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The Shot Caller's Report - QBs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 12
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Everyone knows to start Peyton Manning every week, regardless of the match-up. But not all decisions are as easy at that one. So to help you decide who you should start and who you should bench I have identified the players at the QB, RB and WR positions that should excel this week and should be started, as well as the players who will struggle this week and should be benched. Don’t forget the Thursday night game—get those lineups in on time. And no need to worry about your star player being off; the bye weeks are over and everybody plays!

Let's start with the QB position. You shouldn't have to be told, but just in case... always, always start the following players: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, and Kyle Orton. Now on to the question marks...


Start 'Em:
Quarterbacks Who Will Outperform Relative To Their Draft Position And Recent Hype

Brett Favre @ WAS
Grandpa Favre is struggling to remain a top 25 QB this year. His 227 yards a game ranks him 23rd in the NFL and he averages just 1 TD to go along with his 2 INTs per game. His 69.8 QB rating is the lowest for any starting QB and his 60.2 completion percentage is 6th lowest in the league. Against his former team, the Green Bay Packers, Favre was 17-38 for 208 yards and an INT in a blowout loss. He’s got 24 different injuries he’s nursing, the Vikings’ season is over, which means his career is over, and yet his selfishness and ego won’t allow him to step down and let the Vikings see what they have in Tarvaris Jackson for the future. Now the good news… Favre takes on the Redskins’ 29th ranked pass defense this week. Washington allows 280 yards and 2 TDs per game and gives up 4 big plays a game – 4th worst in the league. A horrendous performance like last week is exactly when Favre usually bounces back and against the Redskins he might be bouncing back big.

Rusty Smith @ HOU
With Vince Young obviously off his meds (again), the Titans must turn to the rookie from Florida Atlantic to lead them until veteran Kerry Collins returns. Smith was 3-9 for 62 yards and an INT in last week’s limited action after replacing the injured Young. Of course, it’s only natural to think the Titans’ season is over and this QB is going to do nothing – but not so fast. He faces the faltering Houston Texans and their 32nd ranked pass defense this week, so there’s some amount of hope. Houston has had the worst pass defense in the league since week 1 and is currently giving up 301 yards and 2.5 TDs per game, which is down from the 419 yards a game in Week 1, 338 yards a game in Week 4, 306 yards a game in Week 6, but up a little from 298 yards a game in Weeks 8 and 9. While I don’t expect Smith to throw for 300 yards, I do expect him to have a better game than perhaps most would expect from a rookie making his first NFL start.

Shaun Hill vs. NE
In Hill’s two weeks back from injury he’s thrown for 323 yards and a TD and 289 yards and 2 TDs – both in losing efforts, but we don’t care about wins and losses, just stats. This week he takes on the 31st ranked pass defense of the Patriots and should exceed his 240 yards per game average against the 8-2 team giving up 289 yards and 2 TDs per game through the air. The bad luck Lions could put up a lot of points at home on Thanksgiving against New England making Hill a very good play.

Sam Bradford @ DEN
I recommended starting him last week against the Falcons’ 23rd ranked pass defense, and the rookie did not disappoint, throwing for 233 yards and 2 TDs. This week Bradford takes his 216 yards and 1 TD per game average to Denver to face the 20th ranked Broncos’ passing defense. The ball should be flying in Denver’s thin air for both teams and Bradford could be adding to his growing number of rookie of the year votes. Denver allows 230 yards and 2 TDs per game, which is almost exactly what Bradford got you last week.

Bench 'Em:
Quarterbacks Who Will Under Perform Relative To Their Draft Position And Recent Hype

Jon Kitna vs. NO
I wanted to recommend starting Kitna last week but there were just too many other matchups to compete with. This week I’m not recommending him for a start, but I’m recommending him for a benching! Kitna is quickly moving up the rankings with his performance the last couple of weeks and is currently 14th in the NFL with 245 yards and 2 TDs per game. He’s thrown 3 TDs each of the last two weeks, and even ran one in last week to cap off a four-TD performance. But that was against Detroit; this week it’s New Orleans. I know he’s at home, on Thanksgiving Day – big traditional game for the ‘Boys, but the Saints’ 2nd ranked pass defense could be too much for him to handle. Either Kitna will go off again in a shootout with Brees or he’ll come crashing back to reality. Based on Kitna’s history, I have to side with reality over shootout. New Orleans should be able to contain the Cowboys passing attack to the tune of the 186 yards a game they allow. And even more importantly, the Saints have only allowed 7 TDs all year – only the Bears have allowed fewer (6), so things don’t look so good for the resurgent Cowboys.

Jason Campbell vs. MIA
The upstart Raiders and their QB Jason Campbell got a big smack of reality last week when the Steelers held Campbell to 7-19 passing for 70 yards, an INT, 4 sacks and 2 fumbles. He was replaced by Bruce Gradkowski but Head Coach Tom Cable says Campbell will remain the starter this week against the Dolphins, who have their own QB woes to deal with. Miami’s 5th ranked pass defense gives up just 197 yards and 1 TD per game. They are 9th in the league in sacks and 7th in big plays allowed. Only eight teams have given up less passing TDs and they allow just 59% of passes to be completed against them – 10th best in the league. Campbell’s season stats are 165 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks and 1 fumble per game in his 7 starts, so don’t expect more and avoid him like the plague.

Jay Cutler

How many times will the Eagles sack Cutler this week?

Jay Cutler vs. PHI
Cutler is best-known as the whiny QB who has been sacked a league-leading 33 times. He’s averaging 229 yards and a TD per game over his 9 starts, and in the two games before last week’s battle against Miami he’d totaled 425 yards and 5 TDs. This week he takes on the Eagles and their 13th ranked pass defense that gives up 213 yards and nearly 2 TDs per game, but also leads the league in INTs, is 9th in sacks, 3rd in QB rating (71.0), 6th in completion percentage (56.3), and 5th in yards per completion (6.6). All signs point to a rough outing for Cutler this week and I’d leave him on the bench if possible.

Tyler Thigpen @ OAK
I told you to bench him last week against the 15th ranked Chicago Bears pass defense and if you listened you avoided a 17-29, 187 yard, 1 INT, 1 fumble, 6 sack debacle. This week, Thigpen takes on a statistically better pass defense in Oakland, who even after getting destroyed by the Steelers, ranks 4th in the league in pass defense giving up just 193 yards per game – but 2 TDs per game to be careful of. Only Buffalo, Dallas, Jacksonville, New England and Houston have given up more TDs than the Raiders. They do give up big plays and only have 5 INTs on the year (less than anyone but Buffalo with 4) but are also 4th in the league in sacks and 2nd in completion percentage (54.2%). This is clearly an up-and-down pass defense but I expect more “ups” from them this week after the beating they took from Pittsburgh so you should be very hesitant to give Thigpen a shot.

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