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
Schaub @ NE: He’s on pace to throw for more than 4,000 yards
and 28 touchdowns. He sports a stellar 94.5 quarterback rating.
His Texans have scored the second most points behind New England
and share the league’s best record with Atlanta. So how is this
wildly successful triggerman only the 16th most valuable fantasy
QB through 13 weeks? For starters, he provides almost nothing
in the running game. In fact, nothing would be an improvement
(-8 yards and no TDs on the ground so far). He’s also the victim
of his own squad’s success. Big leads + suffocating defense +
stellar rushing attack = relatively modest numbers for Schaub.
Thankfully, the former Wahoo rises to the occasion when Houston
ISN’T blowing their opponents to smithereens. His two most productive
outings this year occurred in a 31-25 win over Denver (30.5 points)
and in a 43-37 win over Jacksonville (46.4). When the Texans are
in a bona fide shootout, in other words, Schaub transforms into
a hugely productive gunslinger. I think next Monday night’s clash
of the AFC titans in Foxboro may qualify as a real shoot ‘em up.
Freeman v. PHI: Philly’s been involved in a couple of shootouts
lately, as well, though most of the shooting has been done by their
opponents. Including the tipping point loss to Detroit back in Week
6, the Birds have yielded a whopping 31.6 points/game in their last
seven contests and no fewer than the 26 they gave up in that one.
Is it any wonder a desperate Andy Reid jettisoned defensive coordinator
Juan Castillo several weeks ago? Meanwhile, Freeman and his Bucs
have been averaging a cool 30.4 in their last seven, mostly because
the third-year field general has regained the form he displayed
in his breakout sophomore campaign back in 2010. Though he’s tailed
off a bit of late, he and his Tampa mates are desperate to put the
kibosh on a two-game skid. What better way to do that than squaring
off against the Eagles’ gooey soft secondary on Sunday?
Josh Feeman is shaping up as QB1 in Week
Foles @ TB: The Eagles may be slouching toward an ignominious
end to the Andy Reid era, but all is not lost in the City of Brotherly
Love, especially for fantasy GMs. Bryce Brown has been a revelation
at running back, tallying the most points at his position for two
consecutive weeks since replacing LeSean McCoy (concussion). Foles,
on the other hand, though much less impressive overall, has shown
some ability and does have something Brown probably doesn’t: a guaranteed
starting gig for the rest of the year. It remains to be seen whether
the Arizona product is worthy of a regular gig in fantasy ball,
but almost anyone who’s faced the aforementioned Bucs has been worthy
of starting this year. Tampa is conceding a league-worst 309 passing
yards/game to date and has managed just 18 sacks in 12 games, making
them ill-equipped to take advantage of Philly’s biggest weakness,
a patchwork offensive line. Give Foles a look in Week 14.
Grab a Clipboard
Rivers @ PIT: Reid will most likely be joined in the unemployment
line by Norv Turner come season’s end and there are a myriad of
reasons why. In my mind, though, it boils down to just one: Philip
Rivers isn’t as good as Drew Brees. Since 2006, the year San Diego
cast their lot with him, Rivers has accumulated 27,106 yards,
180 TD passes, and 92 interceptions. Not too shabby. Brees, however,
has racked up a stunning 32,068 yards, 232 TD passes, and 109
picks in New Orleans. Oh, and he’s wearing a Super Bowl ring.
Turner didn’t make that call, of course, but he’s had to live
with its consequences. While Brees continues to light up NFL defenses,
the younger Rivers has taken a nosedive the past two seasons and
is now just a middle-of-the-road signal caller who makes way too
many mistakes (35 picks in his last 28 games). This just in: Middle-of-the-road,
error-prone QBs don’t usually fare too well in the Steel City.
Palmer v. DEN: Palmer’s even further along the road to QB
oblivion than Rivers, but you probably wouldn’t know it by reading
this column. I’ve actually touted the former Bengal several times
this year and even went so far as to label him “criminally underrated”
a few weeks back. Lest you think that crazy talk, consider that
in the last five weeks, only two quarterbacks have outperformed
Palmer on a per-game basis: Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Look it
up if you’re dubious. While you’re at it, take a look at his numbers
against the Broncos in Week 4 (202 yards and no scores if you’re
too lazy). Oakland has gotten worse since that matchup (much worse)
and the offensive line is struggling to keep rushers out of Palmer’s
face. That’s trouble with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil coming
to town. Miller, after all, has already recorded more sacks on
the year than the entire Oakland defense. Uh-oh.
Bradford @ BUF: The supposedly revamped Bills D was a surprisingly
easy mark at the start of the season, allowing three 300-yard
passing games and three triple-TD performances in its first five
outings. Since that point, however, nobody has been able to accomplish
either feat against them. “Nobody,” by the way, includes
Tom Brady, Matt Schaub, and Andrew Luck. Maybe Buffalo’s
stoppers just needed some time to coalesce into a more cohesive
unit? Bradford’s recent run of success (two TDs in three
straight games) came to a screeching halt at Edward Jones dome
last Sunday, despite the extra period, and it seems unlikely he’ll
be able to right the ship minus a full complement of weapons this
weekend at Orchard Park. At press time, Danny Amendola is still
a huge question mark. Pass on Bradford until his safety valve
returns to the lineup.