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: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas
City, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego
Grab a Helmet
Fitzpatrick v. TEN: If you happened to miss the
SCR last week, don’t feel so bad. You didn’t really miss anything.
It’s been a rough couple weeks for the ol’ Shot Caller (keep reading),
capped off by some woeful prognostications prior to Week 6. Nevertheless,
nobody circles the wagons like yours truly and, according to Boomer,
the Buffalo’s Bills. What better way to put last week in the rearview
mirror, I say, than going back to the well with my favorite under-the-radar
QB, Buffalo’s very own Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jim Kelly he isn’t and
yes, he’s stunk up the joint the past two weeks. The Arizona and
San Francisco defenses will do that to a guy. This week, he draws
a Tennessee squad yielding a 71.9 completion percentage to its opponents.
That’s on pace for the worst mark since…as far back as I could research
(around 2000). Expect an accurate and fairly productive day from
the Harvard man.
It's about time for "Good Fitz"
to make an appearance.
Weeden @ IND: The young Weeden (in football years) is one of
the few who made me look good last week, notching 231 yards and
a couple touchdowns in his first career victory as a professional.
Naturally, I’ll be doubling down on him this Sunday against a suspect
Colts defense. Practically written off by fantasy owners after an
atrocious debut, Weeden has become a solid, though unspectacular,
option in successive starts. How solid? If you take away that abysmal
first game, his QB rating becomes a respectable 80.8. That’s one
very small step behind Cam Newton and a couple steps in front of
Matt Stafford, two consensus top 5 guys this year. Of course, he’s
in the neighborhood of guys like Alex Smith when it comes to actual
fantasy production. Can you live with Alex Smith, though, as a spot
starter? You most certainly can and the same goes for Mr. Weeden.
Don’t hesitate to give him the nod if you’re missing your main man
Sanchez @ NE: I’m pretty rough on Mark Sanchez and for the most
part he absolutely deserves it. Do you really think we’d talk so
much about a guy who’s thrown just six more touchdowns than picks
through 53 career games and averages fewer than 200 passing yards
per contest if he played where Brandon Weeden does? Mark Sanchez
gets the pub because of where he’s from (USC), where he is (Gotham),
and because of whom he plays for (the league’s biggest loudmouth).
Publicity doesn’t a start-worthy fantasy QB make, however. That
said, this is the thinnest week of the 2012 slate as six teams are
on bye, the only time that happens all year. Accordingly, there
is a lot of QB talent sitting at home this weekend (e.g., Peyton
Manning, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers). If you’re missing one of those
guys, Sanchez looks like a pretty able replacement. His opponent,
New England, is flat stuffing opposing ball carriers (foreshadowing
alert!). However, the Pats are getting absolutely shredded through
the air (288.8 yards/game and 15 passing TDs surrendered, tied for
worst in the league). Give the Sanchise an opportunity to earn all
that attention for once.
Grab a Clipboard
Wilson @ SF: Allow me to illustrate what I mean by “shredded”:
Wilson, in just his sixth professional game, threw for 293 yards
and three scores in last week’s stunning, come-from-behind victory
over the Pats at Century Link Field. The last of those three scores
was a bomb down the middle of the field with a minute and change
to go…to a wide-open Sidney Rice. Don’t expect receivers to be
running free at Candlestick Thursday night, especially not in
the waning minutes if it actually counts. Jim Harbaugh’s boys
are way more talented (yielding just 183 yards and a score per
game) and are probably embarrassed by their effort in last Sunday’s
NFC Championship rematch against the G-Men. I like the progress
Wilson is making and he seems to have a knack for the dramatic
stretching back to his college days in Mad-Town. This week, however,
he’s in a hostile environment against hostile opponents. Hand
him a clipboard if you can afford to.
Stafford @ CHI: Because so many teams are on bye this weekend,
you probably DON’T have the luxury of sitting Stafford, one of
your first few draft choices. I probably wouldn’t sit him, either,
unless I had an overabundance of talent at the position. Be forewarned,
however: He isn’t going to give you his typical production against
a defense that is a) well-rested, b) the league’s stingiest (14.2
pts/game), and c) its most opportunistic (five defensive scores
and a stellar +9 turnover differential). Not that you actually
want his typical production this year (a middling 21.4 fantasy
points/game). Stafford has definitely struggled so far but he
pulled a rabbit out of a hat in Philadelphia last weekend. Normally,
you’d expect a guy to build on that kind of momentum, but…. I’ll
paraphrase what I said above: Lovie Smith’s defense is really,
really good. Mr. Stafford better be loaded for…er, Bears this
coming Monday night.
Skelton @ MIN: Skelton regains the job he earned way back
at the end of training camp, just in time to tangle with the Vikings
at the always boisterous Metrodome on Sunday. It will be his first
game action since Week 1, of course, and though it’s tempting
to consider him a sleeper prospect (since he actually earned the
starting nod back in early September), please resist that temptation.
This is not a good situation to be walking into. The above-average
Vikes D was filleted by wunderkind Robert Griffin III and his
Redskins in Week 6 and will be eager to make amends against a
significantly less dynamic Cardinals offense. Only four teams
are ranked higher offensively than Washington. Only Jacksonville
is ranked lower than the Cardinals. He’s been sitting. He’ll be
taking over a moribund offense. He’ll be on the road facing a
top 10 defense. You’d better be really, really desperate.