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

Your depth carried you through the lean weeks (hopefully) and here you sit, in Week 11, ready to make that final push toward the playoffs. Unfortunately, the larger talent pool means tougher decisions, even more so, oddly enough, for those of you with top-notch talent. My rule of thumb? Dance with the ones that brung you, even if they smell like dad’s Old Spice and occasionally make you wish you’d stayed home to watch Matlock reruns. Speaking of Matlock reruns, you might wanna cue some up. There are some truly atrocious games on tap this weekend, meaning you’ll need to pay extra special attention before submitting that final lineup. Class is in session, folks. Look alive.


Must Start: The Top 10

1. Peyton Manning @ CIN – The slow start? Ancient history. The arch-rival Pats? In the rear-view mirror. A trip to Detroit and a date with destiny? Dead ahead. There are a few potholes left for the undefeated Colts but nothing they can’t manage, especially if Peyton continues building upon his recent momentum (ten TDs in his last four games). You know what to do.

2. Carson Palmer v. IND – One of the aforementioned potholes and the only quarterback putting up Peyton-like numbers at the moment, aside from Peyton himself. He crashed and burned in his first big test of the year (the Week 7 loss to Pittsburgh) but now gets a chance to make amends against the Colts in the marquee game of the week. His main target is hogging all the attention (as usual) but that might be just what the mild-mannered Palmer needs as he readies himself for the pivotal game.

3. Tom Brady v. NO – Did somebody say “pivotal game?” He’s won more pivotal games than the two guys above him have even THOUGHT about playing in. Of course, when you’re 5-4 and playing in the AFC, they’re almost ALL pivotal from here on out. First up, the hard-luck Saints and their 29th-ranked defense. Time for that patented late-season surge, I suspect. Start him.

4. Jake Plummer v. NYJ – Very few players change their stripes nine years deep into an NFL career. Obviously, Plummer is the exception to that rule. Once free-wheeling and undisciplined, The Snake has morphed into the steady, mistake-free signal-caller folks in Denver have been waiting for since Elway retired, seemingly overnight. He’s lost only once since the season-opening debacle in Miami and, more importantly, has only thrown one pick since then. Impressive, to say the least.

5. Jake Delhomme @ CHI – The other Jake is still prone to an occasional lapse in judgment, but has his Panthers on a big-time roll of late (six straight wins) and is clearly the guy that can take them where they want to go. The competition will be stiff in the next month or so but if they emerge relatively unscathed, Carolina will be the odds-on favorite to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XL.

6. Matt Hasselbeck @ SF – Then again, Hasselbeck and the ‘Hawks are looking an awful lot like Super Bowl contenders these days, as well, something they’ve purportedly been for the last several years. A watered-down NFC West hasn’t hurt their cause but two big wins against playoff-caliber squads (Atlanta and Dallas) tell me they’ve got the right stuff to challenge come January. Another gimme in San Fran this weekend puts them in line for a division title and a playoff bye.

7. Brett Favre v. MIN – Nobody’s talking playoffs in Titletown right now but you can bet your bratwurst Favre hasn’t ruled out a return trip to the postseason. Hey, stop laughing. This is the NFC North, where an 8-8 mark might just be enough to vault somebody into the second season. If you don’t believe it’s possible, check out the Pack’s remaining schedule. When you’re done, take a look at Chicago’s. Stranger things, people…stranger things.

8. Marc Bulger v. ARI – Bulger returned after a month on the shelf and picked up right where he left off, throwing for 304 yards and a score in the Week 10 loss at Seattle. This week, he faces former mentor, Kurt Warner, in a game the Rams simply must have if they hope to stay competitive in the NFC. They’ll get it, especially if the former Boilermaker isn’t forced to throw 40+ passes again.

9. Eli Manning v. PHI – In case we’d forgotten he’s only in his second year, Eli provided a painful reminder last weekend, tossing four (awful) picks in the demoralizing loss to the Vikes. Can’t say I was caught completely off-guard (see the write-up on Tiki in last week’s Report) but it was still a little surprising to see the G-Men play so poorly. They’ll need to be better this weekend with the bruised and battered Birds coming to town. It starts with Eli.

10. Kerry Collins @ WAS – Figures. I laud the guy for playing mistake-free football this season and he promptly goes out and tosses three INTs, one of which turned into an instant six for the Broncos. The Raiders aren’t capable of absorbing those kinds of mistakes so if he doesn’t turn things around (and quick), it’s gonna be a nightmarish finish to an already underwhelming campaign.

Grab A Helmet:

Drew Bledsoe v. DET – He’s now thrown 24 passes in three consecutive contests, a statistical oddity if ever there was one. Unfortunately, 24 passes is on the low end for an NFL QB and Bledsoe’s recent numbers reflect that (184 yards and a score per game in his past three). Don’t expect a huge spike in production this week, but 200 yards and a couple scores seems reasonable with the Lions and their banged-up secondary coming to Big D.

Drew Brees v. BUF – Brees, on the other hand, hasn’t thrown for fewer than 270 yards in his past three tilts, and has also managed to toss six TD passes in that same span. Fresh off a bye week, he and the Bolts prepare for a critical stretch run that will either propel them into the playoffs or secure their legacy as the most talented team never to reach the postseason. I’m betting they make it, though they might need a little help from...

Byron Leftwich @ TEN – …this guy and the Jags. Unfortunately for San Diego, Jacksonville’s season-ending slate looks less than daunting, starting with a very winnable Week 11 contest against the rebuilding Titans. Expect his usual 200 yards and a score or two as the boys from J-Ville keep the Chargers at bay, at least for one more week.

Mark Brunell v. OAK – Washington’s playoff hopes are flagging (as predicted) and though it wouldn’t be fair to blame Brunell, he’s certainly part of the reason. He’s turned it over five times in his last three games and still doesn’t possess the arm to bring his boys back when the chips are down and time is of the essence. Luckily for the ‘Skins (and his owners), he won’t have to this week. Expect 250 yards, a score, and no turnovers against the very un-opportunistic Oakland secondary.

Kurt Warner @ STL – If losing is indeed a habit, then Warner is the NFL’s inveterate losing junkie, addicted to the agony of defeat, it seems, since he made the trek west to the desert. We may never know why Denny Green sticks with him but it might have something to do with the 321 yards per tilt figure he’s posted in games he’s played from start to finish. Maybe if he threw a few TD passes every once in a while, we could really get excited about him.

Grab A Clipboard:

David Carr v. KC – There’s simply no way you’ve made it this far with Carr as your primary quarterback, so why start now? He’s shown incremental improvement of late but still doesn’t throw for enough yards or enough scores to merit starting consideration. Wait ‘til next year when, we hope, a new coaching staff will figure out how best to utilize his obvious natural ability.

J.P. Losman @ SD – HIS natural ability finally surfaced last Sunday, just in time to keep the Bills in the thick of the playoff mix. One good performance doesn’t mean he’ll reclaim the starting spot, however, and I think we’ll see why in San Diego this weekend. The Bolts are leading the league in run defense and will likely force Losman to beat them through the air. Simply put: Not gonna happen.

Ken Dorsey v. SEA – I’ve watched a lot of football in my day (too much, according to Mrs. Shot Caller) but I have NEVER seen a QB put up the kind of numbers Cody Pickett did in Chitown last weekend. The weather was atrocious, for sure, but one completion? ONE??? I promise you this, Niners fans, and this alone: Ken Dorsey will complete more than one pass this Sunday against the ‘Hawks. Beyond that? No guarantees.

Tommy Maddox @ BAL – If you like poor decision-making, unfulfilled potential, and generally abominable quarterback play, do yourself a favor and tune into the Steelers-Ravens game this weekend. I’m not convinced Maddox and Kyle Boller could even COMBINE to post top 15-worthy numbers. At least the former gets to bring along his solid rushing attack and stout defense.

Kyle Boller v. PIT – The latter? Let’s just say he doesn’t have those luxuries anymore. The Ravens have scored a mere 100 points this season in nine games. It doesn’t take a math wiz to figure out how many per game that amounts to: not nearly enough, especially when your defense is missing the last two defensive players of the year. Expect nothing to change against a tough Curtain D this Sunday.

Running Backs