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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 7
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: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego

Grab a Helmet

Ryan Fitzpatrick

It's about time for "Good Fitz" to make an appearance.

Ryan Fitzpatrick v. TEN: If you happened to miss the SCR last week, don’t feel so bad. You didn’t really miss anything. It’s been a rough couple weeks for the ol’ Shot Caller (keep reading), capped off by some woeful prognostications prior to Week 6. Nevertheless, nobody circles the wagons like yours truly and, according to Boomer, the Buffalo’s Bills. What better way to put last week in the rearview mirror, I say, than going back to the well with my favorite under-the-radar QB, Buffalo’s very own Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jim Kelly he isn’t and yes, he’s stunk up the joint the past two weeks. The Arizona and San Francisco defenses will do that to a guy. This week, he draws a Tennessee squad yielding a 71.9 completion percentage to its opponents. That’s on pace for the worst mark since…as far back as I could research (around 2000). Expect an accurate and fairly productive day from the Harvard man.

Brandon Weeden @ IND: The young Weeden (in football years) is one of the few who made me look good last week, notching 231 yards and a couple touchdowns in his first career victory as a professional. Naturally, I’ll be doubling down on him this Sunday against a suspect Colts defense. Practically written off by fantasy owners after an atrocious debut, Weeden has become a solid, though unspectacular, option in successive starts. How solid? If you take away that abysmal first game, his QB rating becomes a respectable 80.8. That’s one very small step behind Cam Newton and a couple steps in front of Matt Stafford, two consensus top 5 guys this year. Of course, he’s in the neighborhood of guys like Alex Smith when it comes to actual fantasy production. Can you live with Alex Smith, though, as a spot starter? You most certainly can and the same goes for Mr. Weeden. Don’t hesitate to give him the nod if you’re missing your main man this weekend.

Mark Sanchez @ NE: I’m pretty rough on Mark Sanchez and for the most part he absolutely deserves it. Do you really think we’d talk so much about a guy who’s thrown just six more touchdowns than picks through 53 career games and averages fewer than 200 passing yards per contest if he played where Brandon Weeden does? Mark Sanchez gets the pub because of where he’s from (USC), where he is (Gotham), and because of whom he plays for (the league’s biggest loudmouth). Publicity doesn’t a start-worthy fantasy QB make, however. That said, this is the thinnest week of the 2012 slate as six teams are on bye, the only time that happens all year. Accordingly, there is a lot of QB talent sitting at home this weekend (e.g., Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers). If you’re missing one of those guys, Sanchez looks like a pretty able replacement. His opponent, New England, is flat stuffing opposing ball carriers (foreshadowing alert!). However, the Pats are getting absolutely shredded through the air (288.8 yards/game and 15 passing TDs surrendered, tied for worst in the league). Give the Sanchise an opportunity to earn all that attention for once.

Grab a Clipboard

Russell Wilson @ SF: Allow me to illustrate what I mean by “shredded”: Wilson, in just his sixth professional game, threw for 293 yards and three scores in last week’s stunning, come-from-behind victory over the Pats at Century Link Field. The last of those three scores was a bomb down the middle of the field with a minute and change to go…to a wide-open Sidney Rice. Don’t expect receivers to be running free at Candlestick Thursday night, especially not in the waning minutes if it actually counts. Jim Harbaugh’s boys are way more talented (yielding just 183 yards and a score per game) and are probably embarrassed by their effort in last Sunday’s NFC Championship rematch against the G-Men. I like the progress Wilson is making and he seems to have a knack for the dramatic stretching back to his college days in Mad-Town. This week, however, he’s in a hostile environment against hostile opponents. Hand him a clipboard if you can afford to.

Matthew Stafford @ CHI: Because so many teams are on bye this weekend, you probably DON’T have the luxury of sitting Stafford, one of your first few draft choices. I probably wouldn’t sit him, either, unless I had an overabundance of talent at the position. Be forewarned, however: He isn’t going to give you his typical production against a defense that is a) well-rested, b) the league’s stingiest (14.2 pts/game), and c) its most opportunistic (five defensive scores and a stellar +9 turnover differential). Not that you actually want his typical production this year (a middling 21.4 fantasy points/game). Stafford has definitely struggled so far but he pulled a rabbit out of a hat in Philadelphia last weekend. Normally, you’d expect a guy to build on that kind of momentum, but…. I’ll paraphrase what I said above: Lovie Smith’s defense is really, really good. Mr. Stafford better be loaded for…er, Bears this coming Monday night.

John Skelton @ MIN: Skelton regains the job he earned way back at the end of training camp, just in time to tangle with the Vikings at the always boisterous Metrodome on Sunday. It will be his first game action since Week 1, of course, and though it’s tempting to consider him a sleeper prospect (since he actually earned the starting nod back in early September), please resist that temptation. This is not a good situation to be walking into. The above-average Vikes D was filleted by wunderkind Robert Griffin III and his Redskins in Week 6 and will be eager to make amends against a significantly less dynamic Cardinals offense. Only four teams are ranked higher offensively than Washington. Only Jacksonville is ranked lower than the Cardinals. He’s been sitting. He’ll be taking over a moribund offense. He’ll be on the road facing a top 10 defense. You’d better be really, really desperate.

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