Welcome to The Weekly Six-Pack, the only fantasy football column that combines the greatest hobby in the world, fantasy football, with the greatest beverage in the world, beer.
Every Friday, The Weekly Six-Pack will provide an in-depth look at the six key fantasy football positions – QB, RB, WR, TE, PK, and DEF. The predictions and projections, statistics and speculation you’ll find here will help you get ready for the weekend action and make more informed lineup decisions.
As a sidebar to the fantasy acumen, I’ll review a different six-pack of beer every week. All of-age Huddle members are encouraged to participate. Pick up a six-pack of the specified beer. Partake of its malted goodness. And let me know your thoughts.
Without further adieu, let’s hoist a frosty mug of ale as we toast the start of another year of fantasy football and The Weekly Six-Pack.
- Consider keeping Vince Young on your bench this week against the Jaguars. Jacksonville frustrated Young last season, holding him to just 124 yards passing per game and one touchdown overall. Even more disconcerting is that Young managed just 18 yards rushing in both games combined. Historical numbers like these shouldn’t be your only consideration when making lineup decisions, but it sure does look like the Jags have Young’s number.
- Chad Pennington was inconsistent last year but in his three meetings with the hated Patriots, he fared surprisingly well. Pennington threw for 300+ yards in two of those three meetings and had four TDs overall. If you’re desperate for a QB this week, Pennington is a solid choice. With Thomas Jones nicked up, the Jets will rely on the passing game a bit more than normal.
- My favorite QB sleeper this year is Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben figures to get off to a fast start this week against the Browns. He accounted for four TDs (3 pass, 1 run) last season against Cleveland in two meetings and averaged about 250 yards through the air. The Browns will likely make stopping the run a focal point because they were burned by Willie Parker in their last meeting for 223 yards on 32 carries. That will open things up for Roethlisberger, who should benefit from Pittsburgh’s increased emphasis on the passing game.
- If there’s a QB who has a chance of surpassing Peyton Manning’s impressive showing last night, my money is on Tom Brady. Although the matchup against the Jets isn’t great, the bottom line is that Brady has put up multiple touchdowns in the opener each of the last three years. His new weapons will be on full display in the Meadowlands with Brady throwing for 300+ yards and 3-4 scores.
This Week’s Sleepers: Chad Pennington, Ben Roethlisberger, Joey Harrington and Matt Hasselbeck
- Consider your options before plugging Thomas Jones into your lineup this weekend. Jones hasn’t seen any action since straining his calf muscle a few weeks ago. He likely won’t show much explosiveness in his first game back. A matchup against the Patriots, who were a top five rushing defense in 2006, won’t help his cause. Neither will a potentially reduced workload and shared carries with Leon Washington.
- I predict before Week 5 LenDale White will be the workhorse RB for the Titans and start getting 20+ carries a game. I see him ending the year with 1,300 total yards. Even with those lofty expectations, I’m keeping him on the bench this week against the Jaguars. Chris Brown owners should do the same. The Jaguars were one of just six defenses in the NFL to give up fewer than 100 yards per game last year on the ground. Plus, it’s worth waiting a week to see how Jeff Fisher divvies out the carries.
- Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are both worth a start this week against the Titans. The Jaguars gained 5.4 yards per carry in two games last season against Tennessee. Look for Taylor to eclipse the century mark in yards, while Jones-Drew comes up just short but gets in the endzone.
- The last time Brian Westbrook faced the Packers, he didn’t have much success running the football. In fact, he had just 37 yards rushing. No worries though. He caught 11 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Start him with confidence this week and once again look for him to do most of his damage through the air against Green Bay’s improved front four.
- St. Louis had the second-worst run defense in the NFL last year, giving up 145.4 yards per game on the ground. Everyone had success against the Rams. If you’re in a bind with a poor matchup for one of your regular starters, DeShaun Foster should produce in the neighborhood of 110 all-purpose yards even if he is splitting carries with DeAngelo Williams.
This Week’s Sleepers: LenDale White, DeShaun Foster, Ahman Green and Brandon Jackson
- A couple points worth noting about T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He scored in both meetings against the Ravens last year. Thus, the matchup this week isn’t as much of a concern as you may have thought when you first looked at the schedule. What is troubling is that Housh was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a knee injury. He reportedly will play on Monday, but monitor the situation. If he doesn’t practice on Friday, Housh owners could face a tough lineup decision come Sunday morning.
- Ernest Wilford is a sneaky play this week against the Titans. After being overlooked while the Jaguars tried to develop receivers who the team had spent higher draft picks on, Wilford is finally getting his shot as a starter. He has had a ton of success against Tennessee, scoring four touchdowns in his last four games. This includes a two-touchdown performance in Week 9 last year with David Garrard under center. If one of your regular starters has a tough matchup, give Wilford the nod.
- Although Randy Moss never leaves a team on good terms, he certainly has a way of getting things started on the right foot. In his first game with the Vikings, Moss posted 95 yards and two touchdowns. In his Oakland debut, he racked up 130 yards and one touchdown. Put any lingering concern about his hamstring aside for this week. Randy will do what Randy does best. He’ll haul in a highlight reel touchdown catch and make us forget about all his abundant personality flaws—at least for one week.
- In Tuesday’s Free Agent Forecast, I recommended Patrick Crayton as a strong pickup because of the health concerns centered around Terry Glenn’s surgically repaired knee. News broke last night that Glenn will miss at least the first two weeks. Crayton is now thrust into the starting lineup and should fare well against an average Giants defense. If your league allows transactions and he’s still available, make acquiring him a priority. If not, you can bet he’ll be among the hottest commodities next week.
- In last year’s matchup against the Packers, QB Donovan McNabb torched Green Bay’s secondary for two TDs over 30 yards. The safety position continues to be a weakness for the Green and Gold, so look for at least one long TD from McNabb—my money is on it ending up in the hands of the speedy Kevin Curtis.
This Week’s Sleepers: Ernest Wilford, Kevin Curtis, Isaac Bruce, Patrick Crayton and Derrick Mason
- With Tory Holt (knee) running at less than 100 percent, the Rams will be looking for someone to step up in their passing game. Production could come from an unheard of place in St. Louis: the tight end. The Panthers gave up the second-most fantasy points to TEs last year. Free agent acquisition Randy McMichael should produce if you need him. Head coach Scott Linehan was McMichael’s offensive coordinator in 2005 while with the Dolphins. During that season, McMichael had the most TDs of his career.
- Antonio Gates is a must-start every week in a TE-mandatory league, but keep your expectations in check this week. The Bears are coming to town and they allowed the second-fewest points last year to TEs. Best case scenario, Gates will get you 70 yards and a score.
This Week’s Sleepers: Randy McMichael, Owen Daniels and Heath Miller
- Are you holding more than one kicker on your roster? One word of advice: don’t. Kickers are a dime a dozen. You can always find one on the waiver wire should your regular starter get hurt. You’re much better off taking a shot at a potential breakout player who’s on your waiver wire. Roll the dice on a guy like Sammy Morris, Jacoby Jones or Ernest Wilford. If your gamble comes up sevens, you’ll be a step closer to the trophy.
- A couple kickers to keep your eye on this season: Detroit’s Jason Hanson and Houston’s Kris Brown. If the Lions offense is as good as most people expect, Hanson has a great chance to be a top five fantasy kicker. Start him this week against the Raiders, who have a good but not great defense. Oakland gave up multiple field goals in their final three games last season. Brown is intriguing because he plays on another offense that is much improved and he’s available in over 90% of fantasy leagues. QB Matt Schaub will move the Texans offense much better than David Carr ever did. That should give Brown another 10-15 field goal attempts and put his scoring over 100 points for the season. If your regular kicker falters, Brown is worth a look. I like his chances this week against the Chiefs.
This Week’s Sleepers: Jason Hanson, Kris Brown and Stephen Gostkowski
- Make every effort to get the San Diego Chargers defense in your lineup this week against the error-prone Rex Grossman. Grossman’s interceptions and fumbles come in bunches, so the Bolts have the potential to have a huge game. In his last four meetings against AFC foes, the Bears QB has thrown eight interceptions.
- The last time the Jacksonville Jaguars and Titans squared off in Florida, the Jags annihilated Tennessee 37-7. The defense picked off Vince Young three times and returned one for a touchdown. They’re a safe play this week and should yield a few turnovers while holding the Titans to 14 or fewer points.
This Week’s Sleepers: Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos
Next Week's 6-Pack: Miller Chill
After four years of churning out this column, it’s getting more and more difficult to find beers to review. Fortunately, they keep coming out with new ones like Miller Chill. Grab yourself a six-pack and let me know what you think. I’ll have my review next Friday. If you have a favorite beer you’d like to see reviewed, drop me a line at email@example.com.