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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

The Weekly 6-Pack - Week 14
Paul Sandy
December 10, 2004

Quarterback

  • With a match-up against the Colts on tap, owners might be tempted to pull David Carr off their bench. Sure, the Colts rank 29 th in the NFL in pass defense, but Carr has been ice cold lately. The Houston gunslinger has thrown just three touchdowns in his last five games and is averaging fewer than two hundred yards per outing during that miserable stretch. But the telltale sign to keep him on the bench: Carr finished with zero touchdowns and three INTs in his last game against Indy.
  • Monday night’s primetime game between the Chiefs and Texans has all the makings of a shootout. I like both QBs. Start Trent Green with confidence if you’ve got him on your roster. He’s thrown for 300+ yards and a combined nine TDs in his last four road games. If you’re holding Steve McNair and Billy Volek and can make a game-time roster move, I encourage you to do so. Whichever player starts should be worth 250 yards and at least a couple touchdowns. The Chiefs are worst in the AFC in pass defense.
  • Matt Hasselbeck finally posted a decent game last week, going over 300 passing yards (400, actually) for the first time in 2004. This week’s game against the Vikings will entice some owners to start Seattle’s QB, but I’d be careful and really weigh all my options before trusting him. Minnesota isn’t great versus the pass and they will be without top cornerback Antoine Winfield. However, the Metrodome is a tough place to play. The Vikings have shut down every QB who’s entered their house this season. In fact, no opposing passer has tossed more than one touchdown there all season.
  • Keep riding Panthers QB Jake Delhomme. Last week was the first time in five games that he didn’t throw multiple touchdown passes. Fantasy owners couldn’t have too disappointed in the Carolina field general. He did throw for 294 yards. This week he’ll face a Rams team that looks decent enough on paper. They only allow a shade over 200 yards passing per game. But the reality is they’ve given up 37 or more points in three of their last five games. In that stretch, QBs have dissected their secondary. Look for 275 yards and two TDs from Delhomme.

This Week’s Sleepers: Steve McNair / Bill Volek, Jake Delhomme and Drew Bledsoe

Running Back

  • One of the most intriguing match-ups of Week 14 has to be Corey Dillon squaring off against his old squad, the Cincinnati Bengals. Dillon has been as hot as any RB in the NFL over the last five weeks. He has six touchdowns in that stretch and has gone over 100 all-purpose yards in each game. His tender hamstring is apparently a non-issue and you know he wouldn’t miss this game for the world. The Bengals own the worst rush defense in the AFC, so Dillon has to be considered a lock for 120 yards here. Don’t be surprised to see another two touchdowns, as well.
  • San Francisco 49ers starting RB Kevan Barlow is expected to miss this Sunday’s game. He suffered a concussion in Week 13. In his stead, former practice squad player Maurice Hicks is will get the start. Hicks has been on the radar of The Huddle for a few weeks now and has a favorable match-up this week against the Cardinals, who allow about 140 yards per game on the ground. They’ve been even worse than that lately, and have given up huge games to Kevin Jones and Nick Goings over the last three weeks. If you’re in the playoffs, obviously start the RBs who got you there. But if you’re playing spoiler, Hicks could post some surprising stats – somewhere around 110 all-purpose yards and a touchdown could be within his range.
  • If you acquired Julius Jones a few weeks ago, you’ve probably been walking around the office with a permanent smile on your face. Jones has been an absolute monster. That grin isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. The Cowboys face the Saints this weekend, so Jones should post at least another 150 yards and two scores.
  • At about the same time that Julius Jones got hot, his brother began a cold streak. Bears RB Thomas Jones just hasn’t been the same since returning from a toe injury. He hasn’t sniffed the 100-yard mark in his last three games and hit the ultimate low last week. He averaged just a smidge over three yards per carry against the Vikings shaky run defense. Bench Jones this week against the Jags, who have only allowed six rushing touchdowns this season.

This Week’s Sleepers: Maurice Hicks, Moe Williams and Larry Johnson

Wide Receiver

  • Don’t miss your chance to start Titans receivers Drew Bennett and Derrick Mason this week against the Chiefs. Kansas City ranks second to last in the NFL in pass defense and the duo has been hot lately. Bennett is coming off a three-touchdown performance last week against the Colts. Mason had scored in two consecutive games prior to Week 13. I expect three scores between them on Monday night.
  • Indianapolis wideouts Brandon Stokley, Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison rank 12, 13 and 14 respectively in receiving yards for wideouts. Barring injury, all of them will surpass 1,000 yards receiving before the season is over. In fact, two of them will likely reach the benchmark this week against the Texans, who are notoriously horrible versus the pass. Obviously start all of them, but Stokely had the hot hand a few weeks ago against Houston, finishing with 132 yards and two touchdowns.
  • How’s this for a paradox? The New Orleans Saints are one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL, but Joe Horn has remarkably been one of the most consistent wideouts in fantasy football this season. He’s had four 100+ yard receiving performances in his last six games. Plus, he’s been finding the endzone with regularity lately. Bank on another above-average game from Horn this week. His opponent, the Cowboys, are weak against the pass. They’ve given up a whopping 25 touchdown passes this season.
  • Like Corey Dillon, Keenan McCardell is certainly looking forward to his revenge match-up this week against his former team. McCardell will be pumped up to face the Buccaneers, who were cavalier in their refusal to renegotiate his contract. I expect an 85-yard one touchdown game from him. While Tampa is awfully tough against the pass at home, they have been proven vulnerable on the road.

This Week’s Sleepers: Drew Bennett, Anquan Boldin, Roy Williams and Johnnie Morton

Tight End

  • If you hadn’t noticed, the switch at QB has absolutely destroyed the value of the New York Giants passing game. I’d strongly consider moving Jeremy Shockey and company to the bench this week against the Ravens. Heck, if I had a decent backup, I’d even think about benching Tiki Barber.
  • Consider snagging Bubba Franks off the waiver wire if he’s available this week. The Detroit Lions have allowed tight end scores in two of the last three weeks. Plus, Franks has had their number lately. He’s scored three touchdowns in his last five games versus the division rival.
  • I’ve been keeping my eye on Freddie Jones over the past few weeks and I like what I’m seeing. During that span, he’s had 156 yards receiving for a respectable 52-yard-per-game average. Plus, he got into the endzone last weekend. Another QB change makes Jones a bit of a risk if you’re in the playoffs or on the bubble, but I love his chances for success again this week against the 49ers, a team he scored on back in Week 5. I expect 60 yards and a touchdown.

This Week’s Sleepers: Bubba Franks and Freddie Jones

Kicker

  • Look for David Akers to once again rank among the top kickers this week. The Eagles face off against the Redskins, who field one of the tougher defenses in the league. I expect that they’ll keep Philly out of the endzone on most possessions, but not stop them from moving the ball altogether. That should mean at least a few field goals for Akers.
  • If John Kasay is on your team or on your waiver wire, he needs to be in your active lineup this week. He just booted a franchise record six field goals this week. In Week 14, things will remain peachy for Kasay. He’ll face a Rams team that has been surrendering more field goals than anyone lately – 14 in their last five games. Start him and expect nothing less than three field goals and 12 total points.

This Week’s Sleepers: John Kasay and Ryan Longwell

Defense

  • The Baltimore Ravens defense has been its usual steady self. The Ravens have scored a touchdown in two of their last three games. Count on continued success this week against young Eli Manning. Ray Lewis shouldn’t have much difficulty getting into the head of the rookie. I would be surprised if the Ravens don’t log a defensive touchdown and thoroughly shocked if the Giants scored more than 13 points.
  • Start the Carolina Panthers defense this week. They’re facing a Rams offense that hasn’t scored more than 17 points in the last three weeks. Even better for the Panthers, St. Louis will be on the road, where they stink, and they’ll be missing starting QB Marc Bulger this week because of a shoulder injury. The Rams will start veteran QB Chris Chandler. At the very least, I expect four sacks from Carolina.

This Week’s Sleepers: Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers

The 6-Pack

Last Week's 6-Pack: Fullers ESB

Price Paid: $7.99

Fuller’s ESB is the second extra special bitter reviewed by The Weekly 6-Pack. Last season, I had the pleasure of sampling and commenting on Red Hook ESB. I enjoyed it quite a bit and recommended it to reviewers. Obviously, I was excited to try Fuller’s. Let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. This beer comes in a tall, narrow, brown bottle, a different look than your standard brew. After my first whiff of Fuller’s, I could tell this was a beer that I was going to take pleasure in. It’s an extremely fragrant beer. Though it’s complex, I had little trouble noticing the powerful hops. It also has some fruity and spice character to it, perhaps a bit like cloves. Be sure to drink this beer out of the glass. It pours to an amazing rustic orange color and is topped off with a sizable frothy head. Looks a bit like bath bubbles. As for the taste, it’s quite a bit smoother than I remember Red Hook being, but at the same time, there’s a definite kick. The hops are perfectly balanced, so it’s interesting without being offensive to the palate. It’s a fantastic flavor. In addition to hops, which dominate the taste, I could pick up a toffee flavor and maybe even a bit of the orange fruitiness that was present in the aroma. What I like best about Fuller’s is the way it feels in the mouth. The carbonation is perfect, so it almost feels buttery. Overall, Fuller’s ESB is top shelf and quite possibly the new favorite beer of The Weekly 6-Pack.

Reader Comment: This week’s comment comes from all the way across the pond. Weekly 6-Pack reader Simon Webster dropped me an e-mail. “ I’m writing from London where I participate in a 14 team keeper league – yep, we Brits play fantasy football too! Very excited to read that you are sampling Fullers ESB in this week’s The Weekly 6-Pack,” says Webster.  “It is quite simply the best beer available, bar none.  Surprised it is available in the US, given how far it is from your standard lager. Savour every mouthful…” Indeed, I did.

This Week's 6-Pack : Gösser lager

It’ll be tough to top Fuller’s ESB, but next up is a beer from Austria called G ö sser. Pickup a 6-pack this week. Then, after you’re done yodeling, let me know what you think.