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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 12
QBs | RBs | WRs

Nobody needs to be told starting Russell Wilson, 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 Wilson’s bye week? Let’s talk. Looking for solutions at running back because 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-RB-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: Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams

Baker Mayfield

Mayfield gets his best matchup this season. A date with Bengals who give up the most FPts to QBs.

Grab a Helmet

Baker Mayfield @ CIN: 105 points. 14 touchdowns. 1,001 yards. I can’t verify it and scoring systems certainly vary, but Monday night’s instant classic featuring former Show-Me State rivals likely featured the most fantasy points in a single NFL game ever. WOW! Like most fans, I’m still catching my breath, even as I cynically look ahead to the Week 12 hangover we’re all likely to experience. No Chiefs and no Rams means hair o’ the dog is out of the question, but…can I interest anyone in the Buckeye State Brawl at Paul Brown Stadium? It lacks some sizzle, admittedly, but Mayfield and mates are coming off a bye preceded by an upset of the Falcons and now draw a Bengals squad that seemed caught off guard by Lamar Jackson’s rushing ability. Maybe that explains why Cincy’s surrendered a league worst 28.5 FPts/G to the position? Mayfield’s an underrated option Sunday.

Lamar Jackson v. OAK: Monday night’s points-a-palooza produced some eye-popping numbers, but Jackson’s 27 rushing attempts Sunday were what really caught my eye in Week 11. 27? For a quarterback? Marvin Lewis says the rookie won’t survive that kind of workload and he’s right in the longer term. Fantasy GMs have the luxury of thinking shorter term, however, and I’m betting an embattled John Harbaugh is doing the same thing this week. The Ravens need wins for Harbaugh to save his job and an iffy Joe Flacco (not ruled out at press time) isn’t the obvious choice to deliver them. Jackson’s skill set forces defenses out of their comfort zone and he couldn’t face better opponents in his first two starts as a pro. Cincinnati’s No.32 against the run and Oakland’s No.31. The Raiders are also atrocious against the pass (110.4 opposing QB rating). Expect Jackson’s first NFL scores Sunday.

Nick Mullens @ TB: Hey, why not make it a rookie QB three-pack? Mayfield, Jackson, and Mullens have 10 NFL starts between them, so I understand if you’re reluctant to roll with any of them down the homestretch. You may not have a choice, though, if you’ve made it this far with Patty Mahomes, Jared Goff, or Mitch Trubisky. The latter is heading toward a surprise DNP Thursday, meaning his owners will be scrambling for a serviceable option. Mullens has already proven to be that in two starts (20.7 PPG) and now gets one of the very best matchups a young QB could hope for, the buttery soft Bucs defense. Tampa just let Eli Manning complete 94% of his passes (all but one) and has allowed a 124.9 rating to opposing slingers. For perspective, Drew Brees is sporting a 126.9 rating. Kyle Shanahan and the Bucs make Mullens legit Sunday.

Grab a Clipboard

Matthew Stafford v. CHI (Thu): It’s dangerous fading Stafford on Thanksgiving, as he’s been one of the holiday’s very best fantasy performers over the years. In eight career Turkey Day games, the Lions’ long-time signal caller has averaged over 308 yards and two TD strikes for a cool 23+ fantasy points per game by my count (not including rushing yards). So why is this year different? For starters, the Lions draw a Chicago team that just put the clamps on them two weeks ago. Additionally, it looks like Detroit will be without Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones Thursday, leaving Stafford bereft of viable helpers. Finally, not having Trubisky could make this less of a Chicago turkey shoot (Stafford chasing points) and more of a traditional NFC North slugfest. I’ll probably regret this one, but a heroic holiday performance from Detroit’s main man isn’t necessarily expected or needed. Sit him.

Colt McCoy @ DAL: I know what you’re thinking: Why CAN’T McCoy capture lighting in a bottle again and put a lid on that Texas-sized enthusiasm brewing down in Big D? He’s done it before—25-30 for 299 yards and a rushing score on Monday night in 2014—and will be leading a much improved Washington team on Thanksgiving Day (that 2014 version ended up with only four wins). I say “much improved,” but Jay Gruden’s first squad may actually have had more talent, especially at wide receiver. Put it this way: Would you rather McCoy were throwing to Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson or Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris (?), and Trey Quinn (??)? The ‘Skins smoke-and-mirrors show was nearing the end of its run even before Alex Smith’s frightening fibula snap, so there’s no reason to think the substitution of McCoy will alter that inevitability. Reserve the former Longhorn.

Derek Carr @ BAL: Jay’s big bro called it a “mild disagreement” between two “competitors.” Suuuure, Coach. The elder Gruden is notoriously rough on QBs, as we knew, but Carr isn’t good enough to prevent these flare-ups from reoccurring, as evidenced by the wildly errant third-down heave to a wide open Jalen Richard that triggered the sideline spat in the first place. Unfortunately for Chucky and the Raiders, the 2019 draft class is painfully short on sure-thing quarterbacks the Raiders could build around instead, especially if Justin Herbert decides to stay in school (GO DUCKS!!!). For now, they press ahead with a deeply flawed Carr and hope that—despite robbing him of all WR resources and a functional offensive line—he’s able to keep Oakland respectable. You don’t have to. Carr hasn’t been atrocious this season, but could really struggle against a desperate/terrific Ravens D in an early cross-country tilt.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers