Nobody needs to be told starting Cam Newton, David Johnson,
or Antonio Brown 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 Newton’s bye week? Let’s talk. Looking for solutions
at running back because David Johnson 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 Brown and went RB-QB-Gronk
in your first three rounds? You get the idea. Past results may
not guarantee future success, but ignoring them entirely can ruin
your Sundays in a hurry (maybe even your Mondays and Thursdays).
Read on for a little history and, hopefully, a little sage advice.
Note: Fantasy points
based on FF Today’s standard scoring system.
Bye Weeks: N/A
Palmer has struggled this season but he
has topped 300 yards in three out of his last four games.
Grab a Helmet
Stafford v. MIN (Thu): Does anybody wanna win the NFC
North? If Detroit was ever gonna do itĖand they literally never
haveóitís probably gotta happen in 2016. The Packers are flailing,
the Bears are irrelevant, and a sweep of the Vikings on Thanksgiving
Day would give the Lions, essentially, a two-game lead in the division
with five to play. Whoíd have envisioned THAT following a 1-3 start,
including losses to two of the stinky teams already mentioned (Green
Bay and Chicago)? Stafford would be a shoo-in Hall of Famer if inclusion
were based solely on holiday stats. In his last five Turkey Day
outings, heís averaged over 350 yards and 2.5 TDs per. Averaged!
That Minnesota-D is no joke and he hasnít been super helpful since
a 30-plus-point outing in Week 6, but Iím playing a hunch Stafford
posts 25-plus to open the Thanksgiving football festivities.
Palmer @ ATL: I had Arizona pegged for a Super Bowl appearance
back in August, but at 4-5-1 and with a difficult roadie looming,
that now seems like a pipe dream. Theyíre one of only three sub-.500
teams with a positive point differential (San Diego and Tennessee
are the others) and sport the leagueís stingiest defense (287.4
yards/game), but theyíve been done in by a leaky offensive line
and a QB who, frankly, might be past his sell-by date. Palmer was
sacked only 25 times in 2015 and led the league in yards-per-attempt
(8.7). Heís been dumped 30 times already this year and has dropped
to 7.2 yards per toss. Correlation? Itís possible, but he hasnít
looked good all year. Luckily, neither has the Falconsí secondary
(25.6 points/game surrendered, worst overall). Heís tough to trust,
yes, but the matchup is juicy. Give Palmer a chance to stuff the
Wentz v. GB (Mon): Mrs. Shot Caller and I are headed
to Northern Arizona this Thanksgiving for some richly deserved,
off-the-grid R&R (no kids, no TV, no internet, and limited cell
service). Unfortunately, that wonít spare us having to watch the
Packers attempt to play defense in Week 11 since (curses!) they
donít play until Monday night. How bad have the Cheese been of late?
Try 153 points in four games bad (read: almost 40/game). Yikes.
The secondaryís desperately banged up and now ILB Blake Martinez
is out, as well, so the cavalry doesnít appear to be on the way.
Wentz hasnít been terrific in over a month, but possesses a cannon
for an arm and could exploit a GB secondary giving up big play after
big play. There will be no Birds getting stuffed in Philly come
Monday. To the contrary, theyíll be doing the stuffing. Start Wentz.
Grab a Clipboard
Tannehill v. SF: The Fish finally discovered an offensive
formula that works for them: fewer Tannehill throws = more Ws.
I donít know if thatís an outright indictment of their field general,
but itís definitely tacit acknowledgement heís better as facilitator
than as franchise-on-his-back flinger. Truth be told, very few
quarterbacks CAN carry their squads (see Rodgers, Aaron), so we
shouldnít be too hard on the kid. Adam Gase et al. have definitely
taken this passing parsimony to its logical absurdity, though,
and thatís why starting Tanny is dicey, even with a plus matchup
in the offing. 28 quarterbacks have thrown more passes than him
the past five weeks and a couple of them (Big Ben and Case Keenum)
have played one less game. Unless Miami falls way behind this
Sunday (they wonít), itís unlikely Tannehill will be counted upon
to do much more than hand off the football.
Dalton @ BAL: The Red Rifle isnít too far off his stellar
2015 pace (21.4 v. 22.7 pts/game) and could, theoretically, end
up better on a per-game basis than he was a year ago. There are
storm clouds gathering, however, and his immediate prospects took
a serious hit in Week 11. In one fell swoop, Dalton lost A.J.
Green, then Gio Bernard, and then the game against Buffalo last
Sunday, dropping his squad to 3-6-1 on the season, almost out
of legitimate playoff contention. Without those two, his best
targets are be Tyler Eifert, Brandon LaFell, and rookie Tyler
Boyd. Hmmm. The timing is especially bad to be trotting out a
ragtag receiving corps since the Ravens, possessors of the leagueís
second-best defense, are next on the schedule. You might not have
a choice here if youíre in a deep league or a two-QB league, but
itís expectation-tempering time.
Smith @ DEN: Dalton, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Jameis
Winston, Matt Ryan, Brock Osweiler, Derek Carr, Drew Brees, and
Philip Rivers (twice). These are the quarterbacks Denver’s
D has faced this season and they are still ranked No.1 against
the position (17.0 pts/game). Impressive. Is it any wonder how
the Broncos managed to secure a Vince Lombardi trophy last February
despite a bottom-feeding offense? Only Osweiler from the above
list has scored fewer points/game than Smith (17.5 v. 16.0), so
expecting the latter to magically post big numbers this coming
Sunday night seems exceedingly optimistic. Yes, injuries to Luck
and Jay Cutler have put fringe options like Smith in play, but
my suggestion would be…keep looking. Week 12 is officially
crunch time in most leagues and getting a single-digit effort
under center could be ruinous. I’d rather start Josh McCown,
actually, and that, considering Cleveland’s struggles, should