- Drew Brees should be money on Monday night this week against the Falcons. Atlanta has been picked apart by opposing QBs lately. They’ve allowed eight passing scores in their last three games. Brees connected on multiple scores the last two times he’s faced the Falcons. Look for 275 yards and 2-3 scores.
- Toilet Bowl hopefuls desperate for a little QB help might find New York’s Kellen Clemens useful this week against the Browns. Cleveland has allowed multiple passing scores in four of their last five games. They rank 30th in the NFL versus the pass. I project the first 2-TD performance of Clemens’ career.
- Consider benching Jon Kitna this week against the Cowboys if you have a strong alternative. Kitna will be without Roy Williams this week. Plus, the Cowboys put fierce pressure on the QB, ranking fifth in the NFL in sacks with 33. Meanwhile, Kitna has been sacked more than any QB in the NFL. It’s a recipe for disaster. Kitna’s streak of three straight games with only one passing TD will continue this week.
- Kurt Warner provided a nice mid-season boost for many fantasy owners, but can’t be counted on if both Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are out of the lineup this week. The Seahawks haven’t allowed a multi-TD game to a QB in their last six games. In fact, over that six-game stretch, they’ve allowed just two passing scores total. Mothball Warner until he gets a better matchup and healthier receivers.
This Week’s Sleepers: Kellen Clemens, Brett Favre, Vince Young and Tarvaris Jackson
- Edgerrin James has a fair chance to post his second straight 100-yard rushing game this week when he faces the Seahawks. Seattle has performed well against the run for much of the season, but they’ve been stung lately by big plays. The last three opposing starting RBs have scored on a TD of 29 yards or longer. Seattle has also had trouble containing James, allowing two straight performances with 100+ yards and a touchdown. With Arizona’s receiving corps ailing, look for the team to lean on James more than normal.
- Many Reggie Bush owners will find themselves in a tricky situation this week. A primetime matchup against the 24th-ranked run defense of the Falcons looks pretty sweet on paper. However, the Saints RB has been awful for the last three games. On Sunday, Bush made a critical error that may have cost his team the game. He was seen moping in the locker room after the dismal performance. So will he use the spotlight of Monday night football to redeem himself or will he dig himself into a deeper hole with more miscues and poor running? I lean toward the latter and suggest you bench him — that is, unless you don’t have a decent alternative or you play in a PPR league.
- Eagles RB Brian Westbrook has been steady all season but he’s due for a monster game. Look for him to make some noise against the Giants. Westbrook typically dominates the G-men. He has five touchdowns in his last five meetings with New York and averaged 132.8 total yards per game. I’m predicting 150 yards and two scores for Westbrook.
- The stud RB theory has tanked this year. Exhibit A is Justin Fargas, who has achieved stud status and leads the NFL in rushing since Week 9. I’ve read a few predictions out there suggesting owners bench him this week because he’s facing the Packers on the Frozen Tundra. I say that’s a bad idea. The Packers may have a good run defense, but they don’t have a great run defense. They give up 4.0 yards per carry. Plus the weather could force the Raiders into a rush-oriented gameplan. Fargas might not score a TD this week, but I see him posting 100+ all-purpose yards.
This Week’s Sleepers: Edgerrin James, Justin Fargas, Marion Barber, Kolby Smith and Chester Taylor
- Believe it or not, Cardinals wideout Bryant Johnson has scored a touchdown in three of his last four games versus the Seahawks. That was while he was third on the depth chart behind Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. With both regulars nursing injuries, Johnson will get a crack at the starting lineup. Although Seattle has allowed the fewest passing scores in the NFL, there’s a decent chance Johnson he finds paydirt again this week or at least puts up good yardage. Start him with confidence as a WR3 or flex player.
- Dial up Patrick Crayton’s number this week when he faces the Lions. Detroit ranks 31st in the NFL versus the pass and they’ve ceded 10 passing scores in the last four weeks. Crayton returned from an ankle injury last week and caught two TDs. With the Lions intent on stopping Terrell Owens and Jason Witten, Crayton could be in line for another big showing.
- If Roddy White has been wasting away on your bench, it’s time to dust him off. White is another in a long line of third-year WRs who is having a breakout season. He’s posted 920 yards and four TDs this season. He has an excellent chance to rack up his third straight 100-yard game. His opponent this week, the Saints, have allowed the third most fantasy points to WRs. Activate White this week. If you’ve already been eliminated from the playoffs, keep him in mind next year. White could be huge if the Falcons land a quality veteran QB like Donovan McNabb.
- The Eagles haven’t had an answer to Plaxico Burress for the last two years. Burress has caught a touchdown pass or put up 120 yards in four straight games versus Philly. He’s a recommended play this week despite continued ankle issues.
This Week’s Sleepers: Bryant Johnson, Patrick Crayton, Roddy White, Justin Gage and Arnaz Battle
- Antonio Gates is not going to have another performance like he did last week (1 catch for -1 yard). However, don’t bank on a complete return to glory. The Titans allow the fourth fewest points to TEs in fantasy football. No TE has caught a TD or exceeded 42 yards receiving against Tennessee since Week 2. Start Gates but be realistic about your expectations.
- Another top-tier TE who is likely to disappoint this week is Jeremy Shockey. The Eagles have owned Shockey lately, keeping him out of the endzone in five straight games. He’s put up 25 yards or fewer in three of the last four games against Philly.
This Week’s Sleepers: Vernon Davis and Zach Miller
- Look for Jacksonville’s Josh Scobee to approach double digit points this week. The Jags have scored 24 points or more in each of their last six games. In his last three outings, Scobee has connected on seven field goals. A decent performance last week against the 49ers not withstanding, Carolina has been average at best on defense lately. Scobee should get plenty of opportunities to score.
- The Baltimore Ravens have allowed 17 field goals in their last four games. Granted, seven of them were in one game against the Bengals, but they still allowed nine or more points to each kicker over that four-game stretch. Count on a good outing from Adam Vinitieri this week.
This Week’s Sleepers: Josh Scobee, Mason Crosby and Ryan Longwell
- Look for the Dallas Cowboys to rattle the cages of the Lions this week and pester QB Jon Kitna all day. Dallas has recorded 12 sacks and six interceptions over their last four games. During the same four-game period, Kitna has been sacked 12 times and picked off seven. There’s a good chance the Cowboys end this week as the top team defense.
- The Minnesota Vikings have scored four defensive and special teams touchdowns over the last three games. What’s more, you can’t ask for a better matchup this week than the 49ers. San Francisco ranks dead last in the NFL in scoring offense. Minnesota should smother the Niners and post another stat line for owners.
This Week’s Sleepers: Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This Week's Six-Pack: Smuttynose Winter Ale
Origin: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Appearance: Smuttynose Winter Ale is packaged in a standard brown longneck adorned with a bizarre label that features a 1950s era photo of a woman standing outside in the snow. The beer is quite eye-catching in the glass. It’s a deep chestnut color with a thick, tan frothy head that eventually settles to about a quarter inch in thickness and lasts throughout the sampling.
Smell: Two smells rise above all others: dark chocolate and fruit.
Taste: The chocolate scent carries forth into the flavor except it tastes more like milk chocolate than dark chocolate. Something about it makes me think of a box of chocolates. At times it tastes like the square of fruit-covered chocolate. More often, it tastes like a piece with some sort of liqueur in it. There are also spicy and smoky qualities that are intermingled. Overall the gamut of flavors jives relatively well.
Mouth-feel: Medium bodied with light carbonation. It is sticky on the palate.
Drinkability: High alcohol content will limit your interest in enjoying more than a couple. The complex mixture of flavors may make also make it a chore to drink after awhile.
Last Call: Not a bad effort overall. As you browse the microbrew aisle of your liquor store it’s hard to miss the ubiquity of holiday and winter ales. Don’t cross this one off your list, but realize there are probably better options out there. It’s just a bit too herky-jerky for my tastes. Three stars out of five.
Next Week's Six-Pack: Paulaner Salvator (Double Bock)