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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 17
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Nobody needs to be told starting Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, or Calvin Johnson is a good idea. Duh, right? You can’t have studs at every position, though, unless you’re in the shallowest of leagues. This is where the Shot Caller comes in. Need help deciding which bargain basement QB to use and which to ignore on Rodgers’ bye week? Let’s talk. Looking for solutions at running back because Foster is a game-time decision? Look no further. Need to know which of your unproven targets to start and which to sit since you ignored Megatron and went RB-QB-Gronkowski in your first three rounds? I’m your huckleberry. Past results may not guarantee future success, but I believe ignoring them entirely can ruin your Sundays in a hurry. Read on for a little history and, hopefully, a little sage advice.

Note: Fantasy points based on FF Today’s default scoring system.

Bye Weeks: N/A

Grab a Helmet

Tony  Romo

Romo has something to play for.

Tony Romo @ WAS or Robert Griffin III v. DAL: If you’re still reading this column, you’re obviously vying for a title. Congratulations! Now, go breathe a sigh of relief because Week 17 is shaping up to be anything but the fantasy crapshoot it typically is. Most of the game’s best players are either involved in meaningful contests (Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and Dez Bryant), playing out the string with pride and/or records on the line (Cam Newton and Megatron), or all of the above (Adrian Peterson). Two of the most prolific fantasy triggermen square off on Sunday night in the regular season finale and I’m guessing there will be more than a few fantasy championships riding on the outcome, not to mention the playoff hopes of their respective teams. Romo’s totals have crescendoed since Week 1 and he’s now the hottest QB in the business this side of Cam Newton. Griffin has cooled a bit since his white hot start, but he’s still averaging almost 25 points/game on the year, fifth best in the league at this late date. He can also boast of having authored the best quarterbacking performance against Dallas this season, a 34.5 point explosion on Thanksgiving Day. Start either man with confidence in Sunday night’s critical NFC East grudge match.

Cam Newton@ NO or Drew Brees v. CAR: There’s nothing critical about the Week 17 pillow fight between Carolina and New Orleans, two NFC South also-rans, but you wouldn’t know it by the way the two teams have played of late. Newton’s Panthers have won four of their last five since bottoming out at 2-8 after a horrid Week 11 loss to Tampa. Brees’ Saints, on the other hand, have caught fire the past two weeks, seemingly emboldened by former commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s decision to vacate the bounty suspensions of several key players. Indeed, despite a mostly forgettable 2012 for his New Orleans squad, Brees is still on target – barring a total collapse or an injury – to be christened Mr. Fantasy this Sunday evening, my highly unoriginal and unofficial title for the top fantasy producer of the season. To be only slightly outdone, Newton is in good shape to secure a top 5 finish at the position himself thanks to a great stretch run (31 points/game over his last five outings). You want either man in your lineup, especially since they get to face each other’s defenses.

Matthew Stafford v. CHI: Stafford is another stud field general who will be watching the playoffs from his couch this postseason, but he’s known that for several weeks now and it hasn’t seemed to hurt his overall production. To the contrary, the former Georgia gunslinger has been throwing the football all over the place since a devastating Thanksgiving Day loss to Houston, averaging almost 50 chucks per contest in his last four and a tidy 20.6 fantasy points, to boot. That’s just a shade off his cumulative average for the season (22.6), an average good enough to have him positioned as a top 10 QB heading into the final weekend. The Bears are historically rough on opposing QBs, for sure, but Stafford has only ducked below 19 points against them one time in his brief career, an injury-shortened Week 1 outing to kick off the 2010 season. The bulletin boards are already filling up with juicy jabs and I can guarantee Jim Schwartz’s boys won’t lay down with a chance to ruin Chicago’s season on tap. Enjoy this Norris Division slugfest, folks, even if you don’t have a dog in the fight.

Grab a Clipboard

Michael Vick @ NYG: Nope, never too soon for a tactless segue. Besides, it’s been a particularly trying season for the ol’ Shot Caller and I’m feeling a tad cheeky. Vick’s season hasn’t gone much better, it seems. He spent eight and a half weeks getting chased all over Lincoln Financial Field, finally succumbed to a concussion halfway through the year, and now must jump back behind one of the league’s most porous offensive lines against arguably the league’s best pass rush in a game that only matters to one team (not the one he plays for). It’s always difficult gauging interest when it comes to Week 17 matchups, but this one’s pretty easy to handicap, I think. Vick is more interested in having a chance to run Chip Kelly’s go-go attack in 2013 than he is ending up a mush-headed clipboard-carrier for some CFL squad. Expect a conservative game plan, relatively little risk-taking, and pedestrian totals for the man who once captivated us…and may once again. GO DUCKS!

Jay Cutler @ DET: I’ve been ragging on Mr. Crabby Pants for several weeks now and should probably lighten up since it’s the holiday season and all. You know, good will toward men and all that. Here’s the thing, though: I literally CAN’T think of anything nice to say about him and since I get paid to say SOMEthing, I can’t very well take my mother’s advice and do the opposite. I’ll try and be a little less blunt than I usually am when discussing Chicago’s field general: He hasn’t been very…productive the past few weeks, shall we say. And by “weeks,” I mean “months.” Since posting 24.7 points in a Week 9 shellacking of the Titans, Cutler has topped the 20-point mark just once (in Week 13 v. Seattle). That means he’s only been worth starting, arguably, a single time since November 4th. Yes, Chicago’s season is potentially on the line this Sunday, but that doesn’t mean yours has to be. Sit him down again if you’ve been smart enough to shelve him recently.

Brian Hoyer @ SF: I know, I know. If you made it this far, you obviously don’t need a no-name like Hoyer to pull a rabbit out of hat for you in this, his first career start. The thing is, though, I think he would have had a chance to do exactly that and be one of most legendary eleventh hour pickups in fantasy history were it not for three very salient facts: 1) the Cardinals’ offense stinks; 2) San Francisco’s defense doesn’t; and 3) The Niners actually need this game to secure a home playoff game. He’s shown some real promise in several New England preseason games and I really doubt Coach Belichick would have kept him around so long if he lacked ability. Nevertheless, Hoyer hasn’t been given the tools with which to succeed in this particular instance. Put another way, it’s a horrible situation for anybody’s former understudy to be walking into, even Tom Brady’s. Don’t get cute.

Running Backs