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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 4
QBs | RBs | WRs

Nobody needs to be told starting Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, 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.

Bye Weeks: N.Y. Jets, San Francisco

Gardner Minshew

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Gardner Minshew @ DEN:

The mustachioed Minshew has taken quite the winding path from Flowood MS to Jacksonville folk hero, stopping at Troy, NW Mississippi CC, East Carolina, and then Washington State along the way. He didn’t play football at Troy, but won a national juco title at NWCC and set a Pac-12 single-season record for passing yardage out on the Palouse (not to mention 11 games) before getting plucked in the sixth round of this past April’s draft. That’s four different systems since 2015, a whole bunch of touchdowns, and a legion of fake moustache, cool shades, and jorts-donning followers. Only time will tell whether Minshew’s a flash in the pan or a longer-term sensation, but with pinpoint accuracy, a favorable schedule, and no real competition until Week 11 (Nick Foles’ earliest return date)...why not? I love this matchup against a Broncos squad that hasn’t yet registered a sack.

Case Keenum @ NYG:

As I type this, Keenum has just finished turning the ball over five times in a brutal Monday night loss to Chicago, making this one of the bravest, longest, called shots of my FFToday career. It was the kind of performance that typically gets a placeholder QB relegated to permanent ballcap duty, clearing the way for every fan’s favorite player—the first-round draft pick backup—to make that first, fresh start. And yet, there Keenum was, keeping the Redskins within shouting distance until dang near the end, racking up 24.9 garbage points (ahem, 9th overall for Week 3) while Dwayne Haskins stayed clean. That tells me the rook isn’t ready, at least not yet, meaning Keenum likely gets another start this Sunday. Good news, if so: The Giants aren’t the Bears. New York is yielding a league worst 10.5 yds/pass and 332.3 passing yds/game.

Matthew Stafford v. KC:

We’ve reached that point in the season where being undefeated starts to mean a little something. Wins don’t come easy in the NFL, unless you’re playing the Dolphins, and stringing together several in a row is harder still. Technically, Detroit hasn’t done that but they also haven’t done something 24 other NFL clubs already have: lost. Nobody’s expecting we’ll be able to say that after this Sunday when Andy Reid’s juggernaut comes to Motown, but home teams almost always have a puncher’s chance in this league and fantasy GMs won’t care if Matty Stafford can sneak in a few jabs along the way. He’s averaging almost a touchdown’s worth more points per game this season (23.5 v. 17.1) and the Chiefs are surrendering about just that many per game to the position (23.3). Stafford’s a QB1 in Week 4. Get him in there.

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Carson Wentz @ GB (Thu):

I’ve been following Packers football since approximately 1980 and through all those years, many thin and then many thick, the defense has rarely commanded the spotlight. There were certainly some stellar defensive talents along the way (Reggie White, LeRoy Butler, and Clay Matthews), but only six Green Bay defenses during that near 40-year stretch have ranked in the top five for points allowed. Nobody cared so long as Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers were piling them up on offense, but tables seem to have turned this season. Rodgers is still adapting to Matt LaFleur’s new scheme while the defense is picking up the slack and doing all the heavy lifting so far. That doesn’t bode well for Wentz and his decimated WR corps, especially on a short turnaround Thursday. Expect lots of pressure from the Smiths (Preston and Za’Darius) and a subpar outing for Philly’s franchise.

Kirk Cousins @ CHI:

Until further notice—and you shouldn’t be expecting it anytime soon—I’d recommend fading any quarterback not named Patrick Mahomes against Chicago’s fearsome front seven. Case Keenum tallied nearly 25 points Monday night, as mentioned above, but the vast majority of those digits were accumulated after halftime while Washington frantically attempted to narrow a 25-point halftime deficit. They did, to some extent, but we shouldn’t be expecting the same game flow this coming weekend and we certainly shouldn’t be expecting anything useful from Cousins. He’s averaging just 15.6 FPts/G, MORE than a touchdown’s worth fewer than last year, and looked brutal against that up-and-coming Packers D we just talked about in Week 2. Chicago’s is better. Every NFC North team is above .500 through three weeks but that won’t be the case after Sunday. My bet is Minny drops to 2-2. Sit Cousins down for this one.

Baker Mayfield @ BAL:

Hopes were high for the Browns this season and there’s still time to fulfill that immense promise, but a tough divisional battle looms this weekend and, behind that, a well-rested (not to mention undefeated) Niners team in San Fran. Put another way, Cleveland could conceivably be 1-4 by the time we chat again two weeks hence. They’d have only themselves to blame, sadly, if they can’t solve the penalties problem or the protect Baker Mayfield problem. The Browns are tied for the league lead in penalties with Atlanta (35) and have already surrendered 11 sacks, tied for sixth. Of course, Mayfield isn’t holding up his end of the bargain either with that 3-5 TD-to-INT ratio. Cris Collinsworth said he’s throwing too many “fadeaway jumpers” and any NBA fan worth his/her salt knows you can’t live off a steady diet of those. Wait until we see improvement.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers