- Who would’ve thought at the beginning of the season that some owners would be feeling the pain in Week 10 with Drew Brees and Jake Plummer on bye? If you need a replacement for one of these red hot QBs, there are a couple decent plays. I like Billy Volek this week, assuming Steve McNair sits out. Volek has performed admirably in his two starts this season, tossing a pair of TDs in each game. This week’s opponent, the Bears, have a defense that looks good on paper, but consider the competition. In recent weeks, they’ve faced the likes of Mark Brunell, Ken Dorsey and Kurt Warner. Volek should be solid. Look for 200+ yards and two touchdowns.
- If McNair starts or if you don’t trust Volek, Jake Delhomme is certainly worth a look. San Francisco’s secondary is crippled right now. They’re missing both of their starting cornerbacks. Besides, Delhomme has been rock solid in his past two games, throwing five touchdowns and racking up roughly 550 yards. I love his chances of turning in an above average performance, around 240 yards and two touchdowns.
- Although the Buffalo Bills rank among the league’s best defenses, I consider Tom Brady a must-play this week. In his last two games versus the division rival, the Super Bowl MVP has posted a combined six TDs. At worst, Brady should finish the day with two touchdowns and some decent yardage.
- Tampa Bay has always found a way to stifle, Michael Vick. In three career games against the Bucs, Vick has never passed for more than 125 yards. Even more telling is that Tampa has been able to limit his ability to run. Vick had a 39-yard rushing game against them, but other than that he’s been shut down. Consider keeping him on your bench for this week’s match-up.
This Week’s Sleepers: Billy Volek, Jake Delhomme, and David Garrard
- In his last two meetings with the Falcons, Michael Pittman has factored heavily into the passing game. He posted 80+ yards in both games and had a total of 16 receptions. Pittman, who is coming off a career day, should play a big role once again this week. Atlanta allows fewer than 100 yards rushing per game, but upon closer inspection, this should be a favorable match-up for Pittman. The Falcons have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns this season and have allowed some good receiving performances to RBs on a few occasions. Pittman has a good chance to finish with 140 total yards and a score.
- After some shaky starts in recent weeks, Texans RB Domanick Davis finally turned in a strong performance last week against Denver. Start him with confidence Sunday against the Colts. In his last meeting with Indy, Davis posted 134 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Even if the Colts get ahead, Davis should be involved in the passing game. Anything less than 110 total yards and a touchdown would be a major disappointment against Indianapolis’ 28 th ranked defense.
- Kevan Barlow is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and roughly 60 yards on the ground per game. That’s pathetic production for a guy who went in the second or third round of most fantasy drafts. While he may have been picking splinters out of his hindquarters on your bench for the past few weeks, this is a good time to activate him. Barlow will face a Carolina Panthers defense that has given up a league-worst 13 rushing touchdowns along with more than 140 yards on the ground per game. I’m betting Barlow shows up for this game and rocks the Panthers for 120 yards and a touchdown.
- Redskins RB Clinton Portis is my pick to be the top ball carrier in Week 10. Portis struggled in Weeks 4-5, averaging less than three yards per carry. But he’s picked up his game lately and has logged two games with more than 140 yards in his last three outings. This week he’ll face off against the Bengals, a team that has NFL’s worst run defense. In Week 1 of the 2003 season, Portis left cleat marks on the collective heads of the Cincinnati defense. At the time, he was with the Broncos, but his 159 yards and two touchdowns prove the orange and black don’t scare Portis. Start him and look for a 150-yard multi-TD performance.
- Historically, Marshall Faulk has done well against the Seahawks when playing at home in St. Louis and poorly against them on the road. In his last two home games versus Seattle he has 333 total yards and five touchdowns. Give him a start and look for 90-100 total yards and a touchdown.
This Week’s Sleepers: Kevan Barlow, Marshall Faulk, Derrick Blaylock and Jerome Bettis
- Packers third-year wideout Javon Walker has scored three touchdowns in his last two games against the Minnesota Vikings. He should continue his hot streak against the hated division rival in Week 10. The Vikings rank 29 th in pass defense. Donald Driver also is worth a start. And, what the heck, in deep leagues you can even give consideration to Robert Ferguson as a sleeper play. Ferguson has 12 receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns in his last two home games against Minnesota.
- Maybe I’m just a sucker for break dancing, but I’ve been on the Johnnie Morton band wagon for a couple weeks now. Morton, who does the Worm after every touchdown he scores, has back to back 69-yard, one-touchdown performances. He and Eddie Kennison are worth starting this week against the lowly Saints. New Orleans allows an NFC-worst 285.1 yards per game and they’ve allowed 15 passing touchdowns, almost two per game. I expect 165 yards, two touchdowns and one worm dance between the two wideouts.
- Colts WR Reggie Wayne had 96 yards receiving and two touchdowns in his last home game against the Texans. Houtson continues to struggle against the pass. They’ve given up more TD passes (18) than any team in the NFL. Peyton Manning should be a lock for another four touchdown afternoon. Don’t be surprised if two of them go to Wayne.
- Cardinals wideout Anquan Boldin has been back for two games now and produced some unspectacular numbers. I think this is the week he’ll finally breakout. The Cardinals play much better at home and have won their last two games at Tempe. This will be Boldin’s first game in front of the home crowd since last year, so he should be fired up. QB Josh McCown has thrown to last year’s Rookie of the Year nine times each of the last two weeks. The connection should finally find its rhythm against a Giants defense that has allowed 13 passing touchdowns.
- Browns receiver Andre Davis has scored in two of his last three games against the Steelers and turned in a nice 101 yard, one-touchdown game against Pittsburgh earlier this year. He’s been battling a couple toe injuries, but if he plays, he’s worth a looks. Eight-five yards and a score isn’t too much to expect.
This Week’s Sleepers: Eddie Kennison, Anquan Boldin, Jerome Pathon and Andre Davis
- The Philadelphia Eagles have allowed tight ends to score a touchdown in four consecutive weeks. That makes Cowboys TE Jason Witten an excellent play in Week 10. Outside of Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates, Witten has been the NFL’s hottest tight end.
- Start Boo Williams this week. He had his best game of the season last week and will be facing a Kansas City Chiefs defense that has given up 16 passing touchdowns this season, including two to TEs in the past two weeks.
This Week’s Sleepers: Boo Williams and Bubba Franks
- With Jason Elam, Nate Kaeding and Sebastian Janikowski on bye, plenty of owners will be scouring the waiver wire for a viable kicker. One guy to check out is Pittsburgh’s Jeff Reed. Reed has had great success against Cleveland. Since becoming a Steeler, he’s booted two field goals in every game versus the Browns. Truth be told, Reed should no longer be looked at as a spot starter. The Steelers offense has proven itself under the leadership of rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger. They’ve scored 24+ points in their last five games. In his last four outings, Reed has kicked multiple field goals three times.
- If you can’t get your hands on Reed, consider acquiring Ryan Longwell. The Packers and Vikings have a history of high-scoring games. Neither team has posted fewer than 20 points in any game in which they have faced off since 2001. Longwell has booted six field goals in his last three games against Minnesota.
This Week’s Sleepers: Jeff Reed, Ryan Longwell and Jason Hanson
- Dallas QB Vinny Testaverde has three interceptions in each of his last two games, including one that was returned for a touchdown. I expect a huge performance out of the Philadelphia Eagles defense this week. In their last contest against the Cowboys, Philly held them to just 10 points. Dallas is playing sloppy football right now. In addition to Testaverde’s INTs, they coughed up two fumbles last week. The Eagles should be a lock for three turnovers and a couple sacks. Look for a Philly defender to have his mug on the horse trailer Monday night.
- If you’re desperate for a defense this week and your league doesn’t punish you if your defense gives up a lot of points, consider acquiring the Minnesota Vikings. Brett Favre re-injured his throwing hand two weeks ago in Washington. Last season, the three-time MVP threw 21 interceptions with a busted up hand. While the bye week likely helped, Favre has indicated it will never be the same. The hand was clearly bothering him in the second half and Favre finished the game with three interceptions. Start the Vikings and look for at least two interceptions and a possible defensive touchdown.
This Week’s Sleepers: Vikings and Redskins
Last Week's 6-Pack: John Courage Amber
Price Paid: $7.29
I hadn’t heard of this beer before spotting it on the liquor store shelf a couple weeks ago. Admittedly, it was the cool name that caught my attention. John Courage is brewed in Edinburgh, Scotland. The beer is bottled in a brown longneck and only offers a faint aroma. I categorized it as a sort of apple and flower scent. I loved the beer’s appearance and pour. It thundered into my pint glass, climaxing into a fluffy, pillow-like head. While it didn’t last as long as I’d hope, for the brief minutes it was around, the head was perfect. The color is a deep copper kettle hue. Overall I score it an A- on appearance. The taste and mouth-feel are both average to slightly above average. It has a creamy/buttery characteristic to it that’s quite nice. There’s a distinct malt flavor in John Courage, but it’s almost totally devoid of hops, a definite weakness in my book. I also noticed a toffee flavor that added some interest. Overall, a clean taste. Give this beer a shot if you ever find yourself in a British pub or if you’re hanging out with the boys and want to bring something different to the table.
This Week's 6-Pack : Rolling Rock
Back to the USA. Pennsylvania to be more exact. Pick up a 6-pack of Rolling Rock this week and ponder the mystery of the “33”. Then, let me know whether it deserves some precious real estate in your fridge.