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What a great week of football last Sunday, huh? For me, Sunday turned into a six-hour RedZone session, and truth be told, it was fantastic. A definite 10-out-of-10. I also had a pretty fun time in fantasy last week, behind the great efforts of Brandin Cooks, DeMarco Murray, Eli Manning, Blair Walsh, and the Minnesota Vikings D/ST. But this is a new week, a new set of matchups, and a new sets of games to analyze and pick apart to get the most out of our fantasy matchups.

One of the most intriguing matchups this week comes back to Denver, for the Broncos-Colts game. We have two very efficient (albeit, in their own ways) offenses combining with one very stout defense. Regardless, this game one of the most interesting games on the slate, as we get to see one of my favorite running backs have the possibility field day against a very weak Indianapolis defense.

So let’s get to it!

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latavius-murray

Football is back, and better than ever. After an offseason that felt like it lasted forever, we finally get to sit back, relax and enjoy some games that count. It seems like ages ago Cam Newton left his press conference. But here we are. For me, it means benching the wrong player at 12:59 pm. But (hopefully) you will not make any wrong decisions this year en route to that coveted fantasy title. It’s time to forget about 2015, and focus on the year ahead.

Although the mentality of Week 1 of the NFL Season in a fantasy sense means to just start the players that we drafted in order, this might not always be the case with a lot of fantasy teams. Especially for the owners that drafted Jamaal Charles in the 2nd-round. Players like Jameis Winston, Blake Bortles, Jeremy Hill, Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray, Mike Evans, and even Jarvis Landry all have either bad or less-than-ideal matchups to kick off the NFL season. I always advocate the strategy of “never bench your studs”, however, if we can definitely upgrade at a position to maximize the upside in our starting lineup, we should go for it. Simply put, Week 1 isn’t a guarantee.

Many teams enter Sunday with high hopes for the 2016 season. But one team in particular is looking to have a season like no other in the past few years. The Oakland Raiders enter the year with great young talent, veteran leadership where it matters the most, and to capitalize on a weakened division with play from their high-powered offense.

And their running back is at the forefront of it all. So let’s get to it…

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Hello everyone! For those of you that are new to my work, I have the privilege this year to be taking over the “Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em” series each Saturday morning for the 2016 NFL Season. I’m very grateful for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started! A little bit about myself, I currently live 15 minutes away from Raymond James Stadium in beautiful Tampa, Florida, but I was born in the north end of Boston. I’m a pretty big Pats, Bruins, Sox and Celtics fan. [Jay’s Note: Yikes!] I’ve been playing fantasy football for a good while now, and my greatest memory is making the playoffs in my main league on the final day due to a tiebreaker after starting out the year 1-6. That was pretty freaking cool. This is my second season writing for Razzball after doing a bit of Daily Fantasy work last year, and now I can’t wait for what the 2016 season will bring. What I do know is my goal for this season, which is to be as accurate as I can, giving advice for who to start, who to bench, and maybe even some streaming analysis. Along the way, I’ll answer any questions that are asked, and have a good time while doing so.

So let’s get started with a Primer for the upcoming season…

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I thoroughly enjoyed Alex Lee’s piece about Ezekiel Elliott a couple of days ago. Personally, I don’t have any issue with Elliott in the top ten, however I agree with Alex, it isn’t an ideal position for him to be in. In order to build the most ideal starting lineup, it’s probably wise for Elliott to be your early second round pick after getting a top-end WR1, which is possible in regards to current ADP. But I’d be remiss not to point out that Alex left out a crucial element about the Cowboys backfield as a whole, so I followed up with him…

“I like Dunbar as a deep sleeper option, especially in PPR. I agree that Elliott won’t have a Murray-like workload, I’d expect them to give some whole series to Morris and have Dunbar as a 3rd-down back out of the gate, with McFadden potentially being sidelined at the beginning of the season. He could take the first few weeks of the season to carve out a nice spot for himself as a Sproles-like weapon. If he does well with it early on, that would make it tough for Garrett to force him into a reduced role when DMC comes back. The problem is that McFadden is arguable a more complete player who is a competent receiver (he caught 40 balls last season), and if Dunbar doesn’t impress early on, the team probably wouldn’t hesitate to give his opportunities to McFadden or Elliott. He’s a risky play, but worth a late round stash to see how he looks coming off his knee injury and what kind of role the team has in store for him. He could pay big dividends, or be someone you drop quickly for the waiver wire darling du jour”.

Well, I guess I don’t have to write the article then. Way to go Alex. However, there are some other things I want to say and build off of, and it involves even more Lance Dunbar. So let’s get to it…

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Over the past couple of weeks, we have organized and completed a mock draft for you, the readers, to enjoy and dissect.

I am going to be breaking it down here, in this lovely article.

Our mock draft followed the structure of the RCL’s, in that we were following 0.5 PPR scoring, and in that our rosters were: QB, 2 HB’s, 2 WR’s, TE and a FLEX which is the HB/WR/TE. But instead of drafting a K and D/ST and going the full 15 rounds, we decided to only go 9 rounds.

Yes, we drafted a starting lineup, but we also included 2 bench spots to give you guys an idea of which of us prefers one player over another, in order for you guys to get an idea of which sleepers or breakouts to target in your drafts.

Over the course of nine rounds, I came to find that, once you get into the later rounds, it’s slim pickings for backs and receivers, unlike TE’s and QB’s, where there are plenty of options that we can hang our hats on. That is something that is crucial on draft day. Waiting on QB’s and TE’s until the last possible second, in the hopes of nailing a big sleeper, like last year’s Blake Bortles or Jordan Reed, is not that bad of a plan, and I would certainly not hesitate to go that route.

Our objective is to give you guys an idea for how not only the RCL’s should go, but also your drafts, and how the first rounds should go. Keep in mind this draft board would look a lot different than if we were only drafting with 10 teams, or even 14.

So let’s get started!

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Welcome to the fourth and final installment of the “Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts” series!

I skipped around a bit, publishing the TE’s article a few days ago, but now, we have the ever so elusive WR position.

Over the past few years, the consensus draft strategy has shifted from its former ways; going HB-heavy in the first few rounds to in extreme cases, not drafting any backs in the first few rounds. 2015 was a brutal one for the top backs, as injuries and busts led teams that were loaded at the WR position to become the champions of many leagues. Even as we see the consensus moving towards PPR leagues, receivers are becoming more and more vital, with the plan to get as many of them as we can get our hands on. They are quickly becoming the most popularized position in the NFL.

Taking a look at Jay’s WR Rankings (PPR can be found here), there are at least 13 guys I would be happy with as my #1’s, especially if I found myself going HB-heavy.

But there is specifically one receiver I believe everyone should be actively targeting in drafts.

So let’s get to it.

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Welcome to the third installment of the “Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts” series!

I’m kind of going out of order for this series, as I am going to be talking a bit about the Tight End position rather than Receivers, as that article is taking a bit longer than I had originally expected (but that’s a good thing), and I wanted to get this out while Jay’s TE Rankings (PPR can be found here) were still fresh in everyone’s mind.

So let’s dive in. What’s up with this position in 2016? Well, for the past 5 years or so, it continues again: Gronk or a later pick. And it should stay the same again. Even with Jordan Reed bursting onto the scene last year, there’s still a pretty big drop-off. So if we want Gronk, where should we take him?

Current ADP data has Gronk going 10th overall, in both 10-team and 12-team leagues. Aside from that, TE’s not named Rob Gronkowski can be found anywhere between the 4th round and 12th in 12-team leagues. So if we are going without him (not the worst of ideas), where should we look?

Well, because the position is thin, I won’t be doing the normal 3-3-3 for our players, as there aren’t too many players that we can look at as true “Busts”, and the same thing aplies with the other categories. Look at it this way – there is a range of TE’s that can’t really be defined in any of these categories, and they are:

  • Jordan Reed (ADP: 37th)
  • Greg Olsen (ADP: 45th)
  • Travis Kelce (ADP: 62th)
  • Delanie Walker (ADP: 66th)
  • Gary Barnidge (ADP: 78th)

Are these guys sleepers? Nope. They’re all good. Breakouts, yeah, a few years ago, and I personally don’t believe any of these guys are busts for 2016. Except for one of them.

So let’s get to it…

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Welcome to the second installment of the “Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts” series!

For almost the past two weeks, I have been “off the grid” on a cruise to Alaska, and then into the mainland, in areas like Ketchikan, Denali and Juneau, so I apologize that I couldn’t get these out sooner, but I will have the other positions as out as soon as I can. Oh, and Alaska is neat. Hard to go to sleep at 10pm when it still looks like 2pm though.

Running Backs are a position like no other. Position strategy changes from year to year, from wanting as many running backs as we can get our hands on, to not drafting any in the first few rounds (the Zero RB theory). More than any other position, there are a ton of busts year to year, so we’re constantly finding new ways to approach the position and to eliminate all possibilities of drafting last year’s Eddie Lacy.

We want to be extra cautious when selecting them. Not that Quarterbacks are not important per se, but we can be a little braver when drafting them over HB’s. Game flow, schedules, and talent all go into the perfect back. More so in game flow; we want the most touches possible, and those who do find themselves with a very healthy workload are consistently finding themselves at the top come January.

We get very frustrated when they under-perform. Guys like Eddie Lacy, C.J. Anderson, Melvin Gordon, and DeMarco Murray, all caused ourselves to throw something at another thing (good joke Zach). More often than not, the wrong HB will cause our teams to crash and burn, much more so than any of the other positions. However one of the many reasons why many are switching to avoiding backs totally in the first few rounds is due to some diamonds in the rough on the waiver wires come October-December. But it is a high risk to bank on.

Jay’s rankings for the HB position for both Standard leagues and PPR have been released, in case you missed it.

Running Backs are my favorite, and constantly, they’re the position that defines my team, and a lot of the championship winning teams. Most owners who brought home hardware most likely had one of the three: David Johnson, Todd Gurley or Devonta Freeman.

And what do they have in common? In August many owners weren’t drafting them. And here are some you shouldn’t sleep on in 2016…

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I love this time of the year; it’s my favorite. Summer is officially here!

This is the time of Rookie Minicamps, OTA’s and in just a little over a month, Training Camp.

Everything is fresh. New players whose 2015 campaigns came to an abrupt end are returning. Busts last year have a fresh new start. New regimes have been put in place, teams have (tried to) relocated to new areas, and players have come and gone. Organized football is here for the first time since February.

Jay has been putting together is notorious rankings for 2016 over these past few weeks, much to our delight. Last year, however, Razzball finished with an accuracy rate of 57.5%, landing at 22nd out of 123 experts in 2015. So, no pressure!

Jay’s first set of rankings, Quarterbacks, is a position that should frighten us, and it does. Many have won or lost seasons because of their picks in drafts, so we have to be extra cautious when determining when/where, and who. Even this year, there were many surprises with names like Blake Bortles (4th in 2015), Ryan Fitzpatrick (11th), and even the #1 guy last year, Cam Newton, all putting up stellar fantasy seasons that very little thought was possible to do. Meanwhile, very little could have guessed that Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, and Peyton Manning would have such awful seasons. Quarterbacks are a highly volatile position, which brings a different and totally unique drafting style compared to the other positions on your team (but you already knew that).

A quick note: You may wonder what I have to say about the top guys, like Luck, Rodgers, Palmer, or even Cam Newton. I think Jay said it best: The top-5 is generally a place you could put the names in whichever order you please and no one will complain too much.” Everyone may have an opinion on the order of the top guys, but let’s dig a bit further to unearth some better plays, shall we? And if you were wondering, current ADP given is for a 12-team Standard League. I’ll list the overall pick, and to make it easier to understand, the round they’ll go in. ADP doesn’t say everything, and players might go higher or lower depending on the people you play with, but it should give you a little bit of an idea of what players are going when.

In this series, I will analyze and talk a little bit about Quarterbacks this year. Hopefully by the end of this article (might take a few revisions or additions as the preseason begins), I will have labeled the sleepers, breakouts and busts for 2016.

Let’s do this!

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Welcome back to Part 2 of our Rookie Preview, covering the breakouts and “scrubs” of the groups, instead of the studs and the sure things. (Part 1 can be read here.)

I’m keeping the same theme from the previous article, but instead of the studs who will be going early or in the middle of our drafts, I will break down the fantasy relevance of each prospect that has significant fantasy relevance, but should possibly fly under the radar, and maybe even talk about where we should draft them, if/when we find them in the draft.

You ready? Let’s do this!

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