- Three weeks ago, the Patriots attempted 15 rushes compared to 43 passes against the Vikings. Expect a similar scheme this week against Green Bay. The Packers rank 31st against the pass and 7th against the run. New England is among the best teams in the NFL at attacking a team’s weakness, so bank on a big performance from Tom Brady. I expect 300 yards with at least a couple scores in what should be the most interesting QB duel of the week.
- Ben Roethlisberger has never thrown for more than one touchdown in a game against Cleveland. Although he had success last week against the Saints, consider keeping Big Ben on your bench this week against the Browns sixth-ranked pass defense. Cleveland hasn’t allowed a multiple-passing-TD game to a quarterback since Week 2.
- When Week 11 is in the books, don’t be surprised to see Drew Brees’ name once again near the top of all fantasy performers. Brees is a great play this week against the Bengals. Cincinnati has allowed two or more passing TDs in three of their last four games. They rank 28th in the NFL versus the pass. It’d shock me if there weren’t over 50 points scored between the Bengals and Saints. Brees should account for a good chunk of those.
- In five home games this season, the Jaguars have allowed an average of just 7.4 points per contest and a grand total of two passing touchdowns. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Eli Manning has to be benched this week. However, you’ll certainly want to explore other options.
This Week’s Sleepers: Jake Delhomme, Brett Favre, Steve McNair, and Bruce Gradkowski
- Julius Jones and Marion Barber III are both solid starters this week against the Colts. Indy is dead last in run defense, allowing nearly 160 yards per game on the ground. I predict Jones will finish the day with around 120 yards, while Barber vultures another two TDs in Dallas victory.
- Over the last five games, Bears RB Thomas Jones has been an every-other-week guy—posting a good performance one week and a turd the next. He should be able to break the trend in Week 11 against the Jets. New York has allowed more rushing TDs than any team in the NFL. Jones, who busted the Giants in the chops last week for 112 yards and a TD, should have similar success against the Jets—in the same stadium no less.
- Dust off Edgerrin James for Sunday’s tilt against the Lions. Over their last three games, Detroit has allowed 194.7 yards rushing per game with five TDs on the ground. While James isn’t likely to have the type of game you envisioned when you spent a first-round pick on him, he should get you close to 100 all-purpose yards and a score.
- Anthony Thomas and Ladell Betts have been the top waiver wire pickups in each of the last two weeks. Both are quality starters in Week 11. The A-Train will square off against the Texans, who rank 27th versus the run. Houston has also given up a rushing TD in five straight games. Meanwhile, Betts should have a nice day against Tampa. The once mighty Bucs rank 24th against the run. Look for Betts to rack up 100+ yards with a good chunk coming through the air.
This Week’s Sleepers: Marion Barber III, Edgerrin James, Anthony Thomas, Ladell Betts, and Reggie Bush
- Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin have been disappointing over the last several games. Neither of the Cardinals wideouts has recorded a 100-yard game or scored a TD since Week 6. But don’t lose faith just yet. Especially since the Lions are coming to town. Detroit has given up at least 26 points in every road game this season. Look for both Fitzgerald and Boldin to post quality stats on Sunday.
- I suggest putting Chiefs wideout Eddie Kennison on a one-game hiatus. QB Trent Green returns to the lineup for the first time since Week 1 and is sure to be rusty. And a matchup against the third-ranked pass defense of the Raiders won’t be easy anyway. Plus consider that Kennison hasn’t scored or surpassed 80 yards in his last three meetings against the Silver and Black.
- Give Mark Clayton a look against the Falcons, who were forced to play punt returner Allen Rossum in a cornerback role last week when two of their regular defenders went down with serious injuries. Clayton has 15 receptions in the two games since head coach Brian Billick took over the play calling duties. He should have little difficulty exploiting Atlanta’s inexperienced secondary. I expect 80-90 yards with a possible score.
- Bears wideout Muhsin Muhammad is picking up steam. He has scored a TD in three straight games and has an excellent chance to make it four in a row against the Jets this week. Although they quieted the Patriots last week, the Jets have an average pass defense that has allowed 11 TDs through the air this season. Start Muhammad with confidence.
This Week’s Sleepers: Eddie Kennison, Mark Clayton, Greg Jennings, and Eric Moulds
- Chargers TE Antonio Gates has never scored against the Broncos, and Denver hasn’t ceded a TE touchdown all season. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start Gates; it just means you shouldn’t bank on a big game.
- Give Philadelphia’s L.J. Smith a start this week against the Titans if you don’t have another clear choice. Smith should fare well against a Tennessee team that has given up four TE touchdowns in the last four games. The Titans have allowed the second most passing scores in the NFL (17), so don’t be surprised to see Smith find the endzone at least once.
This Week’s Sleepers: L.J. Smith, Randy McMichael, and Ernie Conwell
- The Minnesota Vikings have allowed nine field goals in the last two games. What’s most telling about those nine kicks is that all but one was 30 yards or shorter. The team’s bend-but-don’t-break defense sets the table for a big performance from Miami’s Olindo Mare on Sunday. Look for him to have around 8-9 points.
- The Chargers have given up eight field goals in their last two games alone. Although the usually steady Jason Elam has been a disappointment so far in 2006, he’s worth a start this week. Denver will likely need to put some points on the board to keep pace with the high-powered Chargers.
This Week’s Sleepers: Olindo Mare, Jason Elam, and Dave Rayner
- Browns QB Charlie Frye has thrown 12 interceptions and been sacked 34 times—second most in both categories. He’s also lost five fumbles—third most in the NFL among QBs. His propensity for mistakes should lead to a big score for owners who start the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a nice play this week at home against Washington and QB Jason Campbell, who will get his first NFL start. Although the Bucs haven’t been playing great lately (55 points allowed the last two games), they should have the opportunity to log some turnovers and sacks. And don’t forget, the ‘Skins will be without their best offensive weapon in Clinton Portis and may be without their second best, Santana Moss (hamstring). Look for a sloppy game with plenty of mistakes.
This Week’s Sleepers: Tampa Bay and Miami
This Week's 6-Pack: Hansa Pilsner
Origin: Bergen, Norway
Appearance: Came in an 11.2 oz. brown longneck with a gold foil label. It looked a bit more orange in the glass than your typical pilsner beer. The head was nice and frothy but was gone in less than a minute.
Smell: This beer smelled a little musty with very subtle hints of grain. Overall the aromas were very faint.
Taste: Hansa missed the mark in so many ways. Primarily, it just didn’t have much in terms of flavor. The malt came off as a strange syrupy sweetness and the hops were completely uninspired. The two didn’t balance well. This beer’s flavor came to a climax at the very bitter end (literally). The aftertaste resembled that of weak tea—slightly pungent and herbal. The only good thing was this aftertaste didn’t stick around and was quickly replaced by the warmth of alcohol, which lingered on my breath for some time.
Mouth-feel: The carbonation bubbles were really quite soft, giving Hansa a buttery mouth-feel. It was consistent throughout the sampling and really quite pleasant, which helped pull up the overall rating.
Drinkability: This was a smooth drinking brew, but the fact that the flavor was bland certainly didn’t have me looking forward to my next gulp.
Last Call: Hansa was my first Norwegian beer. With all due respect to Norway, it fell short of my expectations. For the price, I was hoping for something that stacked up more favorably against some of the other European pilsners. Unfortunately, it didn’t provide anything that grabbed me. About the only thing Hansa had going for it was that it had the same crispness and mouth-feel from beginning to end and from bottle to bottle. Two stars out of five.
Next Week’s Beer: Warsteiner Dunkel