- Philadelphia is a house of horrors for Cowboys QBs. Dating back to 1999, which was Troy Aikman’s second-to-last season, Dallas has averaged just 156.5 passing yards per game in eight trips to Philly. From a fantasy perspective, the best game came in 2005 when Drew Bledsoe put up a paltry 196 yards and one touchdown. Based on the season he’s having, Tony Romo is obviously a must-start. Just don’t expect a monster game.
- Get Phillip Rivers some work this week against the Vikings. Most teams abandon the run quickly and rely heavily on the passing attack against Minnesota. Opponents average 40.3 pass attempts per game against them (most in the NFL). If the same holds true for Rivers, don’t be surprised if he has a huge game. With Chris Chambers now in the mix, San Diego has a bunch of guys who present unique challenges for opponents in the receiving game. Look for Rivers to flirt with 300 yards and three TDs.
- Don’t even think about starting Vince Young this week against the Panthers. Young has looked terrible lately <cough> Madden Curse <cough>. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since Week 3. Normally you can rely on him to make up some ground with rushing yards but he’s only once exceeded 27 yards running the football this season. He’s simply not playable this week against a Carolina defense that didn’t allow a passing TD to three of its last four opposing QBs.
- Kurt Warner might not be the best option this week against the Bucs. Tampa gives up the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. In their last three contests they’ve allowed just 164 passing yards per game with only one TD. Look for Arizona to try to establish the running game, which is where Tampa is weak. I don’t anticipate more than 250 yards and a touchdown from Warner.
This Week’s Sleepers: Matt Hasselbeck, Jay Cutler, J.P. Losman and Jason Campbell
- When you think of the Saints, tough run defense likely isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, if I’m a Maurice Jones-Drew owner or a Fred Taylor owner, I don’t like my chances of a big performance this week. In their last five games, the Saints haven’t allowed a single RB to rush for more than 59 yards. Over that same five-game span, they’ve only given up one rushing TD.
- Look for a nice performance from Edgerrin James this week against the Bucs. Tampa was miserable against the run in the month of October, giving up an average of 130.8 yards per game on the ground with six rushing scores in four games. Coming off the bye week, James, who is just 12 yards shy of 11,000 for his career, should be refreshed and refocused. I project 100 yards and a score.
- I wouldn’t blame you for benching Shaun Alexander, who has taken over for Lee Evans as fantasy football’s biggest bust in 2007. Alexander hasn’t sniffed the endzone in five weeks and isn’t doing much damage in terms of yardage either. On the bright side, Cleveland is up next. The Browns rank 29th in the NFL versus the run and 31st against the pass. Even if Alexander struggles to rack up yards, you have to like his chances of getting a goal line plunge or two.
- Owners who didn’t plan ahead for a bye at the RB position this week can find salvation on the waiver wire. There are at least a few decent options—two of which will be playing in the same stadium on Sunday. I like Justin Fargas and Adimchinobi Echemandu. Both players filled in nicely last week with the regular starters on their respective teams battling injuries. They should get another opportunity to prove their worth in Week 9 because neither LaMont Jordan nor Ahman Green looks healthy enough to carry a full load. Considering that the Raiders rank 30th in the NFL against the run and the Texans are 20th, there are plenty of points to be had between Fargas and Echemandu. If you’re leaning toward Echemandu, monitor his recover from a quad injury.
This Week’s Sleepers: Shaun Alexander, Justin Fargas, Adimchinobi Echemandu and Selvin Young
- Colts wideout Marvin Harrison has a fantastic track record against the Patriots in regular season games. In his last five non-playoff appearances against New England, Harrison has averaged 112.4 yards per game with seven touchdowns. If he looks healthy on Sunday, get him in your lineup in what should be a shootout.
- Although he’s given you no reason to trust him, consider giving Santana Moss a spot play this week against the Jets. New York has been vulnerable to the big play, which is Moss’ specialty. In three of their last four games, the Jets have given up a touchdown pass of 53 yards or longer. There’s a decent chance Moss or Antwaan Randle El gets behind New York’s secondary and burns them for a long score or two. Both players are decent options if your record is a game or two below .500 and you’re in “I’ve got nothing to lose” mode. Moss has a three-touchdown game in three of the last four seasons. This year’s monster game could come this week against the team that drafted him.
- Chris Chambers got off to a quick start in his first game as a San Diego Charger. He did something he wasn’t able to do the first six games of the season in Miami — score a touchdown. Definitely keep him active this week against the Vikings. Minnesota’s cover men have been out-leaped and out-muscled by receivers all season—giving up six touchdowns to wideouts in their last six contests.
- In their last five games, the Oakland Raiders haven’t allowed a wideout to crack 90 yards and they’ve only ceded one touchdown. Exhaust all your options before trusting Kevin Walter, Andre Davis or any other Texans wideout this week.
This Week’s Sleepers: Santana Moss, Chris Chambers, Joey Galloway, Brandon Stokley and Bobby Engram
- The outlook is good for Tony Scheffler this week. With Javon Walker out of the picture, Scheffler has been red hot, hooking up with Jay Cutler for TDs in two straight games. This week’s opponent, the Lions, have had all sorts of trouble stopping opposing tight ends. In their last four games, Detroit has ceded three TDs and one two-point conversion to TEs.
- Bank on a big stat line from Tony Gonzalez this week against the Packers. Green Bay is atrocious at stopping opposing TEs. In their last three games, the Packers have allowed four TE touchdowns. Look for Gonzo to do at least on crossbar slam dunk at Arrowhead on Sunday.
This Week’s Sleepers: Tony Scheffler, Chris Cooley and Ben Watson
- Consider dusting off Sebastian Janikowski this week against the Texans. No team has given up more points to kickers this season than Houston. Janikowski shed 35 lbs. of polish sausage off his chunky frame and is kicking the ball well. Last week he was 3-for-3 on field goals, connecting on two from over 50 yards. Give him the nod this week if your regular kicker is on bye.
- I recommend finding an alternate option if you’ve been relying on Ryan Longwell. The Chargers have given up just nine points per game over their last three outings. During that period, kickers averaged just three points.
This Week’s Sleepers: Sebastian Janikowski, Mason Crosby and Jason Hanson
- Owners of the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts defenses have an interesting decision this week. To play or not to play? I don’t own either squad in any of my leagues, but if I did I’d be going over the waiver wire with a fine-toothed comb—especially if your league penalizes negative points when your team defense gives up a big score. Neither QB makes many mistakes or takes many sacks either, so points could be hard to come by.
- Have a little faith in the Philadelphia Eagles defense this week against the Cowboys. Dallas QB Tony Romo has been shaky in road games this year. His TD-to-INT ratio in road games this season is 6:6 versus 10:3 at home. In their last four trips to the City of Brotherly Love, Dallas QBs have been picked off eight times and sacked 14 times.
This Week’s Sleepers: Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins
This Week's Six-Pack: Schneider Weisse
Price: $3.99 (for a 1 pint .9 fl. oz. bottle)
Origin: Bavaria, Germany
Appearance: Schneider Weisse comes in a svelte, tall brown bottle that features a classic looking gold foil and blue label. It bills itself as “The Original German Hefe”. In the glass it looks significantly darker than most Hefe-Weizen beers. Going just on looks, this brew could easily be mistaken for an amber lager. It has a monster, creamy head with impressive retention.
Smell: The typical Hefe-Weizen beers I’ve reviewed have had an unmistakable banana bread aroma. This one has some subtle banana hints way in the background, but the most dominant smells are cloves and kind of a carrot cake scent. It’s spicier to the nose than I was expecting.
Taste: Give me one word to describe Schneider Weisse and it’s “yeasty”. Give me two words and I’d add “musty” to the list. The primary flavor resembles that of a ball of freshly kneaded sweat bread dough. Next comes this odd wave of funky mustiness. There’s no tangible food item to equate it to other than to say if you were to liquefy the smell of a cellar, you’d be in same ZIP code. After it all, there’s a nuttiness that lingers on the palette. I’m not going to say it’s a bad taste experience. It’s just far from what I’ve experienced with other Hefe-Weizens.
Mouth-feel: Almost champagne-like. The carbonation attacks your tongue.
Drinkability: When I think of Hefe-Weizen beers, I’m thinking summer and I’m thinking about sucking back a six-pack before the seventh inning stretch of the Brewer game. I don’t see that happening with Schneider Weisse. It’s a one-beer-in-a-sitting brew (especially considering the larger bottle).
Last Call: Schneider Weisse isn’t your classic Hefe-Weizen . . . well, it’s been brewed according to the original recipe since 1872, so maybe it is classic. But it’s different than most beers in this category. Try it and see if you like it. It’s interesting, but given the choice, I’d take a more traditional Hefe. I rate it three stars out of five for the intrigue and complexity, but it’s closer to two stars than four.
Next Week's Six-Pack: Steinlager, New Zealand