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The Shot Caller's Report - QBs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs/TEs

Is there a crazier week of football than Week 2 in the NFL? I've been participating in football pools since Forrest Gregg was prowling the pitch in Green Bay (COACH Gregg, that is) and I can't honestly remember the last time I bested 60% in the second week of the season. There are probably statistics to support these results but as to WHY exactly heavy favorites go down while seeming also-rans play like Super Bowl contenders? Search me. Maybe it has something to do with simple desperation on the part of teams attempting to ward off the dreaded 0-2 start (an NFL death sentence). Then again, maybe it's nothing more than basic adjustments in personnel and strategy. Coaches are fond of saying, after all, that there's more improvement between the first and second weeks of a season than at any other time. Whatever it is, it makes forecasting player performance a dicey proposition. That's a roundabout way of saying I'm REALLY glad Week 2's in the rear view mirror. How 'bout you? Let's press on. Here are recommendations for Week 3.


Must Start: The Top 10

1. Daunte Culpepper vs. CHI - Despite relentless pressure and several drive-killing penalties, Culpepper had a shot-a good shot-at THREE rushing touchdowns Monday night. He wussed out on one, fumbled away another, and had the third one nullified by a holding penalty. Of course, he DID throw for the most yards in Week 2 (343) and also a score. He's still your main man, in other words.

2. Michael Vick vs. ARI - It's a little late for draft advice but I can't help myself. When you get a chance to draft the best athlete in the league, you draft him. I waited 'til the third round and would have kicked myself (hard) had I missed out (I didn't). Quarterbacks who can rush for a c-note simply don't come around very often. Make that never.

3. Peyton Manning vs. GB - Two-fitty and a couple scores is almost pedestrian for him but it likely led you to victory this week. He has so many options in the passing game and when Edge is running strong, look out. Though he may be missing his chief rock-toter, he should still have scads of time to pick apart a Pack D that simply can't get pressure on the QB…provided the Colts' D can keep Batman off the field, that is.

4. Donovan McNabb @ DET - He looks to be in total command of Andy Reid's offense and that spells trouble for a Lions squad sporting the 25th ranked defense in the league. In the only battle of unbeatens this week, expect McNabb to post big numbers and lead the Eagles to an uncharacteristic 3-0 start.

5. Matt Hasselbeck vs. SF - Struggling against the Bucs is nothing to be embarrassed about (still) and Hasselbeck should make amends in Week 3. The Niners are battling but are still woefully out-manned against most opponents. The Seahawks are better than most opponents. Get him in there.

6. Aaron Brooks @ STL - He fumbles more than Ahman Green (we'll get to that) but there's no getting around the numbers on Sunday (279 yards and three scoring strikes). The loss of Deuce will make the Saints even more reliant on this unreliable signal-caller. Can he handle the load? Guess we'll find out Sunday, huh?

7. Steve McNair vs. JAX - We're two weeks in and he's thrown exactly one TD (against one pick). Maybe he misses McCareins and Calico more than we thought? More likely, the emergence of Chris Brown has made the Titans a versatile ball club again. Not sure what to expect against a TOUGH Jags D but I wouldn't sit him down if I owned him.

8. Marc Bulger vs. NO - Mike Martz will never level with us but he's gotta be just a teensy bit concerned about his quarterback's propensity for turning the ball over. Apparently not content with throwing the ball to the other team (he did that, too), Bulger simply handed it to them on Sunday. Though I like his matchup with New Orleans, my patience is wearing VERY thin.

9. Jake Plummer vs. SD - This is a matchup play all the way. You all know how I feel about the Snake but he gets the generous Bolts secondary in Denver this week. Mike Shanahan's high percentage passing attack vs. a team that's only forced 13 incompletions (in TWO games!) looks like trouble. If it looks like trouble and smells like trouble…. Don't forget he's a threat to run on almost every play.

10. Brett Favre @ IND - Aye-yay-YAY! The Pack was flat as could be against the hated Bears and nobody was flatter than Fav-ruh. He threw two horrendous interceptions and only 250 yards and a touch made his numbers respectable from a fantasy perspective. Call me a homer if you'd like but there simply aren't a lot of great QB options this week and he faces a Colts D that doesn't defend the pass well at all (306 ypg and a 66.7% completion percentage).

Grab A Helmet:

Trent Green vs. HOU - I cautioned you to sit him down last week and that turned out to be pretty good advice. He's been awful so far and is still looking for his first TD pass of the year. Why the recommendation then? The Chiefs rarely lose at Arrowhead (let alone twice in a row) and Green's primed for a pride game. Expect him to reverse field this weekend and break the TD-less streak against a questionable Texans D.

Vinny Testaverde @ WAS - In case you hadn't noticed, he's leading the league in passing yards (677) and attempts (85) and it's not even all that close. He's still Vinny (meaning he'll throw some picks) but you can't argue with 300+ and a touch or two. Hop on the gravy train while the gettin's good. He's not gonna play forever, after all…is he?

David Carr @ KC - At this rate, Michael Vick's gonna lose the 'fro before Carr shears his beautiful, black mane (the wife's description). Perhaps he could spare us all a pony-tailed signal-caller by finding Andre Johnson more often. The losses and INTs obscure a 71.2% completion rate and an 89.8 passer rating, numbers that tell us he's ready to bust out. I think.

Jeff Garcia @ NYG - I'm officially out of my gourd. He's the lowest-rated starter in the NFL and will now be without the services of a key "soldier" (the younger, louder Kellen Winslow). Then again, the G-men have given up six passing TDs (most in the league) and do not scare anyone on the defensive side of the ball. He's a veteran and, like Trent Green, was likely embarrassed by his effort on Sunday. Expect a bounce-back game in Jersey, though nothing too special.

Kurt Warner vs. CLE - He hasn't been remarkable this year but he did look pretty good on Sunday and hasn't thrown a pick through two weeks. Toomer, Hilliard, Shockey, and the emerging Tim Carter (not to mention Tiki) are an above-average group of receivers. Give him a go if your regular guy is on bye or you don't like your other matchups. You could do worse.

Grab A Clipboard:

Kyle Boller @ CIN - Much worse, as it turns out. The Ravens scored 30 points on Sunday and Boller was responsible for precisely none of them. This is news? I can't imagine any of you are relying on him but if you are, stop it. Now.

Joey Harrington vs. PHI - I'm an unabashed Joey lover but if you watched the Monday night blitz fest, you know he's gonna be feeling the heat this Sunday against Jim Johnson's Eagles D. Though Roy Williams is a big-league weapon (told you so), Joey is still making some questionable decisions. He threw one pick against Houston and had another nullified by penalty. Sit him down if you can afford to.

Rex Grossman @ MIN - His deficiencies are hidden (barely) by a mammoth O-line and a suddenly resurgent Thomas Jones. Nevertheless, he continues to make stupid mistakes and couldn't manage to find his best receiver, David Terrell, last Sunday for even a token reception. The Metrodome makes mice out of better men (think Favre) so there's no reason to think Grossman will fare any better in his first visit as a starter.

Ben Roethlisberger @ MIA - He's gonna be a great QB some day (great, not good) but that day won't be this Sunday in Miami. Carson Palmer looked lost against the veteran Fish D and it's difficult to envision Big Ben faring any better. Take a pass.

Byron Leftwich @ TEN - Is there such thing as a bad 2-0 team? The other MAC product has led the Jags to an improbable start but hasn't looked good in the process. Aside from being a statue, he's only completing 50% of his passes. Frankly, I expected better. You should expect worse against a bummed-out Titans team rife with experience on defense.

Patrick Ramsey vs. DAL - Since there are so many awful QB matchups this week, I'll give you a bonus sit-down free of charge. Ramsey almost single-handedly squandered opportunities with poor decisions and crappy tosses on Sunday. He's not only rusty. He's bad. If you're thinking of starting him against a stellar Cowboys unit, think again. The 'Boys OWN Washington and Ramsey doesn't seem capable of reversing that trend.

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