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Trent Richardson just experimenting with his new tactic of gaining yardage by getting tackled from behind.

So apparently ESPN had their huge unveiling last night for their new piece of technology that celebrates Chip Kelly’s innovativeoffense by creating a clock that works in reverse of a play clock. So the numbers now count up instead of down. I’m sure money, time, and development went into this, so I should point out that cancer is still a thing. Regardless, the game itself was strangely entertaining for an MNF slot that hasn’t felt relevant this decade. Sure, most of that excitement was produced by Darren Sproles, who is so tiny and fast. And while Foles and the Eagles offense has struggled mightly now in the first half of their first two games, to their credit, they’re now 2-0. And despite an obvious holding call directly leading to a crucial Andrew Luck interception in the 4th quarter, the Colts seemed to waste an actually effective running tandem in Trent Richardson and my chosen one, Ahmad Bradshaw with lousy repetitive play-calling and the mistakable urge to play for field position towards the end of the game. It’s not a death march by any means, but 0-2 is not how I imagined the Colts starting.

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Projections are like opinions, and you know what Dirty Harry said about opinions.

“Well, opinions are like as*holes. Everybody has one.” -Harry Callahan (Dead Pool, 1988).

Projections are “informed” guesses, often by someone who thinks they know more than the next. Hopeful approximations. A false promise almost guaranteed to disappoint. Projections are generally misleading and biased, and we can hardly rely upon them. If projections were accurate they wouldn’t be projections, they’d be stats. And if projections were consistently correct, fantasy sports would be an incredibly boring pastime. In a fantasy world filled with projections, many of us are starved for facts. But to where should we turn? The stats. Why? Because stats do not lie. In fantasy football they paint a near exact picture of what has occurred and how each player has, or has not, produced.

One famous, and dead, author might disagree. A long time ago Mark Twain said “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” I call bullsh*t Mr. Twain. Me and everybody reading this article knows that if you were alive today, you’d not only be in at least four fantasy football leagues, but you’d be reading Razzball in hopes of uncovering that small bit of advice or oddball statistic that helped you win the coming week’s matchups and bring you one step closer to a fantasy championship.

Okay, enough banter. Let’s get to why we are here. How can we leverage the stats to help pinpoint players that are at the top of their game, or perhaps on their way there.

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Thank god I don’t do these posts till Saturday, because you wouldn’t have liked my advice had I included Thursday night’s players into my start/sits. Everyone knows that Thursday Night Football is a curse for fantasy players.  Even Peyton Manning has fallen victim to it.  In the final TNF game of the 2013 season, Manning had arguably his worst performance of the year, completing just 65.8 percent of his passes for 289 yards in the Broncos’ embarrassing 27-20 home loss to the Chargers.  Maybe it’s the short week coupled by the night game, or the fact that it’s on national television.  Who knows.  But it doesn’t bode well for good statistics.

I had Ben Roethlisberger and Torrey Smith pretty high up in my Week 2 rankings, but that was just stubborn of me.  You can’t get much worse than the nine fantasy points Big Ben put up, Owen Daniels vulturing Dennis Pitta every step of the way, or the one catch for 10 yards Torrey had — especially after Joe Flacco had said earlier in the day that he expects his top receiver to catch 100 balls this year.

Sunday should offer many more offensive fireworks than Thursday night’s dreadful affair.  There are plenty of matchups to exploit, including the Saints vs. Browns, Patriots vs. Vikings, Chiefs vs. Broncos, Jaguars vs. Redskins, and Cowboys vs. Titans.  But none should be more exciting (and fantasy-team boosting) than the Eagles/Colts game. The high-flying Eagles (pun intended) travel to Indy to take on the 900 horsepower Colts (pun also intended).  You’re always gonna start Andrew Luck, Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy, but their supporting casts deserve a lot of attention this week and are all nearly must starts in most fantasy formats. Fringe fantasy starters like Darren Sproles, Riley Cooper, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Dwayne Allen are near automatic starts this week, and even Colts’ tight end Coby Fleener is worthy of consideration in deeper leagues.  The only guys I’d be hesitant to recommend are Hakeem Nicks and Trent Richardson, who have proven to be too untrustworthy. Not only will this game have a large effect on the outcome of your fantasy matchups, but we get to wait till Monday night to have it all play out.  Now, that, my friends, is what fantasy football is all about!

Please feel free to post your start/sit questions below. Until then, here are the rest of my starts and sits for Week 2…

(All recommendations are based on PPR formatted leagues)

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The first week of the NFL season reminded us of how volatile this league can be. We saw rookie Allen Hurns of the Jacksonville Jaguars score touchdowns on his first two receptions. Then we saw the Jaguars blow a 17-0 lead and lose 34-17 to Philadelphia. Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens went from being suspended for a few more days, to being suspended indefinitely by the league in a 48-hour span shaking things up. Injuries played a big part as well, with tight ends Jordan Cameron and Jordan Reed suffering injuries and sending rosters into flux. He can be dropped in redraft leagues but hang on to him in dynasty leagues. Thankfully, we’ll help you make sense of it all on the waiver wire this week. We’ll break it down by position and ownership on ESPN, NFL and Yahoo Leagues to help you out.

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Welcome to the Handcuff Report, 2014 primer. The Almighty J-FOH has bestowed upon me the honor of keeping you knuckleheads up to date on the latest NFL arrests, felonies, and misdemeanors. If Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen are smoking weed in a Pontiac Firebird, we’ll be there. If  Titus Young finds his way back into the league, we’ll be there. If Golden Tate decides to steal maple bars from a Detroit bakery, we’ll be there. You get the point…. Wait.?!?! That’s not what this post covers?…. It’s about running back committee’s? …Hmmm I don’t think that’s right. Jay, I think we have a problem…..I had 1,300 words about Ray Rice, Josh Gordon, Le’veon Bell, and LeGarrette Blount. It seemed reasonable, there are a lot of arrests, and they do in fact impact our rosters. But okay… I got it now, you meant handcuff in a less literal sense. Oops! Welp, time to refocus. I guess instead I’ll be discussing the ever evolving Running Back committee situations around the league. For today and at least the first few weeks of the season, I’ll be providing a list of depth charts and commenting on the situations I feel need to be covered. In other words I’ll be spending less time on teams like the Vikings, Bears, or Seahawks and more time on teams like the Lions, Falcons, and Dolphins. As the season progresses, I’ll probably switch to more of a “handcuffs to watch format”, where I’ll cover a handful of backs with expanding roles. But who knows, we’ll see, you guys can tell me in the comments if you like the depth chart rankings. I’m cool with that. After today I will be sticking with the tried and true tiered approach (say that three times fast Micro Machine Man) and the tier names that J-FOH had last year, because what else is there outside of Fuzzy, Standard Issue Police, and Duct taped handcuffs? That pretty much covers the handcuff gamut. No??? Are there other varieties besides the ones covered?  Like those weird plastic ones, that cops use, maybe? Did you notice I said “cops use”… do you know why? Because Standard Issue Police That’s Why!!!

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As we open the season, all of our NFL teams have the same goal— to play in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona on February 1. Our fantasy teams have the same goal— to play in our respective league’s Super Bowl whatever week (usually 16) that it falls on. For some of you, getting there will be difficult if not impossible. Others will find the road to be easy, and cruise through the season. For me, I fall in the latter when it comes to getting to the Super Bowl. That’s mainly because I live about 40 minutes north of University of Phoenix Stadium. Getting to the Super Bowl is easy for me, even if traffic sucks.

That’s what I’m here for. To help you navigate the journey from your starting point to your league’s Super Bowl. We’ll help you avoid the roadblocks of poor play, the detours of bye weeks, and the potholes of injuries. That said, let’s turn the key on the season and start giving some recommendations for players who can be picked up now to help you out in the long term.

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As has become tradition around these parts, it’s now time for me to lay down my bold and beautiful predictions for the 2014 Fantasy Football Season. Just in case, uh, you didn’t read the title. If you are unaware of our traditions, well, you should know that there’s really only two dictating factors when coming up with bold predictions. First, they must include at least half the Padres roster. Since this is football, we should be safe from this one… maybe. The second factor is that these predictions must actually be bold. There’s a lot of boldness being pumped inside the interwebs (this sounds hot, maybe?), but then you’ll reach where said boldness was supposed to occur, and it’s some kind of bland statement that “Rob Gronkowski will be fantasy relevant this season.” Gee, thanks? What does that even mean anyways? Fantasy relevant how? Where? I could argue Geno Smith is sorta-kinda fantasy relevant, that doesn’t mean I should pay attention. Mostly because Geno Smith is pretty bad. No, here you’ll deal with focused bold, um, stuff, going everywhere. I have weaponized boldness, so there. For example, you want a bold prediction for Rob Gronkowski? I’m stating right now that he will start in at least two games this year. Bold AND beautiful, and we’re just talking about my jawline…

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trent-richardson-colts

Hunh? What’s that? Run for more than two yards? LOL.

It was reported some months back that Trent Richardson stated his top priority this off-season was was to learn the Colts’s offensive system. Ya think? Regardless, his results from last season were filed under ‘LOL’. Well, probably not for those who owned him. Then it was filed under ‘Florida’. But at this particular moment, it would be hard for me to really nitpick the projections and rankings going into 2013. He *was* supposed to be that good, and everyone thought so. Even our legendary Sky. I’d be remiss, though, not pointing out there’s audio out there of me stating that Richardson was the second coming of Mark Ingram. Nick the Podcast Radio Host will certainly back that one up. And trust me, I’m not here to say, “Hey, look at how awesome I am for calling Richardson’s season early on.” Because you already know that. But I bring it up because there are relevant question’s to ask based on that Mark Ingram comp– should we have seen this coming? Had he always been overrated? Is there a buy-low opportunity right now? And what should be the title of his sex tape?

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We are here today to point out the difference between the Razzball rankings and those that ESPN has released to the masses. The first difference you’ll probably notice is that there is no Mathew Berry in our rankings. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’ll let you decide. Because, hey, I’m just that kind of guy. Beyond that, well, ESPN certainly likes the color of red. RED EVERYWHERE. Well, touché, we also like a color. And that color is mustache, which is totally a color. Just ask Razzball founder Grey Albright. Sure, you could say that I’ve added some yellow to the palette, but then you’d be raycess. Now that the main differences have been established, we’ll move on to things that are more fantasy relevant, well, depending on the type of fantasy that is. Hey now. So after you clear your internet history, we’ll be comparing our rankings to that of ESPN’s. Get yer knives ready!

Please, blog, may I have some more?