Nobody needs to be told starting
Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley, or DeAndre Hopkins 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 Mahomes’ bye week? Let’s
talk. Looking for solutions at running back because Barkley 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.
There are more dynamic quarterbacks in the league and certainly
guys with a higher fantasy ceiling, but few who can match the
week-in, week-out, set-it-and-forget-it reliability of Philip
Michael Rivers. He hasn’t missed a start since the George W. Bush
administration. He’s averaged 21+ FPts/G in 10 of his last 11
seasons. His career passer rating (95.7) ranks ninth all time
behind such luminaries as Rodgers, Brady, Brees, and Manning.
I invested heavily in the Bolts’ wingman this season precisely
because of this incredible long-term consistency but also because
I suspected he’d have no trouble filling the fantasy vacuum created
by Melvin Gordon’s prolonged holdout. So far so good after one
week. Rivers posted 29.3 points in the win over Indy and simply
won’t be daunted by the loss of valuable helpmates. Don’t worry
about Gordon’s continued absence or Hunter Henry’s injury. Start
Everything’s bigger in Texas, especially expectations for
a proud but championship-starved franchise following a dominating
Week 1 performance against a divisional rival. Jerruh’s
already drawing comparisons to Aikman and Emmitt, but to be fair,
it was way more Aikman than Emmitt in the win over the Giants.
Prescott ruined the NY secondary to the tune of 405 passing yards
and four TDs last Sunday, earning him NFC Offensive Player of
the Week and top fantasy honors at the position. There’s
no question the ‘Boys will lean more heavily on Zeke Elliott
as the season progresses, but that might make Dak even more dangerous.
He has the ground support. He has the receiving weapons. He has
the motivation (that “imminent” contract). I’d
bet my money he’ll be getting HIS pot of money sooner rather
than later. Get him in there against another divisional rival,
Washington, this coming weekend.
Spirits are soaring in Big D, but the same can’t be said of the
Windy City, where Bears fans will have had 10 long days to stew
over a Week 1 dud by the time they take the field in Denver. It’s
bad enough losing your first game to your oldest rival and on
your own turf. It’s worse when your offense manages a lousy FG
in the losing effort. Trubisky wasn’t sharp, to say the least,
but all this talk of him being the wrong man for the job is a
bit silly. No, he’s not Aaron Rodgers. Is he good enough to lead
Chicago, in just his third season, to the promised land with the
help of the league’s most ferocious defense? If not for Cody Parkey’s
infamous double-doinker, he may have done it in his second. As
Rodgers himself might say: R-E-L-A-X. Stick with Mitch.
We shouldn’t have been surprised the No.1 overall pick struggled
through three quarters of his NFL debut v. Detroit. Heisman winner
or not, he was still a rookie playing his first game for a crummy
team and against a veteran defensive mind (Matt Patricia). Any
doubts that might’ve crept in, however, as the former Sooner
went 9-25 with 70 yards and a pick through his first 45 minutes
were quickly extinguished when he dissected Coach Pat’s
D for 238 yards and two scores over the final 25 to earn the stalemate.
The kid is alright, in other words, and the future looks very
bright. OK, maybe not the immediate future. The Ravens are a historically
stingy outfit under John Harbaugh and made life miserable for
the Dolphins’ JV squad last Sunday. I’m bullish on
Murray as freshman sensation but bearish on his Week 2 prospects.
I was too chicken to tag Cousins as a Top 10 Dropout in August—he’s
proven me wrong before—but I’m now thinking this is
the year he’d have finally made a soothsayer out of me.
I’ve never been crazy about his upside, frankly, and watched
the Vikes suddenly/drastically change course late last year, cutting
bait with OC John DeFilippo, who was too pass-happy by half for
conservative head man Mike Zimmer. That renewed emphasis on the
running game has carried over into 2019 and then some. Cousins
threw a mere 10 passes in the opener v. Atlanta. 10! He was quite
efficient with this low volume, granted (eight completions, 98
yards, and a score), but would have been virtually useless for
our purposes had he not added a rushing TD. He’s a game
manager now and the matchup with Green Bay’s revamped defense
isn’t a great one.
And in case you think I’m just predisposed to trash an upcoming
Packers opponent, here’s proof I can be even-handed. A-Rodge
is orchestrating a new offense for the first time since he became
Green Bay’s starter in 2008 and even warned before this
campaign started it could be a “work in progress”
early on. I guess some of us weren’t listening. The Head
Cheese managed just 203 yards and a score in Matt LaFleur’s
first game but that touchdown was enough as the Pack’s D
completely shut down Matt Nagy’s Bears offense. It won’t
be enough v. the Vikings, presumably, but I’m still a little
hesitant to recommend the future HOF’er in this tilt. He’s
struggled mightily v. Minny of late and his WR corps is still
a question mark outside of Davante Adams. Let Rodgers grow into
LaFleur’s scheme and wait for a better matchup.