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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Quarterbacks
Your Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 6
QBs | RBs | WRs

Nobody needs to be told starting Russell Wilson, 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 Wilson’s bye week? Let’s talk. Looking for solutions at running back because 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-RB-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: Detroit, New Orleans

If you're a Brees or Stafford owner looking for a bye-week fill-in, C.J. Beathard might be your man.

Grab a Helmet

Jameis Winston @ ATL: The Ryan Fitzmagic experience was way more fun than we could have hoped it would be, but ended in fairly predictable fashion two Sundays ago in the Windy City: disastrously. Though it’s fun to think Fitzy unlocked Dirk Koetter’s explosive Tampa offense, it’s far more likely the offense unlocked him, albeit only for a few games. This is good news for Jameis Winston, who takes the helm this weekend against the Falcons and gets to work with those same explosive weapons (Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, etc.). I have my doubts about Winston’s leadership credentials and I’m not certain Tampa is committed to him for the long haul, but there’s no mistaking he’s a gifted passer and at least a little more efficient/less careless than his backup. Don’t forget Atlanta has surrendered a staggering 34.4 points/game to opposing QBs since Week 2. Winston hits the ground running.

Andy Dalton v. PIT: On paper, the only better matchup for Winston in his first 2018 start—presuming he can’t defect post-coin flip and square off against his teammates—would be a date with KC or Pittsburgh. The Steelers are yielding 30.5 points/game to the position, second worst in the league, and also create a high-floor situation for opposing slingers in that they, like the Chiefs, can cover for most defensive deficiencies with a high-octane offense. Put another way, it’s easy to score on them but also very necessary since they can keep up, creating a virtuous cycle of fantasy goodness. Dalton’s been more “Red Rifle” than “Bad Andy” in 2018 and is currently averaging 24.7 points game, a figure that would easily be a career high if it holds up all season. It probably won’t but two dates with Pittsburgh helps. He’s a must start for this first one.

C.J. Beathard @ GB (Mon): It’s definitely rewarding to watch the game’s best ply their trade (Brees, Brady, Rodgers, etc ), but there’s also a certain anesthetizing effect to all the perfect sight adjustments, back-shoulder dimes, and needle-threading lasers. It can almost come to feel…expected? Boring? For my money, it can be just as fun watching the dicier options at QB—your Fitzpatricks, your Beathards—wheel and deal. You’re just as likely to see something awful as sublime, but you never really know what’s coming next and that’s, after all, why a lot of us watch sports in the first place. Beathard’s a flawed field general and the Niners stink, granted, but he’s averaging 28.5 per game in his first two relief appearances for Jimmy G and should be chasing points the rest of the way. Only the aforementioned Fitzpatrick and Patty Mahomes are averaging more, BTW. Do it.

Grab a Clipboard

Blake Bortles @ DAL: Bortles raised warts-and-all quarterbacking to an art form the last several seasons, eliciting the full spectrum of human emotions along the way (happiness, sadness, disgust, etc.). Though Jacksonville’s shot callers—not to mention fantasy league GMs—would probably prefer a steadier option under center, there’s no denying the bottom-line production: 3rd overall at the position in 2015, 8th in 2016, 13th last year, and 8th so far this year. Leonard Fournette’s health concerns are putting an even larger burden on Bortles and he’ll probably be up to the task most weeks. Nevertheless, there will be some gutter balls along the way (see Weeks 1 and 3) and I suspect he’s due for another Sunday. The Cowboys are in seeming disarray, but are holding up on the back end and this has all the makings of a back-alley brawl. Temper expectations for this slugfest in Big D.

Mitchell Trubisky @ MIA: Who’s ready for another rousing round of Guess That Quarterback?
Quarterback A: 591 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 64 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 50 fantasy points
Quarterback B: 354 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INTs, 53 rushing yards, 0 rushing TDs, 47 fantasy points
Any GM worth his/her salt would want Quarterback A (three more points is three more points), but probably not if I told you it took him three more GAMES to accumulate those stats. Regardless, you don’t have to pick because…they’re both the same guy. Quarterback A is Trubisky Weeks 1 through 3. Quarterback B is Trubisky v. Tampa in Week 4. I’ve already told you the Bucs field the league’s worst pass defense (130.5 passer rating for opponents) but now Chicago takes on a Miami squad limiting opposing throwers to a 75.0 rating, third best overall. Expect to see Quarterback A Sunday.

Alex Smith v. CAR: We’ll be without the services of A-listers Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford in Week 6, meaning mid-level guys like Alex Smith will get plenty of run as streaming options. I’d feel pretty nervous about that, however, after what happened down in New Orleans this past Monday night. Washington marched south fresh off a bye week to take on a Saints team yielding over 320 pass yards and almost 3 passing TDs per game. The result? They got drubbed 43-19 and the usually reliable Smith was particularly abysmal (275 mostly garbage time yards, no passing scores, a pick, and a fumble). If the boys from DC think they can compete in the modern-day NFL with a backup running back serving as their best receiver...well, let’s just say it could be along year in our nation’s capital. Smith needs better weapons and doesn’t have them. Steer clear this weekend.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers