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
Rinse and Repeat: Marcus Mariota tossed
three TDs in his last meeting against the Raiders.
Grab a Helmet
Garoppolo or Jacoby
Brissett v. HOU (Thu): New England will trot out either
the gimpy-armed Garoppolo Thursday night or the tenderfoot Brissett,
a guy who would be making his first NFL start after a short week
of prep and against one of the league’s very best defenses. Sounds
like a recipe for disaster either way, right? It sure would be in
the hands of anyone less capable than Bill Belichick, certified
NFL alchemist. I don’t think I’m overstating the case when I say
nobody in the history of the game (repeat: nobody) has consistently
put his players in a better position to succeed than Belichick.
We already know what Garoppolo can do but we didn’t just a couple
weeks ago. Is it so hard to believe Brissett, who possesses ideal
size/strength and a great arm, might enjoy similar success? If you
need help at quarterback, believe in Coach B.
Carr @ TEN or Marcus
Mariota v. OAK: Last Thanksgiving, the Special Lady Friend
and I braved a Music City monsoon to watch Carr and Mariota duel
in Nissan Stadium. The two combined for 548 yards, six TD tosses,
and 52.6 points in one of those games that means little in real
life but plenty to fantasy aficionados such as ourselves, especially
in Week 12. They face each other again this Sunday (same time, same
place) and similar totals could be in the offing. Carr is off to
a blistering start through two weeks (24.8 pts/game) and Mariota,
fresh off a game-clinching TD strike in Detroit, gets to face Oakland’s
defense, currently yielding over 400 passing yards per. That’s not
a misprint and I doubt it’s what the Raiders’ brass had in mind
when they invested heavily on stoppers this past offseason. I’m
starting both in my 2-QB league.
Stafford @ GB: The Special Lady Friend is now Mrs. Shot
Caller, thank you very much, and this year’s family football vaycay
took us first to Lincoln, Nebraska (woe, Ducks!) and then to balmy
Minneapolis, where we opened U.S. Bank Stadium. When I could hear
myself think again, I logged some mental notes: 1) The Vikings’
defense is legit; 2) The Pack’s defense might be, but really misses
cornerback Sam Shields. By the end of the contest, Minnesota had
precisely one viable offensive weapon, Stefon Diggs, and he almost
single-handedly ruined our Sunday night (9 receptions, 182 yards,
and a score). A surprisingly stout Pack front seven may give Detroit’s
makeshift running game fits, just as it did Adrian Peterson, but
I suspect the Lions’ more-than-capable gunslinger, Stafford, will
return the favor via air. Expect something in the neighborhood of
45-50 attempts, 300 yards, and a couple scoring strikes.
Grab a Clipboard
Bradford @ CAR: The Vikes have won twice now with Shaun
Hill and then Sam Bradford at quarterback and that should terrify
opponents scheduled to face them in the coming weeks. Simply put,
Minnesota has a championship-caliber defense. Unfortunately, the
same can’t be said of a pedestrian offense that got a whole lot
more pedestrian Sunday night. Down went AD – who’s since elected
to have season-ending surgery – and then down went Matt Kalil,
protector of the brittle Bradford’s blind side. This is all in
the wake of losing Teddy Bridgewater just prior to Week 1, the
entire reason Bradford’s playing in Minny instead of Philly, mind
you. But hey, it really is a beautiful stadium! Don’t expect the
Panthers to lose track of the dynamic Diggs, as Green Bay continually
did. He’s the only real playmaker left for the Vikes and will
get all kinds of attention in Charlotte.
Taylor v. ARI: The Bills cut ties with offensive coordinator
Greg Roman last week, the NFL equivalent of rearranging the deck
chairs on the Titanic. Rex Ryan promised he’d be “the first mother(tr)ucker
to go” when the RMS Buffalo started veering toward the iceberg,
but instead he’ll be the second…and probably a whole lot sooner
than later. The offense is punchless. The defense is punch-drunk.
The future is bleak (Arizona this week and New England in Week
4). Ostensibly, Ryan canned Roman because the latter wouldn’t
or couldn’t find a way to get Sammy Watkins more involved. I’m
going with “couldn’t” because Watkins’ surgically repaired foot
has rendered him very ordinary so far. Ordinary ain’t gonna cut
it against Patrick Peterson. Taylor was a sexy preseason pick
but has quickly become an afterthought and I’m not expecting that
to change in Week 3. Wait for something to change.
Smith v. NYJ: On our drive up through Iowa and into
Minnesota, we picked up the Chiefs’ broadcast on the radio. I
was tickled to discover that KC’s play-by-play guy, Mitch Holthus,
refers to Andy Reid as “Big Red.” Ha! I doubt “Big Red” found
the Chiefs’ performance vs. the Texans nearly as amusing and he
may not find this week’s against the Jets particularly hilarious.
New York is giving up a staggering 11 yards per pass attempt,
worst in the league, but 209 of their total 631 passing yards
yielded have come on three long scoring plays, not exactly a KC
specialty. Take those bombs away and that per-attempt average
drops to 7.2, or exactly what Seattle is giving up so far this
year. Smith is a good spot play when the matchup is favorable.
I’ve got a hunch this one isn’t, so be careful with him Sunday.