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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 11
QBs | RBs | WRs

Nobody needs to be told starting Tom Brady, Ezekiel Elliott Todd Gurley, or Antonio Brown 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 Brady’s bye week? Let’s talk. Looking for solutions at running back because Zeke Gurley 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 Brown and went RB-QB-Gronk in your first three rounds? You get the idea. Past results may not guarantee future success, but ignoring them entirely can ruin your Sundays in a hurry (maybe even your Mondays and Thursdays). Read on for a little history and, hopefully, a little sage advice.

Note: Fantasy points based on FF Today’s standard scoring system.

Bye Weeks: Carolina, Indianapolis, N.Y. Jets, San Francisco

Matt Ryan

Without Devonta Freeman, the Falcons will be forced to rely on Matt Ryan in Week 11.

Grab a Helmet

Marcus Mariota @ PIT or Ben Roethlisberger v. TEN (Thu): “This sh*t should be illegal,” barked Doug Baldwin after last week’s TNF action cost the Seahawks future HOF corner Richard Sherman. We don’t disagree, of course, since Thursday nighters typically feature lackluster offense and criminally disappointing fantasy stats. There have been some notable exceptions this year, however (Weeks 3 and 7), and I’ve got a hunch Week 11 could be another one. Mariota’s Titans have quietly won four in a row and now sit tied atop the AFC South with Jacksonville. Meanwhile, Big Ben’s Steelers have all but wrapped up the AFC North at 7-2 and are three games clear of any division rival. In other words, this one has possible playoff implications. The uber-talented Pittsburgh offense is going to explode eventually and this looks like the spot. Roethlisberger finally tops 25 fantasy points and Marcus, playing catch up, comes close.

Case Keenum v. LAR: We get Alex Smith, Derek Carr, and Carson Wentz back but lose Cam Newton, C.J. Beathard, and Jacoby Brissett to bye weeks. If you’re thinking that looks like progress, consider this: Those latter three are ranked 2nd, 4th, and 6th, respectively, in points at the position the past several weeks. It’s been a crazy year for quarterbacks and nobody embodies that more than Case Keenum, who’s gone from Minnesota’s ostensible third-stringer to automatic fantasy starter in two months’ time. Keenum’s guided the Vikes to a 7-2 record by completing 64.9% of his passes and throwing for 11 TDs, resulting in a career best 18.3 points/game. He’s got great receivers to work with, a vastly improved offensive line, and a decent enough backfield (despite the loss of Dalvin Cook) to keep rolling. Teddy Bridgewater is reportedly healthy, but this is Keenum’s team until further notice. Start him.

Matt Ryan @ SEA (Mon): Ryan’s 19.8 points/game mark is only marginally better than Keenum’s and his worst since the 2010 season. Maybe there’s something to this Super Bowl hangover business? The Falcons’ franchise is still one of the safer plays at the position, even when the matchup looks daunting. Playing Seattle in Seattle is about as daunting as it gets, especially in primetime, but one has to wonder how the Hawks will fare minus Mr. Sherman patrolling the secondary. Deshaun Watson set fire to the Hawks’ DBs in Week 8 and even Drew Stanton almost threw for 300 yards in last Thursday night’s contest. The Falcons will likely be without Devonta Freeman this week and Seattle doesn’t have a reliable rusher on the roster, so…anyone up for a Matty Ice/Danger Russ sandlot shootout? Expect lots of passing and lots of points this coming Monday night in the Emerald City.

Grab a Clipboard

Nathan Peterman @ LAC: Those of you in 10 or 12-team leagues can safely scoff, but those of us in deeper leagues or two-QB leagues must consider all available options at the position, especially as injuries/demotions start to pile up. This week’s most shocking demotion occurred in Buffalo, where Sean McDermott decided the Bills, despite being in the thick of the AFC playoff race, will be better off with an unproven rookie under center. Hmmm. This smells suspiciously like sacrificing short-term success for longer-term goals and if Peterman plays poorly down the stretch, McDermott’s going to have some ‘splaining to do to his playoff-starved veterans. Seems like he could also have picked a better spot to roll the rook out there. The Chargers haven’t surrendered multiple TD passes in a game since Week 5 and have only allowed a single 300-yard passer this season (Tom Brady in Week 8). Nope.

Kirk Cousins @ NO: Cousins’ owners probably can’t afford to sit him with so few alternatives available at the position, so consider this more of a reality check than a sit recommendation: He’ll struggle at the Superdome Sunday. In years past, starting QBs against New Orleans was about as automatic a lineup decision as one could make. The Saints ranked 25th, 31st, and 32nd against the pass the past three seasons and started out this season getting bombed in Weeks 1 and 2 to the tune of 793 yards and six TD passes. They’ve only yielded five since and, not surprisingly, have reeled off seven wins in a row. They’re following a new recipe down in the Big Easy (ball-control rushing attack, stingy/opportunistic defense) and that is making life really tough on opponents. They won’t cost Cousins his job like they did Tyrod Taylor, but these new-look Saints are legit.

Andy Dalton @ DEN: Dalton’s job hasn’t seemed safe since a really rough start to the 2017 campaign, so it was somewhat surprising to discover the Bengals were willing to part company with his backup, A.J. McCarron, at the trade deadline. Willing, I should say, but not able thanks to some comical incompetence on Cleveland’s part. That means McCarron continues to hold clipboards in Cincy while Dalton continues to (mostly) stink in front of him. Would Marv Lewis give McCarron a look if things continue to go downhill? They just might this coming Sunday against a Denver team that’s been thoroughly embarrassed the past two weeks by successive Super Bowl contenders (Philly and then New England). The Broncos’ defense is a proud bunch and this looks like the perfect spot for them to get well. Sit the Red Rifle down and hope he’s still running the show in Week 12.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers