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.
Bye Weeks: N/A
Grab a Helmet
Flacco @ PHI: Full disclosure: I’ve never been that high
on Flacco, especially from a fantasy perspective. He’s like a younger,
slightly less accurate version of Matt Schaub who, like the Texans’
field general, engineers a conservative, run-first attack. Or at
least did. The Ravens were neither conservative nor run-heavy during
their demolition of Cincinnati on Monday night, instead deploying
a hurry-up, multiple-wideout scheme, which they talked about during
the offseason and previewed during the preseason. Who says an old
dog (Cam Cameron) can’t learn new tricks? Flacco may not be the
best QB in the league, as he strangely boasted this past April,
but he actually does have a chance to be a top five guy if Baltimore
continues to push the pace moving forward. Get him in your starting
lineup against the Eagles this Sunday as the Ravens might really
be onto something with this new look.
The new-look Ravens offense is music to
the ears of Flacco owners.
Palmer @ MIA: Palmer’s Raiders participated in the other
Monday night contest against San Diego and the contrast between
the two offenses, his and Flacco’s, could not have been more stark.
While Baltimore was striking early and often, Oakland struggled
to move the ball all night long and only managed to reach paydirt
in the final minute when the game was well out of reach. Regardless,
Palmer still completed almost 70% of his 46 pass attempts and fell
just three yards short of the 300-yard mark. He also threw for that
late score and, most importantly, didn’t throw a pick, something
he did with regularity last year and into this summer’s preseason.
He probably needs Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford back to reach the
full potential I envisioned for him
prior to the season, but he still has Darren McFadden, one of
the game’s top five ground gainers and a premiere check-down option
in the passing game. Give him another look against the Dolphins.
Fitzpatrick v. KC: Fitzpatrick should probably add Ryan
Tannehill and Brandon Weeden to his Christmas card list this next
holiday season. The rookies’ awful debuts were the only thing standing
between Buffalo’s leading man and the ignominious distinction of
Week 1 LVP at the quarterback spot. In fact, he was well on his
way to out-sucking the two newbies before he turned things around
and tossed three garbage time scoring strikes in the Bills’ lopsided
loss to the Jets. So why recommend him on the heels of such a terribly
uneven performance? Well, this is who Fitzpatrick is: a high-risk,
high-reward QB who won’t lead Buffalo anywhere but could absolutely
lead your fantasy squad somewhere. If your scoring system doesn’t
penalize interceptions too harshly, he’ll be sneaky decent all year
long. He also draws a Kansas City D that was shredded by Matt Ryan
in Week 1. He ain’t Matt Ryan, granted, but none of the Chiefs’
corners are named Darrelle Revis, either. Buffalo will also be without
Fred Jackson for several weeks and could lean even more heavily
on the up-and-down Fitzpatrick in the meantime.
Grab a Clipboard
Tannehill (v. OAK) or Brandon
Weeden (@ CIN): I’m sure you already know this, but…unless
you’re in a 16-team, two-QB league, there’s absolutely no reason
to consider starting either of these two youngsters. In fact,
I’m not even sure they should be starting for their own teams
right now. Respectively, they’re your 31st and 32nd best options
at the position. Tannehill drew a tough assignment in his first
NFL start, going on the road to face a stalwart Texans’ defense.
Predictably, he bombed, tossing three first half picks (on three
consecutive drives) and failing to record his first career scoring
strike. Weeden, on the other hand, was even worse (historically
so), turning it over four times against Philly and overthrowing
receivers time and again. I’m sure both signal callers will make
strides in the coming weeks but they simply have too far to go
to be relevant right now. Regardless of matchup, leave them be
until they show marked improvement.
Gabbert v. HOU: This guy can certainly relate to what
Tannehill and Weeden are going through, having similarly bumbled
through most of his rookie campaign. Not many expected huge strides
in this, his sophomore season, but Gabbert surprised in Week 1
by leading the Jags to within a whisker’s width of an upset in
the Metrodome. Along the way, he compiled 260 yards (good for
a career high) and a couple scoring strikes. Unfortunately, he
now returns home to face that same Texans defense responsible
for Tannehill’s underwhelming debut and some pretty ghastly numbers
of his own. In two career starts against Houston, Gabbert has
completed just 39 percent of his passes, averaged a mere 116.5
yards, and thrown three interceptions to just one touchdown strike.
You might be tempted to give him a look after an impressive start.
Resist that temptation for at least another week.
Sanchez @ PIT: Well, that was certainly unexpected.
Following a highly scrutinized/criticized preseason wherein they
scored a measly one offensive touchdown, Sanchez and his Jets
exploded out of the regular season gate with 48 points against
Buffalo last weekend. The oft-vilified Sanchez led the surprise
surge by throwing for 266 yards and three scores, rarely ceding
quarterbacking duties to Tim Tebow, regarded by many (present
company included) as hazardous to Sanchez’ fantasy health. Now,
however, comes a reality check in the form of Pittsburgh’s Steelers,
a nasty bunch who will only be ornerier after dropping their opener
to Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The Jets and, by association,
Sanchez would be wise to bank that good cheer they’ve generated
in the event Week 2’s result isn’t worth celebrating. Here’s my
prediction for the record: It won’t be.