Nobody needs to be told starting
Tom Brady, Ezekiel Elliott Todd Gurley, 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 Brady’s
bye week? Let’s talk. Looking for solutions at running back
because Zeke Gurley 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: Carolina, Indianapolis,
N.Y. Jets, San Francisco
Without Devonta Freeman, the Falcons will
be forced to rely on Matt Ryan in Week 11.
Grab a Helmet
Mariota @ PIT or Ben
Roethlisberger v. TEN (Thu): “This sh*t should be illegal,”
barked Doug Baldwin after last week’s TNF action cost the Seahawks
future HOF corner Richard Sherman. We don’t disagree, of course,
since Thursday nighters typically feature lackluster offense and
criminally disappointing fantasy stats. There have been some notable
exceptions this year, however (Weeks 3 and 7), and I’ve got a hunch
Week 11 could be another one. Mariota’s Titans have quietly won
four in a row and now sit tied atop the AFC South with Jacksonville.
Meanwhile, Big Ben’s Steelers have all but wrapped up the AFC North
at 7-2 and are three games clear of any division rival. In other
words, this one has possible playoff implications. The uber-talented
Pittsburgh offense is going to explode eventually and this looks
like the spot. Roethlisberger finally tops 25 fantasy points and
Marcus, playing catch up, comes close.
Keenum v. LAR: We get Alex Smith, Derek Carr, and Carson
Wentz back but lose Cam Newton, C.J. Beathard, and Jacoby Brissett
to bye weeks. If you’re thinking that looks like progress, consider
this: Those latter three are ranked 2nd, 4th, and 6th, respectively,
in points at the position the past several weeks. It’s been a crazy
year for quarterbacks and nobody embodies that more than Case Keenum,
who’s gone from Minnesota’s ostensible third-stringer to automatic
fantasy starter in two months’ time. Keenum’s guided the Vikes to
a 7-2 record by completing 64.9% of his passes and throwing for
11 TDs, resulting in a career best 18.3 points/game. He’s got great
receivers to work with, a vastly improved offensive line, and a
decent enough backfield (despite the loss of Dalvin Cook) to keep
rolling. Teddy Bridgewater is reportedly healthy, but this is Keenum’s
team until further notice. Start him.
Ryan @ SEA (Mon): Ryan’s 19.8 points/game mark is only
marginally better than Keenum’s and his worst since the 2010 season.
Maybe there’s something to this Super Bowl hangover business? The
Falcons’ franchise is still one of the safer plays at the position,
even when the matchup looks daunting. Playing Seattle in Seattle
is about as daunting as it gets, especially in primetime, but one
has to wonder how the Hawks will fare minus Mr. Sherman patrolling
the secondary. Deshaun Watson set fire to the Hawks’ DBs in Week
8 and even Drew Stanton almost threw for 300 yards in last Thursday
night’s contest. The Falcons will likely be without Devonta Freeman
this week and Seattle doesn’t have a reliable rusher on the roster,
so…anyone up for a Matty Ice/Danger Russ sandlot shootout? Expect
lots of passing and lots of points this coming Monday night in the
Grab a Clipboard
Peterman @ LAC: Those of you in 10 or 12-team leagues
can safely scoff, but those of us in deeper leagues or two-QB
leagues must consider all available options at the position, especially
as injuries/demotions start to pile up. This week’s most shocking
demotion occurred in Buffalo, where Sean McDermott decided the
Bills, despite being in the thick of the AFC playoff race, will
be better off with an unproven rookie under center. Hmmm. This
smells suspiciously like sacrificing short-term success for longer-term
goals and if Peterman plays poorly down the stretch, McDermott’s
going to have some ‘splaining to do to his playoff-starved veterans.
Seems like he could also have picked a better spot to roll the
rook out there. The Chargers haven’t surrendered multiple TD passes
in a game since Week 5 and have only allowed a single 300-yard
passer this season (Tom Brady in Week 8). Nope.
Cousins @ NO: Cousins’ owners probably can’t afford
to sit him with so few alternatives available at the position,
so consider this more of a reality check than a sit recommendation:
He’ll struggle at the Superdome Sunday. In years past, starting
QBs against New Orleans was about as automatic a lineup decision
as one could make. The Saints ranked 25th, 31st, and 32nd against
the pass the past three seasons and started out this season getting
bombed in Weeks 1 and 2 to the tune of 793 yards and six TD passes.
They’ve only yielded five since and, not surprisingly, have reeled
off seven wins in a row. They’re following a new recipe down in
the Big Easy (ball-control rushing attack, stingy/opportunistic
defense) and that is making life really tough on opponents. They
won’t cost Cousins his job like they did Tyrod Taylor, but these
new-look Saints are legit.
Dalton @ DEN: Dalton’s job hasn’t seemed safe since
a really rough start to the 2017 campaign, so it was somewhat
surprising to discover the Bengals were willing to part company
with his backup, A.J. McCarron, at the trade deadline. Willing,
I should say, but not able thanks to some comical incompetence
on Cleveland’s part. That means McCarron continues to hold
clipboards in Cincy while Dalton continues to (mostly) stink in
front of him. Would Marv Lewis give McCarron a look if things
continue to go downhill? They just might this coming Sunday against
a Denver team that’s been thoroughly embarrassed the past
two weeks by successive Super Bowl contenders (Philly and then
New England). The Broncos’ defense is a proud bunch and
this looks like the perfect spot for them to get well. Sit the
Red Rifle down and hope he’s still running the show in Week