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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

The Fantasy 6-Pack - Week 7
Paul Sandy
October 23, 2009
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Quarterback

  • Earlier this week, I noticed a writer on the ESPN fantasy site suggested owners could confidently drop Eli Manning. Really? Drop him? In every one of my leagues, he’s a top 10 QB. Prior to last week’s letdown against the Saints, Manning had thrown multiple TDs in four straight games. No, I don’t think I’ll drop the younger Manning. In fact, owners should start him this week. He struggled versus New Orleans but Manning will bounce back nicely against a Cardinals defense that has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to QBs this season. Opponents prefer to attack the Cardinals through the air and are averaging 37.5 pass attempts per game compared to 21.6 rush attempts.
  • Brett Favre has thrown at least one touchdown in every game this year. He’s tossed multiple touchdowns in four out of six outings.  Soon after he signed with the Vikings, I blogged about Why Favre Matters. I indicated I thought he could put up 20-25 TDs with 3,700 yards passing. Even after two minimally productive games to start the season, he’s on pace for nearly 3,600 yards and 32 touchdowns. He is a viable starting QB in any league and any scoring system. In Week 7 Favre will go up against a Steelers defense that has allowed at least one passing touchdown in every game this season. I wouldn’t have reservations about starting Favre this week in what I believe will be a surprisingly high-scoring affair.
  • Eagles QB Donovan McNabb hit a rough patch last week against the Raiders, completing a sickly 22 passes in 46 attempts, and looking out of sorts all day. Don’t count on him to storm back with a monster stat line on Monday night against the Redskins. Washington’s defense has not allowed a QB to throw multiple touchdowns in any game this year. It’s no surprise they’ve allowed the fifth fewest fantasy points to QBs. McNabb failed to throw a touchdown or pass or put up more than 230 yards against the Redskins in two meetings last season.
  • I think fantasy owners can count on more steady but unspectacular production from Carson Palmer this week against Chicago. Palmer has averaged 225 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game over his last five outings. The Bears defense has allowed at least one passing touchdown in every game this season. They’ve also given up the 14th most fantasy points to QBs. Palmer put up top 12 fantasy stats for QBs this week with about 240 yards and a touchdown or two.

This Week’s Sleepers: Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel and Shaun Hill

Running Back

  • Ryan Grant owners were dismayed last week when the Green Bay RB failed to light up the Lions. Don’t give him the hook yet though. Not with the Browns on tap next. Cleveland’s run defense is considerably worse than Detroit’s. The Browns have allowed 165.3 yards per game on the ground and the second most fantasy points to RBs. Cleveland inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was placed on IR this week; he ranks third in the NFL with 59 tackles. Look for Grant to break off at least one long run and finish the day with 120 yards and a touchdown.
  • Give LaDainian Tomlinson the nod this week against the Chiefs. LT showed some pluck for the first time this year on Monday night against the Broncos, recording exactly 100 yards on 21 touches. The coaching staff caught all kinds of flack for yanking him at the goal line in favor of the diminutive Darren Sproles, a move that didn’t work out. Look for Tomlinson to get a few goal line attempts in this game. He’s recorded six straight games against the rival Chiefs with either a touchdown or 100+ all-purpose yards. Kansas City has the eighth worst run defense in the NFL.
  • It would be easy to make a compelling case to start Frank Gore this week against the Texans. Houston has allowed the seventh most fantasy points to RBs this season and they give up the ninth most rushing yards per game. I’m going against the grain on this, but I don’t see a very good performance in Gore’s immediate future. My reasons? Houston’s numbers are deceiving because they gave up huge performances in their first three games. Since that point, they’ve tightened up the screws and held every runner they’ve faced to 44 yards or fewer. Gore is also coming back from an injury and hasn’t seen action in a month. It’s also worth noting that 159 of his 241 rushing yards (66%) came on two runs against a nicked up Seattle defense. With all the byes this week, chances are you’ll have to start him. Just don’t be shocked if he doesn’t live up to expectations.  
  • The Panthers run defense is consistently generous to opposing RBs. In fact, they’ve allowed at least one touchdown to a RB in every game this season. Buffalo’s Marshawn Lynch is a quality sleeper play against Carolina. Lynch has been averaging over 20 touches per game in his last two outings. If he gets over 15 in this contest he should deliver a useful fantasy performance. RBs are averaging 5.0 yards per carry against the Panthers.

This Week’s Sleepers: LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshawn Lynch, Laurence Maroney, Larry Johnson and BenJarvus Green-Ellis

Wide Receiver

  • Chances are you probably wish you’d sent Carolina’s Steve Smith to the bench a few weeks ago. It’s time to stop waiting for a breakout game and make him prove it before risking another subpar performance. Smith will be hard-pressed to escape his funk against the Bills. Buffalo has allowed the least amount of fantasy points to WRs in 2009. Only once have they given up a pass play over 40 yards (and that play came from a TE). That doesn’t bode well considering a deep touchdown provides about the only glimmer of hope for a contribution from Smith these days.
  • Just when we thought Braylon Edwards was returning to fantasy relevance he goes and lays an egg in last week’s meltdown at the Meadowlands against the Bills. Owners of Edwards who are banking on a bounce back this week against the Raiders are kidding themselves. The Silver and Black stymied Philadelphia’s passing game last week. If they can get in the head of a veteran like Donovan McNabb, what hope does rookie Mark Sanchez have? Edwards will also draw coverage from Pro Bowl corner Nnamdi Asomugha.
  • Pittsburgh’s WR triad of Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Mike Wallace are all playable this week against the Vikings. Minnesota’s top cover corner Antoine Winfield is iffy for Sunday’s game with a sprained foot. The defense is vulnerable with Winfield out as evidenced by Joe Flacco’s ability to carve them up in the second half last week. Look for the Steelers to have little success running the ball against the Williams Wall. As a result, Ben Roethlisberger will chuck it up 40+ times and feed the stats of Ward, Holmes and Wallace all game.
  • Santana Moss has never recorded a 100-yard game against the Eagles. His only touchdown versus Philly came six years ago when he played for the Jets. In two meetings with the Eagles last year, he was held to a total of 28 yards receiving. In short, Philadelphia has Moss’s number. The fact that Washington has changed play callers may give you reason for hope but explore your options before riding Moss this week.    

This Week’s Sleepers: Mike Wallace, Austin Collie, Miles Austin, Malcom Floyd and Jerheme Urban

Tight End

  • This could be the breakout game Greg Olsen owners have been waiting for. Last week the Six-Pack identified the trend that the Bengals have been giving up loads of receptions to TEs this season. True to form, Houston’s Owen Daniels exploited the weakness with seven receptions for 78 yards and two scores. Now the Bengals have allowed an average of seven TE catches per game in their last five contests. Olsen has scored a touchdown in three straight outings but has never caught more than five balls or exceeded 60 yards in a game. That ought to change this week. Set your sights on seven catches for 80 yards and a score for Olsen.
  • The 49ers have allowed the fewest fantasy points to TEs in 2009, but I’m not buying it. The only elite TE San Francisco has faced this season is Tony Gonzalez, who caught six passes. Seattle’s John Carlson also hauled in six receptions against them. There’s no reason to think Houston’s Owen Daniels, who has been targeted more than any TE in the NFL this year, won’t have another solid fantasy stat line. Play Daniels with confidence.  

This Week’s Sleepers: Visanthe Shiancoe, Heath Miller and Dante Rosario

Kicker

  • Kickers have attempted 14 field goals against the Dolphins in 2009, an average of nearly three per game. Consider getting Saints kicker John Carney some work this week. New Orleans should have success moving the ball against Miami but might have trouble punching it in. Just be sure Carney is active on Sunday since the team also has Garret Hartley on the roster.
  • Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski is tied for second in the NFL in points with 55. You’re not going to bench him this week, but know that the weather could be a factor. The game against the Bucs will be played in London where 22 mph winds in the forecast. The good news is most of Gostkowski’s kicks should be of the extra point variety.

This Week’s Sleepers: Matt Stover and John Carney

Team Defense

  • Look for the Indianapolis Colts to build up a lead Sunday against the Rams then tee off on QB Marc Bulger. Indianapolis’ last three games have been blowouts during which they’ve racked up some solid fantasy stats—seven turnovers and 10 sacks. The team will get safety Bob Sanders back this week and that certainly won’t hurt their cause. Watch for the Colts to score their first defensive touchdown of the year in Week 7.
  • Consider activating the New England Patriots defense against the Bucs this week. As discussed above, windy weather is in the forecast for London. If the Pats manage to jump out to an early lead, Tampa will be forced to throw. That could get ugly for QB Josh Johnson, who went to college in San Diego. Johnson has tossed four INTs and been sacked seven times over the last two games. 

This Week’s Sleepers: Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots

The Six-Pack

This Week's Six-Pack: Rogue Brutal Bitter

Brewed by: Oregon Brewing Co., Newport, OR

Price: $12.99

Appearance: This imperial bitter is packaged in a brown longneck with a label that features a cartoon-ish, mustachioed character pumping his fist. The pour unleashed substantial carbonation. It set off an abundant root-beer-float- like head that puffed up and was slow to recede. The color was orange with a slight haze. An attractive looking brew.     

Smell: Massively hoppy. The hops have a spectrum of notes including pine, citrus and floral. Fresh, delicious and aggressive smelling. It made me want to drink it through my nose.

Taste: Now that’s what I’m talking about. Vibrant hops were the dominant flavor but they were not as overpowering as the “Brutal” name would’ve seemed to indicate. The aftertaste had some caramel tones and chewiness.  I savored every sip.

Drinkability: It’s not necessarily a beer that you’d drink a full six pack in one sitting but this is a very drinkable beer for the style. You won’t find anything artificial or off-putting here.

Last Call: This is a true craft brew, finely balanced and awfully tasty. The marketing and packaging of this beer would lead you to believe it’s going to be aggressive and in your face. Oddly enough, the beer comes off as classy and upscale. I might have to squeeze in another beer from the Rogue line before the season is over. Five stars out of five.

Next Week's Six-Pack: Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

Other Features
Mid-Week Injury Tracker
Start / Bench List
Game Predictions
Player Projections
Weekly Cheat Sheet
Free Agent Forecast
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