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Seth Harrington | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - QBs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 1
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

The purpose of the Shot Caller’s Report is to identify players who I expect to perform like quality fantasy starters for the given week and, on the flip side, to expose some of the more highly-regarded players who just may disappoint. Each week I will take into consideration not only the individuals mentioned, but also the state of their teams and their opponents, team schedules, historical performance, inclement weather (when applicable), and of course injuries. In my years of involvement with fantasy sports, I’ve found that playing probabilities often leads to success, but that does not necessarily mean that a journeyman RB cannot gain 100-plus rushing yards against the top-ranked rush defense or that Tom Brady is a lock for 350 yards and 3 TDs against the worst pass defense. Anything can happen.

With this dynamic, stat-driven article layered with insight and opinion, however, I aim to assist you in making the right roster decisions for your fantasy squad. Got a specific roster question or something interesting to say? Send me an email. I may not be able to get to all of your questions or comments, but I will do my best to respond accordingly.


Start 'Em

Josh Freeman vs. DET

Josh Freeman

Easy going for Freeman in Week 1?

The Bucs face a much tougher schedule this season as opposed to last, which could keep Freeman from making regular appearances on this side of the column. But with the Lions on deck in Week 1, all bets are off. Last season against Detroit (Week 14), Freeman completed 65 percent of his passes for 251 yards and a score. There was only one game in 2010 (Week 3, vs. Pit) in which Freeman did not throw at least one touchdown pass. Ride him while the going is easy.

Matt Ryan @ CHI
Ryan, like Freeman above, threw TD passes in 15 of 16 starts in 2010; the opponent to hold him off the scoring sheet was again the Steelers. This season, as the Falcons look to spread their offensive wingspan, Ryan should top the 300-yard mark on a more regular basis. He had only one 300-plus yard passing game in 2010 and has four in his career, one of which came against the Bears (Week 6, 2008).

Matt Schaub vs. IND
Schaub’s past performances against the Colts haven’t been anything to write home about, as he has averaged 227.8 passing YPG while tossing five TDs and eight INTs in his last five starts against Indy. With opposing quarterback Peyton Manning likely on the shelf, however, I see Schaub rising to the occasion and performing quite well. The Texans will not be thinking about blowing a lead (as in Week 12, 2009) or playing from behind against the Colts this week; they can focus on having fun and making some big plays. Schaub has the ability and tools to do just that. He had seven games of 300 or more passing yards in 2010, including one in Week 2 where he threw for 497.

Sam Bradford vs. PHI
Bradford’s rookie campaign was a success despite some sputtering down the stretch of his first NFL season, producing just one TD and six INTs over his final five games. In the six games prior, however, Bradford was on fire, tossing 11 TDs and just one INT. The talent is there and wide receiver Danny Amendola will be a large part of the process. With the Eagles’ ability to put points on the board, look for Bradford to be throwing early and often.

Bench 'Em

Tony Romo @ NYJ
Bench Tony Romo? Nah, not really. As a Romo owner (in one league, at least), I can say with certainty that he’ll be in my starting lineup, but this matchup falls under the ‘temper expectations’ category. The Jets, coming off their best season in 12 years, will be fired up at home on Sunday evening. While they do allow some aerial scores (24 in 2010), they will limit Romo’s yardage totals and force him into a turnover or two. Romo has the talent and plenty of weapons at his disposal to be respectable this week, but the real Tony Romo won’t show up until Week 2.

Eli Manning @ WAS
Manning does not possess the same artillery as Romo, but he has shown himself to be a serviceable fantasy QB from time to time. I just don’t see his service helping many owners this week. In 13 career games against the Redskins, Eli has thrown multiple TDs just once (Week 14, 2009) and has had just one 300-plus yard game (305 yards in Week 12, 2008). Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are quality options in the passing game, but it would be surprising in this game if Eli did not make some bad decisions, which will create both turnovers and disgruntled fantasy owners alike.

Joe Flacco vs. PIT
I have little doubt that Flacco will make his mark on the other side of the report at some point this season. He is a quality NFL starter and 2011 could be the year where it all comes together for him. With running back Ray Rice and wide receiver Anquan Boldin at his disposal, Flacco is the centerpiece to one of the NFL’s top offensive trios. The problem this week for Flacco lies strictly in his opponent, the Steelers. In six career regular-season starts against Pittsburgh, Flacco’s numbers are not terrible; he has averaged 214 passing YPG, while tossing six TDs and four INTs in that span. Expect more of the same this week. However, I can’t justify settling for 200 yards and a TD from my starting QB if there are better options available.

Matt Cassel vs. BUF
Cassel has declared himself ‘ready to roll’ despite recently suffering a cracked rib. He certainly showed promise last season in setting a career high with 27 TD passes. While he will likely gut it out on the field this week, the reality is that he is one hit away from finding the sidelines, which would leave important fantasy points on the table and could translate into a loss for your squad. Let him heal before plugging him in.

Running Backs