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The Shot Caller's Report - QBs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups
10/29/04
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs/TEs

If there's one bit of advice I can pass along this weekend, folks, it's this: take your Vitamin C! The Shot Caller's been floored by a nasty cold this week and it's a minor miracle the Report is seeing the light of day. I'll attempt to answer all e-messages Friday morning as I'll more than likely be sitting on the pines once again. Don't tell the boss, though. He thinks I'm slurping chicken soup and resting up for Monday. As if! Your recommendations for Week 8

Quarterbacks

Must Start: The Top 10

1. Daunte Culpepper vs. NYG - If you're at all chagrined by last week's modest numbers, peek ahead to championship week (aka, Week 16) and check out the matchup. That would be the Pack's wobbly secondary on the fast track at Minny. Feel better? He's gotten you this far and even with Randy ailing, should take you much farther.

2. Peyton Manning @ KC - He torched the Chefs for 300 yards and three scores at Arrowhead in last year's Divisional Playoff. Not much has changed since January. If anything, Peyton and Co. are even MORE lethal this season. How lethal? Let's just say he hasn't thrown fewer than two TD passes in a single game this season.

3. Donovan McNabb vs. BAL - Opposing QBs have posted a paltry 59.7 rating against the Ravens top-notch secondary this year. The opposition, though (Maddox, Palmer, Brunell, Bledsoe), has been anything BUT top-notch. This week, they face a bonafide MVP candidate in McNabb, fresh off a huge bounce-back effort in Cleveland last week (376 yards and four TDs). Unstoppable force meets immovable object, indeed.

4. Byron Leftwich @ HOU - After three sub-200 yard efforts to kick off the season, Leftwich has AVERAGED more than 300 yards passing in his last four contests. Can throwing out of the shotgun really make that much of a difference? More impressive than the yards is the vastly improved accuracy (69.6% over the same four games). Start him against a Texans squad that has yielded a league-worst 14 TD passes.

5. David Carr vs. JAX - Of course, the only way to keep pace when your defense is giving up lots of touchdowns is to throw a few yourself. Carr has thrived in the come-from-behind role this year and could very well be placed in a similar situation this Sunday. His 9.38 yards-per-attempt number is still tops in the league.

6. Brett Favre @ WAS - You think YOU'VE got it rough? The NFL's version of Job has endured no fewer than three personal tragedies this past year, any one of which may have been enough to fell a lesser man. Lesser men don't respond by throwing for 1,700 yards and 13 touchdowns, in case you're wondering. Those numbers place him amongst the top 5 signal-callers and prove, once and for all, that you should never question the Ol' Gunslinger's gumption. Play him (and enjoy him) while you still can.

7. Matt Hasselbeck vs. CAR - It's cool to be down on Hasselbeck right now but those who sit him this week could regret it. He's been truly awful on the road, sure (49% complete, three touchdowns, and EIGHT interceptions) but he's been positively lights out at home (63% complete, four touchdowns, and no picks). I suspect he'll bounce back with a solid game against the reeling Panthers at Qwest Field.

8. Tom Brady @ PIT - After a scintillating World Series run by the Sox, Chowd Nation can once again turn its attention toward Brady and his equally scintillating Pats. Though inclement weather kept his numbers down last week, he still emerged (surprise, surprise) victorious. This week, he draws a well-rested Curtain and its young superstar-in-the-making, Ben Roethlisberger. Something tells me he'll be up to the challenge.

9. Trent Green vs. IND - How does a guy lead his team to an NCAA-like 56 points and not throw a single touchdown pass? Guess that's what happens when you're able to dominate on the ground. A ground-only attack won't suffice against the high-flying Colts this week so you can bet Green will be asked to take advantage of an equally NCAA-like Indy secondary (311.5 yards yielded per game).

10. Kurt Warner @ MIN - His line took a step back last week (6 sacks) but Warner still managed to put up decent fantasy numbers (270 yards and a touch). He should find the going much easier against a weaker Vikes unit this Sunday. He'd better if the G-men stand any chance of keeping pace in the Metrodump.

Grab A Helmet:

Joey Harrington @ DAL - The 1039 yards put him in Boller/Brunell territory but the ten touchdown strikes place him in more select company. To wit, only Culpepper, Manning, and Brady have thrown more touchdowns per completion than Harrington (roughly one out of every ten). Any fantasy player worth his/her salt knows it's all about the touchdowns.

Chad Pennington vs. MIA - Speaking of touchdowns, when will he start throwing some? It's nice that Pennington completes almost 70% of his passes and doesn't turn it over (only two picks so far) but five passing TDs through six games is definitely cause for concern. If he doesn't break out against the Fish this weekend, I'll be officially worried.

Tim Rattay @ CHI - I'd like him a lot better if he were gonna be playing from behind but that might not be the case in Chicago this week. The Bears will be starting Craig Krenzel (see below) and will likely struggle to keep up with the suddenly dangerous Niners attack. His numbers might dip a bit but 250 yards and a score or two is better than you'll get from a lot of guys.

Jake Plummer vs. ATL - Like Hasselbeck, Plummer tends to play much better at home than on the road. Unfortunately, like Hasselbeck, he's also prone to some ghastly interceptions. Though that's never going to change, he's not a bad start against an Atlanta team allowing opposing QBs to complete over 68% of their passes (worst in the league). Start him if you can't do better.

Vinny Testaverde vs. DET - The Tuna isn't even paying lip service to his running game anymore and that can only mean scads of passing attempts for Vincenzo the rest of the way. Provided, of course, the 'Boys don't turn to (gulp) Tony Romo anytime soon. He'll end up on his back a few times this Sunday but should still be able to toss it around for 300 yards and a score or two.

Grab A Clipboard:

Kyle Boller @ PHI - If the Ravens make it to the playoffs with this guy under center, Brian Billick should be handed the mayorship of Baltimore. The former Golden Bear has averaged just ten completions per game the last five contests and hasn't thrown a TD pass since October 3rd. This week, he draws the undefeated Eagles and Jim Johnson's blitz-crazy defense. Oh, almost forgot. He'll be without Jamal Lewis again, too. Happy Halloween!

Drew Bledsoe vs. ARI - A reader called me out last week for being too hard on Bledsoe this season. Funny. Haven't heard from him since. Drew's days are definitely numbered in Buffalo and though it might be tempting to start him against Arizona, you should know that this is definitely not your grandfather's Cardinals. They're playing with fire, getting better every week, and forcing a lot of turnovers (14 takeaways so far).

Craig Krenzel vs. SF - Could somebody please explain to me why ESPN picked up this game? I don't know what will be funnier, watching Krenzel play or listening to Joe Theismann rave about his potential. I swear. The guy could make Kyle Boller sound like a potential All-Pro. (Wait, that was three weeks ago.)

Jay Fiedler @ NYJ - Didn't see that one coming, did you? That makes all of us. Fiedler posted an astronomical 154.8 rating last week by completing 13 of 17 passes for 203 yards and two scores. If he does it again this week vs. a much better Jets squad, we MIGHT have to reconsider his value. Something tells me won't have to do that.

Carson Palmer @ TEN - He rediscovered The Oracle last week which, quite frankly, is the only way he's going to be successful this season. Of course, it should be noted his one touchdown pass cam e on a play where Champ Bailey fell down. Temper your expectations as he still has a lot of learning to do.

Running Backs