VOTED #1 FANTASY FOOTBALL SITE
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
PRIORITY NEWS   MESSAGE BOARDS JOIN   
HOME ARTICLES STATISTICS WEEKLY FEATURES TEAM LINKS NFL RESOURCES  
The Weekly 6-Pack
By Paul Sandy
December 5, 2003
 

Quarterback

It was supposed to happen in Week 5. Then it was delayed until Week 7. Then Week 10. Eventually, rumors swirled that it might not happen at all. But alas, it's finally here: Michael Vick's first start of 2003. So should you start him against the Panthers? If you have a quarterback who has been consistently scoring two touchdowns or 250 yards, it's probably a good idea to keep Vick on your bench. However, if the weak spot on your roster is at the quarterback position, go ahead and plug him into your lineup. I predict 200 yards passing, one touchdown and 55 yards rushing - not great, but not too shabby either. - Jon Kitna is starting to get mentioned as a potential MVP candidate. Either the apocalypse is coming or the Bengals are starting to look like a playoff team. While MVP is a bit of a reach right now with Peyton Manning and Steve McNair continuing to post huge numbers, don't underestimate Kitna as a darkhorse. He marched his team on a game-winning 52-yard touchdown drive last week. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning failed to get his team in the endzone from inside the five yard line. Don't you dare bench Kitna this week against Baltimore. In Week 7 against these very same Ravens, Kitna posted one of his best games, passing for nearly 275 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Many people are picking the Ravens in this game, but I like Kitna's leadership and poise right now. I anticipate a Bengals victory with 250 yards and two touchdowns from Kitna. - Start Brett Favre this week against the Bears. Yes, he is struggling with turnovers because of his broken thumb. But historically Favre has done very well against Chicago. Dating back to 2001, Favre has faced the Bears five times. In those five meetings, he has four multiple touchdown games and an 11:4 touchdown to interception ratio. I expect two touchdowns and 210 yards passing from the three-time MVP. - The playoffs typically aren't the time to go scrounging around for sleeper quarterbacks. However, if you've made it this far by platooning passers, take a look at Joey Harrington. The former Oregon Duck has had a miserable season so far and is leading the league with 20 interceptions. But this week Harrington faces San Diego at home and every quarterback throws at least two touchdowns against the Chargers. Start Harrington and expect two touchdowns and 240 yards passing.

This Week's Sleepers: Joey Harrington, Tommy Maddox and Doug Flutie

Running Back

Ahman Green owners who made the playoffs should feel free to take this opportunity to erupt into their best evil laugh. From Weeks 14-16, Green faces three of the league's worst defenses: Chicago, San Diego and Oakland. Don't be surprised to see Green roll off three straight 20-point games. This week he should be good for 140 total yards and two touchdowns. - The last time Shaun Alexander faced the Vikings he scored five touchdowns and racked up more than 230 all-purpose yards. Minnesota is giving up more than 130 yards per game to running backs. In the last four games alone, they've allowed eight touchdowns to running backs. If you own Alexander, he should carry your team to a Week 14 victory. Count on 150 yards and one touchdown from Alexander, with full back Mack Strong stealing some yardage and a touchdown later in the game. - Is Jamal Lewis starting to wear down? Since posting six 100+ yard games in the first seven weeks, Lewis has accomplished the feat just twice in his last five starts. Two factors could be playing a role in Lewis' slight decline. First, he's probably wearing down a bit from a heavy workload. Second, the passing game has opened up with the emergence of Anthony Wright and Marcus Robinson. Lewis maintains a 49-yard edge on Deuce McAllister for the NFL rushing title and a 59-yard lead over Ahman Green. Look for McAllister and Green to surpass Lewis by the end of Week 15. Lewis should have a solid but unspectacular performance in a crucial game against the Bengals this week. He'll net about 100 yards and a touchdown. - New England running back Kevin Faulk appears to have finally wrestled away the featured back role from Antowain Smith. Smith was put on the inactive list last week, allowing Faulk to get 20 touches. I expect Faulk could be a difference maker before the fantasy season is over. However, he'll struggle this week against a Dolphins defense that knows how to shut down the run. Faulk will get about 100 total yards this week, but half of it will come through the air. - There's good news and bad news for Domanick Davis owners. The good news is that the Texans placed Stacey Mack on injured reserve, ending his season. With Mack out of the equation, Davis should be all set to assume the goal line carries for the remainder of the season. The bad news is that Davis has a thigh injury that might hold him out of Sunday's game against Jacksonville. If Davis can't go, Tony Hollings will get the start, but he isn't worth using in your fantasy league until all other options have been explored. - The Atlanta Falcons have given up 100 or more yards on the ground in every game this season. There's no reason to believe the trend won't continue in Week 14. Atlanta faces Stephen Davis, who gained 153 yards and a touchdown the last time in a Week 4 game back in September. Bank on 130 yards and a pair of touchdowns from Davis. - Even though Thomas Jones gets the goal line carries, consider using Michael Pittman this week against New Orleans. Last time out against the Saints, Pittman racked up 100+ yards and scored a touchdown.

This Week's Sleepers: Jerome Bettis, Michael Pittman and Mack Strong

Wide Receiver

Consider benching Joe Horn this week against the Buccaneers. Horn was one of fantasy football's most consistent receivers over the first half of the season, scoring six touchdowns in the first eight games. But he has since disappeared. In the last four weeks, Horn has averaged just 36.5 yards per game and he doesn't have any touchdowns. Keep him on your bench if you have better options. - He may be 34 years old, but Jimmy Smith still brings a lot to the table in terms of fantasy production. The Jacksonville receiver notched his best game of the season last week when he grabbed 10 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. Be sure to get Smith in your lineup this week against the Texans and consider starting his counterpart Kevin Johnson. Houston's offense is crippled right now with quarterbacks David Carr and Tony Banks likely out for this week's game. That puts undue pressure on a defense that was already struggling. Look for Smith and Johnson to both post solid numbers this week, 100 yards and a score for Smith and 85 yards for Johnson. - For the past 11 weeks, Plaxico Burress has had an every-other-week thing going on. He hasn't delivered solid back-to-back performances since Weeks 1 and 2. In Week 13 he was solid, producing 112 yards. That means Burress is due for a stinker this week. Keep him on your bench, not only because of the pattern, but also because the Denver Broncos defense has been brutally tough since returning from a Week 10 bye. In their last three games, the Broncos have held opponents to 10 or less points. Moreover, they haven't allowed any receiver to gain more than 50 yards. I'd be surprised if Burress finishes this game with more than 30 yards receiving. - If you can't afford another two-point performance from your number three or four receiver this week, I beg you to pick up Az-zahir Hakim. He's finally healthy and has three straight games over 60 yards. I'm predicting big things for Hakim and will be disappointed if he doesn't come through with 90 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers - Isaac Bruce has scored in two straight games and should be in your lineup in Week 14 against the Browns. Rams quarterback Marc Bulger regained his confidence last week against the Vikings and I expect him to have a two touchdown game on Monday night. Bruce should account for one of those scores and 75 yards receiving. - Start your Seahawks receivers this week, including Darrell Jackson, Koren Robinson and even Bobby Engram. Seattle's offense is the hottest in the NFL, while Minnesota's defense is colder than Lake Minnetonka in February. The Seahawks should have no problem scoring 35 points in this game. That equates to three passing touchdowns and plenty of yards. Look for Jackson to lead the way with 125 yards and a touchdown.

This Week's Sleepers: Az-zahir Hakim, Bobby Engram, Kevin Johnson and Marcus Robinson

Tight End

Cowboys rookie tight end Jason Witten has 14 receptions in his last two games. He figures to continue to see a lot of work because the running game isn't working right now. This week Witten faces the Eagles, who have been vulnerable to tight ends in the past. In Week 12, Philadelphia gave up 110 yards and a touchdown to the Saints Boo Williams. While I don't expect Witten to duplicate Williams' efforts, I won't be surprised if the tight end plays a major role in Bill Parcells' game plan. I expect Witten to finish this game with 50-60 yards receiving. - Todd Heap has cooled down, going four straight games without a touchdown. Even worse, he's finished three of the last four games with less than 50 yards receiving. With Marcus Robinson as the featured receiver there are fewer balls to go around. But don't despair, I have a feeling Heap is in for a big game this week against the Bengals. Last time out against Cincinnati, Heap caught seven passes for 129 yards and added a two-point conversion. He should finally establish some continuity with Anthony Wright this week and hook up for 65 yards and a touchdown.

This Week's Sleepers: Jason Witten, Freddie Jones and Bubba Franks

Kicker

Jason Hanson booted five field goals Thanksgiving Day against the Packers. If you took the Weekly 6-Pack's advice last week and started him, you were rewarded with 16 points. Go ahead and start Hanson again this week. The Lions face the Chargers, a team that gives up a league-worst 28.5 points per game. Hanson should again reward owners with another 9+ point effort. - Jeff Wilkins has 12 field goals in his last four games, including a streak of four straight games with two or more field goals. It's a huge advantage to be a Wilkins owner right now and there's no reason to think his hot streak won't continue this week. The opposing Browns have allowed two or more field goals for six straight weeks. Wilkins is a lock for 8-10 points.

This Week's Sleepers: Jason Hanson, Josh Brown and Olindo Mare

Defense

The St. Louis Rams have forced a league-leading 35 turnovers. The team's pass rush was also in top form last week, sacking Daunte Culpepper eight times. Now they rank near the top of the league in that category, too. Start the Rams this week against the Browns. Cleveland allowed four sacks last week and their offense has stalled, scoring just six points in the last two games. - Last week, I recommended the Jacksonville Jaguars as a sleeper defense. While they didn't score a touchdown or force may turnovers, they did hold Tampa to 10 points and only 221 total yards of offense. Look for another big game from the Jaguars in Week 14 against the Texans. Houston may be forced to start rookie Dave Ragone, a quarterback whose value plummeted in the draft due to poor mechanics. The Jaguars should finish this game with a minimum of three turnovers and three sacks, and they will very likely hold the Texans to under 12 points.

This Week's Sleepers: Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers

The 6-Pack

Last Week's 6-Pack: Boddingtons

Price Paid: $5.99 (4-pack)

What the Bottle Tells Us: Established in 1778, Boddingtons Brewery is located in Manchester, England. Boddingtons Pub Ale uses the Draughtflow System, which gives the beer a creamy head and pub-like appearance. Boddingtons has earned the nickname "the cream of Manchester."

What I Say: Like the Murphy's Irish Stout reviewed in this space a few weeks ago, Boddingtons is packaged using the nitrogen infused Draughtflow system. As a result, popping the top sets off a minor explosion. When poured, a pint of Boddingtons looks like a beer should. It's characterized by a puffy, whipped-cream-like head that rests upon a golden pedestal of ale. This is a beautiful beer to behold. The thick head offers tremendous staying power due to the nitro infusion. In terms of aroma, Boddingtons lacks substantiality. What little smell there is resembles cider with hints of malt. I am just getting over a cold, which may hinder my taste buds. Even so, I feel very confident in my assessment that this beer is completely void of flavor beyond a light sweetness. It's lifeless and quite boring on the palate. Worse, it has a mild metallic aftertaste that leaves you feeling like you chewed on a penny - nothing too extreme, but still upsetting. I give Boddingtons some respect because it feels good in the mouth, luxuriously silky. No doubt it lives up to the nickname "the cream of Manchester." Give it a try if you like your beer plain and simple on the tongue. Personally, the only time I would ever buy Boddingtons again is if on some rare occasion I wanted the creaminess provided by a nitro infused beer without the heaviness of a stout.

What Readers Say: For the first time in many weeks, the majority of readers disagreed with me about a beer. People seemed to enjoy Boddingtons. Maybe they were suckers for the nitro can, but some even called it flavorful. Ken Garron e-mailed and wrote, "I find it to have a rich, smooth, almost creamy flavor that lingers nicely.  Get yourself a frosty mug, pour in a Bodi and let it settle awhile, when the head shrinks to about a half inch take a long draw. You will be rewarded with a nice upper lip cover that would get your photo on any milk billboard." Perhaps, but I think a more satisfying way to get a milk mustache might be to drink milk.

This Week's 6-Pack: Redhook ESB Amber Ale

After a couple weeks in England, it's time to head back home for some American ale. Redhook is headquartered in Seattle, home of Matt Hasselbeck. This week I will be hoisting a Redhook ale and toasting another strong performance by Hasselbeck, who happens to be my quarterback in two fantasy leagues. Join me an e-mail me your comments this week at: paul.sandy@frontiernet.net.