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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 2
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.

Bye Weeks: N/A

Grab a Helmet

Joe Flacco

The new-look Ravens offense is music to the ears of Flacco owners.

Joe Flacco @ PHI: Full disclosure: I’ve never been that high on Flacco, especially from a fantasy perspective. He’s like a younger, slightly less accurate version of Matt Schaub who, like the Texans’ field general, engineers a conservative, run-first attack. Or at least did. The Ravens were neither conservative nor run-heavy during their demolition of Cincinnati on Monday night, instead deploying a hurry-up, multiple-wideout scheme, which they talked about during the offseason and previewed during the preseason. Who says an old dog (Cam Cameron) can’t learn new tricks? Flacco may not be the best QB in the league, as he strangely boasted this past April, but he actually does have a chance to be a top five guy if Baltimore continues to push the pace moving forward. Get him in your starting lineup against the Eagles this Sunday as the Ravens might really be onto something with this new look.

Carson Palmer @ MIA: Palmer’s Raiders participated in the other Monday night contest against San Diego and the contrast between the two offenses, his and Flacco’s, could not have been more stark. While Baltimore was striking early and often, Oakland struggled to move the ball all night long and only managed to reach paydirt in the final minute when the game was well out of reach. Regardless, Palmer still completed almost 70% of his 46 pass attempts and fell just three yards short of the 300-yard mark. He also threw for that late score and, most importantly, didn’t throw a pick, something he did with regularity last year and into this summer’s preseason. He probably needs Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford back to reach the full potential I envisioned for him prior to the season, but he still has Darren McFadden, one of the game’s top five ground gainers and a premiere check-down option in the passing game. Give him another look against the Dolphins.

Ryan Fitzpatrick v. KC: Fitzpatrick should probably add Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden to his Christmas card list this next holiday season. The rookies’ awful debuts were the only thing standing between Buffalo’s leading man and the ignominious distinction of Week 1 LVP at the quarterback spot. In fact, he was well on his way to out-sucking the two newbies before he turned things around and tossed three garbage time scoring strikes in the Bills’ lopsided loss to the Jets. So why recommend him on the heels of such a terribly uneven performance? Well, this is who Fitzpatrick is: a high-risk, high-reward QB who won’t lead Buffalo anywhere but could absolutely lead your fantasy squad somewhere. If your scoring system doesn’t penalize interceptions too harshly, he’ll be sneaky decent all year long. He also draws a Kansas City D that was shredded by Matt Ryan in Week 1. He ain’t Matt Ryan, granted, but none of the Chiefs’ corners are named Darrelle Revis, either. Buffalo will also be without Fred Jackson for several weeks and could lean even more heavily on the up-and-down Fitzpatrick in the meantime.

Grab a Clipboard

Ryan Tannehill (v. OAK) or Brandon Weeden (@ CIN): I’m sure you already know this, but…unless you’re in a 16-team, two-QB league, there’s absolutely no reason to consider starting either of these two youngsters. In fact, I’m not even sure they should be starting for their own teams right now. Respectively, they’re your 31st and 32nd best options at the position. Tannehill drew a tough assignment in his first NFL start, going on the road to face a stalwart Texans’ defense. Predictably, he bombed, tossing three first half picks (on three consecutive drives) and failing to record his first career scoring strike. Weeden, on the other hand, was even worse (historically so), turning it over four times against Philly and overthrowing receivers time and again. I’m sure both signal callers will make strides in the coming weeks but they simply have too far to go to be relevant right now. Regardless of matchup, leave them be until they show marked improvement.

Blaine Gabbert v. HOU: This guy can certainly relate to what Tannehill and Weeden are going through, having similarly bumbled through most of his rookie campaign. Not many expected huge strides in this, his sophomore season, but Gabbert surprised in Week 1 by leading the Jags to within a whisker’s width of an upset in the Metrodome. Along the way, he compiled 260 yards (good for a career high) and a couple scoring strikes. Unfortunately, he now returns home to face that same Texans defense responsible for Tannehill’s underwhelming debut and some pretty ghastly numbers of his own. In two career starts against Houston, Gabbert has completed just 39 percent of his passes, averaged a mere 116.5 yards, and thrown three interceptions to just one touchdown strike. You might be tempted to give him a look after an impressive start. Resist that temptation for at least another week.

Mark Sanchez @ PIT: Well, that was certainly unexpected. Following a highly scrutinized/criticized preseason wherein they scored a measly one offensive touchdown, Sanchez and his Jets exploded out of the regular season gate with 48 points against Buffalo last weekend. The oft-vilified Sanchez led the surprise surge by throwing for 266 yards and three scores, rarely ceding quarterbacking duties to Tim Tebow, regarded by many (present company included) as hazardous to Sanchez’ fantasy health. Now, however, comes a reality check in the form of Pittsburgh’s Steelers, a nasty bunch who will only be ornerier after dropping their opener to Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The Jets and, by association, Sanchez would be wise to bank that good cheer they’ve generated in the event Week 2’s result isn’t worth celebrating. Here’s my prediction for the record: It won’t be.

Running Backs