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The Weekly 6-Pack
By Paul Sandy
November 26, 2003
 

Quarterback

The San Diego Chargers are downright awful against the pass. They've given up 26 touchdowns through the air this season. That's worst in the league and seven more than the next closest team. Meanwhile, Trent Green continues to be one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL, throwing eight touchdowns in his last four games. Be sure to get Green in your lineup this week. He should take advantage of this favorable matchup and pass for three touchdowns and more than 250 yards. - After posting multiple touchdown games for three consecutive weeks, Chad Pennington let down his owners last week against the Jaguars when he only managed 236 yards passing and one score. He should bounce back nicely this week against the Titans. Tennessee has been vulnerable against the pass, giving up more than 235 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Pennington is a safe start and should net your team 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns Monday night. - If you're playing the role of spoiler this weekend and are looking for a deep sleeper quarterback, consider Doug Johnson. Johnson was benched midway through the season, but he returned last week and passed for 276 yards and two touchdowns. He should fare well again this week against the Texans. I anticipate a 220-yard, two touchdown performance. - Donovan McNabb appears to have regained his form and is throwing the ball with authority. McNabb has at least one passing touchdown in his last five games. More importantly, he finally showcased his scrambling ability last week, rushing for 54 yards. The Panthers have been surprisingly weak against the pass. They give up 217.3 passing yards per game and have allowed 16 passing touchdowns on the season. Start McNabb and expect 225 yards and two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing). - Count me among the many owners out there who are a bit sore because they benched Matt Hasselbeck last week against the Baltimore Ravens. In that game, Hasselbeck threw five touchdowns and racked up 333 yards. If Hasselbeck can have such a high-scoring game against a stout defense like the Ravens, he should probably be started every week from here on out, including Week 13 against the visiting Browns. Cleveland owns the league's second best pass defense and they shut down Pittsburgh's Tommy Maddox last week. However, they've been iffy on the road, which is where they'll be this week. Look for about 200 yards and two touchdowns from Hasselbeck. ††††

This Week's Sleepers: Doug Johnson, Kerry Collins and Anthony Wright

Running Back

It's running back by committee no more in Atlanta. Warrick Dunn was placed on injured reserve this week with a foot sprain. With Dunn gone for the season, it's TJ Duckett's chance to shine. If you've had Duckett on your bench for most of the season, now is the time to activate him. Duckett faces a malleable Houston Texans defense this week. The Texans give up more than 140 yards rushing per game and they've been hurt by bruising running backs lately (Rudi Johnson and Stephen Davis). I anticipate Duckett will eclipse the 100-yard benchmark this week with two touchdowns. - In an odd story, Minnesota running back Michael Bennett missed part of the second half of Sunday's game after he vomited on the sideline. Bennett attributed his sickness to the coffee he drank at halftime. Can it be long before the Starbucks marketing machine places coffee kiosks on the NFL sidelines? Java jokes aside, Bennett is ready to take a larger share of the carries this week. If you've been holding him all season, now is the time to see if your investment will pay off. Bennett faces the Rams this weekend. St. Louis has an average run defense, but they've only allowed six rushing touchdowns this season, tied for second lowest in the league. Count on Bennett posting 90 all-purpose yards; however, I think he'll be kept out of the endzone. - The last time he faced the Lions, Ahman Green opened the game with a 65-yard touchdown run. He finished the day with 160 yards on the ground. Look for Green to feast on the Lions Thanksgiving Day and rack up 150 total yards and two touchdowns. - Start Anthony Thomas this week at home against the Cardinals. Thomas has been rock solid at the new Soldier Field, gaining 100 yards or more in three out of the four home games he's played. Look for him to post 110 yards and a touchdown Sunday. - Eddie George has come alive in recent weeks. He's scored a touchdown in three of his last four games and put up his second 100-yard game of the season last week against the Falcons. Look for another strong game Monday night when the Titans travel to the Jets. New York ranks dead last in run defense. Plus, with Steve McNair doubtful, head coach Jeff Fisher will likely return to the running game that served him so well in past seasons. - Since dominating opponents between Weeks 7-10, Texans running back Domanick Davis has struggled in the past two games, rushing for less than 70 yards each week. I expect Davis will return to form this week against a Falcons defense that has given up a league-leading 17 rushing touchdowns. The rookie has an excellent chance of gaining 120 all-purpose yards and should add a touchdown. †

This Week's Sleepers: Domanick Davis, Eddie George, Anthony Thomas and Ladell Betts

Wide Receiver

Peerless Price has been one of the biggest busts this season, but I like his chances in Week 13 against the Texans. Houston has one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and they seem to give up big plays every week. Start Price this week and bank on him posting 90 yards and a touchdown. - Repeat after me: "I, <state your name>, will never purposefully avoid drafting a rookie wide receiver in favor of a washed up veteran wideout like Curtis Conway ever again." By my calculations, four rookie receivers scored touchdowns Sunday. Of those four, Arizona's Anquan Boldin and Houston's Andre Johnson should be started every single week. Boldin ranks third in the NFL in receiving yardage, while Johnson is just outside of the top 15. Both receivers have four or more touchdowns on the season. Look for Johnson to post the better statistics this week against the Falcons. He should finish with 110 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Boldin travels to the Windy City where he'll face an improved Bears defense that has held opponents to 12 points or less in three of the last four weeks. Boldin will rack up no more than 90 yards. - If ever there was a week to use your Kansas City Chiefs receivers, this is it. Start Eddie Kennison and Johnnie Morton in Week 13. Both players should find the endzone against a Chargers team that has more holes in its defense than Michael Jackson does in his. Kennison and Morton are safe bets to put up good numbers. - By the end of the first quarter, I entirely expect the game between the Vikings and Rams to have escalated into a full-fledged shootout. The top two receivers in the NFL, Randy Moss and Tory Holt, will duel each other for touchdown supremacy. Both players have 10 scores on the season. I'm predicting that Holt and Moss will each gather in two touchdowns each Sunday, with Holt out-gaining Moss in yardage 160-125. ††††††††††††††††

This Week's Sleepers: Peerless Price, Andre Johnson, Eddie Kennison and Johnnie Morton

Tight End

In the midst of a dogfight with Green Bay and apparently desperate for a competitive edge, the Minnesota Vikings dropped running back Doug Chapman this week and claimed tight end Richard Angulo off waivers. Angulo had previously been a member of the St. Louis Rams, the team that the Vikings face this weekend. Presumably, head coach Mike Tice feels Angulo can provide his defense with information about Mike Martz's audibles and playbook. Perhaps the Vikings would be better served if Tice spent a little more time working on defensive schemes and a little less time coming up with defensive scams. Angulo has no fantasy value. - Giants head coach Jim Fassel has stated that he expects Jeremy Shockey to see action this week for the first time since partially tearing a knee ligament against Atlanta on November 9. While I don't anticipate a big game from Shockey, he's probably better than most of the other tight end options out there, so go ahead and start him. He should finish Sunday's game against the Bills with 40-50 yards receiving and he's always a threat to score a touchdown. - The Falcons surrendered two goal-line scores last week to Frank Wycheck. This week Atlanta faces Houston, so give Billy Miller a start this week if you own him. Miller's specialty is scoring touchdowns inside the five yard line and he should find the endzone this week. †††

This Week's Sleepers: Bubba Franks and Billy Miller

Kicker

All of the kickers I listed as sleepers last week delivered the goods. Adam Vinatieri, Shayne Graham and Morten Andersen connected on at least two field goals each, as well as a few extra points. I actually like each kicker again this week even though they're all on the road. Andersen travels to San Diego, where the Chiefs are a lock to score more than 30 points. Graham visits Pittsburgh, a team that has given up nine field goals in their last four games. And Vinatieri will play under a roof against the Colts. Incidentally, he has 11 field goals in his last four games. - In addition, start Ryan Longwell and Jason Hanson on Turkey Day. The Packers should have no trouble putting points on the scoreboard against an average Detroit defense. And with all-pro safety Darren Sharper expected to miss Thursday's game, the Lions should be able to move the ball effectively. Look for Longwell and Hanson to score 8-9 points apiece.† †

This Week's Sleepers: Shayne Graham, Morten Andersen, Ryan Longwell and Jason Hanson

Defense

Marc Bulger has been picked off 10 times in his last four games. The ball hawking Minnesota Vikings lead the NFL with 22 picks. Start Minnesota this week. While I don't expect them to win this game, they have a very good chance of intercepting a couple passes and returning one for a touchdown. - Like Marc Bulger, Brad Johnson has been susceptible to turnovers in recent weeks. Johnson has had an interception returned for a touchdown in three of the last four games. In that same span, he's been sacked 12 times. If you're struggling to get points from your defense, dig deep this week and acquire the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags have stepped up their defense recently, holding the Titans and Jets to 13 points or less. Start them this week with confidence and expect no less than two turnovers and two sacks.† ††

This Week's Sleepers: Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars

The 6-Pack

Last Week's 6-Pack: Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale

Price Paid: $9.99 (4-pack)

What the Bottle Tells Us: Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale is brewed at "The Old Brewery," established 1758 in Tadcaster, England. The beer is 5.0% alcohol by volume. †

What I Say: Let me preface my review by stating that Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale is the most expensive beer I've ever sampled. Not only was it $9.99, but it also comes in a 4-pack instead of the standard six - a whopping $2.50 per bottle. As I removed the gold foil from my first bottle, I knew I was a long way from my days of drinking Keystone Light. Not surprisingly, this nut brown ale offers a nutty aroma. In addition, my nose detected what I thought was smidge of butterscotch. Samuel Smith's resembles cola in color but has a slight ruby hue. When poured, this beer climaxes with a hearty beige head that lasts less than a minute before it retreats to the side of the glass. It has wonderfully complex flavors. Hints of almonds, toffee, yeast and plums all collide in your mouth at once. Overall, my feeling is the taste resembles that of sweet, nutty bread, an interesting flavor. In comparison to the watery and blasť Newcastle Brown Ale, which the 6-Pack sampled several weeks ago, Samuel Smith's has more body and richness. There can be no disputing that this is a quality beer. Unfortunately, with such a high price tag, it will likely only be my choice when someone else is buying.

What Readers Say: The dedicated tribe of 6-Pack readers apparently thumbed their noses at this haughty ale. I received very few comments on the high-priced Samuel Smith's. However, Daniel Shay isn't afraid to pony up some coin. "I'm certain you will thoroughly enjoy Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale. I've had the pleasure of drinking the whole line of Samuel Smith beers and the Nut Brown along with the Oatmeal Stout are my favorite. All other Nut Browns pale in comparison." Shay adds, "Unfortunately the cost of Samuel Smith Beers is somewhat inflated.  I can't quite figure this one out seeing as in England, Samuel Smith beers cost the same as every other British beer."

This Week's 6-Pack: Boddingtons

This week, I think we'll stay in England. Several readers have recommended Boddingtons over the past few weeks and I think it's a good choice. While I've had some trouble tracking it down, I'm on the road for Thanksgiving and I think I can find it over the long weekend. Pick up a 6-Pack (it might be another 4-Pack) of Boddingtons this weekend, have a safe holiday, and e-mail me your comments next week at: paul.sandy@frontiernet.net.

One last note: A loyal 6-Pack reader needs help with his homework. He's a student at the University of Maryland and is researching the viability of introducing a new microbrew into the market. In the interest of education and beer, two highly noble pursuits, please visit Matt's Beer Sruvey and fill out his short beer survey.