Nobody needs to be told starting Patrick
McCaffrey, or DeAndre
Hopkins is a good idea. Duh, right? You canít have studs at
every position, though, unless youíre 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 Mahomesí bye
week? Letís talk. Looking for solutions at running back because
Barkley 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 Hopkins and went RB-RB-Kelce 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.
From a purely statistical standpoint, Allenís looked more
like a backup QB than a start-worthy headliner since that 29-point
performance against the Cardinals back in Week 3. Nevertheless,
his record as an NFL starter is still unblemished (4-0) and he
hasnít, in his defense, had to do much other than hand the
ball off to Christian McCaffrey lately. Carolinaís offense
essentially IS CMC these days, as the Stanford stud accounted
for 53% of the yards and 75% of the Panthersí TDs in Week
5. I wonít say he canít duplicate that feat in Week
6, but if he does, heís unlikely to get most of it on the
ground. Tampaís yielding just 69.8 rushing yds/game (No.2
overall) and 3.1 yds/carry (No.1). By contrast, the Bucs have
surrendered a staggering 379.5 yds/game the past four weeks. Allen
becomes more important this Sunday.
Arizona finally got Coach Bro his first NFL victory, setting the
stage for a battle of one-win teams desperately hoping to build
some positive momentum. Barring a tie (another one, in Arizonaís
case), the team mostly likely to do that is the team which does
a better job slowing down the opposing slinger. The Falcons and
Cards are yielding almost 27 FPts/G to opposing quarterbacks and
have combined to give up 24 TD tosses against only two picks through
five weeks. Thatís a roundabout way of saying we might be
in for an olí fashioned shootout, just 200 miles up the
road from Tombstone AZ, site of the most famous one in history.
Each of these guys will account for 300 yards, one way or another,
and it wouldnít surprise me if they were both Top 10 performers
in Week 6.
Did somebody say Top 10 performer? Minshew isnít technically
thatóheís QB11 through five weeksóbut weíre
making him an honorary member of the club due to the fact he didnít
start all five games. Since taking over for an injured Nick Foles
about 10 minutes into the opener against the Chiefs, all the rook
from Wazzu has done is complete two-thirds of his passes, average
north of 250 yards/game, and sport an impeccable, un-rookie-like
9-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio. Oh, and he can run a little too (124 yards,
fifth overall). This week, Minshew and the Jags host a 4-1 Saints
squad that has somehow been outscored by opponents (116-115) and
gives up over 27 FPts/G to opposing signal callers. Only Miami and
Tampa have been worse thus far. Expect Joe Public to be all over
New Orleans. My money will be backing Minshew Mania. Start him.
New York GM Dave Gettleman was crucified for selecting Jones sixth
overall in Aprilís draft, so he mustíve felt sweet
vindication when the former Dukie terrorized Tampa in his first
NFL start (332 yards passing, two passing TDs, and two rushing
TDs). I was part of that critical chorus back on draft day and,
thus, have to admit we were too hard on the Giantsí shot
caller. That doesnít mean Jones is a surefire star after
one good game against Tampaís rotten secondary. Heís
been pedestrian in successive outings against Washington and the
Vikings and now faces his toughest test yet, a Thursday night
roadie against Bill Belichickís Pats, with very few weapons.
New England is holding opposing passers to a brutal 44.0 passer
rating so far, about 20 points LOWER than Luke Falkís current
rating. Jones might be the future, but he sits now.
Pundits were much higher on Mariota back in 2015, present company
obviously included, but even a homer such as myself canít
keep making excuses for Oregonís only Heisman winner (GO
DUCKS!). Not that I donít have plenty at the ready: His
receivers stink, his line stinks, and heís been through
FIVE offensive coordinators since he entered the league. That
said, he doesnít seem to process plays fast enough, is inconsistent
with pigskin placement, and isnít thick enough to use his
wheels more often, the dimension that made him lethal in college.
Mariota will have some good games the rest of the way and Iím
not even sure the Titans canít make the playoffs still,
but to do it, theyíll likely revert to the conservative
formula that worked late last season: a whole lot of Derrick Henry
and a whole lot more defense. Sit Marcus against Denver Sunday.
In fact, sit the guy heís opposing too. This rash of early-season
quarterback injuries puts guys like Mariota and Flacco on our
radar (especially in two-QB leagues) and the latter, admittedly,
hasnít been as awful as I thought heíd be. Though
he ultimately got outdueled by Gardner Minshew in Week 4, the
former Raven threw for over 300 yards and three scores in that
one, and then followed it up in Week 5 by leading the Broncos
to their first W of the season, a surprise road victory over the
Chargers. Tennessee is no great shakes, but they do present a
different sort of challenge: they really get after the quarterback
(17 sacks so far, tied for fourth overall). Flacco is one of the
least mobile QBs around and could struggle against Dean Peesí
aggressive front seven. This has all the makings of a 14-10 dud.