We’re with you every Sunday to provide the Sunday Six Pack, an article featuring six of the biggest story lines heading into each and every week of the season. Keeping tabs on these events will keep you prepared and informed throughout the season – just don’t drive within six hours of reading this. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this week’s Sunday Six Pack:
Can #1) Ben Again?
Sandwiching a Week ten clunker for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are two 30 plus point games in four point per passing touchdown scoring against the Patriots in Week nine and the Lions in Week 11. This week, Ben gets a big test against Joe Haden and company. The Browns are giving up the fourth least average passing yards per game, and Haden is fresh off holding Bengals stud receiver A.J. Green to two receptions for seven yards on five targets. Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown is the PPR WR4 (Green is still the WR3 even after his Week 11 clunker), so it might be wise to temper expectations for Brown, although in no circumstances should be be benched. On the other side of the ball, the Steelers have an adjusted rank of 23rd against tight ends according to our buddies at 4for4.com, so hopefully Jordan Cameron can get on the same page with Browns quarterback Jason Campbell, especially after Campbell missed him wide open in the end zone for a score last week.
Can #2) The Bell Tolzien For Thee
Despite only finding the end zone once and throwing 5 INTs, Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien has thrown for a combined 619 yards in his two games so far. This week he gets a Minnesota Vikings team whose secondary has been decimated by injuries and is 29th in the league in average passing yards per game given up. Tolzien is a worth bye week or injury flier this week. He has also been acceptable for the values of Jordy Nelson (PPR WR8 and 8 receptions for 119 yards on 9 targets last week) and Jarrett Boykin (14 receptions for 203 yards on 21 targets since Tolzien took over for Seneca Wallace. He’s not going to make you forget about Aaron Rodgers by any stretch of the imagination, but at least he’s keeping some of the Packers afloat. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for running back Eddie Lacy (averaging just 11.3 PPR points in Tolzien’s two games), as teams dare the Packers the throw. I would expect that to continue this week.
Can #3) Dried Up Rivers?
Philip Rivers is the fantasy QB7 in four point per passing quarterback leagues, but the last two weeks have certainly been a let down with Rivers only averaging 258 passing yards per game in that span with two total touchdowns and one interception. It does coincide with a dip in the usage of Danny Woodhead (6 receptions for 33 yards on 7 targets in the last two games). In addition, star rookie receiver Keenan Allen is now dealing with a knee injury that apparently won’t keep him out of this weeks game, but will likely hamper his effectiveness, especially in a tough matchup at Arrowhead. It appears as if the ride may be slowing down for those enjoying Rivers’ resurgence this year.
Can #4) Yes We Cam
Unfortunately, the “was it pass interference or not?” debate that emanated from the Patriots/Panthers game last week has overshadowed the fact that Cam Newton appeared to finally get his signature win throwing for 3 touchdowns and rushing for 62 yards (even though he probably covered much more field on his amazing scrambles). Newton sits as the fantasy QB8 in four point per passing touchdown leagues, but has been wildly inconsistent this year. This week’s matchup against an equally inconsistent Dolphins team that has played solid defense at times should be a good test to see if good Cam is here to stay.
Can #5) McGlovin
There is no question that I was shocked by the performance of UDFA (and former walk-on) Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin last week, especially against a Houston Texans’ defense that is still ranked first against the pass in terms of average yards per game given up. Still, three touchdowns and no interceptions is nothing to scoff at. The real issue is how much of McGloin’s success was the mess that the Houston Texans have apparently become as exemplified by the mysterious pulling of Case Keenum for Matt Schaub. Dealing with an ailing Denarius Moore isn’t going to help things either. This week, McGloin gets his first home start against a Titans defense ranked seventh against the pass. I would expect the Raiders to lean on Rashad Jennings and his 5.2 yards per carry a little more in this one.
Can #6) Dependable Donald?
So all it took to transform Dammit Donald Brown into Dependable Donald Brown was a trade for struggling former first round pick Trent Richardson? Brown is now the PPR RB31 for the entire season and has really started to find his game the past two weeks with 5 receptions for 64 yards and a score in garbage time against the Rams in Week ten and a 14 carries for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Titans last week. With Richardson continuing to slam into the backs of his offensive lineman and Brown continuing to find holes to run through, it doesn’t appear the Flex value of Brown is going away anytime soon, although this week’s matchup against the stout Cardinals defensive front does not look all that appealing. I think you can still start Brown as a lower end Flex though.