- Jon Kitna has become a must-start QB every week. However, this Sunday’s game against the Redskins figures to be his toughest test so far. Washington has been killing the fantasy values of QBs this year. They’ve allowed just two passing scores all season. The best performance came from Eli Manning, who managed just 232 yards and one TD. I’m not saying Kitna won’t put up decent stats. Just don’t bank on his typical 325-yard, multi-touchdown effort.
- Will Tony Romo ever face a decent defense? His dream schedule continues this week as the Cowboys face the Bills on Monday night. Buffalo is the absolute worst in the NFL at defending the pass. So far they’ve allowed 282.5 yards per game with seven touchdowns. As if you needed another reason to start Romo, consider the numbers he’s put up in non-Sunday outings. In four non-Sunday games he averaged close to 240 yards passing with 10 touchdowns.
- If you’re on the fence about starting Drew Brees this week, here’s one stat to consider. In the last two years, he’s been phenomenal in the games following a bye week. Last season, Brees and the Saints had a bye in Week 7. He came out in Week 8 and threw for 383 yards and three scores against the Ravens. In 2005 when the Chargers came off a bye, Brees passed for 339 yards and four touchdowns. With an extra week to prepare for the Panthers, who have the 20th ranked pass defense, Brees could finally post the type of game fantasy owners have been waiting for.
- It’s probably a good idea to rest Phillip Rivers this week if you have other options. The Chargers gameplan will likely feature the running game for a couple reasons. First, the media has been crucifying Norv Turner for not feeding LaDainian Tomlinson the ball enough. Second, the Broncos have given up a very sieve-like 181 yards per game on the ground this season. Meanwhile, their pass defense is the best in the NFL. Rivers will probably throw for fewer than 200 yards and no more than one touchdown.
This Week’s Sleepers: Drew Brees, Jason Campbell, Eli Manning and Brett Favre
- Edgerrin James has met the Rams three times over the previous two seasons and came up big on each occasion. He averaged 124.3 all-purpose yards during those three contests and scored four touchdowns. St. Louis ranks among the worst teams in the NFL at stopping the run, allowing 157 yards rushing per game. James has a great chance to be one of the top five fantasy running backs in Week 5.
- I’ve analyzed DeShaun Foster’s matchup in each of the last two weeks and both times my predictions were validated by his performance on the field (one good and one bad). With the bye weeks upon us, Foster is a player of interest this week for many owners who’ve kept him on their bench up until now. He looks like a strong play against the Saints. Foster scored in both meetings last season against New Orleans and averaged 101 all-purpose yards per game.
- Consider moving Cedric Benson to your bench this week against the Packers. Benson was given the quick hook last week after he coughed up the football and he hasn’t been running aggressively all year. If he’s going to break out of his funk, it’s not likely to happen against a Green Bay defense that hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown all season.
- Heinz Field isn’t very welcoming to opposing starting RBs. In their last five home games, the Steelers have given up just 42.5 yards per game to #1 tailbacks. Lower your expectations for Shaun Alexander significantly. His best chance to score you points will likely be on a touchdown plunge.
This Week’s Sleepers: DeShaun Foster, Ron Dayne, Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor
- Putting aside the ineptitude we’ve seen from the Rams offense this year, the historical numbers suggest Torry Holt is an outstanding play this week against the Cardinals. Holt has scored a touchdown in his last four meetings versus Arizona, averaging 108.5 yards per game. Amazingly, Holt has never had what I’d term a “bad” game against the Cards. He’s put up a minimum of 95 yards or a touchdown in all 10 career meetings. Play Holt and look for him to find the endzone somehow, someway.
- Lower your expectations for Chicago’s Bernard Berrian this week against the Packers. Green Bay’s secondary shut down Berrian last year holding him to just one reception in both meetings last year.
- Redskins wideout Antwaan Randle El is worth a look this week as a third receiver or flex player. His numbers have plummeted after a huge opening week, but should spike back up to respectability Sunday against the Lions. Detroit ranks 30th in the NFL against the pass. Plus, with Santana Moss looking iffy for the game, Randle El suddenly becomes the primary wideout. Look for him to get behind the secondary for at least one long pass play and finish in the neighborhood of 100 yards.
- The musical chairs game that the Cardinals are playing with their QBs shouldn’t be much of a concern for Anquan Boldin or Larry Fitzgerald owners. Each of them has connected with Kurt Warner for some big plays. Start both players this week against the Rams. Fitz has scored five touchdowns in six career meetings with St. Louis. Boldin has put up 100+ yards in four of his last six games against them, but is questionable for this week’s game.
This Week’s Sleepers: Antwaan Randle El, Greg Jennings, Lance Moore, Bobby Engram and Derrick Mason
- Obviously don’t bench Antonio Gates, but realize that he’s probably not going to carry your squad this week. Gates has never scored a touchdown in Denver. In his four career starts at Mile High, he has averaged just a shade over 40 yards per game.
- Give Green Bay’s Donald Lee the nod this week against the Bears, who’ve allowed the second most fantasy points to tight ends. Chicago has ceded a touchdown to a TE in three of four games this season. Meanwhile, Lee has become an integral part of the Packers offense, exceeding 40 yards receiving or scoring a TD in three straight games.
This Week’s Sleepers: Donald Lee, Eric Johnson and Chris Cooley
- Matt Stover leads the NFL in field goals with 10. Play him with confidence this week against the 49ers. San Francisco has given up three field goals in each of their last three games. Stover seems like a lock to score a dozen points this week.
- I predicted back in Week 2 that Houston’s Kris Brown would be a viable fantasy kicker this season. He hasn’t disappointed thus far. Brown has scored 34 points, which ties him for fifth best in the NFL among kickers. He’s an outstanding play this week against a Miami team that has allowed 31+ points in three straight games.
This Week’s Sleepers: Matt Stover, Kris Brown and Mason Crosby
- Let’s see . . . the Rams will be without Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson and Orlando Pace this week. Isaac Bruce might also miss the game because of a hamstring injury. Those are arguably four of St. Louis’ five best players. I love the idea of picking up and playing the Arizona Cardinals this week and exploiting a favorable matchup with a team that is down on its luck.
- Look for a bounce-back type performance from the Baltimore Ravens this week against the 49ers. Baltimore was embarrassed in last week’s loss to the Browns. However, Cleveland did most of its damage through the air. The Niners don’t have anything near the weapons that Cleveland does in the passing game. With starting QB Alex Smith hurt, the 49ers will rely on Trent Dilfer. Considering that Brian Billick used to coach Dilfer, I expect the Ravens to do a good job of exposing the weaknesses in his game.
This Week’s Sleepers: Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans
This Week's 6-Pack: Smithwick’s
Origin: Guinness & Co., Dublin, Ireland
Appearance: Smithwick’s is bottled in a brown longneck and wears a green and gold label that features a castle. The beer itself is brown in color with distinct amber highlights. Its head was a sort of soapy consistency and reduced to a thin layer in a matter of about 45 seconds.
Smell: Very mild aroma. I detected some roasted grain and earthy characteristics, but overall not very pronounced in this area.
Taste: The most obvious flavor is resembles that toasted nuts, which probably comes from heavy malt content. The nuttiness gives way to a smoky aftertaste that lingers with you for awhile. It’s somewhat similar to the warmth and flavor you’d experience after sipping some whiskey. There is no bitterness or hop flavor present at any time. Overall a fine tasting beer although one that could use a little more oomph.
Mouth-feel: Medium-bodied. Carbonation is average to low, making the beer relatively smooth drinking.
Drinkability: With a tame flavor and smoothness, Smithwick’s is an easy-drinking brew. You could definitely knock back a few of these without being weighted down.
Last Call: Smithwick’s is a good honest Irish beer. Despite not having a signature characteristic that really makes it special, it’s a solid all around brew. It’s certainly a better option than Harp, also made by Guinness. I give it three stars out of five.
Next Week's 6-Pack: Goose Island Nut Brown Ale
View complete list here. If you have a favorite beer you’d like to see reviewed, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.