Nobody needs to be told
starting Cam Newton, Adrian Peterson, 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
AD 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
Continue the trend: If you still enjoy
picking on the Saints-D, Derek Carr is your man in Week 1.
Grab a Helmet
Osweiler vs. CHI: Houston threw a staggering sum of money
at Osweiler in March, apparently deeming his seven career starts
in Denver worthy of a franchise QB windfall. The scary part? Even
if he bombs, the big guy walks away with $37 million in guaranteed
moolah. He just might, but it won’t be because he lacks weapons.
Hopkins is an elite WR1 and Lamar
Miller is a significant upgrade over the aging and increasingly
Foster. Throw in a couple of explosive rooks, Will
Fuller and Braxton
Miller, and the Texans’ offensive future suddenly looks bright.
All Osweiler has to do, it seems, is steer the ship and let J.J.
Watt and a salty D take care of the rest. I think he does that
and then some in Week 1 as the Bears have upgraded in the front
seven but remain extremely vulnerable in the secondary.
Carr @ NO: Nobody was more vulnerable in the secondary
than last year’s Saints. And by nobody, I mean nobody in the history
of the league. I only went back to prehistoric times (read: the
year of my birth, 1971), but I’m taking an educated guess no team
before that has matched the 2015 Saints’ appalling 116.2 defensive
passer rating...or come anywhere close. For perspective, only four
individual quarterbacks have surpassed that mark in a season (Rodgers,
Manning, Brady, and Foles). In other words, New Orleans made opposing
QBs look like future Hall of Famers or 2013 Bizarro Nick
Foles every time out. Carr is neither at this point, but he’s
a star on the rise with good weapons. Oh, and in case you’re thinking
the Saints must be better in 2016, they posted a 98.5 rating in
the preseason. That was tied for last. You must start Carr.
Prescott v. NYG: About a month ago, Prescott was jousting
with Jameill Showers for the third QB slot in Dallas and, according
to most camp observers, not winning the battle. Then Kellen
Moore broke his leg. Then Prescott wowed in early preseason
action. Then Tony
Romo broke his back. Suddenly, the Dak Attack is all anyone
can talk about in Big D and he’ll now start the season under center,
the first rookie to do so for the ‘Boys since Quincy Carter in 2001.
Talk about a mercurial rise! Dallas fans hope Prescott is more successful
than the long-forgotten Carter and you can count me among those
who think he will be. He’s got great weapons (Zeke, Dez, and the
Witten) and plays behind the league’s best line. He’s also got
a great set of legs when things get dicey in the pocket. Buy the
Grab a Clipboard
Wentz v. CLE: Lemme get this straight. The Eagles’
brass spent $36 million on Sam
Bradford this offseason and sunk another $21 million into
Daniel to, presumably, back him up. One week before the season
starts, they ship Bradford to Minnesota and promote rookie Wentz
($26 million more plus a signing bonus) to the top spot, leapfrogging
Daniel on the strength of 38 snaps in one preseason game and four
years at an FCS school. Yup, Chip Kelly was DEFINITELY the problem
in Philly. Pffffttt. Maybe new coach Doug Pederson – a career
backup like Daniel – couldn’t stomach heading into the season
with someone like himself taking snaps? Wentz certainly has the
raw tools to be successful and (my guess) will be a better pro
Goff, who’s inactive this week. He’s nowhere near ready, though.
Only if you drafted Romo and Bridgewater and missed on Prescott. Jay
Cutler @ HOU: Take heart, Eagles fans. Two years ago,
Chicago’s shot callers dropped a tidy $126 million and change
on the enigmatic Cutler, or about half again as much jack as Howie
Roseman just dumped on three QBs in Philly. The Bears’ ROI after
two seasons of that contract? 11 wins, 19 losses. Yuck. What seemed
like a ludicrous deal at the time appears even more so in retrospect,
yet Chicago keeps marching Cutler out there year after year, hoping
against hope he’ll put together that one magical season or two.
After ten years, I can comfortably say we’ve seen the best Smokin’
Jay has to offer. He’s passable from a fantasy perspective, but
only when the matchup is right. This week, he faces J.J.
Mercilus, and a rejuvenated Jadeveon
Clowney at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Does that seem like
the right matchup to you? Nope.
Tannehill @ SEA: I’m on record as saying Tannehill
will be a surprise Top
10 party-crasher in 2016, thanks in large part to his new
coach, the quarterback-friendly Adam Gase. There are better ways
to kick off a Top 10 campaign, however, than tangling with the
Seahawks in Seattle. Lots better ways. Nobody surrendered fewer
touchdowns than the Legion of Boom last season (14) and only one
team, the Super Bowl champion Broncos, gave up fewer yards through
the air. It would help, of course, if Tannehill had a full complement
of weapons to work with this Sunday, but that isn’t likely to
be the case. Field-stretcher DeVante
Parker has been on the shelf for a week (hamstring) and that,
in and of itself, makes the Dolphins a lot less explosive. Tannehill
will make his owners happy many times this season, but Week 1
isn’t one of those times.