- Tony Romo owners can hold their chins high this week when their QB faces the Bears. What they probably thought was going to be a down week for Romo may actually turn out okay. While the Bears are certainly no slouches, Chicago’s secondary can be beaten. In fact, they’ve allowed at least one passing touchdown in their last nine games. Keep Romo active unless your backup QB has a great matchup.
- Packers QB Brett Favre is coming off a three-touchdown performance against the Giants, but he has a markedly more difficult task this week against San Diego. The Chargers hold opponents to fewer than 200 passing yards per game. Also consider that the Bolts play a 3-4 defense, a scheme against which the three-time MVP has struggled in the past. Last year, Favre averaged 143.5 yards per game with one touchdown and two interceptions when he faced off against the Jets and Patriots (both run the 3-4). Even more troubling, rookie wideout James Jones tweaked his hamstring in practice this week. With Greg Jennings dealing with his own hamstring issues, Favre may be shorthanded. Exhaust all other options before starting Favre.
- I like Vince Young’s chances on Monday night against the Saints. Young is a primetime player, as evidenced by his amazing performance in the NCAA national championship game two years ago. Look for him to deliver another memorable performance in what will be his first game in the Monday night spotlight. Young is completing 62.2 percent of his passes, which is a tremendous improvement from his rookie season. Look for him to put up over 225 yards and a couple TDs through the air against New Orleans’ 26th-ranked pass defense.
- In his last five regular season starts, Matt Hasselbeck has failed to throw more than one touchdown. He isn’t a reliable fantasy QB and shouldn’t be started most weeks. However, you can’t argue that Hasselbeck has a lot of upside this week. He should have little difficulty scoring points against the Bengals, who are coming off an embarrassing performance in which they gave up five TDs to Cleveland’s Derek Anderson. Start Hasselbeck and count on 250 yards and two scores.
This Week’s Sleepers: Matt Hasselbeck, Rex Grossman, Jason Campbell and Jeff Garcia
- One of the most common questions I’ve seen posed on fantasy message boards is “Why isn’t Ronnie Brown getting more touches?” Most of the anger and hatred is directed at Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron. What many people seem to be ignoring is that Brown just isn’t that good. He lacks decisiveness and takes way too long to hit the holes. On the rare occasion he does find a hole, Brown is neither fast enough to juke a linebacker nor powerful enough to barrel him over. I consider him to be a rich man’s Ron Dayne. If you’re a Brown owner looking for a silver lining, be thankful the Jets are on the schedule next. Brown had some his best games last season against New York, posting 252 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in two meetings. If he doesn’t break out on Sunday, you can put a fork in his 2007 season.
- You could do worse than DeShaun Foster this week against the Falcons. Foster has had tremendous success in the Georgia Dome, posting 267 yards and a touchdown in his last two trips to Atlanta. The Falcons currently rank 23rd in the NFL against the run, giving up 126 yards per game. Foster should approach 100 all-purpose yards.
- Laurence Maroney hasn’t lived up to the high draft pick most owners spent on him. That should change this week against the Bills. Buffalo ranks 30th in the NFL in run defense allowing 177.5 yards per game. Opposing starting RBs have racked up 226 combined yards against them so far. Maroney has an excellent chance of putting up triple-digit yardage.
- In his last two games against the Giants at FedEx Field, Clinton Portis has posted a combined 280 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. Start him and look for big things because New York’s defense is a mess. The G-men have allowed a league high four rushing TDs this season. Count on at least 90 yards and a score from Portis.
This Week’s Sleepers: DeShaun Foster, Ladell Betts, Fred Taylor and LenDale White
- It’s no secret that Lee Evans has been one of the bigger busts so far this season. He has just four receptions for 22 yards. Known for putting up monster games, Evans is the type of player owners are leery of benching. The one week you don’t start him, he’ll go off for 200 yards and three scores. Put that concern out of your mind for at least another week. The decision to bench Evans should be an easy one. In six career meetings with the Patriots, he has never scored a TD or put up 100 yards. He’ll break out of the slump eventually but it won’t be in Week 3.
- The Chicago Bears offense has been sputtering this season, but don’t lose faith in Bernard Berrian. He has posted 10 catches for 148 yards in two games. That’s not too shabby considering the erratic play of Rex Grossman. Owners who have been anxiously waiting for one of those 50+ yard touchdowns that Berrian became known for last season might be rewarded this week. Dallas has given up two TDs over 20 yards this season.
- Get Laveranues Coles in your lineup this weekend. He seemed much more in synch with Chad Pennington, who will return to the lineup this week. The duo hooked up for two scores back in Week 1. Coles is a Dolphin killer and has scored five touchdowns in the last five games against Miami.
- It’s time to slide Darrell Jackson to your bench if you have decent alternatives. The former Seahawks wideout has been a disappointment thus far in San Francisco and has already made an appearance on the injury report with a sore back. Jackson has just seven receptions for 97 yards. The change in scenery hasn’t done much to improve his granite hands either. He dropped a beautifully thrown Alex Smith bomb that could’ve resulted in a game-winning TD in Week 1. Look for Jackson and the 49ers to continue to struggle on the road this week in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have allowed just 148 passing yards per game.
This Week’s Sleepers: Bernard Berrian, Santana Moss, Derrick Mason, Shaun McDonald and Dwayne Bowe
- Get Chris Cooley in your lineup on Sunday. He’s recorded at least four receptions in his last three meetings and has three career TDs against New York. Plus, the Giants are the worst in the NFL at stopping TEs this season. In Week 1, they gave up 116 yards and a touchdown to Jason Witten. Last week they got picked apart by Green Bay’s Donald Lee and Bubba Franks, who combined for two touchdowns.
- While Cooley looks like a strong play against the Giants, the same cannot be said of Jeremy Shockey on the other side of the field. Keep Shockey in your lineup. Just know that the Redskins have rendered him almost irrelevant the last five times these teams have met. In those five contests, Shockey never exceeded 36 yards receiving and had just one score.
This Week’s Sleepers: Owen Daniels and Ben Watson
- If you drafted Jets kicker Mike Nugent and have stuck with him this far, give him one more week. Nugent should find success this Sunday against the Dolphins, a team against which he’s connected on multiple field goals in three straight games. So far this season, the Dolphins have allowed 23 points to kickers (including six field goals). Nugent seems like a good bet for 10-11 points this week.
- With the Bengals on their way to the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is poised for a breakout offensive performance. Cincinnati gives up an average of 35 points per game and they’ve allowed multiple field goals each week this year. Start Josh Brown with confidence. He’s been perfect on his kicks this season and figures to get plenty of work.
This Week’s Sleepers: Mike Nugent, Josh Brown and Robbie Gould
- I was on the verge of dumping the Carolina Panthers defense this week after they got thumped by the Texans. Then I looked at the schedule and saw Atlanta is up next. The Falcons have just one offensive touchdown this season and Joey Harrington has been sacked 13 times — nearly twice as many as any other QB. Start the Panthers with confidence.
- I’d suggest an alternative course of action of you’ve been relying on the Philadelphia Eagles defense to this point. Philly may be without its two best players in the secondary, cornerback Lito Sheppard and safety Brian Dawkins. With the Lions and all their receiving weapons coming to town, this game could get ugly. There’s no way the Eagles hold Detroit to fewer than 24 points.
This Week’s Sleepers: Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs
This Week's 6-Pack: Dead Guy Ale
Origin: Rogue Ales Brewery / Oregon Brewing Co., Newport, OR
Appearance: Dead Guy Ale is bottled in a traditional brown longneck. The label is adorned with a skeleton perched on an oak cask. After pouring it in my pint glass, I held it up to the light. This beer had a wonderful hazy amber or honey color, topped off by a dense tan head that was about ½-inch thick. The head thinned out a bit as my sampling progressed but never fully disappeared.
Smell: Pleasant aroma that reminded me of toasted wheat bread with a hint of dried fruit. A sweet malt scent was faint but detectable.
Taste: No shortage of flavor here. It’s actually kind of a shifty beer. The first thing I noticed was the malt flavor that was lightly sweet and quite welcoming. After that the beer smacked of earthy hops, which added just the right amount of bitterness. I like my beers to have an aggressive amount of hops, but not so extreme that it’s like chewing on one of those pine-scent air fresheners you hang on your rearview mirror. I also detected spices and a woody flavor underneath it all.
Mouth-feel: It had a stickiness that lingers on the tongue. Carbonation is a bit on the high side but manageable.
Drinkability: Definitely not a beer you’d want to pound. Dead Guy Ale is a complex brew meant for savoring. The bottle didn’t specify, but the alcohol content must be near 7% (based on the ratio of keys I’ve struck incorrectly during this review).
Last Call: An exceptional beer that sort of has an autumn, football-weather feel to it. I enjoyed the balance of Dead Guy Ale because no single flavor characteristic dominated all others. I give it four stars out of five and encourage you to give it a try.
Next Week's 6-Pack: Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout
If you have a favorite beer you’d like to see reviewed, drop me a line at email@example.com.