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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 8
QBs | RBs | WRs

Nobody needs to be told starting Patrick Mahomes, Christian 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 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: Dallas, Baltimore

Kirk Cousins

Grab a Helmet

Kirk Cousins v. WAS (Thu)

Love means never having to say youíre sorry, weíre told, but the next best thing, as those in more realistic, long-term relationships can probably attest, is never having to say it twice. Itís been nearly a month since Cousins apologized to star receiver Adam Thielen for a disastrous Week 4 effort in Chicago, and if his performance since then is any indication, the apology was heartfelt. Minnyís $84 Million Dollar Man has averaged nearly 30 FPts/G from Week 5 on and is now the league leader in yards per attempt, just in front of Pat Mahomes. Cousins will be without Thielen for the short turnaround matchup Thursday night, but will still have Stefon Diggs on the flank, Dalvin Cook lining up next to him, and all the motivation he could possibly require facing bitter ex Washington in primetime. This oneís for you, Daniel Snyder.

Ryan Tannehill v. TB

It was shaping up to be the battle of embattled fifth year QBs, a 2015 Rose Bowl Redux, but Marcus Mariota spoiled all that by throwing his first two picks of the season and getting himself demoted following a Week 6 loss to Denver. That doesnít seem fair considering James Winston threw FIVE picks the same day, but it IS fair to say Mariota wasnít moving his offense or, more importantly, winning games. Enter Tannehill, who escaped a mess in Miami for a chance at redemption in Nashville. So far, so good after a 312-yard, two-TD performance against the Bolts in Week 7. The ex-Dolphin isnít likely to make Tennessee appreciably better longer-term, but heís more decisive with the football and similar enough to Mariota athletically that wholesale scheme changes wonít be necessary. If you lost Mahomes on Thursday, hereís a decent replacement for this weekend.

Ryan Fitzpatrick @ PIT (Mon)

And hereís another one, a befittingly messy QB now tasked with managing that aforementioned mess in Miami. This has the chance to spectacularly backfire, sureóhistorically error-prone quarterback playing for a historically lousy teamóbut with so many star QBs sidelined (Mahomes, Brees, Roethlisberger, Prescott, Jackson, Ryan, Newton), donít you at least CONSIDER riding dirty with Fitzmagic in Week 8? You could have done a lot worse last Sunday (QB7 with 282 yards, one passing TD, and one berserk rushing TD) and now that Miamiís figured out what Arizona already knew, that Josh Rosen isnít an NFL QB, itís not impossible to imagine Fitzy throwing up some crooked numbers the rest of the way as his team plays consistently from behind. I donít love the matchup against a rested Pittsburgh team at home coming off a big win, but few career journeymen have as high a ceiling.

Grab a Clipboard

Sam Darnold @ JAX

Darnold recovered from an early-season bout with mononucleosis to throw for 338 yards and two scores in Week 6, upsetting the favored Cowboys and thrilling Jets fans whoíd been forced to watch Luke Falk engineer the New York offense for several weeks. Those same fans might be hoping the since-released Falk is still floating around on waivers after Darnoldís brutal Week 7 encore. The franchiseís baby-faced frontman barely registered a QBR v. New England (0.7) when he completed just 11 of 32 passes for 86 yards, tossed four picks, lost a fumble, and also comically batted an errant snap out of the endzone for a safety. Yes, it was the Pats and heís still green, but Darnoldís poor mechanics, poorer decision-making, and seeming crisis of confidence were alarming. Itíll be difficult enough facing a rugged Jacksonville eleven on the road Sunday, let alone ghosts. Sit him.

Baker Mayfield @ NE

Next in line for a trip through New Englandís House of Horrors is the leagueís most disappointing squad, the 2-4 Browns. Mayfield deserves a large portion of the blame for his squadís early-season struggles as heís sporting the third worst passer rating amongst qualified passers (only Darnold and Josh Rosen are worse) and leads the league in turnovers with 11. Thatís one more than Mr. Turnover himself, Jameis Winston, and who the heck would have predicted that back in early September? Mayfieldís too talented to continue playing this poorly and isnít bereft of weapons in the Cleveland offense, but we may not see much improvement until the schedule lightens up some starting in Week 11. If you own him and have a reliable alternative, be patient. If you donít and are looking for a great buy low candidate for the stretch run, he could fit the bill.

Kyle Allen @ SF

Coach Belichick hasnít completely cornered the market on stingy defenses, it appears. Just 3,000+ miles west of 1 Patriot Place, San Franciscoís Robert Saleh coordinates a stopper unit almost every bit the equal of New Englandís. The Niners are surrendering just two more yards per game, fewer passing yards (a league best 133.5/game), and have only allowed opponents to score 13 points this past month. Thatís 13 points TOTAL. Granted, one of those teams was Washington and the game was played in monsoon-like conditions last Sunday, but one of them was Los Angeles in the shiny SoCal sun (Week 6). Somethingís gotta give when Allen puts his spotless record on the line v. undefeated San Francisco and my moneyís on the boys in red and gold. You canít sit Christian McCaffrey, but you can sit the guy handing it off to him. Do it.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers