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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 2
QBs | RBs | WRs

Nobody needs to be told starting Aaron Rodgers, 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 Rodgers’ bye week? Let’s talk. Looking for solutions at running back because 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

Jaemis Winston

Jameis Winston makes his 2017 debut against a Bears team that gave up 321 yards to Matt Ryan.

Grab a Helmet

Andy Dalton v. HOU (Thu): They say teams demonstrate the most improvement between their first and second games. Cincinnati better hope that’s not just football folklore after an abysmal showing in the opener. Dalton was especially atrocious, throwing four picks, fumbling once, and getting sacked five times, which earned him a 0.6 QBR rating, the third worst mark in the history of the statistic (2006). He’s awfully tough to trust after one of those “Bad Andy” performances, granted, but the quick Thursday turnaround might actually prove beneficial this time. Houston is reeling after its own Week 1 drubbing, has already made a QB change (rookie Deshaun Watson), and will now be missing a key defensive cog, the just-suspended Brian Cushing. If none of that convinces you, maybe this will: The worst single-game QBR was posted in 2015 by none other than Peyton Manning, hoister of that season’s Vince Lombardi trophy.

Jameis Winston v. CHI: The only way to avoid being snap-judged by panicky fantasy GMs after one week of play is, of course, to not play at all. There’s no telling how Winston and his Tampa teammates will look after their unusual opening week bye, but opinions range from “they’ll be ready” to “they’ll be rusty.” Here’s my opinion: It won’t matter. The Bears were competitive against a legitimate Super Bowl contender last Sunday, but still managed to give up 321 yards through the air and some huge plays. Winston has similar big-play weapons at his disposal (Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson) and lacks the dynamic running game his division mates, the Falcons, can boast of. In other words, I suspect he’ll be straight dealing for hurricane-ravaged Bucs fans who could use the diversion. Expect the star of HBO’s Hard Knocks, 2017 edition, to rise to the occasion on Sunday.

Carson Palmer @ IND: If there’s one snap judgment I can definitely get behind just 6% and change through the regular season, it’s this one: Arizona is in big, big trouble. The only thing youthful about the most experienced squad in the league seemed to be offensive centerpiece David Johnson, the do-everything RB now on the shelf for at least two months with a dislocated wrist. All that appears to be left of this once-fearsome offense is a steadily declining quarterback and a future Hall of Famer at WR playing in, perhaps, their final seasons. I say it like it’s a bad thing, but nobody’s going to be able to replace Johnson’s production in the ground game. That could and should mean an increased reliance on the pass, as evidenced by Palmer’s 48 attempts last Sunday, tops for Week 1. In the absence of excellence, volume will suffice. Start Palmer.

Grab a Clipboard

Joe Flacco v. CLE: Flacco has always been more of a spot starter than a must-start kinda QB and versus Cleveland has typically been one of those spots. In his last three appearances against the perpetually rebuilding Browns, the big guy has averaged almost 270 yards, tossed six TD passes, and even tallied a couple of rushing scores, all to the tune of 25.7 fantasy points per game. I’d definitely take 25+ points from the position this weekend but I’m not sure he’ll throw enough passes to tally even half that. In the Week 1 shellacking of the Bengals, he flung it a mere 17 times, all in the first 30 minutes. Yup, you read that right: Flacco attempted precisely ZERO second-half passes. The Ravens will need more from him as the season progresses, but not against Cleveland and not, hopefully, until he’s fully recovered from a recent back injury.

Blake Bortles v. TEN: Only one quarterback completed fewer than 50% of his passes in Week 1. Would you believe it wasn’t the notoriously scattershot Bortles? He was close, actually (11 for 21), but stayed within himself, stayed off his backside, and didn’t turn it over in an efficient enough performance against the Texans in Houston. Baby steps, right? The problem is that an efficient-esque Bortles is a way less productive/interesting Bortles, at least from a fantasy perspective. Don’t expect that to change in Week 2. The Jags are determined to keep him at fewer than 30 attempts per game and Tennessee comes in wanting to establish a running attack they seemed to abandon last Sunday. Expect fewer than normal offensive plays and just modest production. Oh, almost forgot. The only quarterback to complete fewer than 50% of his passes in Week 1 was the one they call the GOAT.

Sam Bradford @ PIT: Bradford was one of two off-brand QBs I recommended you start in Week 1 and, wouldn’t you know, they both went out and posted stellar digits. Alex Smith led all scorers at the position with 34.7 points, besting the GOAT at his own game and on his own field, no less. Bradford, not to be outdone, gutted the New Orleans secondary four days later in Minneapolis (27-for-32, 346 yards, and three TD strikes). It’s tough to start someone who underwhelms (e.g., Andy Dalton), but it’s just as difficult to sit down a recent ace performer. Nevertheless, I’m suggesting you do exactly that unless you don’t have a better option. The Steelers got after the much more mobile DeShone Kizer (seven sacks) and must be licking their chops with the statue-like Bradford and his suspect offensive line coming to town. I don’t like this matchup.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers