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

We’ve hit the halfway point, folks, and like most other things football-related, that’s a good news/bad news deal. The good news? There’s still plenty of football to be played. The bad news? There’s still plenty of football to be played. Packers fans know what I’m talking about. Let’s take a look at Week 9, shall we?


Must Start: The Top 10

1. Peyton Manning @ NE – This one’s been circled since last January 16th, the day Peyton’s Colts laid a season-concluding egg (three points) in Foxboro. Redemption could be sweet but those who think it’ll certainly be table-turning time should probably take into consideration the combined record of Indy’s first seven opponents: 17-34. I’ll take the points and the Pats, thank you very much, though it won’t be his fault this time around.

2. Carson Palmer @ BAL – After a dud against the Steelers, Palmer was back to his ruthlessly efficient self against the overmatched Pack last Sunday, tossing for 237 yards and three scores, good enough for another 100+ rating. History would tell us he’ll struggle against the Ravens this weekend but the absence of Messrs. Lewis and Reed means history isn’t a reliable indicator in this case. Start him as usual.

3. Tom Brady v. IND – Not many QBs can claim to have gotten the best of Peyton in their careers but Brady’s atop the (very) short list. His regular season totals against the Colts? 235 yards, two scores, and nearly 70% complete per game. Oh, and four “W”s against no losses. I won’t even bother belaboring the point with his postseason figures. You know what to do.

4. Donovan McNabb @ WAS – He hadn’t completed fewer than 50% of his tosses since November of ’03, but he made up for the uncharacteristic inaccuracy by tallying three scores in the bloodbath at Mile High. Unfortunately, he also turned it over three times, adding to his unusually high total of giveaways. He’s already tallied one fewer turnover (9) than he committed all of last season, proof that all is not well with the Birds. Bear in mind Don might also be without the services of his #1 target, you-know-who.

5. Jake Delhomme @ TB – Those who have corresponded with me know I’m strongly opposed to starting battery mates. Why risk sub-par numbers at two positions, I’ve argued, when you can diversify and pair up a great signal-caller from one team with a superstar wideout from another? Here’s why: because Delhomme is a top 5 QB and his main man, Steve Smith, is a top 1 WR. The exception to the rule, it seems.

6. Eli Manning @ SF – The numbers were ugly thanks to some atrocious New York weather but the end result (a thorough thrashing of the ‘Skins) is all that matters. This week, the kid draws a Niners squad that, despite the upset last week, is still the league’s worst in terms of passing yards/game and passing TDs yielded. Expect oodles of yards and two scores as the G-Men seize control of the NFC East.

7. Kerry Collins @ KC – If there’s a defense that even approaches San Fran’s ineptitude, it’s the Chefs’. Big surprise. They’ve surrendered close to 275 passing yards per tilt and 14 TD strikes thus far. That’s two per game and not a good sign with Randy and Co. coming to town. An added bonus: there’s been a Jerry Porter sighting.

8. Brett Favre v. PIT – Pile on, playa haters, but be honest with yourself: how many QBs do YOU know who can throw five picks, generally stink up the joint, and still scare the living bejesus out of an opponent until the final gun has sounded? That last “pass” was comical (I actually laughed), but it also proves there’s no quit in the Ol’ Gunslinger. Mark him down for 200+ yards, a couple scores, and a few more turnovers against the Big Ben-less Curtain this weekend.

9. Matt Hasselbeck @ ARI – The ‘Hawks have had two weeks of R and R since the gift “W” against Dallas and now draw a Cardinals bunch that is threatening to do what almost every incarnation of the Cardinals has done since the franchise moved to the desert: fade into oblivion. Hastening this year’s disappearing act will be Hasselbeck and the league’s most balanced attack. Start him.

10. Drew Brees @ NYJ – If it weren’t for L.T., he’d probably lead the league in touchdown passes. As it stands, he’s on pace to match his career high of 27 set during the San Diego resurrection last season. That’s a good enough reason to start him at the Meadowlands this Sunday. Don’t forget he lines up with the league’s best RB and its best TE, as well.

Grab A Helmet:

Mark Brunell v. PHI – Yuk. It was only a matter of time before the overachieving ‘Skins O returned to earth. The only surprising thing about last week? How loud the “thud” was. Brunell scraped together just 65 yards and a pick, relatively stellar totals when you consider his meal ticket, Mr. Portis, managed just 22 total yards. Shake it off and give him another go. The Eagles are hurting on D and haven’t been able to stop anyone of late.

Trent Green v. OAK – Neither have Green’s Chefs, which (as we all know) makes him an intriguing option the rest of the way. Doesn’t matter how good your running game is when you’re spotting opponents three-TD leads. Early deficits equate to more passing, something Green needs to do more of if he’s to regain his rightful place in the top 10. Give him a look against the improved but still reviled Raiders at Arrowhead this Sunday.

Michael Vick @ MIA – The time is almost nigh to admit he’s never going to be the passer some thought he could be. After all, fifth year triggermen aren’t supposed to go 11 of 26 for 116 yards, no scores, and three picks. Then again, NO triggerman is supposed to rush for two touchdowns. Inconsistent passer or no, he’s still a legit option at the position, if not exactly the most conventional one.

Byron Leftwich v. HOU – He’d be ranked a lot higher if not for the Texans’ 32nd ranked run defense. Seems as though a steady dose of Mr. Taylor will be all that’s required to nudge the Jags two games above .500 this weekend. If, for some reason, they’re unable to get much going on the ground, you can expect the big guy to start flinging it around against an almost-as-terrible Houston secondary.

Brad Johnson v. DET – It’s doom and gloom time in the Twin Cities but I, for one, think rumors of their inevitable demise are greatly exaggerated. This isn’t some scrub they’re throwing into the mix, after all. It’s a one-time Super Bowl winner who still has the arm to keep (I mean get) the Vikings offense moving in the right direction. Your sneaky QB start of the week.

Joey Harrington @ MIN – Your sneaky QB start of the week, Part II. Lions fans will bemoan the return of the ivory-tickling Harrington (our first clue he wouldn’t be well-received in the Motor City) but I’ve got a hunch the former Duck will be rejuvenated by the second chance. Sure doesn’t hurt that he’ll be facing the astonishingly awful Vikes’ secondary this Sunday. If you’re flailing, give him a look.

Grab A Clipboard:

David Carr @ JAX – Well, he HAS thrown a TD pass in every game but the first. Unfortunately, he’s never thrown MORE than one. Don’t expect that to change against Jacksonville’s stingy and eminently opportunistic back four. He simply doesn’t throw the ball enough (29 attempts in his last two games) and will need a week or two to re-establish (establish?) his connection with Andre Johnson.

Chris Simms v. CAR – Have you ever seen a team go from divisional front-runner to also-ran in such a short amount of time? Simms is the primary culprit, as he really doesn’t have the make-up to be a successful field general in the NFL. He never seems to grasp coverages and seems unwilling to throw the ball away when protection breaks down. Result in Week 8? Five sacks and three giveaways. Steer clear.

Aaron Brooks v. CHI – His coach is embattled (again). His owner is scuffling with reporters and fearing for his safety. His so-called fans are staying away in droves. Has anybody even noticed that Aaron Brooks still sucks? Things don’t look to get a lot better against Chicago’s vastly underrated eleven. Stay away.

Anthony Wright v. CIN – The return of Kyle Boller has been pushed back a couple weeks, which would normally be cause for celebration in the Charm City. Not when the alternative is Anthony Wright, though. Interception-prone QB + pick-happy secondary = trouble, any way you slice it. Nope.

Cody Pickett v. NYG – He entered last week’s game with over ten minutes remaining and led the beleaguered Niners to an improbable victory over Tampa. “Led” is kind of a relative term, however, since all he really did was hand the ball off to Kevan Barlow and Frank Gore…and play a little special teams (cool!). Total offensive plays: 16. Total passing attempts: 1. Not exactly a confidence-inspiring ratio. Wait ‘til he does something before adding him to your squad.

Running Backs