Nobody needs to be told starting Aaron Rodgers, Le'Veon
Bell, 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 Rodgers’ bye week? Let’s talk. Looking
for solutions at running back because Johnson 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-QB-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
Stafford is facing a high-octane offense
in a game with one of the highest point totals of the week.
Grab a Helmet
Stafford v. ATL – If you’re wary about rolling Stafford
out against this stingy unit, it’s understandable. But if you drafted
Stafford as your No.1 and are thinking about ditching him for a
QB2 with a plus matchup, don’t do it. Facing the Atlanta defense
isn’t normally a favorable matchup, but the Falcons lost their best
pass rusher in Vic Beasley to a hamstring tear. Stafford has loads
of capable receivers and can really push the pace of the game with
Jim Bob Cooter’s no-huddle. The veteran is off to an excellent start
with six TD passes to one INT, and the reason last week’s yardage
totals were low was because the Lions didn’t need to throw in the
second half against the hapless Giants. He’ll have to be up to the
task if the Falcons get their passing game going, and my bet is
he won’t disappoint in a game with the second highest point total
(50.5) of the week.
Smith @ LAC – Getting off Smith after his ho-hum Week
2 might be a mistake, because this is shaping up to be another Travis
Kelce week with a higher dose of Tyreek Hill. The Chargers defense
has solid pass rushers, but the secondary is in dire straits, losing
Jason Verrett (no timetable) while he gets his knee healthy again.
Smith just looks like a different quarterback this season, and the
Chargers are a defense you like to hit with mismatches, which Kelce
(size & speed combo) and Hill (speed and agility) provide. You want
a called shot? Smith throws for 3+ TDs and 300+ yards on Sunday.
I’ve got him ranked ahead of consensus rankings darlings like Philip
Rivers and Jameis Winston (you’ll hear more about them later), Dak
Prescott, Carson Palmer and Marcus Mariota.
Cutler @ NYJ – Newsflash: The Jets are pretty bad, and
the way to attack them is via their secondary. Cutler might need
to use this game to explore some of these receiving weapons he’s
inherited, and guys like DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry should
have a field day in space against this group. There’s a possibility
Jay Ajayi gets a massive number of touches, but I think plenty will
come via the passing game in screen plays. Cutler also makes a fun
GPP play in DFS contests, and is a worthwhile option for Mariota
owners or the other aforementioned QBs. Julius Thomas makes an excellent
red zone target, and should be used more between the 20s this week.
Grab a Clipboard
Rivers v. KC – The Chiefs, even without Eric Berry,
are a team that historically limits Rivers. He’s only thrown 5
TDs against the KC-D in their last six meetings. The Chiefs’ corners
shouldn’t have too difficult a time covering this crew of one-offs,
and I have a feeling that Melvin Gordon will be the workhorse
they turn to because of it. This is the game your likely to play
Rivers because his projected points are one or two more than your
bench QB in a good matchup, and you regret it later. Don’t regret
it later. If you get the feeling Rivers is a little too old and
his Laserface won’t be able to stop the Chiefs from getting to
him, follow your gut. If you’re convinced he’s the right play,
don’t complain when he throws for 200-1-2.
Flacco @ JAC –As
Joseph Hutchins pointed out last week, Flacco is best used
as a spot starter and in previous years, a matchup with Jacksonville
would have been one of those spots. But the Jags bolstered their
front seven, said goodbye to the quixotic DB Jonathan Cyprien
and embraced the fact that they’re going to play some damn good
pass defense if they were going to compete. They made some bold
moves in free agency, picking up standouts like Calais Campbell,
A.J. Bouye and Barry Church. The linebackers are a blend of talented
youth and grizzled vets, and in the first two weeks all these
changes have shown them to be a formidable unit. Who were we talking
about? Joe Flacco. Yeah, that’s kind of the point – it’s less
about Flacco and more about the instinct to start players against
the Jags, which may take some time to fight. Start fighting here
and keep Flacco on your bench.
Winston @ MIN – Winston is right on the borderline
of a QB1 in 12-team leagues, but he’s facing a strong defensive
opponent on the road. There’s plenty to like about his upside
most weeks, but the Sam Bradford-free Vikings are going to slow
this game down and run a lot of successful mid-range plays, especially
with the Bucs starting LB Kwon Alexander (questionable) dealing
with a hamstring injury. Even if Bradford plays, I can’t
imagine this contest turning into a shootout with an underrated
Bucs defense likely limiting the Vikings-O, so I’m generally
fading him in DFS lineups (outside of a few large-field GPPs)
and looking for better options at for my starter in season-long.