- Eli Manning is an outstanding start this week against a Dolphins team that isn’t playing with a lot of heart right now. LB Zach Thomas might not even make the trip to London. DE Jason Taylor has been vocal about his displeasure with the club’s leadership. As if the off-the-field issues weren’t bad enough, Miami has given up nine passing scores in the last two games. Manning should have his way with this downtrodden franchise. I expect three passing scores and 250+ yards.
- I’m a little bit leery of Brett Favre this week against the Broncos for a couple reasons. Obviously going up against Champ Bailey and Dre Bly won’t help Favre’s cause. But don’t overlook that Denver hired former Packers defensive coordinator Jim Bates this offseason. Having run practices against Favre for a season, Bates knows what it takes to beat him. Start Favre if he’s your regular QB, but don’t bank on a 300-yard performance.
- There are only a handful QBs I’d start above Derek Anderson this week. Make a point to get him in your lineup against St. Louis. In their last five outings, the Rams have given up an average of 29.6 points per game. Anderson has been a phenom, thowing multiple TDs in every game he’s started this season. If you have him on your bench and just don’t trust him, you really ought to make a trade to address a position on your roster that is weak.
- Give Lions QB Jon Kitna the benefit of the doubt this week against the Bears but know that if he doesn’t produce this week, he’ll no longer be an upper echelon fantasy QB that is a must start. Kitna has passed for zero touchdowns and fewer than 150 yards in each of his last two starts. The good news is he had a respectable outing earlier this year versus Chicago—posting 247 yards and two TDs.
This Week’s Sleepers: Derek Anderson, Brian Griese, Ben Roethlisberger and Trent Edwards
- Pittsburgh’s Willie Parker has a well-documented bad habit of disappearing in road games. However, there’s one road venue in which he loves to play — Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium. In two career trips to the Queen City, Parker has averaged 132.5 rushing yards per game with three touchdowns. Start him with confidence and expect 120+ yards and a score.
- Houston’s defense started out red hot. For a brief time they were roster worthy. However, they’ve taken a few giant steps backwards lately. In their last three contests, the Texans have allowed an average of 178.7 rushing yards per game with five TDs on the ground. Look for LaDainian Tomlinson to have a multi-TD game with 160+ all-purpose yards.
- Don’t chase Kenny Watson’s three-touchdown performance last week against the Jets. Comparing New York’s defense to the Steelers is like comparing a pea shooter to a panzer. Pittsburgh has ceded just one rushing touchdown this year. Opposing starting RBs have averaged 35.8 rushing yards per game against the Black and Gold. Consider moving Watson and/or Rudi Johnson to the bench if you have a decent alternative.
- Rams RB Steven Jackson is slated to return from a partially torn groin this week, but I’d think long and hard before activating him. Even though the Rams will be playing the 30th-ranked run defense of the Browns, Jackson might find the conditions tough. St. Louis has the worst offensive line in football right now. Marc Bulger has no time to throw the football. The rushing lanes aren’t opening up. Drives are stalling. If you start Jackson, the best you should hope for is 80 all-purpose yards with a 25% chance of a TD.
This Week’s Sleepers: DeShawn Wynn, LenDale White, Jason Wright and Adrian Peterson
- Bring your expectations for Chad Johnson down a few notches this week. He hasn’t had much success against the Steelers of late. In his last four games against the Bengals, Ocho Cinco has failed to exceed 60 yards receiving. Also consider that Pittsburgh has been brutal on opposing wideouts. They haven’t allowed a TD to a #1wideout this season.
- Lee Evans has been one of the bigger busts in 2007, but he’s starting to hit his stride with Trent Edwards under center. As the two grow more comfortable with one another, Evans should begin to re-establish himself as a legitimate WR2 for fantasy purposes. A notoriously late starter, Evans has scored 13 of his 15 TDs over the last two seasons in the months of November and December. Although it’s not quite November yet, I like Evans’ chances this week against the Jets. He’s exceeded 72 yards in three straight games against New York, a team that currently ranks 25th in the NFL against the pass.
- Owners anxiously awaiting a breakout performance from Marques Colston might be convinced this is the week. The Saints battle the 49ers, who aren’t thought of as a great defense. However, Colston will likely draw coverage from Pro Bowl cornerback Nate Clements. Clements and the San Francisco secondary have done a bang-up job of holding #1 receivers in check over the last few games. Most impressively, they shut down Plaxico Burress in Week 7. I have a “glass-is-half-full” feeling about Colston this week.
- In addition to Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer is worth a start this week against the Dolphins. Miami hasn’t given up the most total passing TDs in the NFL this season but they have given up the most to wide receivers (12). Look for Toomer and Burress to combine for 2-3 scores in Wembley Stadium.
This Week’s Sleepers: Lee Evans, Amani Toomer, Kevin Walter, Muhsin Muhammad, Devin Hester and Marty Booker
- Last week the Six Pack advised you to start Heath Miller against the Broncos. The thinking was that Denver is so good at shutting down receivers that opponents go heavy on use of the TE. Miller ended the night with 50 yards and two touchdowns. Be sure to start Green Bay’s Donald Lee this week. He might have similar success. Denver has now allowed TEs to score on them six times in the last three games.
- The San Diego Chargers have allowed a TE touchdown in four of their last five games. Although Owen Daniels had a poor stat line in Week 7, he should bounce back this week. Keep him active and look for 50+ yards receiving and a possible score.
This Week’s Sleepers: Donald Lee, Owen Daniels and Heath Miller
- Start San Diego’s Nate Kaeding this week against the Texans, but not because Houston just gave up an NFL record eight field goals to Tennessee. Start him because after a sluggish start to the season, the Chargers offense is clicking. The Bolts have scored 28 or more points in each of their last two games. Kaeding has tallied double-digit points in two of his last three games.
- Look for an alternative to John Kasay this week against the Colts. Indy allows the second fewest points to kickers. In their last two games, the opposing kicker has failed to exceed two points against the Colts. With David Carr under center, I doubt the Panthers will have much luck moving the ball against their tough and improving defense.
This Week’s Sleepers: Nate Kaeding, Phil Dawson and Robbie Gould
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is one of eight units that haven’t scored a TD this season. There’s a fair chance that they find their way in the endzone this week against the Jags. Jacksonville will start Quinn Gray who turned the ball over three times in limited action on Monday night. Given that Gray has had a short week to prepare for the Bucs, it’s a good bet that he’ll make some mistakes. Tap Tampa as your team defense this week and look for a huge stat line.
- I’ve been high on the Washington Redskins defense for the last few weeks. They’re playing great ball right now. However, you’d have to be nuts to start them against the Patriots this week - especially in a league that penalizes defenses for giving up a lot of points. Look for an alternative. In addition to the Bucs, I like the San Diego Chargers and Cleveland Browns - both have favorable matchups this week.
This Week’s Sleepers: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers and Cleveland Browns
This Week's Six-Pack: Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA
Origin: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Delaware, USA
Appearance: Pours from a standard brown longneck that carries a label that looks like something I could design on Microsoft Word. This beer definitely has a microbrew feel to it even before the cap is popped. It pours to a nice fiery orange color and is topped by a moderately thick, frothy head that reduces by 75% before settling to a thin foam layer that lasts throughout the sampling.
Smell: There’s no mistaking this for an IPA. It’s hoppy above all else with pine and floral scents. Toasted grains are also easily sniffed out.
Taste: The immediate flavor is the hop bite. Although it’s the first thing you notice, it’s not as harsh as some of the other IPAs I’ve sampled. In fact, the hops are somewhat understated, but I think that’s a good thing. Rather than feeling like a slap up-side the head, the hops in Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA concentrate on the back of the palette and throat and present themselves as a stiff citrus flavor with hints of pepper. After you set the glass down for a couple minutes, the citrus characteristics fade and give way to a piney aftertaste.
Mouth-feel: Just about the right amount of carbonation makes this medium-bodied ale glide down the gullet. It’s a pleasure to drink.
Drinkability: The typical American IPA will begin to wear on you about halfway through the first pint. The bitterness attacks you quickly. Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA is different. It’s a fine sipping beer. Like its more hoppy rivals, you can enjoy one in a sitting and marvel at its goodness. On the other hand, you can do like I did and drain three bottles before the hops caught up with me.
Last Call: Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA is straight up tasty. Definitely a favorite beer in this style. In my mind, it’s kind of an entry-level IPA for non-hopheads, yet I think the quality will shine through for those prefer a hop bomb. It will be a sad day indeed when I finish my six-pack. Five stars out of five.
Next Week's Six-Pack: Schneider Weisse, Germany