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
Cutler vs. STL: Mr. Personality was up to his old tricks last
week, taunting a beleaguered but talented Packers secondary on the
radio prior to Thursday nightís grudge match at Lambeau. Four picks,
seven sacks, 126 measly yards, and one very public temper tantrum
later, the churlish Cutler appears to have been properly chastened.
Again. Though he hasnít been wholly contrite in the aftermath, there
is some good news: In six-plus professional seasons, heís rarely
strung together two awful performances in a row. Yes, I actually
researched his game logs to make that determination. Hereís something
else I always suspected but had been too lazy to confirm: Cutlerís
been particularly gruesome against Green Bay (an 8-15 TD-INT ratio),
a squad he doesnít face again until December 16th. Donít hesitate
to plug him back in against the Rams this Sunday.
Mr Personality should have a bounce back
game against STL.
Dalton @ WAS: The name ďAndy DaltonĒ doesnít move the needle
much for most fantasy GMs. I guess thatís understandable since ďCincinnati
BengalsĒ doesnít move the needle a whole lot more. Is it fair, though?
Hereís how Daltonís rookie numbers compare with those of two anonymous
players (try to guess who):
| Mystery QBs
Give up? Player A is none other than Matt Ryan, the guy everyoneís
been gushing about lately and clearly a top 10 QB. Player B? Gotcha.
Thatís also Matty Ice, in his second season with Atlanta.
Look, Iím not saying Dalton is on the same career trajectory
as Atlantaís star signal caller. He is off to a great start,
however, and could provide great value by seasonís end.
Get him in there against a Redskinsí crew missing crucial
defenders (namely, Brian Orakpo) this Sunday.
Cassel @ NO: If Daltonís name doesnít move the needle much,
Casselís doesnít move it at all. Iím not sure thereís a quarterback
in the league, actually, who receives less attention (of the good
or bad variety). Casselís probably used to it, of course, since
he spent his entire collegiate career playing bridesmaid to USCís
successive Heisman quarterbacks, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.
Still, the guy probably deserves a little more love since heís,
you know, the sixth-ranked QB through the first two weeks (FFToday
default scoring system). Donít believe me? Go take a look yourself.
Youíll find him sandwiched between Eli Manning and Cam Newton.
Cassel probably canít sustain that pace (nor do the Chiefs want
him to, most likely) but a leaky defense is giving him plenty
of opportunities to throw the rock, and throwing the rock against
the Saints has been a pretty lucrative venture lately.
Grab a Clipboard
Ponder vs. SF: Like each of the two guys mentioned above,
Ponderís name is rarely on the lips of fantasy GMs. The difference
isÖitís usually for good reason. Donít misunderstand me: After
a rough rookie season, Ponder has made some obvious strides in
his sophomore year. His passer rating through two games is a crisp
110.6, good for sixth in the entire league, and he hasnít thrown
a pick yet. Still, heís only thrown a pair of touchdowns, has
lost a fumble in each contest, and has also faced two of the leagueís
more questionable defenses. No such luck this weekend, as the
NFCís current best, San Francisco, visits the Twin Cities. I suspect
weíre in for a slugfest, as Ponderís backfield mate, Adrian Peterson,
squares off against a rejuvenated Frank Gore.
Palmer vs. PIT: Iíve already gone on record as saying I think
Palmer will surprise this season and ultimately end up in the
ranks of the Top 10 by the end of the year. What I didnít say
is that heíd always be a must-start option. He certainly isnít
this week against a Curtain defense that could get back its superstars,
Troy Polamalu and James Harrison, in time for Sundayís tilt. Even
without those two studs last weekend, the Steelers put the kibosh
on Mark Sanchezís early momentum by hounding the other former
Trojan into a 10-for-27, 138-yard performance. Palmer should be
better, but probably not by much. Heís struggled to produce much
yardage in 12 career starts against Pittsburgh (just 200.2 per
game) and doesnít have an in-his-prime Chad Johnson or T.J. Houshmandzadeh
at his disposal. Iím sitting him this week in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick
or the aforementioned Matt Cassel.
Kolb vs. PHI: Kolb engineered easily the most stunning upset
of this young 2012 season, leading his upstart Cardinals over
the big, bad Patriots in Foxboro and killing probably 80 percent
of survivor pool participants in the process. OK, so “engineered”
is a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, he was rather efficient in
the win and didn’t make the killer mistakes to which he’s
become so susceptible. Heck, he even tallied a rare rushing touchdown
(just the second of his career). This week, he draws the team
that once considered him its future field general, the Philadelphia
Eagles. That would sound a lot more impressive if he hadn’t
just been beaten out for the Arizona starting gig by John Skelton.
Expect Philly’s intense pressure to unnerve the shaky Kolb
in a game that will most likely remind us why he was considered
irrelevant just a few weeks ago.