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The Weekly 6-Pack
By Paul Sandy
November 7, 2003
 

Quarterback

The tastiest quarterback matchup of the week has to be Kerry Collins against the inept Falcons pass defense. Atlanta is giving up a league worst 271.3 passing yards per game and they've surrendered three straight 300+ yard games. If you have Collins on your team, get him in your lineup this week. He will finish with 320 yards and two touchdowns. - If Collins has the easiest matchup, Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper is a close runner up. Minnesota travels to San Diego, where players are giving up touchdowns in quantities very atypical of a Marty Schottenheimer coached team. To date, the Chargers have given up 15 passing touchdowns in eight games, tied for worst in the league with the Texans. Count on Culpepper tossing three touchdown passes in a game that will see more than 50 points scored. - With a few decent quarterbacks on bye this week (Jeff Garcia, Aaron Brooks and Tom Brady), you might be scrambling to acquire a replacement, I like Doug Flutie if he starts against the Vikings. He should scramble for at least 40 yards and throw for 190 yards and a touchdown. That's good for 16 or more points in most leagues. - If his broken thumb holds up, Brett Favre will likely break Dan Marino's record by throwing 20 or more touchdowns for the tenth consecutive season. The Green Bay gunslinger needs four touchdowns to reach 20. Favre's durability, longevity and consistency make him arguably the greatest fantasy football quarterback ever. While I don't expect him to throw four touchdowns this week, he should rack up two passing scores Monday night. Keep him in your lineup. - If you have other options, it's probably a good idea to bench Trent Green this week. As average as the Cleveland Browns defense has been versus the run this year, their secondary has absolutely shut down opposing quarterbacks, allowing only one passing touchdown in their last four games. In fact, if you throw out Jon Kitna's three touchdown performance in Week 4, the Browns have only allowed one passing touchdown all year. The Chiefs will likely try to establish the running game, limiting Green's production to 220 yards and no more than one touchdown.

This Week's Sleepers: Kerry Collins, Doug Flutie (assuming he plays), Jon Kitna and David Carr

Running Back

Two weeks ago the Weekly 6-Pack recommended owners attempt to trade for Jets running back Curtis Martin. Fantasy owners who heeded that advice have seen Martin roll off two straight 100-yard games. Unfortunately, the nine-year veteran hasn't scored a touchdown all year. That is likely to change this week when the Jets visit Oakland. The Raiders rank second to last in the league, giving up 153.1 yards per game on the ground (ironically the Jets are dead last). More importantly for Martin owners, the silver and black have allowed 10 rushing touchdowns in eight games. Martin should finish this game with 110 total yards and a score. - Bengals running back Corey Dillon indicated this week that he doesn't want to play until his groin is fully healed. Dillon frustrated fantasy owners by suiting up for Sunday's game against the Cardinals, but returning to the bench due to tightness to his groin muscle by the second half. For owners who were shrewd enough to acquire backup Rudi Johnson, Dillon's proclamation is good news. There should be no doubting who will be Cincinnati's starting running back in Week 10 against the Texans. Look for Johnson to reward owners with 90 yards and a touchdown. - Chargers workhorse tailback LaDainian Tomlinson had a wisdom tooth pulled earlier this week. But don't expect his sore mouth to keep him from chewing up yardage against a Minnesota Vikings defense that was embarrassed last week by Ahman Green and his backup running backs. Even if the Vikings jump out to an early lead, Tomlinson should still play a major role in this game as a receiver. Expect 150 total yards and two touchdowns. - Two former fantasy stars made headlines this week. One said he would likely never take the field again. The other could suit up by Week 11. In a television interview, former Broncos running back Terrell Davis declared, "I'm kind of saying that it's over." Fantasy owners knew it was over two years ago. Meanwhile, Jamal Anderson was seen trying out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week. Head coach Jon Gruden thinks Anderson would make a fine short-yardage running back. Fortunately, Michael Pittman's value is primarily attributed to his yardage statistics. Pittman has been a worthy starter for the past several weeks, despite not scoring a single rushing touchdown. Anderson's tryout shouldn't concern you at this point. Pittman should net 85 yards this week against the stingy Carolina Panthers.

This Week's Sleepers: Rudi Johnson, James Jackson and Moe Williams

Wide Receiver

After a fast start to the season, the Buffalo Bills have plummeted to 27th in the league in total offense. Buffalo's struggles can be chalked up in part to missing Eric Moulds, one of their most dangerous weapons. This week Moulds returns from a bye week with his partially torn groin muscle at close to full strength. "It's getting stronger and I'll be able to get out there and do the things I normally can without thinking about it," said Moulds. Get Moulds back in your lineup this week, but lower your expectations a bit. The Bills face the Dallas Cowboys, who are the proud owners of the top ranked pass defense in the NFL. Moulds should post around 75 yards. - Randy Moss needs just 122 receiving yards to go over 1,000 for the year. Will he do it this week against the Chargers? Without a doubt. - Kevin Johnson, Cleveland's leading receiver for the past four years, has been benched by head coach Butch Davis. Apparently, Davis is unhappy with Johnson's reluctance to block on outside runs. Keep him on your bench this week until it's clear how he will react on the field. If you need an alternative, start his replacement Andre Davis, who should get plenty of looks this weekend as the Browns try to keep up with the Chiefs. - Redskins receiver Laveranues Coles came into the 2003 season like a lion, but at the midway point he's turning out to be a lamb. Since opening with three straight 100-yard games, the former New York Jets star has seen a steady decrease in production. Last week he had just 27 yards receiving. The problem is quarterback Patrick Ramsey frequently only has nanoseconds to get the ball off before a defensive lineman plants him on his hindquarters. This is negating Coles' speed and deep route running. He has earned a spot on your team's bench, but if you don't have better options, his numbers should improve slightly this week against the Seahawks. Expect Coles to gain about 80 yards. - Chad Johnson has an excellent chance to lead all fantasy receivers in Week 10. The Bengals play host to the Houston Texans this week. Houston has given up a league-worst 15 receiving touchdowns, including some monster games by Derrick Mason and Santana Moss. I expect Houston to get a major letdown this week after Sunday's upset over the Carolina Panthers. Count on two touchdowns from Johnson in a Cincinnati victory. - If Doug Flutie starts this week for the Chargers (it's looking like he will), make every effort to get David Boston in your starting lineup. Flutie has a knack for making big plays and should have an easy time finding holes in the Minnesota Vikings defense. The Vikings seem to have reverted back to the shaky brand of defense they played during previous seasons. While most of San Diego's yardage will funnel through LaDanian Tomlinson, count on Boston and Flutie hooking up for 80 yards and a touchdown.

This Week's Sleepers: David Boston, Andre Davis, Marty Booker and Tyrone Calico

Tight End

Word out of Minnesota is the Vikings are planning to use tight end Jim Kleinsasser more frequently in an effort to help them move the ball and open up some things on offense. Kleinsasser scored a touchdown last week against the Packers, but hasn't been a legitimate threat outside the redzone. He's averaging less than 15 yards per game receiving. If you're stuck with Shannon Sharpe, Ernie Conwell or David Graham on bye, and are looking for a replacement, it's wise to steer clear of Kleinsasser until he has a game with more than 30 yards receiving. - Instead, acquire Billy Miller who has made the highlight reel two straight weeks with touchdown receptions. Miller faces a Bengals defense that gave up five receptions to Freddie Jones last week, including a one-yard touchdown. In fact, in the last three games, the Bengals have allowed tight ends to score 22 points, including three touchdowns and two two-point conversions. - Another acquisition option is Eagles rookie tight end L.J. Smith. Smith had a breakout performance last week against the Falcons, leading all Philadelphia receivers with 97 yards. The Eagles square off Monday night against the Packers, another team that has been susceptible to tight ends of late. Look for Smith to get his first NFL touchdown this week.

This Week's Sleepers: Billy Miller and L.J. Smith

Kicker

The "idiot kicker," Mike Vanderjagt, leads all other place kickers with 87 points scored. The next closest player is Jason Elam with 74. And Elam has played in one more game. It's not too shabby when you're averaging 10 points per week from a position in which your opponents frequently score five six. Personally, I have never considered trying to swing a trade for a kicker, but maybe I should. Don't laugh. A four or five point advantage every week in the kicker position makes a huge difference. If you're an owner who has been struggling to get five points per week out of your kicker, take a good look at who owns Vanderjagt in your league. If you have a Jerome Bettis or Shawn Bryson type player who you haven't started all year, why not try to swing a deal? The perception in fantasy football is that kickers don't hold a lot of value, so there's a fair chance you'll be able to pull it off. There's no guarantee Vanderjagt will continue to score at this pace, but there's no guarantee he won't either. - Owners who have Jason Elam, Adam Vinatieri and John Carney on bye, might be wondering which kickers' stars are aligned for a big week. Brett Conway has never been particularly accurate, but I like his chances this week against the Falcons, cold weather or not. - The Chicago Bears have been moving the ball well and should see plenty of redzone opportunities this week against Detroit. Start Paul Edinger. - Finally, the Minnesota Vikings travel to warm-weather San Diego, where they should put up 30 or more points on the Chargers. Kicker Aaron Elling should account for at least eight of those points.

This Week's Sleepers: Paul Edinger, Aaron Elling and Brett Conway

Defense

As Frank Sinatra eloquently crooned, "I'm gonna make a brand new start of it - in old New York . It's up to you - New York New York." When it comes to fantasy defenses this week, I'm taking a cue from Old Blue Eyes. I've acquired the New York Jets in one league and the New York Giants in another. Both teams face highly favorable matchups in Week 10 and have an excellent chance to score a defensive touchdown. In case you missed it, Rick Mirer is once again a starting quarterback in the NFL. If your team is in a must-win situation and can afford to clear a roster spot for the Jets defense, they will be good for at least three turnovers against the Raiders. Mirer floated several passes into the secondary last week against the Lions. Count on more poor decision making from the former first-round draft pick. - Meanwhile, back in Gotham . the Giants will roll out the red carpet for the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons, who are already prone to errors, should be especially vulnerable this week as they venture outside their domed stadium into the cold weather.

This Week's Sleepers: New York Giants and New York Jets

The 6-Pack

Last Week's 6-Pack: Murphy's Irish Stout

Price Paid: $4.99 (sale)

What the Bottle Can Tells Us: "Murphy's Irish Stout has been brewed to the same unique recipe since 1856." The can also offers explicit instructions on how to pour the beer properly.

What I Say: My first taste of Murphy's came two years ago in County Cork in Ireland, the birthplace of this superb stout. While I sampled at least a dozen pints of Murphy's while touring the Emerald Isle, I hadn't tasted it since then. I bought my 4-Pack of 14.9 ounce cans on Saturday and felt like a seven-year old on Christmas Eve. I couldn't wait to re-live my enjoyment of this fine Irish stout. The wife headed out to the mall Sunday morning armed with our credit card, so I didn't feel the least bit guilty when I popped open my first Murphy's during ESPN's pregame show. Nothing like a breakfast beer. Because of a unique Draught Flow System that releases nitrogen into the beer, Murphy's puts on a show the second you begin to pour. It cascades up the side of the glass and has a rich, milky texture. It actually resembles an iced-coffee concoction one might buy at Starbucks. After a minute or so, the beer settles into its traditional stout form - a bread-colored head perched atop ebony liquid. Murphy's smells a bit like coffee that has been sitting on your desk for a couple hours and has gotten a bit stale, not quite as pungent as a cup of fresh brewed Joe. Although the canned variety was a bit less flavorful and slightly more watery than the draught beers I had in Ireland, it was still quite satisfying. Not unexpectedly coffee was the dominant flavor, but there were also hints of cocoa and barley. Murphy's finishes with a subtle black licorice aftertaste. The beer isn't as heavy as you might expect and doesn't hit your stomach like a rock. I highly recommend Murphy's and as the temperatures here in Wisconsin continue to drop, I plan to keep my fridge stocked with at least a few cans.

What Readers Say: Tristan Scott of Merriam, Kansas writes, "Great choice of beers this week! I found Murphy's one summer when I lived in Chicago . I hope you enjoy it ... personally I think Guinness is overrated (Murphy's is better). Thank God for beer and football!" Better than Guinness? Them's fightin' words.

This Week's 6-Pack: Stella Artois

Now that we've pacified our Irish readers, it's time to continue our journey around the globe. This week, go out and get yourself a 6-Pack of Stella Artois (pronounced are-twah) and e-mail me your thoughts at paul.sandy@frontiernet.net. Here's hoping this Belgian beer tastes as good as a fantasy victory.