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: N/A
Josh Allen has finished as top ten fantasy
quarterback in each of the last four weeks.
Grab a Helmet
Watson @ PHI: It’s Shot Caller v. Shot Caller for all
Today staff league marbles this coming weekend. Colby has
a decided advantage at the running back position—Todd Gurley and
the combustible Derrick Henry v. Alvin Kamara and whoever replaces
Aaron Jones—but I like my QB/WR/TE positional pieces a bit better,
starting with Mr. Watson. Though Houston’s franchise man hasn’t
surpassed the 300-yard mark since Week 5, that hasn’t kept him
from averaging almost 21.4 FPts/G since. He’s throwing the ball
a lot less but not turning it over (just two picks since Week
6) and mitigating that reduced volume with consistent six-pointers
and above-average ground-based production. I like what the Eagles
did against the Rams last Sunday night, but they’re still yielding
over 280 passing yds/game, the second worst mark in the league,
and are really banged up in the secondary. Start Deshaun Sunday.
Allen @ NE: Not that 300 yards passing means what it
once did. There were 42 such efforts through the season’s first
four weeks (12 over 400 yards), but that number dropped to 37
from Weeks 5-8 and to 26 from Weeks 9-12. Byes and attrition certainly
account for some of that mid-season statistical deflation, but
we’re a week away from closing the books on the next four-game
split (including ZERO byes, notably) and there have only been
13 more 300-yard outings. That’s a roundabout way of saying you
shouldn’t be counting on a sudden passing game explosion in Week
16 and SHOULD be counting on signal callers who bring more to
the table. The Bills’ rookie certainly does that, having averaged
about 12 FPts/G with his legs alone since Week 13. He’s a work-in-progress
thrower (barely 50% completion rate), but is already proving to
be a dynamic playmaker.
Mayfield v. CIN: I bet a league mate back in August
the Browns would win at least 6 games, a prospect that looked
pretty bleak after they kicked away (literally) several winnable
games and sat 2-5-1 through eight weeks. Then Hue Jackson and
Todd Haley were canned, Mayfield started to show off the skill
set that got him drafted No.1, and Cleveland reeled off four wins
in six games to seal the deal for me with room to spare. Mayfield
isn’t necessarily the reason I was bullish on the 2018 Brownies
(I liked the overall talent infusion and trusted regression toward
the mean), but he’s been the chief catalyst for their recent surge.
He’s averaged 22.4 FPts/G from Week 9 on and that includes successive
meh efforts against Carolina and Denver. I love this matchup against
a Bengals team surrendering 25.6 FPts/G to opposing QBs this year
Grab a Clipboard
Winston @ DAL: Colby rolls with Winston this Sunday
after dropping Matt Stafford, but neither option scared me. Stafford’s
fallen off a cliff under Matt Patricia (18.1 FPts/G, the lowest
mark of his career) while Winston has struggled in successive
outings, completing just 47% of his passes in Week 12 and then
getting shut down completely by Baltimore’s suffocating stopper
unit last Sunday. Dallas’ defense is stifling in its own right
(317.4 yards/game, fifth overall) and now has every reason to
play for keeps this weekend. With two Philadelphia wins and two
Cowboy losses, a once-secure NFC East crown would be lost and,
with it, a playoff berth. It’s not a likely scenario, sure, but
I doubt Jason Garrett et al. want that division title/playoff
berth riding on a late December trip to the Meadowlands. Expect
lots of Zeke, lots of Dallas D, and a disappointing afternoon
Cousins @ DET: Cousins and the Minnesota offense had
been floundering when Mike Zimmer surprisingly sacked offensive
coordinator John DeFilippo following a Week 14 stinker in Seattle.
There’s usually more to the story, but “irreconcilable differences”
best explain this split and they boiled down to this: Zimmer wanted
to run the ball and DeFilippo wanted Minny’s $84 Million Dollar
Man throwing it. Head coaches usually win these philosophical
showdowns and new OC Kevin Stefanski clearly recognized that.
The Vikes ran the ball 40 times for 220 yards and three touchdowns
last weekend against the Fish, all season highs, and also scored
a season-high 41 points. Cousins wasn’t bad but only threw the
ball 21 times, his fewest attempts since…a Week 9 tilt against
this Sunday’s opponent, the Lions. Minnesota won’t be inclined
to go Cousins or bust this Sunday and likely won’t need to against
a downtrodden Detroit team.
Trubisky @ SF: The Bears have the NFC North already
sewn up and would need the Rams to soil the bed against two vastly
inferior opponents (Arizona and then San Francisco) in order to
earn a first-round bye. That doesn’t mean they’re
mailing it in by any stretch, but it might mean being careful
with Trubisky’s health in preparation for the playoffs.
Much of Mitch’s appeal is his off-schedule scrambling ability,
but he’s looked more cautious since missing Weeks 12 and
13 with a shoulder injury. He’s also been far less productive.
The former Tar Heel averaged almost 32 FPts/G over a torrid stretch
from Weeks 4-10 but is averaging barely half that since then (16.6).
This Chicago team is good enough defensively to challenge all
contenders come January, but can’t be taken seriously without
their franchise man under center. Expect just-good-enough production
this Sunday down in Santa Clara.