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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

The Six Pack - Week 7
Paul Sandy
October 17, 2008
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Quarterback

  • Think twice before you dust off Derek Anderson. With his breakout 310-yard, 2-TD performance, it’d be easy to assume Anderson has rekindled the magic of his 2007 Pro Bowl season. But a tough matchup against the Redskins may lead to disappointment. Washington has already had success slowing down many of the league’s elite passers. Donovan McNabb, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner and Eli Manning all had below average fantasy performances against Washington. The Redskins play even better at home, with opposing QBs averaging a paltry 181.3 passing yards and one touchdown per game in FedEx Field.
  • The last time Brett Favre was in Oakland, he passed for 399 yards and four TDs. And he did it while grieving the loss of his father. This time around Favre has a clear mind and he’s playing for a different team. While interceptions continue to be an issue, Favre has been predictably efficient this season, throwing at least one touchdown pass in every game thus far and lighting up the scoreboard against suspect pass defenses. The Raiders rank 26th in the NFL versus the pass, so Favre is starter material this week.
  • Quick, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think “Minnesota defense”. Tough against the run, right? Well, somewhere along the way their pass defense got good, too. In the last four games, the Vikings have allowed just two passing scores. Given the scarcity of quality fantasy QBs right now, Kyle Orton is definitely playable. Just don’t be livid if he only puts up 225 yards and a touchdown.
  • San Francisco’s defense started the season by allowing just two passing scores in the first three games. But they’ve buckled in recent weeks in the face of stronger competition. Over the last three weeks, opposing passers are averaging exactly 300 yards and two TDs per game. That’s the definition of a good fantasy week for a QB. Start Eli Manning and bank on a standout performance.

This Week’s Sleepers: Brett Favre, Matt Schaub, Jeff Garcia and Jake Delhomme

Running Back

  • Detroit’s decisions to trade WR Roy Williams and place QB Jon Kitna on IR signal the team is focused on the future. Fantasy owners should expect to see a heavy dose of rookie Kevin Smith in the coming games, but right now he’s nursing a bum shoulder. Although Smith practiced this week, Rudi Johnson owners might be able to squeeze one more game out of the lumbering RB. The Lions face a Houston team that has allowed the most rushing TDs (10) in the NFL this season. Consider Johnson a sneaky sleeper play if Smith can’t go or will be limited.
  • Kansas City’s defense ranks last in the NFL in stopping the run, so Chris Johnson and LenDale White owners have to be pleased with the matchup this week. No doubt both RBs worth playing, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that owners expecting enormous stats will be disappointed on Sunday. When he’s given an extra week to prepare for opponents, head coach Herm Edwards has an impressive track record of shutting down opponents, particularly in the running game. Coming off a bye, Edwards’ Jets and Chiefs teams have held every opposing RB except LaDainian Tomlinson to 85 rushing yards or less for the last seven years.
  • Tampa’s defense hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown all year. The Seahawks have averaged just 79.5 rushing yards on the road this season. This is a horrible week to play Julius Jones. Frankly, it’s a horrible week to start any Seahawks player.
  • Steelers starting RB Willie Parker aggravated his sprained knee and may miss this week’s game against the Bengals. If Parker sits, don’t hesitate to plug Mewelde Moore into your lineup. Amazingly, Moore has scored or exceeded 100 all-purpose yards in eight out of his 12 career starts. A sweetheart matchup against the 28th ranked run defense of the Bengals should lead to more success for the shifty Moore.

This Week’s Sleepers: Rudi Johnson, Mewelde Moore, Ryan Grant, Dominic Rhodes and Sammy Morris

Wide Receiver

  • Here’s a peculiar stat: Reggie Wayne has scored at least one touchdown in every regular season and post-season game he’s played against an NFC opponent since Week 6 of 2006—10 straight games. I don’t know if it means anything; I just thought you should know since he faces the Packers this week.
  • Jaguars wideout Matt Jones had the best fantasy production to date against the Titans. His boxscore read six receptions for 80 yards and zero touchdowns. Wide receivers have for all intents and purposes been a non-factor against Tennessee this season. The only players they’ve let sniff the endzone are TEs and RBs. If you have a viable alternative to Dwayne Bowe, use it.
  • Steelers wideout Hines Ward scored seven TDs in 2007. Four of them came at the expense of the Bengals, the team Ward will be facing this week. The Steelers offense started to click before the bye week as Ben Roethlisberger passed for 300+ yards and three scores against Jacksonville. Meanwhile, the Bengals have allowed 20 or more points in five straight games. The outlook is good for Ward in Week 7.
  • Bengals wideout Chad Johnson hasn’t scored or posted a 100-yard game in his last seven meetings with the rival Steelers. With QB Carson Palmer out at least another week, deep six Ocho Cinco. Johnson’s counterpart T.J. Houshmandzadeh has a better track record versus Pittsburgh (six TDs in his last six games) and appears to be QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite target. He’s playable but the chances of a big game appear slim. The Steelers rank third in the NFL against the pass.

This Week’s Sleepers: Calvin Johnson, Antwaan Randle El, Kevin Walter and Antonio Bryant

Tight End

  • Antonio Gates isn’t benchable in TE-mandatory leagues, but expectations need to be low heading into this week. Buffalo gives up the fewest fantasy points to TEs. The Bills haven’t allowed a TE touchdown this season and have only surrendered one in their last 11 games. A cross-country flight from down-state California to upstate New York won’t help Gates’ cause.
  • The Packers have been smoked by TEs lately. In their last four games, Green Bay has allowed a touchdown or 65 yards receiving to opposing TEs. Look for a bounce-back performance from Dallas Clark, who had just 17 yards last week against the Ravens.

This Week’s Sleepers: Dallas Clark and Owen Daniels

Kicker

  • If your kicker has been a source of frustration for the better part of the first six weeks, take a look at Houston’s Kris Brown. Brown is perfect on field goals this year and as the Texans offense has heated up, so has he. Brown has connected on multiple three-pointers in four straight games, and he’s scored nine or more points in three straight games. While Brown hasn’t booted any FGs over 50 yards yet this season, it’s worth mentioning that he was a perfect 5-for-5 from 50+ last season. A matchup against the Lions this week couldn’t get much better. Place kickers have attempted multiple field goal kicks against the Lions in every game this season.
  • Another kicker worth starting this week is Tampa’s Matt Bryant. Bryant has scored seven or more points in all but one game this season. Seattle, who the Bucs will face this week, has allowed seven or more points in every game in 2008.

This Week’s Sleepers: Kris Brown and Matt Bryant

Team Defense

  • Ravens rookie QB Joe Flacco performed admirably the first two games of the season against the Browns and Bengals. But as the competition got tougher, Flacco faltered. In his last three games, he has a 1:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and he’s been sacked nine times. He also had a fumble returned for a touchdown. Given their defense’s ability to rush the passer (13 sacks in five games) and their understanding of Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s offensive tendencies, the Miami Dolphins appear poised for a big afternoon on Sunday.
  • If you’re still starting the New England Patriots defense, this might be a good week to jump ship. New England has yet to record a defensive touchdown and they have just seven sacks this season. Their inability to generate a rush doesn’t bode well against Jay Cutler, who’s only been sacked two times in 2008. The Patriots have also allowed over 20 points per game this season, despite playing some average offensive teams like the Chiefs, Dolphins, Jets and 49ers. It’d be surprising if Denver doesn’t post at least 30 points in this contest.

This Week’s Sleepers: Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Bucs

The Six-Pack

This Week's Six-Pack: Bohemia Classica

Price: $8.49

Origin: Monterrey, Mexico

Appearance: Bohemia comes in a stubby brown bottle. The neck is trimmed with a flashy gold foil wrapper that covers the cap while the main label features a warrior. It pours nicely with a white soapy head that holds its form for a short while. The carbonation looks extreme with abnormally large bubbles. This combined with the pale straw color, makes Bohemia resemble ginger ale.

Smell: This beer has a surprisingly nice touch of hops in the aroma. The other prevalent scent is fruit.

Taste: Bohemia has a much more robust flavor than the other Mexican beers the Six-Pack has reviewed—including Corona, Pacifico, Negra Modelo and Dos Equis). If I didn’t know better, I would’ve guessed it was a European-style pilsner. It’s reminiscent of Pilsner Urquell. The taste is crisp with some lively hops up front. It finishes with a crisp apple-like flavor. Very refreshing.    

Drinkability: The carbonation is excessive but overall this is a highly drinkable and refreshing beer.

Last Call: I hadn’t heard of Bohemia until I stumbled across it on the local liquor store shelf. Considering the lack of quality brews south of the border, it was a nice find. It’d be a great beer to pair with whatever Mexican food you serve up, be it a steak burrito, chicken enchiladas or a bag of Doritos. Three stars out of five. 

Next Week's Six-Pack: Spotted Cow, New Glarus Brewing, Wisconsin

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