Each Friday the Six-Pack will offer random thoughts, musings and historical player trends on the six key fantasy positions – QB, RB, WR, TE, PK and DEF. In addition to the fantasy football prognostications, I’ll review a different beer each week beginning next Friday.
- Giants QB Eli Manning may have signed a contract this offseason that made him the NFL’s highest paid QB, but that doesn’t make him a good fantasy option — particularly this week. Manning will go up against the Redskins on Sunday. Although Washington is a divisional foe and Manning has faced them twice a year throughout his career, he’s never once thrown multiple touchdowns against them in a game and only twice has he exceeded 250 yards.
- Dating back to his days with the Rams, Kurt Warner has faced the 49ers in five home games. His average in friendly confines: 360.2 passing yards and 2.4 TDs per game. Put any concerns about his hip, his poor preseason play and Anquan Boldin’s hamstring aside and get Warner in your lineup.
- The Chargers have featured a ground-based attack in recent meetings against the Raiders. In six career matchups with Oakland, QB Phillip Rivers has only once attempted more than 25 passes. His average in those six games was just 154 yards. On the bright side, Rivers did manage to throw three touchdowns in his last meeting. Still, keep your expectations in check and expect a heavy dose of LaDainian Tomlinson.
- Consider Matt Hasselbeck a decent sleeper play this week against the Rams. Hasselbeck always posts useful stats against St. Louis. He’s thrown at least one touchdown in all but one of his last 12 meetings with the Rams. Seattle’s offensive line will be a concern going forward, but St. Louis’ pass rush isn’t expected to strike fear into opponents. Hasselbeck should deliver a quality performance by accumulating lots of short and intermediate passes to T.J. Housmandzedah and John Carlson.
This Week’s Sleepers: Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Hill and Kyle Orton
- Cleveland’s Jamal Lewis is not a viable option this week against the Vikings. Minnesota gave up the fewest rushing yards and the fourth fewest fantasy points to RBs in 2008. With the Williams Wall (Pat and Kevin Williams) dodging a suspension for now, Lewis will have little room to run inside and there’s no way he has the speed to get outside anymore. It’ll be an accomplishment if he ends the game with 50 yards.
- Despite having faced the Seahawks 10 times in his career, Rams RB Steven Jackson has never had a 100-yard rushing performance against them. At the end of the day, he’ll get you a good stat line because of his work in the receiving game. Just don’t count on a bonus for 100+ rushing yards if your league’s scoring system dishes one out.
- Don’t fret too much about Ryan Grant’s matchup against the rival Bears this week. Grant has had Chicago’s number in recent meetings, scoring in each of the last three games and adding two 100+ yard rushing performances to boot.
- Bank on a big game for Frank Gore this week against the Cardinals. Gore has chewed up some huge yardage in recent meetings—racking up 802 all-purpose yards the last six times he’s faced Arizona (134 ypg). Oh yeah, and in that six game run he’s recorded eight touchdowns.
This Week’s Sleepers: Ray Rice, Fred Taylor, Mike Bell and Felix Jones
- Earlier this week ex-Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith had some pretty pointed words for his former team. Smith said Dallas lacked heart and predicted they’d finish 7-9. While I don’t think the Boys will be as bad as Smith’s projection, I do believe his assessment of WR Roy Williams was spot on. Smith said, “I do not see him as a No. 1. I never have saw him as a No. 1. Never have.” Although Emmitt still doesn’t ‘has’ good grammar, his comments are spot on. If you drafted Williams to be your top WR, make sure you keep him on a short leash. If he starts slowly, bench him and be aggressive on the waiver wire to find a suitable replacement.
- If you own Randy Moss, why don’t you go ahead and pencil him in for 120 yards and a touchdown. Moss has historically been phenomenal on opening day. Dating back to 2002, he’s posted at least one touchdown in every season opener except one. Another reason to love Moss this week? His success on Monday Night Football. He’s played on MNF 14 times and scored 16 touchdowns. Cha-ching.
- Consider holding off on starting Devin Hester this week against the Packers. Green Bay’s cornerbacks, Charles Woodson and Al Harris, have absolutely shut down Hester. In two games last season against the Green and Gold, Hester posted just 19 total yards on three receptions. Yes, the team now has the strong-armed Jay Cutler chucking the ball. Yes, there’s always a chance the duo could connect on a deep pass. But until we see how well the two play together, it might not be worth the risk.
- If you drafted him, you probably weren’t planning on playing Steve Breaston in Week 1. However, Anquan Boldin is gimpy with a hamstring injury. Chances are he’ll play. Even so, if you have a team in a deep league, consider clearing room in your lineup for Breaston. The last time the Cards faced the 49ers, Breaston piled up 121 yards on seven receptions.
- In his first game as an Eagle, Terrell Owens posted three touchdowns. In his first game as a Cowboy, Owens posted one touchdown. I’m not saying he’ll score in his first game as a Bill; I’m just saying there’s a good chance.
This Week’s Sleepers: Steve Breaston, Lance Moore, Isaac Bruce and Donald Driver
- Dallas Clark is a solid play this week in all leagues and scoring systems. He’s a Jaguar killer, scoring five touchdowns in his last five games. Last time out against Jacksonville he hung eight catches, 105 yards and a touchdown on them. Start him and start him with confidence.
- Go with Oakland’s Zach Miller as a sneaky sleeper play on MNF against the Chargers. Miller has recorded 21 receptions in his last three outings versus the Bolts. Excuse the alliteration but that’s some potent PPR production right there. With the Raiders receiving corps equal parts injured and inexperienced, Miller will be an above average TE in 2009.
This Week’s Sleepers: Zach Miller and John Carlson
- Based on intense statistical analysis, elaborate algorithms and a few dart tosses, the kicker I think has the best chance of putting up double-digit points in Week 1 is Neil Rackers. Rackers amassed 11 points in both meetings with Frisco last year. The 49ers allowed the fifth most points to kickers in 2008.
- Keep your eye on Lawrence Tynes as a potential free agent pickup. Last season Giants kickers combined to score the most fantasy points. John Carney provided most of the leg but he wasn’t brought back, which means Tynes will get the points this year. In 2008, Carney booted three field goals in both meetings against the Redskins.
This Week’s Sleepers: Neil Rackers and Lawrence Tynes
- If you’re not enthused about the team defense you originally drafted, go ahead and grab the Houston Texans in Week 1. With an aggressive defensive line led by sack leader Mario Williams, the Texans should throw lots of pressure at rookie Mark Sanchez. Sanchez will be under center for the first time as a pro — in a hostile environment no less. Mistakes are likely. Also keep your eye on Houston’s defense going forward as a spot play. They have a nice little schedule to start the season. If there’s such a thing as a sleeper defense, they’re it.
- I’m not particularly fond of the Philadelphia Eagles defense this year for fantasy purposes. I think owners are giving them too much love based on past success and overlooking the fact that they lost some key components. The team no longer has safety Brian Dawkins, who was the heart and soul of the squad. They also lost renowned defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who passed away over the summer. If the Eagles don’t perform well in Week 1 against the Panthers, consider dumping them. Their schedule doesn’t line up that well for fantasy purposes — especially with a Week 4 bye.
This Week’s Sleepers: Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers
If you’re new to the Weekly Six-Pack, this is the spot in which I’ll review a different beer each week beginning in Week 2. I invite you to pick up a six pack of the weekly selection and offer your own take. As always, suggestions on beers are always welcome. Keep in mind I’ve been doing this for several years at a clip of 16 beers per year, which means I’ve reviewed most of the common brands. I’ll pull together a list of the beers I’ve sampled next week.
Next Week's Six-Pack: Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Brewing Co.