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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 8
QBs | RBs | WRs

Nobody needs to be told starting Tom Brady, Ezekiel Elliott, 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 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: Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, N.Y. Giants, Tennessee

Philip Rivers

The Patriots have given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks including 15 TDs in seven games.

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Philip Rivers @ NE: If it seems like quarterback numbers are down in 2017, itís all in your imagination. The top 10 QBs in 2016 on a per-game basis averaged 24.2 points, while the top 10 in 2017 are currently averaging 24.4. Surprised? So was I until I happened to notice only four names grace both lists (Rodgers, Brees, Brady, and Cousins). In other words, the numbers are nearly the same, but the names are largely different. Rivers is one of those 2016 studs who has been underperforming a bit (19.8/game v. 22.2 last year), but he probably couldnít care less. He has the Bolts back from the brink of an 0-4 start and ready to battle the defending champs in Foxboro. New England finally held a passer under 300 yards last week, but is still giving up more points to opposing QBs than anyone (27.8/game). Ride Rivers this Sunday.

Matt Ryan @ NYJ: The list of top-tier quarterbacks whose numbers have dipped this season is a lengthy one (Rivers, Brees, Stafford, Roethlisberger, Carr, Palmer, Mariota), but nobodyís been more disappointing than the Falconsí franchise man. Ryan is a full touchdown (and near extra point) off his 2016 average of 25.7 and has bottomed out with three successive sub-20 point outings against AFC East opponents. He draws the fourth this weekend at the Meadowlands after failing to exorcise his Super Bowl demons against the Pats last Sunday night. I suppose the rest of the season could go either way, continued death spiral or sudden resurgence, but Iím banking on the latter. Heís too good, the surrounding talentís too good, and the Jets just gave up 326 yards and four scores to Jay Cutler and Matt Moore. Gimme all the Matt Ryan shares this weekend as Atlanta gets back on track.

Tyrod Taylor v. OAK: Even some of the mid-tier quarterbacks are struggling some, though it would be hard to blame Taylor for his 3.5 points-per-game dip this season. The Billsí new shot callers traded away his most explosive weapon, Sammy Watkins, and then stood helplessly by as his next best receiver, Anquan Boldin, abruptly retired. Oh, and then he lost Jordan Matthews and Charles Clay in quick succession. How on earth the former Hokie has been able to post respectable figures with the sorry cast of targets heís working with defies belief, but there he was last weekend racking up 22.7 points. Matthews is working himself back into the rotation now and the resourceful Taylor always manages to find a way (Deonte Thompson, anyone?). Iíd feel comfortable starting him against an Oakland secondary that has zero interceptions and is allowing a 109.0 opposing passer rating so far. Thatís worst overall.

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Matt Moore @ BAL (Thu): And to think I was actually starting to look forward to Thursday night football. Weíve been spoiled by some excellent games and a plethora of points this season, but itís back to reality when the Moore-led Fish meet the Flacco-led Ravens this week in a game that could be downright difficult to watch. Moore is actually one of the better backups in the league, as evidenced by his performance last Sunday, and could very well keep Miami afloat Ė if not seize the job outright Ė while Jay Cutler is out. Heís not careful with the football, however, and if thereís one thing Baltimore does well (actually, thereís probably just one), itís intercept passes. The Ravens have picked off 10 and are allowing opposing flingers a lowly 70.6 passer rating through seven weeks. This has all the makings of a low-scoring yawn-a-thon, so only if youíre desperate.

Matthew Stafford v. PIT: Iíll be pairing Stafford with Derek Carr in my two-QB league this weekend, but I wonít be expecting miracles. The last time we saw him, Detroitís main man was limping through a Superdome shootout with the Saints Willis Reed-style and with predictably mixed results (28 points but three picks, two pick-sixes, and five sacks). Though the fantasy bottom line was good, he now draws a Pittsburgh defense that is making life miserable for opposing field generals. The Curtain has yielded just 13.6 points/game to the position and has allowed just one opponent to throw multiple TD passes in a game (Andy Dalton last week). This one could come back to bite me, especially if Golden Tate plays and another shootout materializes, but that doesnít seem very likely. If you have better options, this might be the right spot to let the usually reliable Stafford ride pine.

Trevor Siemian @ KC (Mon): I got trolled back in Week 2 for suggesting in the comments, albeit obliquely, that Siemian isn’t a great option under center. He proved me a liar one last time (that week against Dallas), but has been brutal ever since, averaging just 15.7 points per contest. For perspective, DeShone Kizer averages 14.1 and has been pulled at halftime in each of his last two starts. Oddly, Siemian’s best and worst games as a pro have come against Kansas City (Weeks 12 and 16 of last year, respectively), so it’s anybody’s guess how he’ll fare Monday night. Here’s mine: It won’t be anything to write home about. The Chiefs have dropped two straight and must see the Broncos as ripe for the picking. Moreover, it’s no guarantee Siemian gets his safety blanket, Emmanuel Sanders, back and that could make things tough on this already out-of-sorts offense.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers