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: Minnesota, Pittsburgh,
Tampa Bay, Washington
Grab a Helmet
Hoyer v. BUF: If Clevelandís attempting to tank the rest of
the season, somebody forgot to send the memo to Brian Hoyer. All
the former third-stringer has done since taking the reins from
a dinged-up Brandon Weeden is pass for 590 yards, throw five touchdowns,
and lead the Browns to consecutive improbable victories, all on
the heels of the supposedly season-killing Trent Richardson trade.
Only one elite QB is off this first full week of byes (RGIII),
so you may not be considering a guy like Hoyer. You should. Itís
a small sample size, granted, but his 25 points/game mark ranks
him sixth at the QB position, right in front of three Matts (Ryan,
Stafford, and Schaub) few would hesitate to start on a regular
basis. He gets the Billsí battered secondary on a short week and
Cleveland still has no running game to speak of. That makes Hoyer
a surprise primo play.
Vick @ NYG or Eli
Manning v. PHI: Maybe that memo was inadvertently forwarded
to Vick and Manning instead? Iím too lazy to look it up, but Iíll
bet itís been many moons since the Eagles and Giants started a season
by winning just one of their first eight combined games. Vick gets
credit for the one and has managed to remain an elite option at
the position (third overall) despite his squadís general struggles.
Not so much in Eliís case. Heís already thrown a league-high nine
picks and has only authored a single touchdown in his last two contests.
If he and the Giants canít score against Phillyís 32nd-ranked defense,
there may be no hope for them in 2013. There may not be anyway if
they canít stop opponents from scoring (a league-worst 36.5 points
yielded per game). Resistible forces meet moveable objects at the
Meadowlands on Sunday. Take the resistible forces.
Eli Manning faces a leaky Eagles-D.
Smith @ TEN: Vick leads all quarterbacks in rushing and the
similarly dangerous Terrelle Pryor ranks second. No surprises there,
of course. Care to guess whoís right behind them in third place,
though? Youíre looking at him. The wiseguys loved Kansas City heading
into 2013, but I doubt it had much to do with Smith taking over
under center. They were more enamored of Jamaal Charles, the Chiefsí
talented defensive core, and the Andy Reid hire. Charles and the
defense have been awesome, certainly, and Reid has brought a winning
attitude, but Smith has been the real revelation. Heís avoiding
turnovers, using his legs to avoid negative plays, and producing
quality numbers in the passing game despite a mostly unproven receiving
corps (outside of Dwayne Bowe). Itís time to start thinking of Smith
as a legit option at QB, maybe even more legit than the guyÖ
Grab a Clipboard
Kaepernick v. HOU: Öwho made him expendable in San Francisco.
Weíre only a quarter of the way through a very long season, yes,
but four games are certainly enough to formulate some early opinions
of Kap. Here are mine: 1) He really needs more weapons at the
receiver position and clearly misses Michael Crabtree; 2) He doesnít
seem very interested in running the football even when the opportunity
presents itself; and 3) When he isnít interested in running the
football and isnít able to exploit a crummy secondary, he becomes
a below-average option at the position. The Niners got a big win
in St. Louis last Thursday and will be well-rested for their showdown
with Houston on Sunday, but itís a difficult matchup. The Texansí
secondary is far from crummy (only 141 passing yards yielded per
game) and they have some folks up front (namely, J.J. Watt) who
can keep Kaepernick penned in the pocket. I think he continues
to struggle Sunday.
Fitzpatrick v. KC: Long-time readers know I have a strange
affection for Fitzpatrick, the fantasy quarterback (not to be
confused with Fitzpatrick, the real quarterback). Heís not terribly
accurate, too often turns it over, and doesnít win a lot of games,
things real GMs understandably hate. Nevertheless, he does have
a knack for piling up yardage and throwing TD strikes, things
fake GMs certainly adore. In fact, Fitzpatrick tallied seven multi-TD
games over the course of his mostly forgettable 2012 campaign
in Buffalo, one more than each of the following A-listers: Eli
Manning, Cam Newton, and Joe Flacco. If he werenít facing Kansas
Cityís suddenly dominant defense this weekend (top three in almost
every pass defense category), Iíd like him as a sneaky start for
the injured Jake Locker. Alas, he wonít have a decent matchup
until Week 9, by which time Locker may have actually returned
to reclaim his job. Forget Fitz in Week 5 and probably beyond.
Flacco @ MIA: If I told you Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown more
TD passes than Joe Flacco since the start of the 2011 season,
would you be surprised? What if I told you he’s done it
in four fewer starts (the first four games of this season)? Flacco
may own the hardware and the fat contract, but it’s debatable
whether he’s really the elite quarterback most people now
assume him to be. Through the season’s first quarter, he’s
notched just 18.8 points per game. That’s good for 28th
best in a 32-team league (blech!). He lost big-time weapons at
receiver (Anquan Boldin) and tight end (Dennis Pitta), but the
really great ones make it work with whatever they’re provided.
I guess that’s my way of saying Flacco isn’t really
great. I’d suggest letting him and the Ravens continue to
sleep off this Super Bowl hangover.