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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

The Weekly 6-Pack - Week 3
Paul Sandy
September 24, 2004

Quarterback

  • If there’s an antidote to Kansas City’s poisoned passing game, it could be the Houston Texans. In the first two weeks, Trent Green sure hasn’t looked like the 4,000+ yard passer that fantasy owners thought they were drafting. Green has just 361 yards and zero touchdowns. Even more telling is his 50 percent completion rate. But the Texans are coming to town and that’s a good thing. Houston has already surrendered five touchdowns through the air. Start Green this week and look for Dick Vermeil to turn to his QB with Priest Holmes nursing an ankle injury. He should go for 250 yards and two scores.
  • Don’t ask how, but last week Browns QB Jeff Garcia managed to end the game with a 0.0 passer rating. While his horrible performance likely had many owners considering dropping him, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s the New York Giants. New York’s defense regained some respect last week when they scored a defensive touchdown. However, they still gave up more than 200 yards passing and two touchdowns to a team that was without its starting QB for much of the game. Garcia should bounce back this week with 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Plus, he’ll net you at least 30 yards on the ground.
  • In Week 2, Aaron Brooks ranked among the top fantasy passers with three touchdowns and 279 yards. The performance was encouraging, but Deuce McAllister’s injury has me worried. Conventional thinking has owners feeling the Saints will now go to a pass-oriented offense. That may be true, but opposing defenses are sure to shift to a scheme that drops more defenders into coverage and makes Aaron Stecker and Ki-Jana Carter beat them. You have to start Brooks this week. He’s thrown for at least three touchdowns in each of his last three games against the Rams. However, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t live up to expectations while McAllister is out.
  • If you need a bye week replacement this week, consider trying to acquire Jake Plummer. Plummer has fared well against the Chargers in previous meetings, including two three-touchdown performances last season.

This Week’s Sleepers: Jeff Garcia and Jake Plummer

Running Back

  • After shutting down Quentin Griffin last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars defense has been getting a lot of attention on shows like NFL Live and Total Access. Some experts have gone so far as to suggest that fantasy owners move Chris Brown to the bench. Not so fast. I’m a big proponent of the “never bench your studs” theory. After posting 100+ yards in each of his first two games, it’s not too early to consider Brown a stud. The Jags gave up 75 yards to Travis Henry in Week 1. The Titans offense is light-years ahead of the Bills. Expect Brown to finish this game with at least 90 total yards and a score.
  • Injuries and bye weeks are putting the pressure on many owners to find a temporary running back to start for a week or two. If you have him on your roster or if he’s available on the waiver wire, consider starting Moe Williams. Williams didn’t play last week because of an ankle injury, but he’s been practicing this week and may see action Sunday. If he does, count on a decent fantasy performance. In his only career start against the Bears, Williams racked up over 150 total yards and scored a touchdown. Look for Williams to get the goal line carries this week, especially considering QB Duante Culpepper’s costly fumble inside the five yard line last week. Williams should also add plenty of receptions because Minnesota’s tight ends are nicked up. I feel 60 yards and a TD are well within reach.
  • The Packers are without their best run stopper, Grady Jackson. They’re without his backup James Lee, who was hurt last week. That means Dominic Rhodes is going to make some noise Sunday. Rhodes is expected to replace the injured Edgerrin James this week while James recovers from a hamstring injury. I expect a lot of 5-7 yard runs with Rhodes having little trouble getting past Green Bay’s front four. He should end the day with 100 yards and a pair of TDs.
  • Last season, the Chargers gave up the most touchdowns in the NFL though the air, but were respectable against the run. This season, it’s looking exactly the opposite. They’ve already allowed four rushing touchdowns. Look for a bounce back type game from Quentin Griffin this week. He’ll put up 100 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.
  • The Arizona Cardinals run defense is soft. They’ve been trampled in each of the first two weeks, giving up 176 and 172 yards on the ground respectively. If Warrick Dunn (knee) plays, expect a big game. If he doesn’t pull T.J. Duckett off your bench and expect a huge game. In a pinch, you can even use Duckett if Dunn is active. There should be plenty of yards to go around.

This Week’s Sleepers: Dominic Rhodes, Moe Williams and T.J. Duckett

Wide Receiver

  • Fantasy experts across the land are predicting big things for Dominick Davis this week. No doubt Davis is primed for a big game against the underwhelming KC defense. However, lost in the Davis hoopla is Andre Johnson. Last season against this same defense, Johnson posted the best performance of his short career – seven receptions, 102 yards and two touchdowns. He certainly has the potential for a repeat performance and should finish with no less than 90 yards and a score.
  • Just looking at the match-up, you might think this is a good week to keep Peter Warrick on the bench. After all, he’ll be facing the Baltimore Ravens. But oddly enough, Warrick has had some of his best games against Baltimore. Since 2002, he’s scored a touchdown in three out of four contests against the division rival. In Week 14 last year against Baltimore, he caught 11 passes. Look for continued success this week. The Ravens stifling run defense will force the Bengals to throw the ball. As a result, Warrick will have plenty of opportunities. He should catch 7-8 passes and finish with his highest yardage total of the year this week, 80 yards and a score.
  • This is the week Seattle’s passing offense breaks out. Start Koren Robinson and Darrel Jackson. Both should find their way into the endzone Sunday against a 49ers defense that was lit up last week by Aaron Brooks and the Saints.
  • Continue to avoid all Raiders receivers until one proves he can put up solid numbers week in and week out. Ronald Curry, Doug Gabriel and Alvis Whitted have all scored long touchdowns. This week, don’t be surprised if it’s Jerry Rice or Jerry Porter spiking the ball in the endzone.
  • The Bears have had as much success containing Randy Moss as any team. But fear not, Moss owners. The Bears came out with a win last week against the Packers, but in the process their secondary got ravaged by injuries. Safety Mike Brown and cornerback Charles Tillman sustained serious injuries. They’ll be missed this week against Moss who should have 8-9 receptions in his biggest fantasy performance so far this season.

This Week’s Sleepers: Peter Warrick, Peerless Price, Kevin Johnson and Rod Gardner

Tight End

  • “I am not having as much fun as I had in the past, I'll tell you that.” Words straight from the mouth of Giants all-pro tight end Jeremy Shockey. Shockey may have just 75 yards in two games this season, but don’t despair if you’re an owner of the outspoken TE. His comments have certainly caught the attention of his head coach and quarterback. That should put Shockey front and center in the game-plan. Both know he’s the heart and soul of the team. And don’t forget, he missed the entire preseason while recovering from a leg injury. He’s been rusty, dropping a few passes, including one in the endzone against the Eagles. Now that he’s been in the offense for a couple weeks, he should begin feeling more comfortable. Look for a solid performance this week against a Browns defense that gave up 86 yards to Todd Heap and 82 yards to Jason Witten in Weeks 1 and 2.
  • With Heap and Kellen Winslow suffering injuries in Week 2 and some decent TEs on bye this week, plenty of owners are looking for points from this position. One option worth considering is Denver’s Dwayne Carswell. Carswell caught all three passes that were thrown in his direction last week, ending the day with 35 yards. On Sunday, he’ll face a San Diego defense that gave up a touchdown last week to Jets TE Chris Baker. And don’t forget, last season against the Chargers, Jake Plummer hooked up with Shannon Sharpe for four touchdowns in the team’s two meetings with San Diego. Carswell won’t post Sharpe-like numbers, but he shouldn’t get you a donut hole either. Look for something in the middle.

This Week’s Sleepers: Dwayne Carswell and Bubba Franks

Kicker

  • Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson connected on four field goals last week against the Cowboys and should follow it up with another strong game Sunday against another NFC East opponent: the Giants. He currently owns the league’s longest consecutive field goal streak. More importantly, he’s the highest scoring kicker in the league. Need any more reasons why he’s a solid play in Week 3?
  • The Ravens have scored 26 or more points in each of their last four games against the Bengals. With Jamal Lewis due for a big game, they should continue that streak. Look for at least nine points from Matt Stover.

This Week’s Sleepers: Phil Dawson and Matt Stover

Defense

  • The Miami Dolphins are a team that’s in complete disarray on the offensive side of the ball. Their offensive line looked like a bunch of bull fighters last week against the Bengals, stepping aside and letting Cincinnati’s lineman run past them. If you can get your hands on the Pittsburgh Steelers defense this week, you’ll be in for a big game. The Steelers will have plenty of opportunities to register sacks. Plus, with A.J. Feeley still adapting to life as a starting QB, a defensive score is definitely possible.
  • Start the Atlanta Falcons defense this week against the Cardinals. Atlanta already has eight sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown. Meanwhile, the Cardinals haven’t scored more than 12 points this season. With QB Josh McCown on the hot seat, he may try to force some balls this week as his team will most likely be playing from behind.

This Week’s Sleepers: Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings

The 6-Pack

Last Week's 6-Pack: Harp

Price Paid: $6.79 (sale)

Harp comes from the brewers of Guinness and is presented in a brown bottle. According to the label, it’s a beer for those who “enjoy good beer and good times in equal measure.” In the bottle, the aroma given off by Harp is a distinct citrus smell. It’s not overpowering, but even a person with a weak sense of smell should be able to pick up a lemony scent. When I poured Harp, I was a bit taken aback by the head. Since this is a lager, I was expecting a fizzy head that faded quickly. What I got was a creamy, meringue-like head that lasted for several minutes. The head won’t be confused with one you’d get from Guinness, but it was impressive nonetheless. Color wasn’t anything special, though it was a bit darker than American macro beers. The predominant flavor is malt and a soft sweetness. The hops are hardly perceptible – only a very mild bitterness. That makes this a smooth beer to drink. After a couple gulps, Harp kind of lingers on the palate with a toasty finish and a nice bite. No unpleasant aftertaste is present, unlike some other European lagers that I’ve previously reviewed in this space, Heineken in particular. Considering the impressive head, smooth taste and interesting flavor, I feel this is one of the better beers in the lager category. Give it a try next time your standing in front of your liquor store’s fridge. Better yet, have the bartender pull a pint next time you visit an Irish pub.

Reader Comments: Reader Brian Cooke tapped into his Irish lineage, giving Harp a thumbs up. My grandfather was born and raised in Dublin, so Guinness is my ultimate favorite,” writes Cooke. “However, when you don't want to feel so weighted down, and you're just not in the mood for a stout, Harp is my beer of choice.  You still get the quality of Guinness, only without the obvious heaviness and aftertaste.” 

This Week's 6-Pack : Spaten Oktoberfest

Octoberfest is here. What better way to celebrate than with the world’s first Octoberfest beer, created in 1872. It comes on recommendation from several readers. Pick yourself up a 6-pack or enjoy a stein at your local Octoberfest. Then, let me know what you think next week.