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
Stafford v. IND: You win some, you lose some, and some get
rained out. If only Ford Field didn’t have that pesky roof, huh?
Stafford defied the Shot Caller’s bold (read: foolhardy) Week
12 prediction of disappointing digits by tossing for 441 yards
and a couple scores in the bizarre Turkey Day shootout with Houston.
By virtue of that performance, he now leads the league in passing
yardage, just slightly ahead of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. Perhaps unsurprisingly,
he also leads the league in passing attempts, a total he significantly
padded with 61 more chucks against the Texans. In fact, with just
five weeks to go, Stafford is on pace to break Drew Bledsoe’s
nearly 20-year-old record for most passing attempts in a season
(691 in 1994). I may not like his measly 14 TD passes (Sam Bradford
has that many), but I DO like, and can no longer ignore, the staggering
number of times he’s asked to sling it.
Romo v. PHI: If you like quantity over quality, look no further.
Romo trails only the aforementioned Stafford in overall passing
attempts and has actually closed the gap these past two weeks by
throwing the pigskin an unconscionable 112 times. Perhaps that’s
why he was able to post, on an otherwise lackluster Thanksgiving
afternoon, this filthy stat line in the final 15 minutes and change
against Washington: 242 yards and three TDs. That’s 24 fantasy points,
folks, more than 24 other starting QBs posted in four times as much
action. There’s an outside chance the Cowboys will get DeMarco Murray
back for Week 13, an actual running threat capable of easing Romo’s
heavy load. However, Murray hasn’t been cleared to play yet and
the Dallas running game has been pretty much hopeless without him.
I’d say there’s about a 90% chance of flying footballs, with some
occasional Romo lightning, in Big D come Sunday.
With Murray out, Romo will continue to
make hay through the air.
Kaepernick @ STL: If Stafford and Romo are the NFL’s volume
shooters, in the NBA’s parlance, San Francisco’s new signal caller
is quickly becoming the league’s most efficient shooter, getting
the very most out of his relatively limited scoring opportunities.
How efficient is he? Consider this: In the last ten years, only
two quarterbacks have scored more fantasy points per attempt (pass
attempts + rush attempts) on a season than Kaepernick has in his
his first two starts (.87 points/attempt). Matt Flynn (.89) did
it last year thanks to an insane performance in Week 17, his only
start of the campaign. Tim Tebow did it the year prior (.89, as
well) thanks to three hugely productive late-season starts. Granted,
the sample size in all three cases is very small. And yes, I realize
neither Flynn nor Tebow have transformed that promising efficiency
ratio into longer-term success. Nevertheless, Kaepernick has been
enormously successful thus far and looks very comfortable as the
lead man in Frisco. So long as he retains that title between now
and Sunday, you’ll want him in your lineup against the Rams.
Grab a Clipboard
Henne @ BUF: After a shockingly good performance in Week 11
v. Houston and a superb outing against Tennessee last Sunday,
I think it’s fair to ask: Is Chad Henne just a late bloomer finally
coming into his own as a legitimate NFL field general? Or rather,
did he take advantage of a couple nice matchups (an unsuspecting
and short-handed Texans secondary, a suspecting but crummy Titans
secondary) to buoy his once flagging stock? It’s probably too
early to tell, of course, but since we need to make some decisions
right now, in crunch time, here’s my official answer: that second
part. Henne has shown us glimpses before and he certainly does
have some natural ability. However, he’s very inconsistent and
especially untrustworthy in front of hostile crowds (12.42 fantasy
points/game on the road v. 17.55 at home in his career). Don’t
expect miracles against a better-than-you-think Buffalo defense
playing at home in Week 13.
Flacco v. PIT: A miracle is practically what it would
take to tally meaningful totals against the Steel Curtain these
days. Pittsburgh is yielding just 13.9 points/game to opposing
QBs on the season, making them easily the stingiest unit in the
league. That’s even more impressive, I think, when you consider
they’ve spent a large portion of the year without their two best
defenders, Troy Polamalu and James Harrison. It’s not exactly
like they’ve faced Brandon Weeden six times, either. Here’s a
short list of QBs who have suffered their worst statistical days
in 2012 against the Steelers: Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, and…Joe
Flacco. Unfortunately for Mr. Flacco, that paltry effort occurred
a mere two weeks ago at Heinz Field and not a lot has changed
since then. Though he gets a chance for swift redemption back
home in the Charm City this Sunday, you’d be wise to explore other
Wilson @ CHI: Some day, they’ll write glowing things
about Russell Willson, the “other” quarterback in
the historically awesome rookie QB class of 2012. He’ll
be characterized as someone who maximized his natural ability,
always gave his team a chance to win, and (who knows?) maybe even
as the guy who captured a championship for Seattle’s long-suffering
faithful. That’s in the future, though. Right now, the Hawks
are really up against it. They desperately need a W to stay in
the playoff mix and they’re gonna need to get it on the
road against one of the best defenses in the entire league. If
they don’t, they face the prospect of needing to win at
least three of their final four games minus their two lockdown
corners, Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman (suspensions pending).
I think it’ll be a knock-down, drag-out affair at Soldier
Field this weekend so I’m not sure either quarterback will
provide the kind of numbers you’re looking for. Pass on
Wilson this time.