- The Chargers have allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to QBs this season but I wouldn’t let that discourage you from starting Donovan McNabb against them. When tested by decent QBs, the Bolts have been exposed. Eli Manning, Kyle Orton, Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco each threw multiple touchdowns against San Diego. I’d be surprised if McNabb doesn’t do the same.
- Last week, the Six-Pack recommended owners plug and play Kansas City’s Matt Cassel against Jacksonville. He came through with 262 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Don’t make the mistake of chasing Cassel’s impressive box score. He’ll fall short of those expectations against a Raiders pass defense that has contained much better QBs than Cassel. The Raiders have already held Phillip Rivers, Donovan McNabb and Matt Schaub to pedestrian fantasy stats this season.
- You’re not going to bench him, but keep your expectations in check for Phillip Rivers against the Eagles. Philadelphia has tightened up the screws on its pass defense lately. They’ve held the last four QBs they’ve faced, including Eli Manning and Tony Romo, to one or no passing touchdowns. Rivers is on a pattern of posting multi-touchdown performances every other week—and throwing one or no touchdowns on the alternating week. Since he threw for three touchdowns against the Giants in Week 9, the trend would have him regress a bit in Week 10. Look for 275 yards and a touchdown.
- Mark Sanchez isn’t a bad sleeper play this week against a Jaguars defense that ranks 26th in the NFL against the pass. Jacksonville hasn’t been tested by an upper echelon QB over the last five weeks yet they’ve still managed to yield some decent fantasy numbers. Middling fantasy QBs like Matt Cassel, Vince Young and Matt Hasselbeck turned in solid numbers against the Jags. Look for around 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns from Sanchez, who should be well prepared coming off a bye week.
This Week’s Sleepers: Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Joe Flacco and Chad Henne
- Tennessee has bounced back from a woeful start to win two games in a row, but don’t let the two victories blind you to the fact that they continue to get bludgeoned by opposing RBs. In their two wins, the Titans still managed to give up monster fantasy performances to Maurice Jones-Drew (177 yards and 2 TDs) and Frank Gore (158 yards and 1 TD). Looking at the bigger picture, the Titans have allowed a rushing touchdown in six straight games. Buffalo’s Marshawn Lynch should be in line for a quality fantasy start this week.
- Oakland’s Justin Fargas is a viable spot starter against the Chiefs. Kansas City allows the seventh most fantasy points to RBs. Raiders ball carriers have crossed the stripe six times in their last four games against the Chiefs. Fargas scored two of those touchdowns. He’s also quietly put up three useful stat lines in a row and should perform like a top 15 fantasy RB this week.
- Washington’s Ladell Betts was a hot free agent pickup this week and he can be used against a Broncos run defense that has wavered lately. Denver has allowed quality fantasy performances to RBs in two straight games. While it’s doubtful Betts will approach the numbers put up by Ray Rice and Rashard Mendenhall over the last two games, it’s not unreasonable to think Betts could rack up 70-80 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.
- The Cowboys defense has held the last seven starting RBs they’ve faced to 65 or fewer rushing yards. Many of those RBs have put up good receiving yardage and salvaged a decent fantasy stat line; however, pass-catching is not Ryan Grant’s forte. Although he’s scored a touchdown in two of his last three outings, Grant is eminently benchable against Dallas.
This Week’s Sleepers: Justin Fargas, Ladell Betts, Chester Taylor and Ricky Williams
- After missing a few weeks with a sprained knee, Detroit’s Calvin Johnson had a chance to knock off the rust last week against the Seahawks. Though he’s still probably not 100% healthy, consider getting him some work against the Vikings. Johnson has scored in four out of five career meetings with Minnesota. The Vikings figure to build an early lead against the Lions, which could lead to some garbage-time production from Johnson.
- Jacksonville’s Mike Sims-Walker is coming off arguably his best game as a pro but he shouldn’t be counted on for a repeat performance this week against the Jets. New York has allowed the fewest fantasy points to WRs this season. Number one wideouts have been rendered almost useless by the Jets secondary. Andre Johnson, Randy Moss and Marques Colston had their worst games of the season against the Jets. Sims-Walker is a similar wideout and could suffer the same fate.
- Buffalo wideouts Terrell Owens and Lee Evans have everything stacked in their favor this week, but I’m still not going to recommend starting either of them. The Titans D has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and they’ve also allowed the most passing yardage in the NFL. Plus the Bills will have starting QB Trent Edwards back under center. The reality though is none of those things change the fact that Owens and Evans are risky plays regardless of the matchup. Buffalo has played five games. Their two top wideouts have been under 50 yards receiving five times each.
- Get Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards some work this week against the Jaguars. The Jags have allowed the second most fantasy points to WRs this season. They’re coming off a game in which they allowed three Chiefs wideouts to put up 70 or more yards. Cotchery has exceeded 70 yards in every game he’s started this season save one. Edwards is batting .500 as a Jet, posting two quality fantasy stat lines in four games.
This Week’s Sleepers: Bernard Berrian, Robert Meachem, Greg Camarillo and Jeremy Maclin
- Philadelphia’s Brent Celek has emerged as a top 10 TE for fantasy purposes in 2009. He’s really only had one poor game this season. Keep him in your lineup this week against the Chargers and bank on continued success. San Diego has allowed starting TEs to post a touchdown and/or 50+ yards receiving in four of their last five outings. While Eagles wideouts DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin provide the big-play threat, Celek is clearly the team’s best option in the red zone.
- TEs always seem to play an active role against Detroit. The last five TEs to face the Lions have either posted a touchdown or caught five or more passes. Get Minnesota’s Visanthe Shiancoe some work. He’s found paydirt the last two times he’s faced Detroit.
This Week’s Sleepers: Visanthe Shiancoe and Brandon Pettigrew
- Fantasy owners on the lookout for a plug-and-play kicker this week should consider adding Baltimore’s Steven Hauschka. The Ravens should have little difficulty moving the ball on Monday night against a Browns defense that has allowed 27 or more points in all but one game this season. In his last meeting with Cleveland, Hauschka banged through two field goals and four extra points en route to a double-digit stat line.
- Seattle has allowed opposing kickers to tally eight or more points in four of their last five outings. Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers is a worthwhile option against the Seahawks. Rackers has averaged 11 points in his last three games versus Seattle.
This Week’s Sleepers: Steven Hauschka, Jay Feely and Rob Bironas
- The Six-Pack is still tracking a Steelers team that has now allowed defensive or special teams touchdowns in six straight games. The Cincinnati Bengals started the streak back in September when defensive back Jonathan Joseph returned an interception for a touchdown. They’ll look to extend it to seven games this week. The Bengals have recorded five sacks and six turnovers in their last two games. They’re a relatively consistent unit for fantasy purposes.
- The Dallas Cowboys are a must-start this week against a Packers offense that is on a record-setting pace for sacks allowed. QB Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 37 times—10 more than the next closest QB. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have recorded 15 sacks in their last four games. It’d be surprising if Dallas didn’t post 4-5 sacks and a turnover or two.
This Week’s Sleepers: Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons
This Week's Six-Pack: Kellerweis Hefeweizen
Brewed by: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, CA
Appearance: Kellerweis came in a brown stubby bottle with a yellow label that instructed me how to pour the beer properly, swirling the bottle to ensure the sediment on the bottom gets added to the glass. I followed the guidance and was rewarded by a hazy golden beer topped off by a supremely frothy head that retreated slowly and left nice lacing down the side of the glass.
Smell: The aroma was clean with banana, lemon, wheat and clove scents. Not overly complex but pleasant nonetheless.
Taste: The flavor initially had some fruit characteristics, primarily lemon with a tart zing to it. Toward the middle the predominant flavor was like a spiced banana bread. The aftertaste was sweet and resembled bubblegum. I was really impressed with the balance and snappiness of this beer. It was crisp, delicious and refreshing.
Drinkability: Kellerweis has some sweetness but it wouldn’t prevent me from drinking a few of these in a sitting. A relatively low ABV would make this an excellent summertime beer choice.
Last Call: I’m unsure what compelled me to grab a hefe off the shelf in the middle of November, but I’m glad I did. This isn’t my favorite style beer, but Sierra Nevada Kellerweis sets the standard by which all other hefes will be measured in the future—especially at a $6.99 price point. Five stars out of five.
Next Week's Six-Pack: Ommegang Abbey Ale, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY