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: Carolina, Washington
Case Keenum gets the opportunity to improve
his No.22 ranking with a Wk 4 date against the Chiefs.
Grab a Helmet
Cousins @ LAR (Thu): Nobody’s benefitted more from the
NFL’s controversial QB protection program than Cousins, who shook
off what should have been a game-losing, game-concluding interception
at Lambeau late in Week 2 to post a bunch more fantasy points in
regulation and into overtime. He now ranks 7th at the position (instead
of 15th or so), exceeding this writer’s expectations through three
weeks. The same cannot be said of his Super Bowl-contending Vikes,
who are that Clay Matthews penalty away from being 1-2 and were
inexplicably blasted by the lowly Bills in Minneapolis last Sunday.
Lucky for the purple guys, they get a chance to put the ghastly
loss behind them in a hurry. Beating the high-flying Rams in LA
will be a tall order, but not having to face Aqib Talib or, most
likely, Marcus Peters makes it doable. Expect Cousins to exploit
that suddenly vulnerable secondary.
Manning v. NO: Kid Bro has long been the Rodney Dangerfield
of NFL quarterbacks, never garnering the respect a guy wearing two
Super Bowl rings deserves. Yes, he turns it over too much, can’t
move, and sports a career record barely north of .500. And yes,
he’s only averaged 20 pts/game in 4 of his 14+ seasons. OK, so I’m
not making a very compelling case here, am I? Eli’s strictly a streaming
option these days, but this might be the week to stream him. What
many thought would be a Saints strength (its secondary) has been
anything but so far. Opposing QBs have compiled a 141.7 rating and
are “chunking” New Orleans to the tune of 11.2 yards/attempt. For
perspective, Patrick Mahomes sports a 137.4 rating and averages
9.6 yards/attempt. Manning isn’t Mahomes but he does have OBJ on
his side. Start him.
Keenum v. KC (Mon): The super soph Mahomes has been a
revelation under center for the Chiefs and, of course, for us. If
you don’t own him, however, a pretty good consolation prize is owning
whomever he squares off against on a weekly basis. The Chiefs field
the league’s highest-scoring offense and its least stingy defense
(nearly 475 yards/game surrendered), making for a perfect storm
of fantasy goodness. Keenum’s the lucky beneficiary Monday night
and could be in for a huge outing as Denver tries to keep up. The
former Viking could be considered a poor man’s Ryan Fitzpatrick,
in some respects, which would have sounded ridiculous a month ago
but now sounds like high praise. When he’s good, he’s very good.
When he isn’t...well, look away. I expect a bunch of points in primetime
and Keenum will be good enough to keep the Broncos in the hunt.
Grab a Clipboard
Any Rookie Quarterback: One
of these guys is bound to make a liar out of me and, if I had
to guess, it will probably be Baker
Mayfield. All the No.1 draft pick did in his first regular
season action was take over for the concussed Tyrod Taylor and
lead the Browns to a stirring come-from-behind victory, the team’s
first since a certain real estate mogul/reality TV star became
our nation’s President. Anything’s possible in the good ol’ U-S-of-A,
it appears, but I’m not sure I’d gamble my fantasy fortunes on
Darnold, or Josh
Rosen. Not yet, at least. They’ve all shown some promise but
have a LONG way to go to be considered viable NFL QBs, let alone
fantasy options. Not to mention, two of them (Darnold and Rosen)
face two of the league’s better defensive units. They might be
stream-able soon, but be patient.
Mariota v. PHI: It’s been a predictably unpredictable
start to the 2018 season (optimism in Cleveland, concern in Foxboro,
magic in Tampa!), but for my money, nothing’s been more surprising/shocking
than Tennessee’s sneaky 2-1 start. Though I was bullish on the
Titans heading into the campaign, a brutal Week 1—including a
scary Mariota injury—swiftly curbed any enthusiasm. It’s almost
three weeks later, Mariota’s still limited, and his backup is
now in the concussion protocol. Oh, and the Titans are coming
off two huge wins, one against division rival Houston and the
other against a Jaguars team many feel is ready to challenge New
England for AFC supremacy. Mike Vrabel’s done it with smoke (fake
punts), mirrors (wildcat, anyone?), and an ornery defense, but
until he gets Mariota back at full strength, we won’t really know
how good his team can be. Use someone else until that happens.
Prescott v. DET: Los Angeles (Rams), Jacksonville,
and Baltimore are allowing the fewest points to opposing QBs through
the first three weeks of the season. That’s not terribly
surprising considering LA and Jacksonville were widely projected
to be top 5 defenses coming into the season and Baltimore fields,
historically, one of the sounder stopper units. What IS terribly
surprising is who sits right behind them in the No.4 slot, allowing
a meager 15.8 fantasy points/game to the position: Detroit. A
Week 3 suffocation of Tom Terrific certainly didn’t hurt
and had to feel pretty sweet for the Pats’ former D Coordinator,
Matt Patricia. Coach Pat obviously knows how to scheme his boys
up and the scheming might not need to be terribly exotic in Week
4. Dallas’ receivers scare nobody right now, except for
maybe the guy who’s trying to throw them passes. It’s
time to panic, Dak owners.