- Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper has struggled a bit when playing in Soldier Field. His last three trips to Chicago have resulted in losses. It’s been equally bad in fantasy terms. In those three losses, he never threw more than one touchdown pass. Look for more Windy City struggles this week for Culpepper. The cold temperatures certainly won’t help Randy Moss’ hamstring. Anything more than 225 yards and a touchdown would be unexpected.
- Keep David Carr far, far away from your active lineup this week. He’s been horse bleep on the road this season. In his last three games away from the friendly confines of Reliant Stadium, Carr has just one touchdown and four interceptions. This week’s opponent, the New York Jets, allows fewer than 200 yards passing per game.
- Trent Green let down fantasy owners last week. After ripping off four straight games with 300+ passing yards, Green barely managed 200 yards against the Chargers. What’s worse, he didn’t throw a touchdown. The decrease in production may have you considering deactivating Green, but that might not be the wisest decision. Green will face an Oakland Raiders defense that has allowed 21 passing touchdowns this year. Green should be a lock for 280 yards and a pair of scores.
- You probably can’t go wrong starting Steve McNair this week. McNair will face an Indianapolis Colts defense that ranks 31 st against the pass. The Colts figure to get the early lead and that will result in plenty of passing opportunities for McNair, who showed flashes of his former self last week. Three hundred yards and two touchdowns is a definite possibility.
This Week’s Sleepers: Steve McNair, Jake Delhomme and Matt Hasselbeck
- The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t come close to stopping Ahman Green in their last two meetings with the Packers. Green posted 224 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in Week 10 last year and followed it up with 172 yards in the NFC Divisional playoff game. This year’s Eagles team has shown some improvement in run defense, but it remains a weakness. They allow more than 120 yards per game on the ground. In recent weeks, they’ve given up big yardage performances to Tiki Barber (110) and Jerome Bettis (149). If Green suits up and starts, consider him a lock for 130 yards and a touchdown.
- Reports out of Oakland suggest Zack Crockett will be the team’s short-yardage and goal-line RB with Tyrone Wheatley injured. Crockett becomes a fantasy option, especially in touchdown-only leagues. He has scored in two of his last three meetings against the Chiefs. Oakland’s offense is finally moving the ball and showing some promise. Crockett should find his way into the endzone against a Kansas City defense that has allowed 14 rushing touchdowns – second most in the NFL.
- Tiki Barber has been one of the most consistent fantasy RBs this year. Unfortunately, his lowest output came against the Washington Redskins – this week’s opponent. Barber had just 42 yards rushing against the division rival back in Week 2. The Redskins still rate highly versus the run (3 rd overall), so I expect another down day for Barber. Consider looking elsewhere if have options and can’t live with 80-90 yards.
- Marshall Faulk has been abysmal in recent weeks, but think about pulling him off your bench for a spot start in Week 13. He’ll face the San Francisco 49ers and a defense that has give up a league-worst 15 rushing touchdowns. In his last game against the 49ers, Faulk racked up 146 total yards.
- In his last two games against the Bucs, T.J. Duckett has been solid. He has a 93-yard performance and a two-touchdown performance. Based on that success, he could be good for a start this week. I expect 60 touchdowns along with at least one touchdown.
This Week’s Sleepers: Zack Crockett, Marshall Faulk, T.J. Duckett and Kevin Jones
- The Carolina Panthers haven’t given up big points in their last two games, but they have allowed 300+ yards passing each of the past two week. That’s one reason to keep Joe Horn in your active lineup this week. If you need another, consider that he has scored three touchdowns in his last two games against the Panthers.
- Rookie wideout Michael Clayton had one of the best fantasy performances of his young career three weeks ago against the Falcons – 90 yards and a touchdown. Start him and look for another solid stat line. The Falcons have fared well against the pass in the last two weeks, but they don’t play as well on the road. Start Clayton and look for 80 yards and a touchdown.
- After a disappointing game last week in which he caught just four passes for 61 yards and no touchdowns, Terrell Owens should have a bounce-back game against the Packers. While with the 49ers, Owens tormented Green Bay, scoring four touchdowns in his last four games against them. He will likely draw coverage from standout cornerback Al Harris, but that shouldn’t stop Owens from putting up 100 yards and two touchdowns.
- Darrell Jackson hasn’t sniffed a 100-yard game in three weeks. He’s not seeing many passes and dropping the ones that do get thrown his way. In Jackson’s defense, two of his poor showings came against the Dolphins and Bills – two of the league’s tougher pass defenses. It’ll be tough to bench him this week against the Cowboys. Dallas has allowed 12 passing touchdowns in the past five games and 22 on the season, third worst in the NFL. Look for 90 yards and a TD from Jackson.
- The Texans are awful against the pass and that makes Santana Moss and Justin McCareins fine plays in Week 13. Houston’s Swiss cheese secondary has surrendered 27 passing touchdowns, the worst mark in the NFL. Moss has caught fire with Quincy Carter under center. McCareins has cooled off. But whether Carter or Chad Pennington starts, both players are worth activating.
This Week’s Sleepers: Justin McCareins, Keary Colbert, Travis Taylor and Rod Gardner
- Todd Heap might return from an ankle injury this week. If he does, he could be worth a start right away. The Ravens will square off against a Bengals team that couldn’t figure out how to stop Steve Heiden last week. Heiden scored three touchdowns. Even if Heap doesn’t find his way into the endzone, he should play a factor. Look for a minimum of 50 yards receiving. With all the quality tight ends that have emerged this season you may be able to do better. Then again, maybe not.
- San Francisco 49ers TE Eric Johnson is a good bet to score this week. The Rams have allowed tight end scores in five of the last seven weeks. Johnson whipped San Francisco for 113 yards in their last meeting. I’d say an 80-yard, 1-TD performance is in order.
- Owners needing a sleeper at the tight end position could do worst than Carolina’s Kris Mangum. Mangum will square off against a New Orleans Saints defense that has given up five touchdowns to tight ends in their last five games.
This Week’s Sleepers: Kris Mangum and Dallas Clark
- Chances are Doug Brien is available on your league’s waiver wire. He’ll likely kick at least two field goals this week against a Houston Texans team that has given up 31 or more points in three of the last four weeks.
- Bengals kicker Shayne Graham has the second-most field goals in the NFL (22) behind Adam Vinatieri (28). He also ranks third in points scored. Even so, I’d consider moving him to the bench. The Bengals face off against the Ravens this week and could be in for a big letdown after last week’s thriller against the Browns.
This Week’s Sleepers: Doug Brien and Rian Lindell
- There are several young quarterbacks making that are getting the starting nod this week, so fantasy owners will have no excuses if they get a low point total from their defense. Don’t hesitate to play the match-ups and start a team like the Minnesota Vikings, who will face Chad Hutchinson and the Bears, or the Detroit Lions, who will face John Navarre and the Cardinals. My favorite sleeper defense this week is the Washington Redskins. They’re always tough, but should fare particularly well against Eli Manning and the Giants
- With so many sleeper defenses out there this week, it might be good time to bench a team like the Denver Broncos. Denver will face the Chargers. QB Drew Brees has thrown 193 consecutive passes without an interception. Moreover, the Chargers are scoring big points every game.
This Week’s Sleepers: Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins
Last Week's 6-Pack: Carlsberg Elephant
Price Paid: $5.99
I hadn’t had malt liquor, since my days in college when I went on the occasional Mickey’s bender. The idea of imported malt liquor struck me as odd, so much so that I figured Carlsberg Elephant would be worth a try. That was my first mistake. The beer comes in a green bottle with a foil label. A foil label on malt liquor? Maybe I’m missing something. Curiously, the back of the label says the beer is best if consumed before 20417309. I spent the second half of the Packers vs. Rams game on Monday night trying to decipher that code. The smell is a bit harsh, somewhat sour and not surprisingly dominated by malt and alcohol. Carlsberg Elephant actually pours quite nicely. It’s a clean, golden color that’s topped by a nice pinky-finger thick head that lasts several minutes. The taste is startling. The alcohol packs a punch. Take a swallow, breathe out, and you might swear you just took a shot of whiskey. It has that warm, abrasive effect. At 7.2% alcohol by volume, this is a great choice if you’re a 49ers fan and want to ease the pain of watching your team play. My second mistake with Carlsberg Elephant was drinking two. Call me a lightweight, but I was buzzed by the time Madden started droning on about Favre earning his spot on the horse trailer. Overall, it’s better than some of the malt liquors you’d pick up at your neighborhood 7-Eleven. If you’re ever in the market for an upscale malt liquor – and I can’t imagine anyone would be – remember Carlsberg Elephant.
This Week's 6-Pack : Fuller’s ESB
After a disappointing experience with Carlsberg, it’s time for a beer with promise. Grab a 6-pack of Fuller’s Extra Special Bitter to enjoy with this weekend’s games. It’s an English beer that promises to have a lot of character.