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: Green Bay, Carolina
Grab a Helmet
Kaepernick @ STL: Consider this your annual reminder that things
change quickly in the National Football League. Kaepernick kicked
off the season by flame-broiling the Pack to the tune of 412 passing
yards and three scoring strikes at Candlestick, leading some pundits
to ask whether San Francisco and its dual-threat QB could possibly
be stopped. Barely two and a half weeks later, we have our answer:
absolutely. The 49ers have scored just ten measly points since that
bravura performance, a stunning reversal of fortunes that has, predictably,
invited criticism from the Fifth Estate. Haters gonna hate, shrugs
Kap, and he’s even taken to favoriting venomous tweets as extra
motivation for the showdown with St. Louis. He won’t need it. The
Rams are getting scalded by opposing quarterbacks both good (Matt
Ryan, Tony Romo) and mediocre (Carson Palmer) and will struggle
to contain an angry Niners offense Thursday night.
Expect a rebound performance from Kaepernick
on Thursday night.
Pryor or Matt
Flynn v. WAS: Pryor tweeted he didn’t “remember much”
from Monday night’s game against Denver. That’s probably just as
well since Oakland got blasted, but the rest of us would be wise
to recall how poised the youngster looked against Denver’s ferocious
pass rush before he finally got creamed and concussed late in the
fourth quarter (19 for 28, 281 yards, and a score). A polished pocket
presence he may not yet be, but the kid has moxie, is exceedingly
athletic, and will soon make opposing defensive coordinators pay
for not respecting him as a passer. Provided he clears the league’s
mandated noggin testing, you should feel very confident starting
Pryor against Washington this Sunday. The Redskins’ defense is so
bad (488 yards and 32.7 points yielded per game), I’d even consider
starting his backup, Matt Flynn, should Pryor be forced to sit.
Nope, I’m not at all joking.
Romo @ SD or Philip
Rivers v. DAL: These guys belong to a shrinking group
of classic pocket passers (e.g., Big Ben, Brees, Brady) who are
fast becoming a dying breed in today’s NFL, as we discussed earlier
this season. They’ve combined for a mere 31 yards rushing so far
(no rushing TDs) and, in fact, have only three 100-yard seasons
between them (all Romo’s) in 19 combined years of service. Luckily
for those of you who employ them, they’ve also combined to complete
over 72% of their passes, average over 260 passing yards/game, and
throw 14 scoring strikes v. just TWO picks through three weeks.
That last part is what really encourages me in the early going,
especially since they also combined to tally 34 interceptions in
2012. If Romo and Rivers can keep avoiding killer turnovers, they
should continue to serve as above-average options at the position,
despite their immobility. Start them against each other this Sunday.
Grab a Clipboard
Schaub v. SEA: Schaub has always been more serviceable than
sensational, but he was starting to look like someone we could
actually get excited about before last Sunday’s dud against the
Ravens (194 yards, no scores, and a pick). Despite lining up in
the same backfield with one of the league’s premiere runners and
a highly coveted backup/prospect, he’d flung a league-high 93
passes through the season’s first two weeks (tied with Sam Bradford).
Of course, that had a lot to do with the fact Houston was mostly
playing from behind in both contests. Though they likely will
be again this Sunday, I’d think twice about inserting Schaub in
my lineup. The Hawks are suffocating opposing QBs (5.5 yards/attempt,
147 yards/game, and one TD pass, all tops in the league) and have
the look and feel of a team destined to beat the stuffing out
of opponents all year long.
Luck @ JAX: Schaub is a matchup sit-down because Seattle is
a formidable opponent. Luck is a matchup sit-down for precisely
the opposite reason, because Jacksonville isn’t. If you’ve been
carefully reading the tea leaves since Bruce Arians left to become
Arizona’s head man (hiring Pep Hamilton to replace him, trading
for Trent Richardson), you know Chuck Pagano wasn’t just blowing
smoke when he expressed an affinity for power running attacks.
Hamilton has installed just such a scheme in Indy – one that Luck
should remember fondly from his days on the Farm – and the results
can’t be denied: The Colts are currently 4th in the league at
146.3 rushing yards/game (they were 22nd last year) and there’s
no good reason to believe they won’t continue relying on a ground-heavy
attack this coming Sunday against Jacksonville’s atrocious front
seven (167.7 rushing yards yielded/game). It might be time to
revise your expectations of Luck slightly downward.
Glennon v. ARZ: The most popular player on any struggling
team is its backup quarterback, especially when said fan favorite
comes off the bench (a la Brian Hoyer) to post eye-popping totals
and lead his team to that elusive first W. If you’re giddy
about Hoyer’s performance and hoping to catch lightning
in a bottle with Glennon, however, you might wanna consider a
couple things. First, backups are backups for a reason; simply
put, they’re rarely as good as the guys in front of them.
Second, the guy in front of Glennon was really, really bad through
three weeks (a league-worst 59.3 passer rating). Lastly, I’m
not entirely certain the demotion of Josh Freeman isn’t
politically motivated as well as performance-based, despite what
Greg Schiano says. Greg Schiano says a lot of things, it seems.
For instance, here’s what he had to say on Monday: “Josh
is our starter.” Riiiiight.