Nobody needs to be told
starting Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, or Calvin Johnson 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
Foster 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 Megatron and went RB-QB-Gronkowski in your first three
rounds? I’m your huckleberry. Past results may not guarantee
future success, but I believe ignoring them entirely can ruin
your Sundays in a hurry. Read on for a little history and, hopefully,
a little sage advice.
Note: Fantasy points
based on FF Today’s default scoring system.
Bye Weeks: N/A
Grab a Helmet
Dalton v. OAK: In one of those tasty NFL ironies, Cincinnati’s
present gunslinger squares off against Cincinnati’s past gunslinger
in the Queen City this Sunday having scored the exact same number
of fantasy points through 11 weeks. And when I say “exact,” I
mean to the tenth (228.8)! You already know how I feel about Palmer
(ridiculously underrated) so it stands to reason you should be
equally excited about a guy who’s statistically indistinguishable
from the former Bengal. This is especially the case when that
guy is facing Palmer’s new Raider teammates, a group that’s surrendered
the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks
(23.6). I’ve done my best to rescue Palmer from the ranks of the
unsung, but now it’s time to salvage his successor in Cincy, the
red-headed stepchild, so to speak, of top 10 QBs. Dalton is one
of your very best options this Thanksgiving weekend…right up there
with the pumpkin pie.
Dalton: Better than pumpkin pie?
Wilson @ MIA: Pete Carroll shocked everyone back in late August
by tagging Wilson as the starter over big money free agent acquisition,
Matt Flynn. Then, he immediately slapped some training wheels
on the kid, preferring to ride hard-nosed Marshawn Lynch and a
salty defense to grind-it-out Ws. That didn’t do much for Wilson’s
fantasy value, of course, but this certainly has: Carroll’s willingness
to put more and more of the offense in the former Badger’s hands
as the season has progressed. He averaged 13.5 points through
his first four games, 18.1 in Q2, and is currently averaging just
over 22 points per game halfway through the third quarter of the
season. You may find the quarterly splits metric arbitrary (fair
enough), but the trend line is undeniable: Russell Wilson is getting
more valuable with each passing week. Give him a look this Sunday
as the Hawks might struggle to run the ball against Miami’s rugged
Newton @ PHI: Occasionally, when I pop open the ESPN ScoreCenter
app on my phone, the following “Did You Know?” blurb is posted
on the splash page: “Since the start of 2011, Cam Newton is 2-11
against teams above .500.” I certainly didn’t know that, ESPN,
but I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. Newton lacks great mechanics.
He continues to make poor decisions. He often can’t hit the broad
side of a barn (ranked 29th in the league at 57.0%). In other
words, he’s suffering through one of the more publicized and painful
(not to mention predictable) sophomore slumps in recent memory.
Nevertheless, for all his troubles this season, the former Heisman
winner is still right on the cusp of top 10 status at the QB position.
Though I still think he ends up on the outside looking in come
season’s end, this matchup against the well below .500 Eagles
is a good one. Start Newton with confidence this coming Monday
Grab a Clipboard
Stafford v. HOU: There was no more surprising performance
last weekend than Chad Henne’s 354-yard, four-TD explosion in
relief of the injured Blaine Gabbert. He’d done this before (see
Week 1 of last season) but not against a defense as good as Houston’s.
Naturally, we can expect the much more talented Stafford to light
up the Texans’ suddenly vulnerable secondary on Thanksgiving Day,
right? If only it were that simple. Houston was in a pretty flat
spot last Sunday, coming off a huge primetime win against Chicago
and facing a one-win team they have routinely dominated. To compound
this, they knocked an ineffective Gabbert out of the game and
ended up facing a QB they hadn’t game-planned for. The results,
although stunning, were at least somewhat understandable. Regardless,
Stafford will be facing a very different group this afternoon,
a talented and embarrassed bunch that will want to make immediate
amends on national TV. The last time they were in this situation
– after getting lit up by Aaron Rodgers in Week 6 – they held
Joe Flacco to 12.1 points. Be careful with Stafford.
Tannehill v. SEA: Unlike the aforementioned Russell
Wilson, Miami’s rookie signal caller appears to be trending southward.
His quarterly splits read like this as we head into Week 12:
1Q: 17.0 PPG
2Q: 15.5 PPG (I didn’t include his significantly shortened
Week 8 appearance)
3Q: 11.3 PPG (through two games)
It’s pretty typical for rookies to hit a wall, of course,
but what concerns me most about Tannehill’s regression is
that he’s been faltering just as his competition is getting
theoretically more friendly. He faced Houston, the NJ Jets, and
Arizona in three of his first four outings, teams that field top
10 pass defenses. His last three opponents – Indianapolis,
Tennessee, and Buffalo – rank in the bottom half of the
league, however. Are teams figuring out the Fish’s new franchise
QB? If so, he could be in for a long day against Seattle’s
elite unit. Stay away from Miami’s half of the rookie quarterback
showdown at Sun Life Stadium this Sunday.
Smith or Colin
Kaepernick @ NO: There aren’t many occasions
when you’d want to sit down a QB facing New Orleans’
highly suspect secondary (305 yds/game and 8.5 yds/pass, 31st
and 32nd in the league, respectively). The Saints have been ranked
at or near the bottom all year long and seem bent on trying to
score their way into playoff contention. Moreover, either Smith
(still not medically cleared) or Kaepernick (fresh off a wildly
successful debut start) appear more than capable of putting up
satisfying stats this weekend. Both of them, though? Jim Harbaugh
indicated the two may switch off as matchups dictate from game
to game. In other words, he hasn’t named a starter yet.
Fine. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of rotating
the two within the game, however. Yeah, that’s not gonna
work for us. Unless you get further clarity from Coach Harbaugh
between now and Sunday, you’re better off steering clear
of San Fran’s budding QB committee in Week 12.