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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 6
QBs | RBs | WRs

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: Minnesota, Tampa Bay

Alex Smith

Alex Smith has thrown more TD passess against the Raiders (18) than any other team in the league.

Grab a Helmet

Colin Kaepernick @ BUF: There are certainly more polarizing/controversial Americans (guess) but none who play quarterback in the NFL. Whether you consider Kaepernick an activist or an anarchist, a patriot or an idiot, it’s easy to forget he was, before this recent firestorm, a pretty danged good quarterback, one seemingly verging on superstardom. It never happened and for a variety of reasons: deteriorating talent around him, poor mechanics, poor health, etc. So why believe he can recapture that old magic guiding a much worse Niners team than the one he helmed back in the day? You shouldn’t, but consider: In four starts against not-the-Seahawks, Blaine Gabbert averaged 21.4 fantasy points. That’s better than Palmer, Manning, Dalton, Wilson, Cousins, and both of the young gunslingers we’ll talk about next. Oh, did I mention he also had more rushing yards than any other QB? We finally get Chip + Kap, so…who knows?

Carson Wentz @ WAS or Dak Prescott @ GB: History may be equally unkind to Messrs. Wentz and Prescott someday as they only have, collectively, nine professional games under their belt. Lotta football to be played yet. But, man, it’s hard not to be impressed with them right now. I was extremely skeptical of the 2016 QB draft class and still think the “crown jewel” of said class (Jared Goff) will be an outright miss by the Rams. Wentz, though, is making the Philly brass look really good so far (250-plus yards/game, 7 TDs, just one pick) and Prescott, meanwhile, has already set an NFL record by throwing his first 155 professional passes (and counting) exclusively to the guys with the stars on their helmets (read: no picks). Seven wins, just two losses, and a single interception between them? Stop worrying about a regression and start these guys already.

Alex Smith @ OAK: Alex Smith wouldn’t know anything about immediate NFL success. His 40.8 passer rating with San Francisco back in 2005 is the second worst mark of any rookie QB since 1980. The worst? That would be Ryan Leaf’s 39.0 in 1998. Talk about dubious company. Undeterred by that inauspicious debut, Smith continues to ply his trade as one of 32 starting NFL signal callers more than a decade later. Maybe he could give his old teammate Kap a few pointers about how to rise from the NFL ashes? He gets his favorite opponent this Sunday in the East Bay, an Oakland team he’s thrown 18 career TD passes against. That’s seven more than he’s hurled against any other opponent in 11-plus seasons. Even better? This version of the Raiders is currently ranked dead last against opposing passers (331 yards/game). I’m loving Smith as a sneaky start Sunday.

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Tyrod Taylor v. SF: The last time I hollered at you, prior to Week 3, I was equating Rex Ryan to Capt. Edward John Smith steering the doomed Titanic straight toward a North Atlantic iceberg. A funny thing happened between then and that direct hit, however: Coach Ryan and his Bills managed to avoid catastrophe and have now run off three consecutive Ws, two of them at the expense of supposed Super Bowl contenders Arizona and New England. How have they done it? Let’s just say turnovers have been a huge factor (+9 through five weeks) and Taylor really hasn’t. Since losing WR1 Sammy Watkins after Week 2, he’s averaging only 18.5 points/game, wedging him right between Sammy Bradford and Ryan Fitzpatrick (see below) on a per-game basis. I’m impressed by Rex’s reclamation job but that doesn’t make me want to insert his starting QB as my starting QB Sunday.

Matt Ryan @ SEA: I’d sure take this guy on any given Sunday, however. In fact, so would pretty much everybody presuming they’re groovy with trotting out the highest scoring field general in the game through five weeks (140 total points and 28.0 per contest). That makes him must start material, right? Wellll…yes, but it comes with one little caveat: not necessarily against the Seahawks. You don’t earn the “Legion of Boom” appellation by allowing opposing QBs to go bonkers against you, as Ryan just did to the formerly fearsome Panthers in Week 3 (500-plus yards and four scores). True to form, the Hawks are yielding barely 200 passing yards per game and have surrendered just a single passing TD (Fitzpatrick again). They haven’t faced luminaries, granted, but Ryan rarely plays in the kind of weather he’s likely to face Sunday in Seattle (50s and rainy). Be very, very cautious.

Ryan Fitzpatrick @ ARI (Mon): My fantasy bromance with Fitzy is officially on the rocks after some downright unsightly performances to kick off the 2016 season. Maybe the Jets’ powers that be knew what they were doing when they dragged their feet on a contract extension this past off-season? That seems silly to say about a team that once drafted Mark Sanchez and then Geno Smith as prospective franchise QBs, but…I digress. Making waters muddier for Fitzpatrick is the late-breaking news he’ll now be without one of his key security blankets, Eric Decker, who was just placed on IR Wednesday (torn rotator cuff). That leaves Brandon Marshall, the promising Quincy Enunwa, and…well, four guys I’ve never actually heard of playing wide receiver for the spiraling Jets. Pair a struggling scattershot QB with some unknown weapons and put ‘em on a plane to face an angry Arizona D? I’ll pass, thanks.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers