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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 14
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Nobody needs to be told starting Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, 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 Peterson 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-Jimmy Graham 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

Matthew Stafford @ PHI or Nick Foles v. DET: There’s no such thing as a sure thing in fantasy football – a lesson Drew Brees’ performance this past Monday night should have hammered home – but there are some guys you wouldn’t want to bet against most every week. Brees is still one of them (provided he didn’t get you bounced from the playoffs already) and Stafford has been for several seasons now. Foles, though? He wasn’t even guaranteed a snap when the 2013 campaign began. All he’s done with the ones he’s received since is throw for 19 TD strikes and ZERO interceptions, an astonishing streak of flawlessness that could soon put him in the record books if he avoids playing catch with Stafford’s teammates this Sunday. Two white-hot QBs vs. two bendable and frequently breakable defenses is as sure a thing as you’re gonna get for Week 14. Start them both.

Alex Smith

Alex Smith is on a three-week roll.

Alex Smith @ WAS: Smith will likely never be considered a must-start signal caller and that’s probably just fine with him. It’s been a long, strange trip for the former overall #1 pick (2005) and he now knows vindication in the NFL, true vindication, comes only with victories, not numbers. He’s certainly piled up plenty of the former these past three years (30 including playoffs), but has also shined statistically at times in this, his ninth season. Smith is currently the 14th most valuable QB and has posted top 5 numbers (26.1 pts/game) the past three weeks. If that doesn’t pique your interest, maybe this might: He’s rushed for only 15 fewer yards than Colin Kaepernick, the supposedly more dangerous runner who made him expendable in San Francisco. If Smith needs any further vindication, here’s what I’ll offer: I’d start him over Kap this Sunday and it wouldn’t be a difficult decision.

Ryan Fitzpatrick @ DEN: If Kaepernick is one of the league’s most highly regarded dual-threat QBs and Smith one of its most underrated, Fitzpatrick is easily its sneakiest. Coming out of Harvard, also in 2005, the career journeyman was known more for his brains (a 48 on the Wonderlic test) than his foot speed (a 4.86 40-yard dash). Yet, despite starting only five games in 2013, he’s currently one of the most prolific ground-gainers at the position. Fitz has already carried the ball 34 times for 200 yards and three scores, a better per-carry clip than either of the aforementioned players and just as many TDs as Kaepernick. In fact, that’s only one less rushing TD than Tennessee’s $50M RB has scored this season (in almost double the appearances). He’s always a gamble, both for his real employers and his pretend ones, but Fitzpatrick might be worth that dice roll against a generous Denver D on Sunday.

Grab a Clipboard

Colin Kaepernick v. SEA: All this chatter about Kaepernick reminds me he’s playing a pretty important game this Sunday night, one his teammate Vernon Davis called a “statement game.” Here’s the statement the Niners have made the last two times they’ve faced Russell Wilson’s Seahawks: “We’re not worthy!” In order for that to change in Week 14, Kaepernick will need to show off those fancy feet because Seattle’s front is going to make life miserable for him if he stays in the pocket. That was no Johnny-come-lately they relentlessly harassed last Monday night. It was one of the league’s most accomplished triggermen, albeit one who’s far less inclined to venture outside the pocket. Kap’s 87 rushing yards in the Week 2 showdown v. Seattle were the most he’s gained this season and he’ll need at least that many in the rematch to make it interesting. I don’t think he gets them.

Andrew Luck @ CIN: I wasn’t terribly concerned about Indy’s franchise when he lost some valuable weapons early this season (Reggie Wayne, Ahmad Bradshaw, Vick Ballard). I figured he was the type of talent to elevate whomever lined up with him in the Colts’ huddle. And someday, he may well be. That day hasn’t arrived yet, however. Since Week 7, when he notched a stellar 32.3 points against Peyton Manning et al., Luck has scored progressively fewer points in every successive game (25.6, 23.4, 20.7, 15.3, and finally, 14.2 against the Titans last week). That’s a downward trend which may very well have imperiled your playoff life. If you’ve managed to survive his mini-slump, you might have some other viable options at the position. Consider using them this Sunday because the Bengals haven’t allowed a 20-point passer at home all season and they’ve hosted some pretty good ones (Roethlisberger, Rodgers, and Brady to name three).

Eli Manning @ SD: Manning admitted this week he doesn’t even remember why he didn’t want to play for the Bolts back in 2004 when they initially drafted him. Though the animosity hasn’t completely dissipated, I’m betting more than a few San Diego fans are ultimately, secretly glad he didn’t. Those two Super Bowl trophies say plenty about his talent, sure, but his has been a decidedly up-and-down career and 2013, without question, has been much more of the latter than the former. Since posting a 24.7-point outing against the Eagles back in Week 5, Kid Bro hasn’t even once topped the 20-point mark and only came close against the Packers three weeks ago. Week 5 was in early October, by the way. There could be two sets of fans booing the Giants’ field general this Sunday, so don’t get too excited about what seems like, on paper, a pretty favorable matchup.

Running Backs