Nobody needs to be told starting
Tom Brady, Ezekiel Elliott, 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 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: Detroit, Houston
Mariota may be gimpy but the Browns are
giving up the 4th most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Grab a Helmet Brett
Hundley v. NO: The Hundley era begins in earnest Sunday,
way sooner than anyone at 1265 Lombardi Ave ever hoped it would.
In a perfect world, the UCLA product was being groomed for his next
job, playing quarterback for another NFL team. Instead, heíll be
asked to replace an irreplaceable player and carry the injury-decimated
Pack back to the playoffs for a record-tying ninth consecutive year.
Glass half-full scenario? He does exactly that in an offense customized
to his unique skill set (strong arm, great mobility). Glass half-empty
scenario? We just watched it, a turnover-plagued performance against
the Vikes in which he looked overwhelmed and unprepared for life
as Green Bayís main man. Iím not the most optimistic guy in the
world, but Iíve got a hunch Hundley will be more glass half-full
than half-empty, starting this Sunday against an opportunistic but
susceptible Saints secondary.
Fitzpatrick @ BUF: In a week featuring two significant
QB injuries, two demotions, and two of the gameís best combining
for three pick-sixes, itís only fitting Fitzpatrick should make
an appearance. Trailing 24-0 when he entered the game for an injured
Jameis Winston, the long-time journeyman rallied Tampa to a near
epic comeback, tallied the fifth most points at the position (in
2+ quarters, no less) and displayed the full Fitzmagic repertoire,
both good and bad (290 yards, three TD tosses, and two interceptions).
Itís unclear at press time if heíll again fill in for Winston, but
hereís what he accomplished the last time he faced his former mates
in Buffalo: 374 yards, one score, and 24.5 fantasy points, a 2016
high point. Fitzy brings better weapons with him this time around
and should relish facing the Bills. If he plays, I like him as a
sneaky streaming option.
Mariota @ CLE: It wasnít all bad news on the quarterbacking
front in Week 6 as Mariota made a speedy recovery from a hamstring
injury, just in time to lead his Titans to an important 36-22 divisional
win over nemesis Indianapolis. He looked a bit rusty, throwing a
pick-six, and didnít do much with his legs (just two carries for
zero yards), but he topped the 300-yard mark and connected with
Taywan Taylor for a nifty 53-yard score that vaulted Tennessee into
a lead they never relinquished. Marcus is more valuable as a dual
threat, for sure, but a date with the Browns makes him very valuable
in Week 7 anyway. Expect the surprisingly stingy Cleveland run defense
(just 3.0 yards yielded per rush, tops in the league) to focus primarily
on the two-headed monster of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Mariota
and his improved receivers should benefit.
Grab a Clipboard
Brissett v. JAX: Brissett wasnít exceptional in the
Monday night matchup against Mariota and his Titans (21-of-37
for 212 yards and a score), but he played well enough to get Indy
in the win column. Well enough, that is, if a leaky defense hadnít
betrayed the effort once again. The Colts have now surrendered
195 points, a league high, and it appears Brissett and Co. will
have to start outscoring opponents if they have any hope of avoiding
their first losing season since 2011. Thatís a tall order against
Jacksonvilleís vastly improved stopper unit. The Jags may be giving
up more yards this season, but theyíre allowing fewer than 20
points/game, something they havenít accomplished in more than
a decade. Jacksonville is especially tough on opposing QBs (12.7
ppg, fewest overall), so starting Brissett this Sunday seems like
a risky proposition at best. Only if youíre desperate.
Trubisky v. CAR: Save for an ill-advised throw in his
Week 5 debut which probably cost the Bears a shot at victory,
Trubisky has been a steadying force for the Chicago offense, staying
within himself, not turning the ball over, and flashing the kind
of athleticism that made him the No.2 overall pick in Aprilís
draft. Thatís exactly what John Fox et al. need right now, but
itís not gonna do for the likes of us. Mike Glennon was atrocious
in that Week 4 debacle at Lambeau, yes, but he still managed to
score more points (14.9) than his rookie teammate has in two successive
appearances (12.6 and 12.9). Simply put, itís hard to do much
with 20 passing attempts a game, what Trubisky is currently averaging.
The game plan will likely remain conservative, so donít expect
him to suddenly uncork 40 or 50 against Carolina this coming Sunday.
Manning v. SEA: The winless Giants rolled into Denver
last Sunday for a primetime date with the best defense in the
league minus their four best receivers (including the best receiver
on the planet) and arguably the league’s worst rushing attack.
Naturally, they notched their first victory of the season in convincing
fashion by running the ball down the Broncos’ collective
throats. Wait, huh? It’s an any-given-Sunday kinda league,
folks, and there’s just no accounting for intangibles such
as preparation and motivation. The G-Men will need another such
effort in Week 7 with the well-rested Seahawks coming to town,
but I’m not sure they can deliver. They’ve got Seattle’s
undivided attention, for starters, and that M*A*S*H unit of a
receiving corps is going to catch up with them sooner rather than
later. Expect way more passing attempts than last week (just 19)
but lackluster production from Peyton’s kid bro.