- Look for Matt Ryan’s second-half-of-the-season surge to continue on Sunday against the Vikings. The Falcons QB is averaging 314 yards and 2.0 touchdowns per game over his last three outings. He should meet or exceed that average at home versus Minnesota. The Vikings depleted defense has been lit up by opposing QBs in four of their last five games. They’ve allowed the third-most fantasy points to QBs this year.
- Bengals QB Andy Dalton opened some eyes when he posted useful numbers against the Steelers and Ravens in back-to-back games. Pittsburgh has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to QBs and Baltimore the second fewest. Now Dalton goes up against the Browns (no team has given up fewer QB fantasy points). It’s an incredible gauntlet of tests for the rookie and so far he’s passing with flying colors. The Six-Pack advises owners to keep Dalton active if you’d normally start him. Cleveland has a good defense but they haven’t really faced an above-average passing attack. The Texans provided arguably the best test but Matt Schaub attempted just 23 passes. Look for Dalton to go for 200 yards and two scores.
- No QB has thrown multiple touchdown passes against the Jaguars in Jacksonville’s last five games. This includes Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub. It’s probably best to give Houston’s Matt Leinart a week of seasoning before activating him for fantasy. Leinart might connect with Andre Johnson or Arian Foster on a touchdown or two but you’d be taking a huge leap of faith by starting him on the road against a good defense.
- Phillip Rivers’ fantasy stock has been on the rise the last few weeks even as his NFL stock has continued to plummet. In the last three games, he’s tossed eight touchdowns. Despite the positive trend, the Six-Pack urges fantasy owners to pump the brakes on expectations for Rivers in Week 12. He will face a Broncos defense that has had his number in recent meetings. In his last five outings against Denver, Rivers has just once posted a quality fantasy stat line. Look for around 250-270 yards and a touchdown.
This Week’s Sleepers: Mark Sanchez, Christian Ponder and Vince Young
- In every game they’ve played this season, the Redskins have allowed a RB to post a quality fantasy stat line (a touchdown and/or 100 total yards). Marshawn Lynch hasn’t been flashy this year but few RBs are getting the volume of work that Lynch is. In his last three games, Lynch has averaged 30 touches per game. Beast Mode has a good chance to post 100 yards and a score on Sunday.
- Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are worth a shot versus the Colts. Both players put up 100 total yards against the Lions in Week 11. Look for them to stay hot against a feeble Indy defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to RBs. The danger with Williams and Stewart is that Cam Newton frequently snipes goal line touchdowns. But there should be plenty of points to go around in this game. The Six-Pack likes Williams’ chances of scoring on a long run, while Stewart makes noise in the passing game.
- Fantasy owners looking for a late-week sleeper free agent RB pickup should take a look at Buffalo’s depth chart. Starting RB Fred Jackson’s injured calf turned out to be a broken leg. He’s out for the season. While C.J. Spiller will get the start on Sunday, the Six-Pack hasn’t been impressed with anything he’s put on film to date. Grab Washington castoff Tashard Choice or rookie Johnny White. Both are worth a flier and one of them will likely be the lead RB by Week 13. White is a fifth-round draft pick who is a bit thicker than Spiller and runs with a purpose. Choice excelled under Bills head coach Chan Gailey while the two were at Georgia Tech together.
- If you lost Adrian Peterson (ankle) last week, the logical move would seem to be to go with his backup, Toby Gerhart. However, a tough matchup this week against the Falcons makes Gerhart a risky option even as a RB2. Atlanta has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to RBs in 2011. They’ve allowed just one RB score in the last six games. Don’t bank on much more than 65 yards from Gerhart.
This Week’s Sleepers: DeAngelo Williams, Joseph Addai, Beanie Wells and Marion Barber
- Vikings WR Percy Harvin has touched the ball 20 times in his last two games; that’s a huge number for a wideout. He’s a must-start this week against the Falcons. With Adrian Peterson (ankle) out, Harvin is easily Minnesota’s most explosive player on offense. Look for him to get double-digit touches on Sunday, which will result in over 100 yards. Atlanta has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs this season.
- If you’re a Santonio Holmes owner, this is it. This game against Buffalo is the one you’ve been waiting for. After starting out the season so well, the Bills secondary has become a bit of a joke. In the last two games, they’ve allowed six passing touchdowns. Making matters worse, Buffalo placed veteran CB Terrance McGee on injured reserve. As a result, they will likely start bookend rookie defensive backs. Even with New York’s ground-and-pound gameplan, Holmes should find a way to take one to the house this weekend. He has scored in two straight games against the Bills.
- If possible, avoid the Chiefs passing game from top to bottom: Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin. QB Tyler Palko wasn’t a complete flop on Monday night but he failed to throw a touchdown pass against the NFL’s worst pass defense. Up next, he faces the Steelers—with a short week to prepare. Pittsburgh has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wideouts. Waiver claim Kyle Orton is unlikely to see any action.
- Dial your expectations back for Vincent Jackson, who has been feast or famine this season. Yes, Jackson will go up against a Broncos defense that has yielded the sixth-most fantasy points to wideouts. But Jackson is going to draw coverage from CB Champ Bailey. Although Bailey is no longer the shut-down corner he once was, he has managed to hold VJax to 56 yards or less in five straight meetings. Jackson only scored once over that stretch.
This Week’s Sleepers: Harry Douglas, Jerricho Cotchery, Early Doucet and Santana Moss
- Get Bucs TE Kellen Winslow some work this week against the Titans. As the Six-Pack pointed out last week, Tennessee has been getting touched up by TEs of late. Including Tony Gonzalez’s quality effort in Week 11, the Titans have given up a touchdown and/or 70+ yards receiving to eight different TEs over the last eight games. Winslow is on a nice little streak of his own, putting up useful numbers in three of Tampa’s last four boxscores.
- Keep an eye on how Texans TE Owen Daniels fares with Matt Leinart at the helm. Daniels has been a major disappointment in 2011. He just seems to get lost in the shuffle each week. Jacksonville is a favorable matchup for Daniels. They allow the seventh-most fantasy points to TEs. If Daniels fails to make an impression, it might be time to send him to the scrap heap.
This Week’s Sleepers: Kellen Winslow and Jermaine Gresham
- During their six-game losing streak, the Redskins have allowed every kicker they’ve faced to boot multiple field goal kicks. As it stands, Washington has allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position. Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka isn’t a terrible option this week if you’re not thrilled with your current kicker.
- Lower your expectations for Houston’s Neil Rackers, who will face the Jaguars on Sunday. Jacksonville has held the last five kickers they’ve faced to 17 points—an average of 3.4 points per game.
This Week’s Sleepers: Steven Hauschka, Nick Folk and Olindo Mare
Team Defense / Special Teams
- Give the Denver Broncos defense a look this week against the Chargers if you’re desperate for a DST with solid touchdown-return potential. The Broncos have actually been relatively productive in 2011, scoring the 12th-most fantasy points. So far in three November games, the Chargers have turned the ball over eight times, taken eight sacks and given up two DST touchdowns. When they faced the Broncos earlier this season, Denver racked up two turnovers, five sacks and a DST score.
- Look for the Seattle Seahawks to take advantage of their 12th-man homefield advantage this week against the Redskins. Washington’s Rex Grossman is a gunslinger who will make at least a couple ill-advised passes per game. Seattle’s aggressive defense should easily rank amongst the top 10 in fantasy in Week 12.
This Week’s Sleepers: Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks
This Week's Six-Pack: Rogue Mocha Porter
Brewed by: Oregon Brewing, Newport, OR
Appearance: Rogue Mocha Porter is bottled in a brown longneck. The label is black and features an illustration of a blue-collar worker holding a pint of beer. It pours dark brown (nearly black) and is completely opaque. The head was puffy and tan, elevating over the rim of my pint glass before reducing to a 1/3” layer of dense foam.
Smell: When it comes to the aroma, there’s no confusion. It’s all about chocolate and coffee.
Taste: Rich and robust flavors. It starts out tasting like semi-bitter chocolate. That gives way to some roasted malt flavors that reminded me of dark, Italian roast coffee. Toward the finish—the best part of this beer, in my opinion—this porter resembles dark bitter chocolate. The flavors here are luxurious and linger for some time.
Drinkability: Like most porters, this is a beer to be sipped and enjoyed in small quantities. Two was plenty for me.
Last Call: A tasty porter. It didn’t blow my mind and there are certainly better brews for the cash. Even so, I enjoyed it and it’s certainly worth a thorough sampling. Four stars out of five.
Up Next: Hofbrau Dunkel, Staatliches Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany