- After one week of play, the Houston Texans have the sixth-ranked pass defense in the NFL. Don’t let that deter you from starting Jake Delhomme this week. The Texans were relatively untested when they faced the Chiefs. The Delhomme-to-Steve-Smith connection should once again be clicking and they could exploit a secondary that lost its starting strong safety (Jason Simmons) for the year. I’m forecasting another multi-TD game from the Panthers QB.
- Give Brett Favre a look this week against a beleaguered Giants team. The Packers attempted the second-most passes in the NFL last week. It’s a trend that isn’t likely to go away until rookie RB Brandon Jackson figures out the timing of the game. New York’s secondary was picked apart by the Cowboys last weekend. Although Favre won’t duplicate Tony Romo’s five touchdown performance, two TDs and 220+ yards seem likely.
- If you drafted Matt Schaub to be your backup QB and you are now itching to get him in your starting lineup, take a deep breath and back away from the mouse. Schaub had a nice first game, but that was at home against the Chiefs. Give him another week to prove himself. If he shows that he can perform on the road against a Panthers pass defense that for the most part held Marc Bulger in check last week, then I’ll be more comfortable recommending him.
This Week’s Sleepers: Jake Delhomme, Brett Favre, Jeff Garcia and Ben Roethlisberger
- The Jaguars only rushed the ball 17 times in Week 1. Considering that Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are easily the team’s best offensive players, the play calling was a complete joke. Jacksonville won’t make the same mistake against the Falcons. Atlanta gave up big chunks of yardage last week to Minnesota, surrendering 5.1 yards per carry. I expect a solid contribution from both Taylor and Jones-Drew with about 200 all-purpose yards between them.
- Unlike some, I’m not that concerned with the long-term prospects of Larry Johnson this season. Johnson missed all of training camp and we knew heading into last week that he wasn’t going to carry a full load. Yet he still managed to net over 80 yards. He’ll come around. It just won’t be this week against the Bears, who held LaDainian Tomlinson to 1.5 yards per carry. I’m usually an “always-start-your-studs” guy, but LJ has me reassessing that stance this week. He’s “benchable” if you have a solid alternative.
- I reluctantly drafted Edgerrin James in one of my leagues this year. At the time, I didn’t think he had enough fire left in him to be a reliable fantasy RB but he fell so far I couldn’t pass him up. His 112 all-purpose yards and one touchdown impressed me in Week 1. I know the yards per carry (3.5) weren’t all that great. But as long as the Cardinals remain committed to the run, it looks like James should be a consistent performer. I’ll have him in my lineup this week against Seattle and so should you. James had arguably his best outing of the year last season at home against the Seahawks. In that game, he carried the ball 26 times for 116 yards and a touchdown.
- Bills rookie RB Marshawn Lynch looked like the real deal in his first game. However, lower your expectations this week. Lynch will find the holes are a little bit smaller and they close a little bit quicker against the Steelers. In the last eight games, Pittsburgh’s steel curtain hasn’t allowed a singled 100 yard rusher and they’ve only ceded two rushing scores.
This Week’s Sleepers: Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, Adrian Peterson (MIN), and Clinton Portis
- You might as well pencil in Marvin Harrison for at least one touchdown this week. In his last five meetings with the Titans Harrison has scored six times. In the most recent contest against Tennessee, Harrison turned in a 172-yard, one-touchdown effort. He’s as close to a sure thing as you’ll find this week.
- Dolphins wideout Chris Chambers took a lot of heat from fantasy owners in 2006 but those who landed him in the middle rounds of their drafts this year may have gotten a steal. Chambers was targeted 11 times and he hauled in six receptions for 92 yards in Week 1. With no apologies to Ronnie Brown, Chambers remains the most talented player on Miami’s offense. As long as Trent Green stays healthy, Chambers has the potential to catch 80-90 balls. Start him this week against the Cowboys, who gave up four passing TDs last week and who will again be without one of their key defenders (Terrance Newman).
- Keep Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes active against the Bills. Buffalo somehow managed to hold Denver to just 15 points last week despite giving up 470 yards of offense. The Steelers will have no trouble moving the ball and putting points on the board especially considering this game is at Heinz Field, where the team averaged 25.6 points per game last year.
- QB changes add an element of unpredictability to the wide receiver position. With both New York QBs (Chad Pennington and Eli Manning) likely to miss this week’s action, take stock of your options before plugging Jerricho Cotchery, Laveranues Coles, Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer into your lineup. The fact that both teams face unfavorable matchups this week makes all New York receivers even more risky.
This Week’s Sleepers: Chris Chambers, Santonio Holmes, Darrell Jackson, Bobby Engram and Bernard Berrian
- Eric Johnson had great success punching holes in the middle of Indy’s zone defense in Week 1. Johnson connected with Drew Brees for eight receptions. Plug the New Orleans TE in this week and look for similar results. Tampa plays the same style defense as the Colts. It’s a system that teams have historically had success exploiting through use of the TE.
- Don’t bench Jason Witten. Just recognize that he’s likely going to have a more difficult time getting open this week against the Dolphins. Miami’s outstanding linebackers make Washington’s Chris Cooley a non-factor in Week 1, holding him to just one catch for 10 yards. It’ll be a good day if Witten produces more than 50 yards.
This Week’s Sleepers: Eric Johnson, Vernon Davis and Ben Watson
- Last week I highlighted Jason Hanson as a potential breakout kicker (if there is such a thing). He delivered, booting three field goals and three extra points — making him the NFL’s top scorer at the position. He’s an excellent start again this week against the Vikings. Hanson has booted six field goals in his last three meetings against Minnesota, including two over 50 yards last year.
- Look for Jeff Wilkins to score in the double digits this weekend against the 49ers. Wilkins has drilled multiple field goals in five straight games against San Francisco.
This Week’s Sleepers: Jason Hanson, Mason Crosby and Ryan Longwell
- If you drafted the Jacksonville Jaguars defense, have a little faith. I think they’ll bounce back from an embarrassing display in Nashville last week. The Jags gave up 282 yards rushing and recorded just one turnover and one sack. On the bright side, they did hold Tennessee to just 13 points. This week they’ll fare much better against a Falcons team that just doesn’t have enough talent on offense. Look for Jacksonville to make an impact in all the key defensive categories.
- As good as Kellen Clemens looked in the preseason, I think it’s safe to assume that the Baltimore Ravens have the potential to put up a huge defensive performance this week. Anytime you have a young, inexperienced QB making his first NFL start, there’s a potential for lots of mistakes. When you have a young, inexperienced QB making his first NFL start on the road against the Ravens . . . well, I think you get the picture.
This Week’s Sleepers: Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers
This Week's 6-Pack: Miller Chill
Origin: Milwaukee, Wis.
Appearance: Miller Chill comes in a green bottle with a snazzy silver foil label. In pours a lot like a typical light beer with a light straw color and a thin soapy head.
Smell: Similar to lemon-lime soda.
Taste: This is the first beer I’ve reviewed here that bears the name of one of the big-three American breweries. I tried to keep an open-mind and was cautious not to dismiss Miller Chill before I had even tasted it. Truthfully, I was a bit surprised by my first sip. I had anticipated a light lime flavor but was taken aback by how much the citrus tang dominates the whole experience. To put things in perspective, I reviewed Corona previously. If you squeeze a wedge of lime in a Corona, you’re probably only halfway to the lime flavor you’ll get in Miller Chill. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Depends on your palate, I suppose. I think Miller Chill is actually a better beer than Corona, which has a nasty aftertaste. However, after knocking back a couple Chills I started to recognize that the lime flavor was quite artificial. Other detectable flavors include salt and very subtle grains. The malt and hops you would identify in a normal beer were nowhere to be found.
Mouth-feel: Prickly carbonation — a bit like seltzer water.
Drinkability: Goes down about as smoothly as any beer I’ve ever consumed. If you can handle the strong lime flavor, it’d be easy to drink several of these on a hot day.
Last Call: Overall Miller Chill was perhaps a little bit better than I had expected. It’s smooth and refreshing. Not a bad beer to throw in a cooler of ice on your way to the beach. However, the artificial lime flavor is a bit of a turn off after awhile. It also seems to be missing some key characteristics that are essential for a true beer (malt, hops, etc). I give it two stars out of five (bordering on three).
Next Week's 6-Pack: Dead Guy Ale, Oregon Brewing Co. One of the most popular requests, this beer’s distribution has finally reached the Midwest. Looking forward to seeing if it lives up to the hype.
If you have a favorite beer you’d like to see reviewed, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.