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

If someone had told me Willie Parker, Stephen Davis, and Carnell Williams would be the top points-producing running backs after Week 2, I’d have turned my typewriter in and taken up crochet. Unfortunately for you, they didn’t…which means I’m still here punching away, hoping against hope that some semblance of order, some measure of normalcy returns to the game as we head into the third weekend. Order? Normalcy? This is the NFL, dummy! What were you thinking? I was thinking, because you ask, that I’ve got a job to do. Undaunted, we press on to the Week 3 recommendations.


Must Start: The Top 10

1. Peyton Manning v. CLE – Need proof the ’05 season isn’t going according to form? Look no further. After two weeks, he’s thrown just 64 passes and two touchdowns. Of course, a revamped defense means the Colts are still comfortably undefeated. They’ll remain so after Week 3, thanks to a Cleveland team that doesn’t measure up at any position.

2. Donovan McNabb v. OAK – So much for the bruised sternum/ego, eh? I almost never go against my own rankings but I chickened out on Sunday morning and sat him down. (Stop laughing.) Though it didn’t cost me, it should have. Won’t make that mistake again. Start him against an improving but still vulnerable Raiders D.

3. Carson Palmer @ CHI – What’s this, a Heisman winner who actually succeeds in the NFL? Better believe it, folks. After two weeks of monster numbers (five scores and a league-leading 617 yards), it’s apparent Mr. Palmer has finally arrived. What should really scare opponents, though, is that he’s used every one of his considerable weapons thus far, tossing those five TD passes to five different targets. Look out, AFC.

4. Kerry Collins @ PHI – Look out, AFC, Part II…if that defense ever comes around. The usually erratic Collins is still barely above 50% but has avoided the costly interceptions that have plagued him in the past. Moreover, he’s finding the one guy who matters most (Mr. Moss) on a regular basis. He won’t lead the Raiduhs to victory this Sunday but he’ll still put up good numbers. Keep starting him.

5. Tom Brady @ PIT – After an uncharacteristically crappy performance on Sunday, Brady is faced with the prospect of beating the Curtain in Steel Town or going home 1-2, an unheard of mark for a perennial Super Bowl squad. Lemme ask you this: is there anyone else you’d rather have under center in such a situation? Didn’t think so. Expect a solid bounce-back performance and a New England victory.

6. Marc Bulger v. TEN – Did you notice I’ve been spelling his name wrong the past two weeks? Marc with a “C” posted modest numbers against the Cards last Sunday but is always capable of putting up big ones when the situation warrants it. I’m not sure it will this weekend but I think he’s still good for 250 yards and a couple scores, especially at home. Stick with him.

7. Trent Green @ DEN – After two weeks, only two starting QBs are sporting goose eggs in the touchdown column. Green is one of them. Daunte Culpepper is the other. I’d have bet my (admittedly puny) life savings they’d be on the board by now. Green probably would be if he didn’t have the best 1-2 RB punch in the league lining up behind him every week. He makes amends at Mile High on Monday night.

8. Ben Roethlisberger v. NE – I’ll confess to being somewhat skeptical before the season began, but now I hafta admit to being totally impressed. He doesn’t throw it much (a mere 32 attempts in two games) but when he does, he’s money, completing almost 72% of his throws and completing all of them to the men in black (no picks). There are better matchups than the defending champs but I suspect he’ll perform well, just as he did last season (18 of 24 for two scores). The only difference this year will be the result.

9. Aaron Brooks @ MIN – Coach Haslett’s gonna need a truckload of yellow dye to ward off that rapidly encroaching gray after another year of watching Brooks lead his squad. Though the Saints’ signal-caller threw for 375 yards and his first TD at the Meadowlands, he also managed to throw three picks and lose a ridiculous fumble in the third quarter. He is what he is, folks (a poor decision-maker who doesn’t like pressure). If you can live with that, you might be rewarded with the occasional gem.

10. Matt Hasselbeck v. ARI – Hasselbeck bounced back from a rough one against the Jags to post stellar numbers against Atlanta’s equally stingy bunch. What does that tell us? He’s a maddeningly inconsistent but talented field general. Sound familiar, Saints fans? The matchup looks good this weekend and he tends to play better in Seattle so give him another shot.

Grab A Helmet:

Daunte Culpepper v. NO – What can I say that hasn’t already been said about the Vikes’ beleaguered leader? He’s beyond “struggling” at this point (TEN turnovers in two games) and clearly misses his bailout man, Mr. Moss. Will he get better? How can he get any worse? I like the matchup this weekend and I think he bounces back against an inconsistent Saints D.

Brian Griese @ GB – He wasn’t asked to do much last week (thanks, Caddy) but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have value. The Pack has been fairly stiff against the run (surprise) but soft against the pass (no surprise). If they’re able to corral the rook this Sunday, Griese could opt to devastate them with Messrs. Galloway and Clayton.

Jake Delhomme @ MIA – The notoriously slow-starting Delhomme is at it again this season, tossing just one TD against three picks to this point. Though Steve Smith is a fabulous target, someone else needs to be involved in the passing game. Ricky Proehl and Keary Colbert have combined to grab just five balls in two games. That isn’t good enough and the Panthers know it. Expect the situation to be rectified against an overwhelmed Dolphins squad.

Eli Manning @ SD – Raise your hand if you thought he’d have more TD passes than big bro after two weeks. Manning visits the city/team he didn’t want to play for this Sunday in a game that could decide the playoff fate of the Chargers. If he outperforms Drew Brees, the Bolts will be finished. He just might, believe it or not.

Kurt Warner @ SEA – He’s thrown 88 passes in two games, tying him for the league lead with Mr. Favre, another 0-2 triggerman. Imbalance might work in the college ranks (ask Texas Tech) but it doesn’t work in the bigs. If the Cards don’t find a running game (likely), he’ll continue chucking 40+ passes a game. That won’t do much for their fortunes but it might help you out, provided he’s able to find the end zone every once in a while.

Brett Favre v. TB – Favre is certainly finding the end zone (three TD strikes) but, unfortunately, is also forcing too many balls into coverage. Nothing new there so if your league doesn’t penalize picks too severely, give him another look. He’s eventually gonna get comfortable with his inexperienced receiving corps and when he does, you’ll want him on your side.

Grab A Clipboard:

Trent Dilfer @ IND – He actually outplayed the future Hall of Famer last Sunday (336 yards and three scores) but doesn’t have the luxury of facing the Pack’s wobbly secondary this week. Instead, he gets an Indy bunch that is leaps-and-bounds better than they were last season. If he manages to avoid the vicious Colts pass rush, he could still surprise. Of course, I said the same thing about Byron Leftwich last week. Sit him down and hope he survives to play another day.

J.P. Losman v. ATL – The best thing that could be said about his fledgling career as a starter? He hasn’t turned it over yet. Unfortunately, you don’t get fantasy points for not turning the ball over. He needs to do more to be considered a viable option and the Bills’ conservative attack isn’t going to afford him that opportunity. No, unless you’re REALLY hurting at the position.

Kyle Orton v. CIN – The other greenhorn, Orton, is coming off a solid performance against the Lions and is a couple wins away from being the toast of Chitown. It’s unlikely he’ll be the toast of your fantasy league anytime soon, though. After all, he only accounted for six of his team’s 38 points last Sunday. Expect similar numbers this weekend but also a few turnovers against Cincy’s ball-hawking defense.

Michael Vick/Matt Schaub @ BUF – The fleet-footed one is looking like he’ll be a game-time decision at Orchard Park, which should be reason enough to go in another direction. Even if he plays, though, you gotta wonder how effective he’ll be against the league’s best defense. I’m betting the tender hammy doesn’t keep him from playing but does keep him from posting good numbers. Wait a week.

Tim Rattay v. DAL – Wait a week here and he may not be starting anymore. Despite the .500 mark, it’s only a matter of time before Rattay yields to the franchise (Alex Smith), especially considering he’s led the Niners O to just 359 yards in TWO GAMES, a full 600+ yards fewer than the San Francisco D has given up thus far. That’s not a sustainable margin over the long haul and you can’t expect things to get much better with an angry Dallas defense coming to town.

Running Backs