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: Arizona, Green Bay,
Jacksonville, Los Angeles, N.Y. Giants, Tennessee
The Patriots have given up the most fantasy
points to quarterbacks including 15 TDs in seven games.
Grab a Helmet
Philip Rivers @ NE: If it seems like quarterback numbers are down
in 2017, itís all in your imagination. The top 10 QBs in 2016
on a per-game basis averaged 24.2 points, while the top 10 in 2017
are currently averaging 24.4. Surprised? So was I until I happened
to notice only four names grace both lists (Rodgers, Brees, Brady,
and Cousins). In other words, the numbers are nearly the same, but
the names are largely different. Rivers is one of those 2016 studs
who has been underperforming a bit (19.8/game v. 22.2 last year),
but he probably couldnít care less. He has the Bolts back
from the brink of an 0-4 start and ready to battle the defending
champs in Foxboro. New England finally held a passer under 300 yards
last week, but is still giving up more points to opposing QBs than
anyone (27.8/game). Ride Rivers this Sunday.
Ryan @ NYJ: The list of top-tier quarterbacks whose numbers
have dipped this season is a lengthy one (Rivers, Brees, Stafford,
Roethlisberger, Carr, Palmer, Mariota), but nobodyís been more disappointing
than the Falconsí franchise man. Ryan is a full touchdown (and near
extra point) off his 2016 average of 25.7 and has bottomed out with
three successive sub-20 point outings against AFC East opponents.
He draws the fourth this weekend at the Meadowlands after failing
to exorcise his Super Bowl demons against the Pats last Sunday night.
I suppose the rest of the season could go either way, continued
death spiral or sudden resurgence, but Iím banking on the latter.
Heís too good, the surrounding talentís too good, and the Jets just
gave up 326 yards and four scores to Jay Cutler and Matt Moore.
Gimme all the Matt Ryan shares this weekend as Atlanta gets back
Taylor v. OAK: Even some of the mid-tier quarterbacks
are struggling some, though it would be hard to blame Taylor for
his 3.5 points-per-game dip this season. The Billsí new shot callers
traded away his most explosive weapon, Sammy Watkins, and then stood
helplessly by as his next best receiver, Anquan Boldin, abruptly
retired. Oh, and then he lost Jordan Matthews and Charles Clay in
quick succession. How on earth the former Hokie has been able to
post respectable figures with the sorry cast of targets heís working
with defies belief, but there he was last weekend racking up 22.7
points. Matthews is working himself back into the rotation now and
the resourceful Taylor always manages to find a way (Deonte Thompson,
anyone?). Iíd feel comfortable starting him against an Oakland secondary
that has zero interceptions and is allowing a 109.0 opposing passer
rating so far. Thatís worst overall.
Grab a Clipboard
Moore @ BAL (Thu): And to think I was actually starting
to look forward to Thursday night football. Weíve been spoiled
by some excellent games and a plethora of points this season,
but itís back to reality when the Moore-led Fish meet the Flacco-led
Ravens this week in a game that could be downright difficult to
watch. Moore is actually one of the better backups in the league,
as evidenced by his performance last Sunday, and could very well
keep Miami afloat Ė if not seize the job outright Ė while Jay
Cutler is out. Heís not careful with the football, however, and
if thereís one thing Baltimore does well (actually, thereís probably
just one), itís intercept passes. The Ravens have picked off 10
and are allowing opposing flingers a lowly 70.6 passer rating
through seven weeks. This has all the makings of a low-scoring
yawn-a-thon, so only if youíre desperate.
Stafford v. PIT: Iíll be pairing Stafford with Derek
Carr in my two-QB league this weekend, but I wonít be expecting
miracles. The last time we saw him, Detroitís main man was limping
through a Superdome shootout with the Saints Willis Reed-style
and with predictably mixed results (28 points but three picks,
two pick-sixes, and five sacks). Though the fantasy bottom line
was good, he now draws a Pittsburgh defense that is making life
miserable for opposing field generals. The Curtain has yielded
just 13.6 points/game to the position and has allowed just one
opponent to throw multiple TD passes in a game (Andy Dalton last
week). This one could come back to bite me, especially if Golden
Tate plays and another shootout materializes, but that doesnít
seem very likely. If you have better options, this might be the
right spot to let the usually reliable Stafford ride pine.
Siemian @ KC (Mon): I got trolled back in Week 2 for
suggesting in the comments, albeit obliquely, that Siemian isn’t
a great option under center. He proved me a liar one last time
(that week against Dallas), but has been brutal ever since, averaging
just 15.7 points per contest. For perspective, DeShone Kizer averages
14.1 and has been pulled at halftime in each of his last two starts.
Oddly, Siemian’s best and worst games as a pro have come
against Kansas City (Weeks 12 and 16 of last year, respectively),
so it’s anybody’s guess how he’ll fare Monday
night. Here’s mine: It won’t be anything to write
home about. The Chiefs have dropped two straight and must see
the Broncos as ripe for the picking. Moreover, it’s no guarantee
Siemian gets his safety blanket, Emmanuel Sanders, back and that
could make things tough on this already out-of-sorts offense.