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: Pittsburgh, Indianapolis
Grab a Helmet
Fitzpatrick v. NE: Itís been a wacky three weeks of NFL action,
for sure, culminating in the Monday night circus at Qwest Field.
How wacky? Fitzpatrick, despite a very inauspicious start against
the Jets Ė 195 yards and three INTs, one of them a pick-six Ė
now has more touchdown passes than Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady
COMBINED! Heís also 2-1, meaning he has one more victory than
each of those studs and two more than Drew Brees. In the immortal
words of Vince Lombardi, ďwhat the heck is going on around here?Ē
(RIP, Steve Sabol.) I told you I liked Fitzpatrick this season
so thatís not much of a surprise, but whatís with these other
guys? Donít be afraid to start the Billsí triggerman against his
more celebrated division mate and a Patriots D he lit up for 300+
yards twice in 2011.
Fitzpatrick threw for 676 yds and 4 TDs
against New England in 2011.
Ponder @ DET: A reader took me to task last week for suggesting
a sit-down of Minnesotaís second-year signal caller against the
Niners. Turns out he was right to do soÖbut for the wrong reason.
Ponder, he contended, would never be considered for active duty
by any reasonable, non-desperate GM against the stout San Francisco
defense. We all know how that turned out (198 yds, two TD passes,
and a rushing TD) so maybe itís time to reconsider his viability
as a starting option, even against the leagueís better teams? The
Lions will probably be one before itís all said and done but they
just gave up about 1,000 yards to Jake Locker and the Titans last
Sunday. I like Ponderís chances to put up some moderately good totals
in Week 4. Donít forget heís also one of only three starting QBs
with a clean sheet in the INT department. The other two are Kevin
Kolb and Blaine Gabbert. Read those last two sentences again if
you need more proof itís been an unusual start to 2012.
Freeman v. WAS: Iím not a Josh Freeman fan. Letís just get that
out of the way. Heís erratic, mistake-prone, and a poor decision-maker
overall. He also fails to maximize his ability as a runner despite
obvious natural gifts (ideal size and above-average mobility). In
short, I wouldnít draft him. That said, if I theoretically owned
him, I wouldnít hesitate to plug him in against the Redskins in
Week 4. Washington may be abuzz about RGIII (and rightfully so),
but they should be seriously concerned about a leaky pass defense
thatís yielded 9.1 yards/attempt (31st in the league) and 10 touchdowns
(32nd) thus far. The last time Freeman faced a secondary this poor,
he torched the defending Super Bowl champs for 243 yards and a couple
scores in a Week 2 thriller. If youíre on the fence with some other
borderline options, give him a look this weekend.
Grab a Clipboard
Newton @ ATL: I know, I know. You didnít draft Newton to sit
him down, early struggles notwithstanding. Still, isnít it at
least worth considering on an ad hoc basis, provided you have
a reasonable alternative sitting on your bench? I told you in
the preseason I think heíll end up outside the top 10 by seasonís
end and, true to form, heís perched precariously at #10 as we
speak, right in front of the aforementioned Ryan Fitzpatrick (FF
Today default scoring). The reason why is pretty simple: He isnít
a good enough passer to compensate on days when he canít get anything
going with his legs. Thatís happened twice already (in Weeks 1
and 3) and I think it could very well happen again in Week 4 when
Newton squares off against the one division rival, Atlanta, he
doesnít own. The Falcons lead the league in picks and have intercepted
the Panthersí young star five times in his brief career. Just
think about it, OK?
Locker @ HOU: Like Newton, Tennesseeís young field general
is still a work in progress. In just three games, heís shown he
can be very good (last week against Detroit), very average (Week
1 against New England), and very questionable (Week 2 against
San Diego). In other words, we really donít know what he is yet
and probably wonít until at least the second half of this season.
That means heís no better than a spot play when the matchup is
attractive or youíre covering for a stud QB on his bye week. This
particular matchup is far from attractive as the Texans are limiting
opposing QBs to a mere 50.5% completion percentage, trouble for
someone as inaccurate as Locker. Unless youíve been riding Andrew
Luck or Ben Roethlisberger, our two spectators this weekend, there
isnít a great reason to give him any run. Wait for a better opportunity.
Wilson @ STL: @ReignOfTroy gets credit for my favorite tweet
following Monday nightís farce: ďRussell Wilson became the first
QB in history to throw a game-winning interception.Ē Sigh. Officially,
Wilson, the once golden child of Cheeseheads everywhere, engendered
their collective sorrow with the improbable six as time expired.
Unofficially, he (should have) tallied one less TD pass and one
more pick (probably two). I like his future as the leader of this
team but the Hawks are built to ride Marshawn Lynch and a suffocating
defense right now. That means Wilsonís probably going to be waiting
for that first career 200-yard game at least a couple more weeks.
Set him down against a Rams D quietly performing very well against
the pass (two TDs v. five INTs).