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The Shot Caller's Report - QBs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 9
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs/TEs


Must Start: The Top 10

1. Peyton Manning @ NE—His troubles against the Pats have been well documented (3-10 career record, including playoffs) but they don’t extend into the fantasy realm. In eleven career regular season starts, Peyton’s averaging over 260 yards and two scores per tilt, or more than enough points to put you over the top in Week 9. Give him the start, as always, and hope last year’s trend-turner against the archrival Pats was just the beginning.

2. Eli Manning v. HOU—Not sure I’ve ever had the Manning heirs one-two but you had to think the day was coming sooner or later, right? While Big Bro’s back to being his old devastating self, Kid Bro is making quite the name for himself in the world’s biggest fishbowl, leading the G-Men back from the brink to an NFC East-leading 5-2 mark in four short weeks. This Sunday, he draws a Houston team that doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going. My guess? Going. Start him.

3. Marc Bulger v. KC—I wasn’t crazy about Bulger when the season began, figuring the Rams would shelve that Greatest Show crapola and get back to being a real football team (read: one that runs the football more than 15 times a game). As it turns out, they’ve managed to preserve the best elements of Coach Crazy’s scheme while still incorporating more Steven Jackson. Hard to argue with the results on Mr. Bulger’s end: five straight 100+ ratings, a 12-to-1 TD-to-pick ratio, and four 300-yard games in his last five. That’s called a ringing endorsement, people.

4. Michael Vick @ DET—Two games does not a season make but if he’s truly turned the corner, the rest of the NFL better duck. Since popping off to Chris Carter about his substandard weapons, the fleet-footed one has thrown for 523 yards and seven touchdowns. Oh, and run for another 95. He’s probably right about those weapons (four of those TD tosses have gone to Alge Crumpler) but it may not matter at this point, especially against the Matt Millen Experience this weekend.

5. Carson Palmer @ BAL—Carson and the Bengals were Mike’s latest victims in a super-enjoyable shootout at the Jungle this past weekend. Trying to keep pace with Hotlanta, the former Trojan threw for 266 yards and a couple scores. Not enough for them but probably enough for you. If you’re dubious of his matchup this week, you should probably consider his digits against the Ravens first: 312 yards and two scores per game in four career starts.

6. Rex Grossman v. MIA—I don’t like much about this Bears team (it’s a hatred thing) but even a dyed-in-the-wool Packer backer can appreciate the way they rip another team’s heart out. I mean, there’s kicking butt and then there’s completely sapping an opponent’s will to continue…before the first 15 minutes are even in the books. That’s what Chicago does nowadays. Grossman’s just the piler-on once that defense does the dirty work. Keep starting him.

7. Brett Favre @ BUF—OK, enough of that nonsense. How ‘bout them Packers? All but written off by friends and foes alike, the Green and Gold is now one road W away from evening up their record. The reason? You’re looking at him. And to think folks thought ol’ #4 had far outstayed his welcome. He’s on his way to 20+ TDs for the thirteenth consecutive year and is doing it with Papale-esque talent at wideout. Invincible, indeed.

8. Jon Kitna v. ATL—Just so you don’t think I’ve completely dispensed with journalistic objectivity…. I’ve taken a lot of heat from Kitna fans (yes, they exist) for not giving him top 10 mention but I guess he’s earned it. Yes, they’re garbage time numbers but fantasy GMs don’t really care at the end of the day. Give him the start against the Falcons and hope he continues to impress when the outcome’s been decided. That should be about halftime of this Sunday’s game, for the record.

9. Tom Brady v. IND—Hey, remember me? The good folks of Minne-soh-ta may not be able to forget him after a 372-yard, four-TD, primetime punch to the mouth last Monday night. It’s tempting to jump all over the guy after such a performance but if there’s a coach who frustrates fantasy expectations more than Mike Shanahan, it’s Bill Belichick. What do you really expect, after all, from a head man rockin’ the convict-caliber sweatshirt and a perma-smirk?

10. Damon Huard @ STL—I traded for him three weeks back, hoping he’d still be the man when it came time to cover my bye week. Mission completion! Trent Green gets closer to returning every week but I have a hunch the job is all Huard’s until he struggles, something he’s only done once (at Pittsburgh) since taking over. Give him the start in St. Louis as the game could feature lots of points.

Grab A Helmet:

Ben Roethlisberger v. DEN—Big Ben actually stated this week he would support Coach Cowher if the latter opted for Charlie Batch in the short term. And if you believe that…. One could hardly blame The Jaw for making a switch but we know and he knows that Roethlisberger gives them the best chance in any given week. Let’s see how he does back home before proclaiming the sky is falling, shall we? Don’t forget his two best efforts preceded the debacle in Oaktown.

Tony Romo @ WAS—The Romo era got off to an auspicious start last Sunday night in Charlotte as the former Panther (no, not those Panthers) tossed it around for 270 yards and a score in the ‘Boys season-saving W. The comparisons to Favruh are fantastically premature but he’s got some moxie. Gonna be interesting to see how things progress, especially if you-know-who’s mood ever trends downward (a lead pipe lock).

Philip Rivers v. CLE—The Rivers era is only seven games old but you wouldn’t know it by watching the kid play. He’s poised, accurate, and not mistake-prone, something green signal-callers usually are. Put another way, he’s the perfect fit for a San Diego offense that revolves around someone else. Get him in there against Cleveland this weekend.

Drew Brees @ TB—Of course, Brees is proving he was more than just an LT coattail rider. He’s already topped the 300-yard mark three times thus far, or one more time than he did all of last year in San Diego. Only problem is, he’s turning it over at an alarming rate. If he can cut down on the giveaways and keep finding Marques Colston, there’s no reason he can’t continue tearing things up as the season moves forward.

David Garrard v. TEN—Why anyone would draft Big Swifty and NOT handcuff him to David Garrard is beyond me. Nevertheless, he’s almost always out there on the waiver wire when Leftwich goes down, at least in the leagues I participate in. Does that make him a great start? No. Does it make him worth considering? Yes, especially when the matchup is good. It is this weekend and I suspect he’ll improve on last week’s numbers (just 87 passing yards). Give him a look.

Grab A Clipboard:

David Carr @ NYG—If Gary Kubiak wants to build up the confidence of his confidence-challenged triggerman, he sure has a funny way of showing it. Despite decent numbers (15 of 21 for 113 yards), Carr got the hook last Sunday and, not surprisingly, wasn’t too thrilled about it. He gets the nod again this Sunday but I’d steer clear until he proves he’s truly Coach Kube’s guy. Don’t forget: coaches who aren’t used to losing are more apt to make knee-jerk changes.

Alex Smith v. MIN—If you didn’t see that one coming, you’ve been sleeping under a rock this season. The Bears are not to be trifled with and Smith found out the hard way, ending up on the business end of a 41-10 pounding. Minnesota is no Chicago but they’re better than they were Monday night and will be jazzed to prove as much as they return to the field this weekend. I think Smith struggles as a result.

Jake Plummer @ PIT—There’s been a Snake sighting! Well, sort of (174 passing yards, one TD toss, and one TD run). Hope you got a good look ‘cuz he’s likely to be at large again this Sunday when the Broncos head to Steeltown. The Steelers are literally one more loss away from being out of the playoff picture and that means only one thing: you don’t wanna be the QB standing in their way. Sit him down.

Andrew Walter @ SEA—Pittsburgh’s in that predicament because they inexcusably dropped one to Walter and the dreadful Raiders last Sunday. Don’t blame the defense. They yielded just six Oakland points and (get this) 98 total yards. Double-digit yardage? When’s the last time THAT happened? No, seriously. I need to know. First responder gets to pick a “Grab a Clipboard” guy for next week. Help me out, people.

Charlie Frye @ SD—Frye posted one of his better outings last Sunday, leading the Browns past the Jets with 141 yards and a score. Too bad those were his numbers for four quarters instead of two, huh? There simply isn’t much to like about this Cleveland offense right now and a trip to sunny San Diego isn’t likely to change that. Wait for a better matchup or, better yet, next season.

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