Welcome to Week 6 of the Brew Crew Corner. The fantasy season can be brutal when it comes to bye weeks and injuries. Let’s face it, no one is immune to having starters get hurt and we are all watching Sunday’s games in hopes to catch the next waiver wire stud that will emerge and put up Top 10 numbers. The fact is that most of the players that are on waivers put up mediocre stats. Unless it is a situation such as Shaun Hill taking over at quarterback or Peyton Hillis taking over the starting job, the chances that your pickup will put up consistent numbers are slim.
We all have those owners in our league that grab the hot waiver players of the week. Most of these owners have drafted poorly and are now counting on the wire to save their team. They will add and drop players every week because the player had one good game and then went back to sucking. That is the case with wide receivers most of the time. This year there were players such as T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Dexter MCluster, Mike Williams (Seattle) and Harry Douglas that have shined for a game, but have shown little else.
Owners need to really analyze the situation each player is in before they put in for a claim and throw them into a lineup. Let’s look at the Randy Moss situation. Moss leaves New England which leaves an opportunity for another player to see production. The waivers are flooded with claims for Brandon Tate, a few days later we learn that Deion Branch has been traded to the Patriots. This impacts Tate’s value immediately.
Another scenario on the flip side of waivers is owners that will drop a talented player or one that has been dealing with injury out of frustration. It happens every year where someone will let go a good player because they are facing a difficult part of the schedule or have missed time due to injury. Make sure you are the owner paying attention and snatch up that player because most of the time the talent prevails and that player gets back on track or they get healthy again and are productive for the second half of the season. With every trade and waiver transaction you do, make sure you get the facts on your players and evaluate them before hitting the accept button. It will pay off for your team in the long run.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who came through for their team.
Hakeem Nicks – 12 receptions, 130 yards, 2 TD. Nicks is finally healthy and it is showing. Manning is looking for Nicks as often as possible as he saw 17 targets last week and is getting 10 targets a game. Nicks is playing a role similar to Plaxico Burress when he was on the team and that means he will get every opportunity to make plays.
Matt Forte – 22 carries, 166 yards, 2 TD. Forte rushed for more yards in the game against the Carolina Panthers then he had in the previous four games combined. He also found the end zone on the ground for the first time this season. It was good for his owners to get this kind of production after back-to-back weeks averaging 6.5 fantasy points.
Ray Rice – 27 carries, 133 yards, 2 TD. Rice is getting healthier by the week but it would be nice if he was fully recovered. The good news is that he is healthy enough to get back to being an elite runner, and if he can finish strong he will carry you to a championship.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who you would like to, well you know.
Tim Hightower – 4 carries, 6 yards. The bottom has dropped out since Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells has been healthy. After averaging 21 fantasy points in the first two weeks, Hightower’s production has crashed.
Lance Moore – 1 reception, 8 yards. Moore is a classic example of how inconsistent wide receivers can be if they are not the No. 1 receiver on the team. There will still be games he will put up good stats but you never know which weeks he will disappear.
Anquan Boldin – 1 reception, 8 yards. After Week 3’s monster game, we thought it was a sign of things to come, but when Ray Rice is hot, Boldin’s numbers will suffer. He only saw three targets all game.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Ben Roethlisberger against the Browns. No. 7 returns and it isn’t Michael Vick. Roethlisberger has had plenty of time to rest and should be fresh for his first game back. Will the rust be there? Sure will, but he will have plenty of opportunity to get back in a rhythm throughout the game. Heath Miller will benefit from Roethlisberger’s return and that is where the damage will be dealt in this game. Last season he destroyed Cleveland at home with 417 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The Browns this season are 18th in passing yards allowed with 223.2. They have given up eight passing touchdowns. This will be a sweet homecoming for Roethlisberger.
Eli Manning against the Lions. Manning put up his best fantasy outing of the season and is currently the ninth-best quarterback in fantasy leagues. Now that the defense has stepped up, Manning will have better field position to work with and Nicks is emerging into the go to player Manning needs. The Giants need to put away the teams they are expected to beat and will be facing Detroit without Calvin Johnson. The Lions are allowing 235.4 passing yards (24th) with eight passing touchdowns allowed this season. They do have seven interceptions, an area where Manning is averaging almost two a game.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Matt Cassel against the Texans. Last week Cassel laid an egg against the Colts, but if he can play like he did against the 49ers (250 yards, three touchdowns), he will be able to put up big numbers against Houston. The Texans are still the league’s worst ranked pass defense with 329.6 passing yards allowed per game and are tied for second most in the league with 11 touchdowns given up this season.
Good running back matchups this week
Brandon Jackson against the Dolphins. Miami had back-to-back division losses before their bye week and surprisingly they have struggled on defense against the run. The Dolphins have been giving up 23 points per game (24th) while allowing 117.8 rushing yards a game (21st). Those two factors set up Jackson for back-to-back 100-yard games. This is a good situation for Jackson to have another good game and then you can trade him for whatever you can get for him because the team is looking to activate rookie James Starks, which could end Jackson’s hold on the starting job. The schedule gets real tough after this week as the Packers face Minnesota, the New York Jets and Dallas before their Week 10 bye.
Frank Gore against the Raiders. This will be the 49ers’ first win of the season. I can sense it. Michael Crabtree will be the focus from the media as he plays the team that passed on him in the draft, but it will be Gore who will carry this team on Sunday and help stop the bleeding. Gore will be facing the only team in the NFL that is allowing five yards per carry. The Raiders are also 31st in rushing yards allowed with 147.8 per game and have given up six touchdowns on the ground this season.
Sleeper Pick of the Week:
Ryan Torain against the Colts. Torain finds himself in a great situation, while Clinton Portis is out, as he will be the workhorse running back on the team. Torain is averaging 17 carries a game and he faces the Colts, which are giving up 142.2 rushing yards per game (29th) at 4.8 yards per carry and five touchdowns yielded this season. That means Torain will rush for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Shaun Hill against the Giants. Since Hill has been the starter, he has been the No. 4 fantasy quarterback with 20 fantasy points per game. This is the week he will struggle. Calvin Johnson looks to be out for this game and the Giants will clamp down on defense and make Hill’s day miserable. There is still a chance Mathew Stafford takes over this week so keep an eye on this situation. The Giants’ defense has cranked it up over the past two weeks by stiffling the Bears’ offense and shutting down Houston. The Giants are currently the No. 1 pass defense in the league with 146 passing yards allowed per game and have given up five passing touchdowns to six interceptions this season.
Kevin Kolb against the Falcons. Kolb’s opportunities are limited, and if you can drop him for another quarterback then it would be wise to do so. Even if Kolb has a breakout game, he will be benched as soon as Michael Vick returns and it is not good to have your quarterback looking over his shoulder. The Falcons are hot right now and even though they are 19th in passing yards allowed with 223.4 per game, they lead the league with 10 interceptions and are second in the league with just 14 points given up per game this season.
Brett Favre against the Cowboys. The Hail Mary that is Randy Moss might have come a little too late to save the Vikings’ season. Both the Vikings and Cowboys have lost after a bye week and are 1-3 heading into this Sunday’s showdown of do or die. Only five teams since 1990 have made the playoffs after starting 1-4. Over the past three years no team has reached the playoffs after falling to 1-4. The magic seems to be gone for Favre. Other than the two plays he made last week, he was pretty bad most of the night. This will be an ugly game for both teams with the loser going home with the season on the brink of disaster. I think the Vikings win at home but it’s not going to be a great statistical day for the passing offense.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Peyton Hillis against the Steelers. It is going to be hard for Hillis owners to put him in the lineup. You almost have to just because of how well he has played and the fact that he has a touchdown in every game this season. The thigh injury and the matchup concerns me for this week. The Steelers will be pumped up with Roethlisberger returning and the defense already playing at a high level. They are holding teams to just 62.2 rushing yards per game – No. 1 in the league – and have given up just two scores on the ground this season. Add in the fact that Colt McCoy may get his first NFL start and you have a game that will get ugly early.
Knowshon Moreno against the Jets. Moreno is still questionable but regardless if he starts or not, the Broncos will be a one-dimensional team. The Broncos have the league’s worst rushing offense with 51.8 yards per game and will face the Jets, which are third in the NFL in rush defense with 79 yards allowed per game with just one rushing touchdown given up this season. Kyle Orton will have his struggles too and with no help from the run game will have a tough game.
Marshawn Lynch against the Bears. During the bye week Seattle made a few changes on offense. They traded Deion Branch to New England, acquired Lynch from Buffalo and cut Julius Jones who signed with New Orleans. If you picked up Lynch off waivers or have had him sitting at the end of your bench for the past five weeks, you may want to see how this situation plays out before you put him in your lineup. Lynch has to first pick up a new offense and will likely share time with Justin Forsett. Leon Washington seems to be no threat to enter the mix as he has not been used. Lynch will face the Bears, which are fifth in points allowed with 14.8 per game and are playing well against the run, allowing 78.6 rushing yards per game (third). With the return of Jay Cutler, Seattle could be playing from behind early and forced to abandon the run.
Week 6: When evaluating free agents, make sure they have an opportunity to produce.
Good Luck to everyone in Week 6. Follow @BrewCrewCorner