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The Shot Caller's Report - QBs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 12
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs/TEs


Must Start: The Top 10

1. Carson Palmer @ CLE—I told you several weeks back Carson needed to reestablish the connection with Ocho Cinco if the Bengals were gonna have a shot at glory. Can we check that off the list now? I’m not sure it gets them where they’d ultimately like to go (the playoffs) but I’m certainly hoping it does. I mean, Ravens v. Broncos? Wasn’t once enough? Pass the Ambien!

2. Peyton Manning v. PHI—I’d much rather see Indy v. Cincy, even if I already know who would win that theoretical matchup. The Colts might actually have set the ol’ cruise control a bit early, as it turns out, stubbing their toe in last Sunday’s thriller v. the Cowboys. No matter. They’re still 9-1 and in good shape for the coveted home-field advantage throughout. Plus, the result didn’t hurt Peyton’s bottom line much (254 yards and two scores). No worries here, folks.

3. Drew Brees @ ATL—You might have some here, though. The Saints lost super-rook Marques Colston very early on and never seemed to recover, despite the fact Brees threw for a ridiculous 510 yards and two scores without the youngster at his disposal. 510 yards and only 16 points? Has that ever happened? Get on it, crack staff, and you might just get to play Shot Caller for a week. Oh, and don’t forget to start Brees again, whether Colston’s ready or not. He hasn’t thrown for fewer than 300 yards in over a month and currently leads the league in passing yardage.

4. Michael Vick v. NO—“Playoffs?” Jim Mora apparently doesn’t think so, agreeing with his radio co-host’s assessment of Vick as a “coach killer” this week. That would be Jim Mora Sr., of course, who sired the other Jim Mora, Vick’s current coach and chief apologist. I don’t even care if it’s his honest opinion. Would you cut YOUR kid off at the knees in front of a national audience? Should make for some interesting conversation over Thanksgiving dinner.

5. Tony Romo v. TB—The ‘Boys looked like a team on the verge of a meltdown when Romo took over five weeks ago. Today? They look like the best team in the NFC East and perhaps the most likely challenger to Chicago for conference supremacy. I wouldn’t like their chances against the Bears (not yet) but I certainly like them this Thursday against the Bucs. Pencil him in for another efficient outing, somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 yards and two scores as Dallas improves to 7-4.

6. Ben Roethlisberger @ BAL—It looked like it was going to be another forgettable day for Big Ben last week until, lo and behold, he caught fire in the fourth quarter and salvaged what little hope the Steelers have left for a playoff berth. The final numbers weren’t terrific (272 yards, two scores, and three more picks) but the 44 passing attempts is encouraging. He only tallied 30 or more twice last season. Keep starting him and hope Pittsburgh digs another hole this Sunday.

7. Eli Manning @ TEN—Jeremy Shockey is raving. Plax Burress is pouting. Even the mild-mannered Tiki Barber is questioning the team’s direction. In short, the Giants are a mess. It all comes back on Eli, the guy who’s looked like a shadow of his former self the past two weeks. Only one cure for that, I suppose. Bring on the Titans!

8. Phillip Rivers v. OAK—Rivers threw the football just eleven times the last time these two teams squared off but that was many moons ago (Week 1), when the Chargers were still easing him into the role. Now that he’s comfortable, San Diego looks like the only team capable of giving Indy a run for their money, something I, for one, think they will do. Heard it here first, folks: the Bolts represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLI.

9. Marc Bulger v. SF—If you think the Rams liked chucking it around when Coach Crazy was at the helm, get a load of them now. St. Louis ran the ball a mere eight times last week but still couldn’t generate even a semblance of an offense against the hungrier Panthers in the 15-0 pasting in Charlotte. The reason? They couldn’t protect Bulger (seven sacks and several hurries). That shouldn’t be a problem this week. On the other hand, they may not be as pass-happy. Coach Linehan promises balance will be a focus in Week 12. Mmm-hhh. And I’m gonna watch what I eat on Thursday.

10. Joey Harrington @ DET—Speaking of Thursday, check out what the football gods decided to dish up for Turkey Day breakfast. It ain’t exactly TO returning to Philly but, for us Rose City residents, Joey’s return to Detroit is just as compelling. I’ve always maintained he got the shaftola in the Motor City and now he gets a chance to exact some revenge. I think he does so as the Fish extend their winning streak to four.

Grab A Helmet:

Jon Kitna v. MIA—Meanwhile, Coach Marinelli is telling everyone who will listen the Lions are sticking with Jon Kitna as their starting QB. When a coach needs to say that, it usually means only one thing: the QB hasn’t been playing well. This despite two juicy matchups in a row (the Niners at home and the Cardinals on the road). Miami’s a step up, for sure, but I think he’ll bounce back in an effort to validate Detroit’s decision to go with him over Joey this past offseason. Could be fun, folks. Really.

Jake Delhomme @ WAS—The typically conservative Carolina attack was even more conservative than usual last weekend as Delhomme threw the ball only 25 times, his fewest this season. Of course, they didn’t NEED him to do much as the Panthers D throttled St. Louis’ once prolific offense. A matchup with Washington’s horrendous secondary would seem more promising if not for the fact that defense will have little trouble duplicating the performance against the ‘Skins’ overmatched O this Sunday. Call him a decent start.

Matt Hasselbeck v. GB—Despite early reports, Hasselbeck is not certain to start Monday night’s game against the Pack. Gotta think he wants to, though, as this is likely his last opportunity to square off against former mentor, Mr. Favre. If he plays, he’s likely to have his way with Green Bay’s dubious secondary. If he doesn’t, Seneca Wallace will. Either way, you can’t lose…unless you pick the wrong guy. The Monday start makes it an even tougher call.

Brett Favre @ SEA—Same deal here, though you gotta wonder who the Pack would turn to should he not be able to go. Ingle Martin? Todd Bouman? Brett wouldn’t do that to us, would he? Count on him playing and playing well as the Pack attempts to outgun its former head man, Coach Holmgren, in the Emerald City.

Matt Leinart @ MIN—The Vikings are flat stoning opposing running backs of late (more on that later), which means Leinart and his gang of ultra-talented wideouts are the only hope Arizona has of making this a contest. Believe it or not, I think they do. The kid looked pretty good in last Sunday’s win over Detroit (233 yards and a score), his first as a pro. Give him another look this weekend as he should be airing it out early and often.

Chad Pennington v. HOU—Since kicking the year off with consecutive 300-yard efforts, Pennington has been truly awful, failing to reach even the 200-yard mark more than once in his past eight contests. So why the recommendation? Two words: Houston Texans. If J.P. Losman can light them up….

Charlie Frye v. CIN—Everyone’s been lighting the Bengals up of late as they now rank 32nd in passing defense (254.4 yards/game). Though Frye is a must-sit almost every week, I’m giving you the green light to start him this weekend. He might be useful if you’re in a jam (I’m talking to you, McNabb owners) and this looks like a pretty good spot for him to score some sneaky points. Give him a looksy.

Grab A Clipboard:

Jake Plummer @ KC—You wanna know what a lame duck looks like? You’re looking at him. Word on the street is the Broncos will hand the reins over to Jay Cutler in Week 13 and would have done so sooner if not for the shorter-than-usual prep time (the Thursday tilt). Strange move when you consider the Broncos are probably playoff-bound but not so strange when you consider how Jake has performed. He literally brings nothing to the table and wouldn’t have gotten Denver past any legit first-round opponent. Cut and run, folks.

David Carr @ NYJ—So maybe accuracy is a tad overrated? Carr now shares the record for most consecutive completed passes in a row with Mark Brunell, the recently deposed field general of the ‘Skins. Hardly select company. Plus, the Texans LOST THE GAME! How does a guy complete 22 passes in a row and NOT throw a single touchdown? I’m not sure we’ll be talking about him next season.

J.P. Losman v. JAX—I’m certain we won’t be talking about Mr. Losman next year unless he somehow manages to build on his miraculous Week 11 performance (340 yards and three scores). He won’t, for the record, despite the fact Houston, last week’s victim, has already beaten this week’s opponent, the Jags, twice. You don’t compare scores in the NFL…and you usually don’t start Losman and live to tell about it.

Jason Campbell v. CAR—His solid debut was not completely without precedence (see Leinart and Gradkowski) but it’s unlikely he’ll find as much success against a Carolina team that has had a week to prepare for him. The schedule gets friendlier after this one so sit him down for a week and see how it goes.

Bruce Gradkowski @ DAL—Holy Toledo! The Bucs won a game! The former Rocket hasn’t been that bad thus far but is obviously an up-and-down option who will shine against the weak sisters and fade against the heavyweights. I’ve already told you which camp the Cowboys belong to. Sit him down.

Aaron Brooks @ SD—This is some kind of joke, right? If I’m Andrew Walter, I start thinking about that master’s degree. If I’m Randy Moss (or one of his owners)…yikes!

Running Backs