The Shot Caller needs some love, folks. No, not that kinda love.
We're talking milk-and-cookies, grab-me-a-blanky, read-me-a-bedtime-story
love. If you happened to be watching Monday Night's debacle (and
who wasn't?), you know what the problem is. Of course, being fantasy
ballers, you probably know what the solution is, too: a fantasy
There's nothing that salves like a championship trophy and if my
boys can't bring it home for me, I'll just hafta do it myself. To
that end, let's get serious. We're heading into the heart of the
season and there are plenty of fantasy points to be scored. Where
are you gonna find 'em? Read onů
Must Start: The Top 10
1. Daunte Culpepper @ NO - Projections
tend to be a tad unrealistic this early in the season but try
these on for size: 52 touchdowns and FOUR (!!!) interceptions.
Amazingly, that's what Daunte's on pace to accomplish. Though
he won't reach those record-shattering numbers, it sure will be
fun watching him try, especially if you own him. The fun continues
this week against a 29th-ranked New Orleans crew.
2. Donovan McNabb vs. CAR -
He may have kicked the hillbilly heroin addiction but it's high
time ol' Rush came clean and admitted he was wrong (dead wrong)
about Don. If this is overrated, I want a piece of the action.
Sunday, McNabb and his 9-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio draw a Panthers
D reeling from its most recent loss, All-Pro DT Kris Jenkins.
3. Chad Pennington vs. SF -
Deceiving numbers alert! The Niners are yielding a respectable
224 passing yards per game (15th in the league) but have allowed
opposing QBs to accumulate a 105.3 rating against them (ten TDs
against two picks). Only the Pack has been worse and that doesn't
bode well for this weekend's matchup against Mr. Efficiency himself,
4. Tom Brady vs. SEA - How bad
is Miami? Brady didn't throw for a single yard in the second half
last Sunday and the Pats still won convincingly. He won't be able
to pull that stunt this week against an explosive Seattle bunch.
Of course, if he throws for two or more touchdown passes-like
he's done in every game so far, last week included-we might not
care how many yards he racks up.
5. Aaron Brooks vs. MIN - His
ghastly numbers against the Bucs (106 yards and a pick) were made
slightly more digestible by a pair of touchdown strikes. He's
gonna need a few more yards than that if he hopes to hang with
Culpepper and Co. this week. He'll get them (along with a couple
more scores) in a game likely to feature very little defense.
6. David Carr @ TEN - If you
subscribe to the "crappy defense means more offense"
theory, Carr is a Top 10 guy the rest of the way. His 9.17 yards
per attempt leads the league and he's starting to find the spectacular
Andre Johnson with increasing regularity. The Texans could fall
behind again this Sunday so he looks to be a great start.
7. Tim Rattay @ NYJ - Speaking
of falling behind. Sans their best defender, Julian Peterson,
the Niners figure to be trailing in almost every game the rest
of the season. That means scads of attempts and oodles of yards
for this guy. He excels in the spread offense, Coach Erickson's
preferred mode of ball movement, so pick him up if he's still
a free agent.
8. Matt Hasselbeck @ NE - As
promised, he emerged from the bye week six guns a' blazin'. Unfortunately,
he forgot to bring along his defense. The opponent gets tougher
this week but Hasselbeck's the type of QB who plays up to his
competition. Keep him in your lineup as the matchup with Brady
may bring out his best.
9. Steve McNair vs. HOU - In
a wacky scheduling mix-up, McNair squared off against the Green
Knights of nearby St. Norbert College instead of Green Bay's once-mighty
Packers. Not that he noticed much of a difference. This week,
he plays a real live football team, complete with a defense and
everything. Well, sort of.
10. Brett Favre @ DET - Of course
I'm being too hard on Brett's Pack but that's what happens when
you give up 48 points on national TV to a previously 1-3 team.
Predictably, the Ol' Gunslinger pressed a bit when his team got
behind early and turned it over numerous times. On the other hand,
he did manage to throw for over 300 yards and a couple scores.
If the defense doesn't improve (in a hurry), he'll be forced to
duplicate the feat on a weekly basis. That's good news from a
and bad news for me.
Grab A Helmet:
Michael Vick vs. SD - Forget
the crap about a steep learning curve for the West Coast offense.
He couldn't run ANY offense with the kind of protection he's been
getting of late. Only the statue-like Drew Bledsoe has been sacked
more times than Vick (17) and the beatings are starting to result
in turnovers. The ship will be righted (and probably this weekend)
but until Coach Mora gives him more latitude to escape pressure,
he doesn't belong in the Top 10.
Drew Brees @ ATL - In order
to right the aforementioned ship, Vick will hafta beat one of
the hottest QBs in the league. That's right. I used the word "hot"
to describe the chronically tepid Drew Brees. He's lost and regained
his starting position more times than you can shake a stick at
but so long as he's feeling it, why not give him a go? Besides,
if the rumors are to be believed, he could already be auditioning
for another team.
Joey Harrington vs. GB - He
narrowly avoided another devastating blow when Roy Williams' ankle
injury was deemed minor. Though the former Longhorn is still listed
as questionable for this week's tilt with the Pack, he's supposed
to play. That's good news 'cuz matchups don't get much juicier
than the Pack right now. Get Joey back in your lineup.
Byron Leftwich vs. KC - Jacksonville's
D is starting to take on water and that has resulted in better
numbers for Leftwich (over 300 yards in each of the two losses).
The defense gets another stern test this Sunday. If the Jags fall
behind early (a possibility), they'll put Leftwich in the shotgun
and air it out, something he's quite familiar with from his days
Marc Bulger vs. TB - He finally
busted out for a multiple-TD game, none bigger than the 52-yard,
game-winning strike to Shaun McDonald in overtime. Unfortunately,
he also threw three REALLY bad picks that put the Rams behind
the eight ball in the first place. Provided you can live with
the turnovers, he's a good start every week in Martz's pass-crazy
Ben Roethlisberger @ DAL - I
told you he'd be great some day but even I'm surprised by the
rate of his progression. He's reading defenses well, standing
tall in the pocket, and getting outta Dodge (and chucking on the
run) when he has to. It's this last quality that makes him so
dangerous. How many 6'5" 240-pounders do you know (besides
Culpepper) who can elude the pass rush and throw darts? Start
him against a decimated Cowboys secondary.
Grab A Clipboard:
Jake Delhomme @ PHI - The 38
Million Dollar Man is struggling to keep Carolina afloat with
no weapons at his disposal. Already down Steve Smith and Stephen
Davis last week, he lost Deshaun Foster in the second quarter
and couldn't get anything going. He draws a well-rested and revenge-hungry
Philly D that's putting a lot of pressure on opposing QBs. Steer
Drew Bledsoe vs. MIA - If it
weren't for J.P. Losman's injury, he might be holding a clipboard
(or a remote) by now. The numbers aren't dreadful (five TDs and
three picks) but the Bills are scoring under 13 points a game.
They'll be lucky to score that many against a Miami group leading
the league in pass defense.
Any Miami QB @ BUF - If Ricky
were still around, the Fish could just snap him the ball directly
and avoid having to play one of these three stooges (Fiedler,
Feeley, or Rosenfels) altogether. Then again, they could always
insert Mr. Versatile, Wes Welker. Just brainstorming here.
Mark Brunell @ CHI - Coach Gibbs
might go hoarse defending him but he's not pulling the wool over
anyone's eyes. Brunell has been awful. If he doesn't improve against
the vulnerable Bears, it's gonna get ugly in D.C
Kerry Collins vs. DEN - Perhaps
the Giants knew what they were doing when they sent him packing
this off-season. Despite running an offense tailor-made for his
strengths, he's thrown just two touchdowns and a staggering seven
interceptions in two-and-a-half games. Of course, he's always
preferred the opponents to his own guys (141 career INTs against