveland third-string RB Chris Ogbonnaya remains a desperation option for fantasy owners. Ogbonnaya seemed out of his league last week against the Texans. The Six-Pack doesn’t see him netting more than 60 yards in this game.

This Week’s Sleepers: Ben Tate, Jackie Battle, Deji Karim and Pierre Thomas

Wide Receiver

  • Packers wideout Greg Jennings has absolutely tormented the Vikings. In his last four meetings with the Purple, he’s logged six touchdowns, averaging 113.5 yards per game. Jennings has a good chance to be this week’s top fantasy wideout. Minnesota allows the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs.
  • In the last eight weeks, the Steelers have not allowed an opposing No. 1 wideout to score a touchdown. Bengals rookie WR A.J. Green has earned every-week-starter status but his chances of scoring are slim. Keep in mind, Week 10 represents Green’s and QB Andy Dalton’s first exposure to the vaunted Steel Curtain. Also worth noting: This will be the third time Dalton has faced an NFL 3-4 defense. The prior two exposures to the 3-4 were versus San Francisco and Buffalo. Those two games were Dalton’s worst from a statistical perspective (completion percentage and passer rating). Green failed to score in both, as well. Recalibrate your expectations for the Bengals passing game accordingly.
  • Since returning to the Patriots last season, WR Deion Branch has scored in all three meetings with the Jets. He’s worth a look as a WR3 this week and could get plenty of targets if CB Darrelle Revis shadows Wes Welker as is expected.
  • Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon owners should look elsewhere for WR help this week. Wayne has never seemed to get in-synch with QB Curtis Painter. Garcon flashed early but his production has been marginal the last month. Both players will have a difficult go of it against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to WRs this season. They’re also one of just eight NFL teams that give up fewer than 200 passing yards per game.

This Week’s Sleepers: Deion Branch, Jason Hill, Jonathan Baldwin, Laurent Robinson and Torrey Smith

Tight End

  • Jermichael Finley has been a beast on Monday Night Football. His last three MNF stat lines are: 6-128-1, 7-79-2, and 9-115-0. He has also scored in two straight games against the Vikings. Look for Finley to play a more prominent role this week than he has over the last month. The Vikings have allowed three TE touchdowns in their last two outings. Something in the neighborhood of six catches for 80 yards and a score sounds right for Finley.
  • The Bears defense has been susceptible to opposing TEs this season. They’ve surrendered a TE touchdown in five of their last six games. One of the TEs who crossed the stripe over that six-game stretch was Brandon Pettigrew, who will face Chicago again this week. Make sure you have Pettigrew active and look for a touchdown with a minimum of 60 yards.

This Week’s Sleepers: Brent Celek and Dennis Pitta

Kicker

  • The Colts own the worst defense in the NFL, giving up 31.4 points per game. If you don’t like your kicking situation this week, you could press Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee into action. He’s perfect this year on his kicking attempts. Maurice Jones-Drew should help the Jags advance the ball into Indianapolis territory enough to make Scobee relevant in Week 10.
  • The Texans have held the last three kickers they’ve faced to an average of 3.3 points per game. After a ten-point effort last week, Bucs kicker Connor Barth will likely sink back into the single digits this time around.

This Week’s Sleepers: Josh Scobee and Ryan Longwell

Team Defense / Special Teams

  • The New York Giants defense leads the NFL in sacks and they’re an every-week fantasy unit. However, a road matchup this week against the 49ers is not conducive to a lot of point-scoring opportunities. In four home games this season, San Francisco has turned the ball over just once (an Alex Smith interception). Temper your expectations for the G-Men.
  • You could do worse than the Cleveland Browns DST this week. Cleveland will play host to the Rams on Sunday. QB Sam Bradford has been sacked 25 times in six games this year (an average of 4.2 per game). St. Louis has also given up a DST touchdown in five out of eight games this year, including in two straight.

This Week’s Sleepers: Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins

The Six-Pack

This Week's Six-Pack: Ovila Saison

Brewed by: Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, California

Price: $10.99 (one 750 ml bottle)

Appearance: This beer comes in a large corked bottle with an elegant looking label that features an illustration of an abbey or church. The pour is impressive with a monster four-finger-thick head of soapy off-white foam. It reduced by half and then stuck around for quite some time. The brew itself is slightly cloudy and honey colored.

Smell: Ovila Saison has a refreshing aroma of overripe pears, banana and spice. Not overpowering but not weak either. It was quite enticing.

Taste: The taste is clean and crisp. Yeast is the dominant flavor with obvious pear flavors doing a dance on the palette. Hints of banana and clove become more noticeable as the beer warms. The finish is dry and slightly hoppy. Nice layers of flavor. Sort of has a rustic feel that makes you think of an orchard.

Drinkability: 7% ABV. Goes down smooth.

Last Call: Not an astounding Saison but it impresses nonetheless. Certainly worth a taste. Four stars out of five.

Up Next: McSorley’s Irish Pale Ale, McSorley’s Brewery, Utica, NY


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