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

I apologize for the delayed posting, folks, but it’s been a long week for the Shot Caller and family. Was hoping we could dispense with the chitchat and get right down to business? Thanks, folks. As always, if you have specific questions regarding players not specifically mentioned below, please feel free to e-mail me. I’m able to answer all messages prior to game time on Sunday. Off we go…


Must Start: The Top 10

1. Donovan McNabb @ DAL – After laying waste to a couple AFC West pretenders, McNabb and Co. finally square off against a divisional foe this weekend in Big D. The ‘Boys better hope he’s feeling better, too, ‘cuz a grumpy and gimpy Donovan is obviously a very dangerous Donovan. His numbers since the Week 1 beating in Hotlanta? Try almost 360 yards/game and ten TD strikes. Ouch, indeed.

2. Peyton Manning @ SF – Think Peyton and the boys were a little fed up with all the sports radio scrutiny this past week? That’ll teach ‘em. He rebounded from a very un-Manning-like three-game stretch to post typical Manning-like numbers in Week 4 (264 yards and four scores). This Sunday, he draws a colossally overmatched Niners squad that has yielded an astounding 368 yards/game through the air thus far. Parental guidance suggested.

3. Carson Palmer @ JAX – Palmer and his undefeated Cincy squad make their first and (unfortunately) last primetime appearance of the season this Sunday night in Jacksonville. Not coincidentally, it will be their first real test of the campaign, as well. It’s hard to imagine any team completely containing the dynamic Bengals at this point but the potential absence of T.J. Houshmandzadeh makes the job a little easier. We’ll see what Palmer’s made of this weekend, for sure.

4. Tom Brady @ ATL – We already know what he’s made of but you can add you-know-what and vinegar to the list of ingredients, apparently. Brady took issue with Marty Schottenheimer’s analysis of New England’s health this past week and is ready to make someone else pay the price. That someone will be the Falcons this Sunday in Atlanta. Whatever motivates you, man. You obviously know best.

5. Marc Bulger v. SEA – Are doctors sure Mike Martz’s heart infection hasn’t spread to his brain? Just when we thought he’d turned the corner toward offensive balance, Coach Crazy’s signal-caller uncorked an eye-popping 62 passes in the Week 4 loss to the G-men. Not surprisingly, the Rams lost. Still, 40 completions and 442 yards is…well, a heckuva lotta fantasy points. Gotta start him, especially with that defense performing so poorly.

6. Brett Favre v. NO – Question his decision-making all you want but don’t ever question his will or that rocket launcher of a right arm. After spotting the Panthers a 19-point lead on Monday night, the Ol’ Gunslinger nearly brought his injury-riddled Pack all the way back with two fourth-quarter scores and a couple two-point conversions. He may walk away from the game after this season but it won’t be on account of deteriorating skills. Tell you that much.

7. Jake Delhomme @ ARI – Favre’s heroics overshadowed a fairly solid performance by Delhomme in Week 4. Though he only threw for 206 yards, he also tossed a pair of touchdowns and, more importantly, didn’t turn the ball over. If he can avoid the mistakes in Week 5, he should be in for another solid day against a short-handed Cardinals secondary.

8. Matt Hasselbeck @ STL – Speaking of short-handed…. Hasselbeck will be without the services of his top two wideouts in St. Louis this Sunday. Luckily, the replacements (Joe Jurevicius and Peter Warrick) are experienced targets who will still pose problems for a Rams secondary that hasn’t stopped anyone thus far (255 yards/game and eight TDs). Start him.

9. Drew Brees v. PIT – I suspected his breakout ’04 campaign was a fluke but there was nothing fluky about the way he manhandled the Super Bowl champs on their home turf last weekend (19 of 24 for 248 yards and two scores). That gives him two huge performances in a row and the Bolts a couple of season-salvaging Ws. Make it three in a row this Monday night as they dispatch of the slightly overrated Steelers in San Diego.

10. Ben Roethlisberger @ SD – I said SLIGHTLY overrated, Curtain fans. His defense (not to mention his clock operator) let him down in Week 3 but he did enough to win and that’s saying something for a guy who is rarely asked to decide games. This week, he draws a San Diego D that is tough against the run but suspect against the pass. If Hines Ward is available (questionable with a balky hammy), you can move him up a few slots.

Grab A Helmet:

Michael Vick v. NE – He’s not a sure thing at press time but ya’ gotta think he’ll give it a go with the world champion Pats coming to town. Lucky for him (and the Falcons), those world champions hardly resemble the group that walked off the Alltel turf victorious last February. That’s the thing about injuries. They don’t discriminate. Give him the nod but make sure he’s fit first.

Brian Griese @ NYJ – A 4-0 record tends to conceal most deficiencies but if I’m the Bucs, I’m a little alarmed by his numbers so far (a 1-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio). If he’s really the guy that can lead this team to the promised land, he’ll prove it this weekend sans the Cadillac. I’m betting he isn’t, for the record, but he’ll be good enough to lead them to victory at the Meadowlands against a crummy Jets team.

Jake Plummer v. WAS – Of course, turnover-prone QBs often make very good fantasy signal-callers (see Favre, Brett), especially on those rare occasions when they manage to avoid them. He’s avoided them entirely the past two weeks and when he does that, the Broncos usually win. They will again this weekend thanks to another solid performance from The Snake.

Aaron Brooks @ GB – On second thought, turnover-prone QBs occasionally make very poor fantasy signal-callers. Case in point: Mr. Brooks. Fortunately for him (and his owners), the winless Packers are allergic to turnovers and don’t put enough pressure on opposing QBs to force them. He should have plenty of time to throw at Lambeau this Sunday and that should equate to 200+ yards and a couple scores.

Kelly Holcomb v. MIA – The J.P. Losman experiment is over for the time being and that means super-sub Holcomb gets his first start of the season. He may not be the long-term solution at the position but he instantly upgrades a moribund Bills unit. Don’t be surprised if he posts good numbers against an average Fish secondary this weekend. He’s got the skills and the receiving corps isn’t that bad.

Grab A Clipboard:

Alex Smith v. IND – Welcome to the bigs, kiddo. Don’t get killed.

David Carr v. TEN – This guy’s taken getting killed to a whole new level this season and is now on pace to shatter his own NFL record for sacks. Though that isn’t entirely his fault (he has some mobility), you’ve gotta wonder if he’s making decisions quickly enough. The Titans will throw the kitchen sink at him so unless something changes, he’s likely to spend the better part of this coming Sunday on his backside again. Steer clear.

Joey Harrington v. BAL – “Indisputable visual evidence?” Where? Brother Joey just can’t seem to catch a break these days, as the TD-nullifying review in Tampa painfully proved. Of course, he still had a chance to win the game, only to be disappointed when his rookie receiver, Mike Williams, failed to come down inbounds with another game-winner on the very next play. Sigh. Sit him down until that black cloud hovering over the Lions organization moves along.

Mark Brunell @ DEN – The plucky Brunell is making me look bad at the moment but I’m willing to stake my reputation on the following prediction: he will NOT lead the ‘Skins to the playoffs. If it weren’t for some dunderheaded coaching on Mike Holmgren’s part, he wouldn’t have even redeemed himself for a terrible fourth-quarter pick in last weekend’s OT victory. Go ahead and start him if you think I’m wrong. I promise you’ll be sorry.

Vinny Testaverde v. TB – You want sorry? Check out the Jets. They’re paying dearly for the decision to rely on Chad Pennington’s wounded wing and must now make do with a guy who should probably be driving a golf cart instead of an NFL offense. He might surprise against the league’s lesser weights but Tampa and its league-leading defense is anything but. Stay away for now.

Running Backs