Nobody needs to be told starting Patrick
McCaffrey, or DeAndre
Hopkins is a good idea. Duh, right? You canít have studs at
every position, though, unless youíre 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 Mahomesí bye
week? Letís talk. Looking for solutions at running back because
McAffrey 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 Hopkins and went RB-RB-Kelce 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, Minnesota, Arizona, Los Angeles Chargers
Nobodyís talking about it, for obvious reasons, but the
Browns are on a two-game winning streak and may be positioned
for a super sneaky late-season run. They get Miami, Arizona, and
Cincinnati twice, sandwiched around Baltimore (at home) and a
rematch with the Steelers (at Heinz Field). The playoffs still
look like a pipe dream, sure, but five of those six look pretty
winnable and a sweep of Pittsburgh would tilt tiebreakers in their
favor. Mayfieldís been a big part of this recent resurgence
as he hasnít thrown a pick since Week 8 and is averaging
21.2 FPts/G over his last three. It hasnít hurt that Kareem
Huntís proving to be a nice little relief valve. If youíre
somehow still in contention with Baker on your bench, he gets
three of the leagueís worst defenses a total of four times
from here on out.
I pegged Mayfield as a Top 10 Newcomer back in August, but barring
a points explosion the last six weeks, thatís not gonna happen.
Winston, though, could redeem me provided Bruce Arians doesnít give
him the hook he so richly deserves. The former Heisman winner has
now thrown 76 career interceptions through 64 career NFL starts,
or just six fewer than Aaron Rodgers has tossed in 168 career starts.
Yikes! One of those two men is a Top 10 QB, however, and it ainít
the one slinging footballs around at Lambeau Field. Winstonís now
averaging a stellar 24.6 FPts/G, which is actually a point per game
better than his career-best pace last season. Thereís always the
risk he steps on Coach Ariansí last nerve and gets yanked, but thatís
a risk worth taking against an Atlanta defense yielding 24.4 FPts/G
to opposing QBs.
What an odd season itís been for Handsome Jimmy G. His Niners
were the last team to lose a game and clearly look like a squad
built for championship contention, but team success hasnít necessarily
translated into personal success. At least, not until just recently.
Through Week 8, Garoppolo averaged just 17.1 FPts/G and was a fantasy
bye week fill-in at best. In the three games since, heís averaging
almost two touchdowns more per game (real ones, not discounted fantasy
four-pointers) and has only been outscored by two other signal callers,
Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott. The showdown with A-Rodge and the
Pack Sunday night looks like an instant classic and Iím expecting
plenty of points. The future HOFíer should be keyed up to exploit
a suddenly leaky SF secondary and Garoppolo will be called upon
to keep up. Expect him to do that.
Itís been a predictably up-and-down campaign for the Giantsí rookie.
Heís QB14 on a FPts/G basis but has been wildly inconsistent from
week to week, ranking as QB21 on FFTodayís
Consistency Calculator. Heís notched 30+ points on three separate
occasions but fewer than 20 in every other game, feasting on shakier
opponents and struggling v. better ones. Chicago probably qualifies
as shaky thanks to even more erratic quarterback play, but Khalil
Mack and that Bears defense is still capable of making opponents
look bad. They havenít once yielded more than 25 points to an opposing
QB and the best ones theyíve facedóRodgers, Cousins, Rivers, Wentz,
and Goffóhave combined to average a paltry 13.5 FPts/G. That doesnít
bode well for a green triggerman making just his ninth career NFL
start. Jones is growing on me and I like his weapons, but this isnít
a good spot.
You know who else tends to make opposing QBs look bad? Kirk Cousins
was the very first quarterback to notch more than 20 fantasy points
against the Broncosí better-than-you-think secondary this season,
and most of those were accumulated in the Vikingsí furious second-half
rally after they more or less abandoned the running game. Vic Fangio
hasnít been very successful in his first year as head man, but heís
definitely fielding a playoff-caliber stopper unit in the Mile High
City. Denverís allowing only 310.8 YPG (fourth best overall) and
19.7 PPG (tied for seventh overall with Dallas). Meanwhile, Allen
is coming off his two best performances of the season (at Cleveland
and at Miami). Somethingís gotta give this Sunday and I suspect
it might be the Billsí young field general. He loses the battle
(subpar fantasy digits) but wins the war (Buffalo moves to 8-3).
I’ve been bearish on Goff since the Rams selected him with
the first pick of the 2016 draft and, naturally, he’s spent
the past two seasons pretty much making a liar out of me. I was
willing to admit I’d been wrong about him after last year’s
Super Bowl appearance, but then this season happened. Minus key
pieces on the offensive line (defections and injuries) and unable
to lean heavily on Todd Gurley (managed workload), Goff hasn’t
looked sharp at all. He’s on track to throw almost 600 passes,
easily a career high, but is averaging only 19.7 FPts/G, well
off his 2018 pace (24.1). He’s also sporting a Jameis Winston-esque
TD-INT ratio (11:10). There’s a good chance he gets Brandin
Cooks back for the Monday nighter, but he’ll also be stepping
in front of that Ravens freight train. Steer clear.