- It’s important to know that in eight career starts against the Redskins, Giants QB Eli Manning has never thrown multiple touchdown passes. Adding to the fantasy misery, he’s only once exceeded 250 yards through the air. Consider sending Manning to the bench this week.
- Matt Cassel owners have a difficult decision this week. After throwing for 400+ yards in back-to-back games, is it the right call to bench him against the Steelers, who have the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL? The answer depends on who your alternative is. The Steelers have held some quality QBs in check, including Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers most recently. However, Peyton Manning hung three touchdowns on them. I figure Cassel will end the day with 225 yards and a touchdown, maybe two.
- During his tenure with the Chiefs, head coach Herm Edwards has faced the Raiders five times. In those five meetings, Kansas City QBs have thrown two total touchdowns. The gameplan for Edwards against Oakland is to run the football. Although the Chiefs have been relying more heavily on their passing game lately, QB Tyler Thigpen is benchable this week. The Raiders rank 10th in the league at defending the pass.
- Despite what you may have seen on Monday night, the Packers have a solid defensive secondary. Drew Brees was making ungodly throws. Be careful not to read too much into his performance and make a rash decision to start Jake Delhomme. Over 1/3 of New Orleans’ passing yardage went to running backs and tight ends. Carolina isn’t blessed with RBs and TEs who can catch the ball well. They’ll have to rely more on their wideouts, which means throwing in the direction of Charles Woodson and Al Harris. I don’t expect Delhomme to have much success in that regard. Anything more than 200 yards and a touchdown would be a surprise.
This Week’s Sleepers: Chad Pennington, Jeff Garcia and Kyle Orton
- Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been a Bear slayer ever since he entered the league. In three career meetings with Chicago, Peterson has averaged 153.3 yards per game and scored seven touchdowns. If you own him, go ahead and pencil in 130 yards and two scores.
- Five weeks ago a matchup against the Redskins was supposed to be a bad thing for fantasy running backs. Not necessarily true anymore. Opposing RBs have scored a touchdown in four straight games against Washington. This includes some pretty poor rushers, including Maurice Morris last week. Heck, even Detroit’s Rudi Johnson scored. In addition, the last two RBs they’ve faced have surpassed 100 yards on the ground. The point is Brandon Jacobs should be in your lineup this week if he plays . . . if not, then Derrick Ward.
- Continue to ride the red hot tandem of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. The Jets square off against a Broncos outfit that has allowed 10 rushing touchdowns in their last six games. Denver also gives up big yardage on the ground, an average of 144.5 yards per game. Don’t be stunned if Jones and Washington combine for 190 all-purpose yards and two or three touchdowns.
- The Jets rush defense is for real. They haven’t allowed a rushing score to a RB in their last seven games. The team ranks third in the NFL in rush defense. Although fullback/running back Peyton Hillis has scored three touchdowns in his last two games, he’s by no means a must start in Week 13.
This Week’s Sleepers: Leon Washington, Darren McFadden, Jamal Lewis and Ricky Williams
- The 49ers have allowed more fantasy points to wideouts than any other team this season. Plus, they’ve been especially weak on the road. In three of their last four road contests, San Francisco has yielded 300+ yards passing and three touchdowns. Start Buffalo’s Lee Evans with confidence and don’t be afraid to roll the dice with Josh Reed, who is a capable possession target for QB Trent Edwards. Evans should post his second straight 100-yard game.
- Make a point to get Ted Ginn Jr. some work this week against the Rams. St. Louis is one of 10 teams that have allowed 16 or more passing touchdowns this season. They rank 21st in the NFL against the pass. With Greg Camarillo out for the season, Ginn should get plenty of looks. I like his chances of posting at least 80 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
- Give slumping Minnesota wideout Bernard Berrian the benefit of the doubt this week against the Bears. He burned his former team for 81 yards and a touchdown earlier this year. Look for Berrian to hook up for at least one long pass against a vulnerable Chicago pass defense that ranks 30th in the NFL against the pass.
- If you haven’t already given up on Cleveland’s Braylon Edwards, this might be a good week to do so. Brady Quinn is out for the season. Although Derrick Anderson loves to throw in Edwards’ direction, the duo hasn’t been on the same page all season—and Edwards continues to make mistakes. Besides, Indianapolis has allowed just four passing scores in 2008, fewest in the entire NFL. If you have a decent alternative to Edwards, go ahead and make the switch.
This Week’s Sleepers: Ted Ginn Jr., Bernard Berrian, Josh Reed, Chris Chambers and Marvin Harrison
- Washington’s Chris Cooley is a poor start this week against a Giants defense that still has allowed just one touchdown to a tight end all season. Cooley also has a putrid track record against New York. He’s never had a game with 50 or more yards versus Big Blue and has just one score in his last six meeting with the division rival.
- Dustin Keller, the rookie TE for the Jets, is an outstanding play this week against the Broncos. Keller has nabbed six or more receptions in three straight games. He’s quickly becoming QB Brett Favre’s most reliable target in the passing game and he’s scored in two of his last three home games. Keller will fare well against a Denver defense that has allowed the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends.
This Week’s Sleepers: Dustin Keller and Visanthe Shiancoe
- He was one of the most reliable fantasy kickers over the first half of the season, but Denver’s Matt Prater has missed five of his last nine field goal attempts. Consider exploring other kicking options until he can correct the issue. Denver will travel to the Meadowlands this week, a stadium that’s notoriously tough on kickers—especially this time of year. In their last four home games, the Jets have ceded an average of 3.5 points per game to opposing kickers.
- Give Buffalo’s Rian Lindell a look this week against a 49ers defense that has yielded double-digit points to kickers in four straight games. Buffalo’s offense has gotten back in-synch over the last two games, scoring 81 combined points in their last two games. Lindell accounted for 27 of those points. He should be good for 10-12 on Sunday.
This Week’s Sleepers: Rian Lindell, Jay Feely and Sebastian Janikowski
- If you’re looking for a sleeper DST this week, consider rolling the dice with the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo has scored a defensive or special teams touchdown in two straight games. This week they’ll host a San Francisco team that has the ability to move the football but also makes its share of mistakes. The weary 49ers will have to make the long trip to Buffalo one week after a road trip to Dallas.
- Lower your expectations for the San Diego Chargers defense this week against the disciplined Falcons. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan has just one interception in his last four games. He’s only been sacked once in his last three outings. It’s unlikely the Chargers will be able to rattle the young QB.
This Week’s Sleepers: Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins
This Week's Six-Pack: The Bitter End
Origin: Warrenville, Illinois
Appearance: The Bitter End is packaged in a standard brown long neck with a well-designed label that gives some background on the product and brewery. It pours nicely. The amber colored brew has a slight hint of cloudiness. The head was light and frothy but faded rather quickly.
Smell: Hops are easily detectable in the aroma. It smells like pine cones with a touch of sweetness.
Taste: I anticipated potent hop flavor from this American Pale Ale. While some hops were certainly present, they didn’t overpower the entire experience. The taste reminds me of sappy pine needles. The hops are balanced nicely by substantial malt flavor. The aftertaste is actually quite crisp and dry for this style of beer. The lack of hops in the aftertaste makes the name a bit of a misnomer. Still, overall it’s a pleasant tasting beer.
Drinkability: The light aftertaste, well-proportioned carbonation and complex flavors make this beer enjoyable bottle after bottle.
Last Call: The Bitter End is a solid effort from Two Brothers Brewing, a craft brewery outside of Chicago. It’s not my favorite pale ale, but it’s worth a look if you’re in the Midwest. Three stars out of five.
Next Week's Six-Pack: Celebrator Dopplebock, Ayinger Brewery, Germany