- If you acquired Eli Manning a couple weeks ago off the waiver wire and now you’re wondering whether you should play him, the answer is yes. Manning will face the division rival Cowboys this week on the road. Although Dallas shut down the Eagles last week, they have been susceptible to the big play all year—something Manning and Plaxico Burress excel at. The odds makers are suggesting this will be a high scoring game with an over/under of 47.5. I agree. Start Manning in anticipation of a 250-yard, 2-touchdown performance.
- Broncos QB Jake Plummer cannot be trusted as a fantasy starter right now. In fact, he’s teetering on edge of not even being worthy of a roster spot. After putting up over 4,000 yards last year, Plummer has thrown for fewer than 155 yards in three straight games, including an abysmal 92-yard effort last week. While this week’s opponent, the Patriots, have given up a surprising 10 passing touchdowns on the year, starting Plummer is just too risky.
- Although there are certainly more favorable opponents than the Redskins, I like Trent Green’s potential this week. Green and the Chiefs are coming off a bye and should be healthy and well rested. The team is expected to get offensive tackle Willie Roaf back, which should open things up in both the passing and running games. In his last two games coming off a bye week, Green has averaged 341.5 yards and 2.5 touchdowns. Unless you have a QB who’s clearly a better choice, give Green a shot.
- Drew Bledsoe will make an excellent bye week filler for owners who will be without Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb this week. Written off as “washed up” and “past his prime” during the preseason, Bledsoe has resurrected his career under Bill Parcells. The former Bills and Patriots QB has at least one touchdown in each of his five starts this season. Coming off a 3-touchdown, 389-yard performance last week against the Eagles, he will have similar success this Sunday against a suspect Giants passing defense that gives up 322.5 yards per game.
This Week’s Sleepers: Mark Brunell, Drew Bledsoe, and Brian Griese
- In four career meetings with the Chiefs, Clinton Portis has averaged 139.8 yards and 2.75 touchdowns per game. Granted those lofty stats were accumulated while Portis was with the Broncos, but it’s difficult not to get excited about his potential this week. Keep him in your active lineup and look forward to his first touchdown of the season this Sunday at Arrowhead.
- The combination of injuries and bye weeks has a lot of owners out there in fantasy land scrambling to find a warm body they can plug into their backfield. If you’re truly desperate, I like Bears RB Adrian Peterson as a sneaky play. With Thomas Jones battling a knee injury, the attention shifted to rookie Cedric Benson this week. But head coach Lovie Smith hasn’t been shy about letting people know that he likes what Peterson brings to the table—in particular more effective pass blocking than Benson. A game this week against a Vikings team that seems more interested in dental dams than plugging up opposing running attacks is more than favorable. The Vikings rank dead last in the NFL in rush defense. Monitor the situation. If Jones sits, Peterson deserves more than a cursory glance.
- Many Rudi Johnson owners are quietly disappointed with the Bengals starter. Johnson has been just good enough that he merits a start every week, but just bad enough that he hasn’t been a difference maker. Johnson actually ranks fifth in the entire league in rushing yardage, but he hasn’t had a touchdown or 100-yard game since Week 1. The downward trend should come to a halt this week against the Titans, who give up 116 yards per game on the ground.
- There’s good news and bad news for Duce Staley and Lee Suggs owners. The bad news is they’re likely not coming off the injury report anytime soon. According to Steelers coach Bill Cowher, Staley might not recover from his knee surgery this season. Meanwhile, Lee Suggs broke his thumb and will miss at least a few more weeks. The good news is you can confidently cut these guys and get rid of some dead weight on your roster. Running backs are scarce right now, but you may be able to find value in a waiver wire pickup like Patrick Pass, Chris Perry, Tony Fisher, or Alvin Pearman—each of whom get decent yardage as third-down specialists and also serve as the primary backup RB for their respective teams.
This Week’s Sleepers: Adrian Petersen, Patrick Pass, and Chris Brown
- If you’ve been hesitant to plug Terry Glenn into your active lineup to this point, it’s time to throw a little trust his way. Glenn has been simply fantastic this season, particularly at home where in just two games he’s posted 275 yards and three touchdowns. This week’s game against the Giants, who rank 31st in passing defense, has the makings of another good showing by Glenn.
- Chiefs wideout Eddie Kennison has been a nice surprise this year. He’s posted 75+ yards in three out of four games this season, including two straight 100-yard performances. However, I anticipate a slight decrease in production this week and a corresponding increase for tight end Tony Gonzalez. Over the last few weeks, Gonzalez has been used primarily as a blocker because tackle Willie Roaf was injured and the Chiefs needed extra protection. This opened the door for Kennison to become the primary receiver. Now Roaf is due back and Gonzalez should get the opportunity to run more routes. Couple these factors with a match-up against the 6th ranked Redskins passing defense and Kennison may fall short of expectations by a bit this week.
- The Seahawks received some bad news this week. The surgery on Darrell Jackson’s knee uncovered more damage than was originally diagnosed. As a result, Jackson could miss up to six more weeks. If you own Jackson and your team is below .500, I would suggest shopping him to one of the top teams in your league. The reason is that a team that has dominated to this point will be more comfortable looking ahead six weeks and planning for the playoffs. On the other hand, teams that are struggling don’t have that comfort level, and roster space is at a premium because they’re trying to piece together a competitive lineup. As you’re making your pitch to your league-mates be sure to mention that the Seahawks and Jackson will face the 49ers and Titans in Weeks 14 and 15—the fantasy playoffs for most leagues.
- Redskins WR Santana Moss should continue his hot streak this week against the Chiefs. Moss is riding high after starting the season with four straight games with 87+ yards receiving. This week, he’ll face a Chiefs defense that’s recently given up good performances to Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Rod Smith. It’s likely that Moss will end the day close to his 115 yards per game average.
- Bills sophomore wideout Lee Evans scored in each of his meetings with the Jets last year. With Kelly Holcomb under center, Evans’ value is on the rise. Start him as needed.
This Week’s Sleepers: Lee Evans, D.J. Hackett, Jabar Gaffney, and Brandon Stokley
- Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey has scored in two straight games versus the Cowboys and is a solid start in all leagues—even those where a TE isn’t required. Shockey, it seems, is finally living up to his potential. The former Miami Hurricane hasn’t scored fewer than six points this season in fantasy leagues with standard performance scoring.
- With the offseason departure of Marcus Pollard, Colts second-year TE Dallas Clark was primed for a big year. But because of injuries and a stronger Indianapolis defense, Clark’s breakout season hasn’t materialized. Don’t lose faith though. Just when things are starting to look grim, the St. Louis Rams pop up on the schedule. The Rams have given up scores to tight ends in each of the last three weeks. If your regular TE is out or isn’t performing up to expectations, give Clark a look. He should be good for 50 yards and a possible score.
This Week’s Sleepers: Dallas Clark, Jerramy Stevens, and Kris Mangum
- The Giants have the highest scoring offense in the NFL, so kicker Jay Feely deserves a roster spot in your league. Coming off a bye week, he may still be lingering out on your waiver wire. Start him with confidence this week. He’s connected on multiple field goals in three straight games.
- The Bills offense continues to sputter inside the red zone, which makes Rian Lindell a solid play again this week against the Jets. Lindell currently ranks second in field goals and sixth in total points. This defensive matchup should continue to rely on the kickers to score.
This Week’s Sleepers: Rian Lindell and Jose Cortez
- I’m expecting big things from the Atlanta Falcons defense the week against the Saints. New Orleans got pummeled by the Packers a week ago. Green Bay scored two defensive touchdowns and held the Saints to just three points. With Deuce McAllister out for the season and Aaron Brooks dealing with a sore hand, it will make it that much more difficult for New Orleans to bounce back. The Falcons hold opponents to just 17.6 points per game and they’ve recorded 18 sacks, second-best in the NFL. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them notch their first defensive touchdown of the season on Sunday.
- Start the Seattle Seahawks this week against a Texans team that hasn’t posted more than 10 points in any road game this year. As if things weren’t bad enough for the Texans, they will likely be without starting wideout Andre Johnson. But what really excites me about the match-up is that Houston shuffled around their offensive line this week and it may take them awhile to work out the kinks. As a result, Seattle should register at least four sacks and a couple turnovers.
This Week’s Sleepers: Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, and Cleveland Browns
Last Week’s 6-Pack: Peroni Nastro Azzurro
Price Paid: $7.79
I have a bit of Italian in my blood, so I was eager to give Peroni a shot. The beer comes packaged in a green bottle and according to the label it’s the “#1 premium Italian beer.” If true, it’s a sad indication of the state of Italian brewing. Peroni has a rancid grain or skunk aroma that caused me to instinctually wrinkle my nose and turn my head away. Quite possibly the most unpleasant smelling beer that’s ever crossed my refrigerator door. It poured to an irregular shaped soapy white head that died away quite rapidly. In seconds, the only hint of its existence was a minute layer of white lace. The color was extremely pale. One sip of Peroni and you can’t mistake this beer for anything other than a European-style lager. It is very reminiscent of Heineken, which was the first beer I ever reviewed in this column and it failed to impress. In the foreground, the taste was dominated by corn and a bitter off-putting lemon rind flavor. But what really stuck with me was the aftertaste—a metallic tang that is essentially the equivalent of sucking on a rusted old nail. Next time I dine Italian, I’ll be sure to stick with a nice Merlot or Chianti. One star out of five.
Next Week's 6-Pack : Moose Drool
After a brief tour of Mexico and Europe, it’s time for a domestic beer. Moose Drool is a brown ale that hails from Big Sky Brewing in Missoula, Montana. Grab a 6-pack of the humorously named beer to enjoy with the Week 6 games.