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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 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: N/A

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan has topped 300 yards three times and thrown 9 TDs in last four games against the Panthers.

Grab a Helmet

Matt Ryan v. CAR: Can Super Bowl hangovers last more than one season? Matty Ice and his Falcons haven’t looked right ever since that Super Bowl LI debacle against the Patriots despite fielding pretty much the same personnel last season and to start this one. Ryan’s statistical decline has been across the board (touchdowns, yards-per-attempt, passer rating) and he’d seemingly need a map to find Julio Jones in the red zone at this point. Newish offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, may ultimately end up the fall guy, but great QBs overcome coaching deficiencies and other such obstacles to get the job done. The good news if you were banking on Ryan to return to his 2016 MVP form? He’s been great against this Sunday’s opponent, Carolina, despite the general swoon (27.6 pts/game since 2016). Expect this recent series history and the extra three days of prep to pay dividends this weekend.

Ben Roethlisberger v. KC: James Conner’s spot-on Le’Veon Bell impression likely emboldened Pittsburgh’s shot callers (and weakened Bell’s negotiating position), but it didn’t seem to have the same salutary effect on Big Ben last Sunday. Conner was magnificent (31.2 points, second best at the position), but Roethlisberger was atrocious, tossing three picks and losing two fumbles, ultimately costing his team a very winnable game against a team the Curtain has owned for the better part of three decades. The weather was equally atrocious, sure, but Roethlisberger’s continued tendency to star at home and stink on the road is deeply troubling. He scored almost 10 more fantasy points PER GAME in Pittsburgh than he did on the road last season (including playoffs). What better way to wash the taste of that Week 1 tie out of his mouth than a home date with the high-scoring/defense-optional Chiefs? He’s a must start Sunday.

Tyrod Taylor @ NO: Big Ben’s Week 1 opponent didn’t fare much better on the rain-soaked turf of FirstEnergy Stadium. In his first start as Baker Mayfield’s seat warmer, Taylor managed to complete only 37.5% of his passes, get sacked seven times, and throw a terrible crunch time pick on a drive that could have sealed Cleveland’s biggest win since…well, since they last won way back on December 24th, 2016. He still ended up QB 7 for the week thanks to 77 rushing yards and a score, digits very few NFL quarterbacks are even capable of. Tyrod should be much more reliable on the Superdome’s terra firma come Sunday and especially if the Saints roll out that sorry excuse for a defense they fielded against Tampa last week. Expect better accuracy/passing numbers for Taylor, a slight regression in his rushing totals, and another sneaky good fantasy performance (say, 22 points).

Grab a Clipboard

Ryan Fitzpatrick v. PHI: You’d have to go back to Nick Foles’ mind-melting, seven-TD masterpiece in November of 2013 to find a more shocking statistical outlier than Fitzpatrick’s Week 1 dismantling of the Saints (417 yards, four TD tosses, and a rushing score). Here’s a career journeyman playing for his seventh NFL franchise—starting only because the guy he backs up is suspended to start the season—abusing a team many have pegged for a trip to Super Bowl LIII in front of their own fans. Even his most stubborn apologists (guilty!) couldn’t have predicted such wild success and now Fitzmagic has two more games to prove Jameis Winston belongs on the bench come Week 4. To pull off that little trick, though, he’ll have to get by the well-rested defending champs in Week 2, led by none other than Mr. Foles. Expect a thud as Fitzy returns from orbit.

Aaron Rodgers v. MIN: I agonized over this one, as you can imagine, but mostly because I’m not certain they won’t confiscate my prized Packers stock certificate for disparaging the franchise so publicly. It’s probably buried in the shareholder agreement somewhere, huh? Rodgers authored the second-most stunning performance of Week 1 (“look, Ma, one leg!”) but now faces a Vikings crew that A) ruined his and the Pack’s promising 2017 campaign; and B) would surely relish doing so again this season. Save for a late 2016 explosion (40.7 points in Week 16), A-Rodge has way underperformed against his purple-clad nemeses in the Mike Zimmer era and Zimmer’s squads seem to get better every year. They’re talking Super Bowl this season in Minny and it’s far from a pipe dream thanks to that stacked defense. Green Bay shouldn’t be favored and will get clobbered if Rodgers sits. Too risky for me.

Derek Carr @ DEN: It was good to see John Gruden and his trademark grimace back on the sidelines Monday night, but did you notice how it turned from playful affectation to genuine WTF-am-I-watching disgust in just a few short hours? Carr threw easily the ugliest interception of opening weekend (remember: Nate Peterman played) and then capped off his disastrous 2018 debut by tossing a pick-six to Marcus Peters to close out Week 1’s scoring. Rough. Things don’t get any easier as the Raiders travel to Denver Sunday, Carr’s personal house of horrors. He’s averaged just 12.7 fantasy points per outing in the Rockies and hasn’t come close to the 200-yard mark yet. If he can’t figure out a way to get his wideouts involved (5.2 points COMBINED), he won’t once again. Chucky may turn this group around in time for a migration to Vegas, but it won’t be easy.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers