Wide receiver is a tough position to draft outside of the top 15.  Within the next 35 players of the preseason top 50, there are 10 guys who are going to outplay their ADP, maybe by a lot. There are also 10 other receivers getting hype, who just don’t live up to it, whether they are a complete bust or just somebody who frustrates you to put into your lineup every week.  I’ve been there, I drafted Kelvin Benjamin and Sammy Watkins on the same team last season.  This league is a two-keeper league and my keepers were ho-hum going into the draft, and I knew that I had to make a splash.  Doug Martin and Brandin Cooks were career hit or miss guys so I went high upside with my first couple of picks…

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After two straight Superbowl appearances, the NFC South is coming up faster than that lady from The Leftovers and this past season of Fargo.  Yes, I know her name is Carrie Coon, I didn’t have to google it, and she’s become my favorite actress.  Some of you already know that I think that the Leftovers is the best show ever made, but I’m also impressed that Fargo was able to pull off another good season for the third straight year.  Fargo has a built-in setting, but coming up with a different cast, story line, and ending every year and doing it well blows my mind.  To put it in perspective it only took a second season for True Detective to suck at the same format.  Well, I guess it didn’t “suck”, the acting was awesome.  I’m one of the few who bought into Vince Vaughn in his role.  The story was a snoozer, I can’t defend that part.

Before we get into our second division preview, be sure to check out Zach’s preview of the AFC East.  Zach will be covering the AFC while I cover the NFC.  Also, we must rejoice that Jay has returned to give you his rankings and predictions for the 2017 season.  Zach and I are going to try and record a podcast every week to get you ready for the football season.  We plan on having a few surprise guests, but most of it will just be us two talking shop.

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Welcome to the very last Beyond the Numbers! of the year and also one of the most important. I, and everyone here at Razzball, have put in our best efforts this week to get you closer towards your goal of making the fantasy Super Bowl. Sorry I had to go with another overused Blount pun as the title, but I spent too much time reviewing games to come up with a more clever one. Hell, I’ve been watching so much game tape my NFL Game Pass Replay asked me if I was a robot. To that, I of course sarcastically answered yes and it somehow let me continue watching. I guess my TV is also a robot and vouched for me or something. Let’s just say I definitely did my homework this week. There are way too many scary matchups to not be prepared. That and figuring out the value of injured players’ backups are the most crucial items on the docket. For fantasy owners in just about any situation in the playoffs, I got you covered.

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playoffs

If you are reading this, congratulations. And I don’t say that just because you are fortunate enough to be reading one of my articles. If you are reading a fantasy football article in Week 14, it is likely because you are in the playoffs and still have a reason to care about your team and your lineup. So, congratulations. I mean it. To those of you who didn’t make the playoffs: see you in hell, candy boys! This is, unfortunately, the last Handcuff Report of the year. It has been a great ride, but we are wrapping things up as the fantasy playoffs begin!

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It’s Week 13, which means we are heading into the fantasy playoffs soon. I know that because my readership has dwindled the last two weeks, as many fantasy owners have been eliminated from the playoffs and are throwing in the towel. But that’s OKAY. That just means we can be more serious and a bit more intimate now. It’s just me and you, playoff hopefuls.

Heading into this week, Tim Hightower was a name to watch because Mark Ingram was still in the concussion protocol and was questionable to play. If Ingram couldn’t go, Hightower was going to be a high-end flex/RB2 to throw into lineups before they locked on Sunday. But word came out on Sunday morning that Ingram was going to play, so many likely left Hightower on the bench or on the waiver wire.

But something funny happened. It didn’t matter that Ingram played. Ingram and Hightower combined for three touchdowns and almost 300 yards, with Hightower accounting for 51 rushing yards, 54 receiving yards, and one of the touchdowns. Although, Hightower’s final stat line would look a bit different if not for the late 50-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Willie Snead. If Hightower can keep producing even with a healthy Ingram, he can help out some of the needier fantasy owners come playoff time.

To the report…

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Hello everyone, and welcome to another installment of our Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em series.

Hopefully all of you had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday full of great family, friends, food and hockey! Can’t you believe that the Canadiens clawed out another close win against Carolina, and now they are 15-4-2! If only they could start Carey Price every game…. oh, and the Cowboys are 10-1 I guess. I dunno.

We are now one week away from being one week away from the fantasy playoffs, and I hope most of you (hopefully all?) are looking good for some fantasy postseason action, and if you aren’t, hopefully you are close! And if you are at the bottom of your league… well, there is always next year.

I can definitely say that I have greatly enjoyed my time here at Razzball currently over these past two years, and I believe this is a direct result of how awesome some of these writers are here. One of which being my good friend Tehol. Over these past two weeks, Tehol has finished 4th and 2nd out of all of the other experts in the FantasyPros rankings challenge, and I want to give him some mad props for it. If you are feeling good about your team, double-check some of your crucial week-to-week decisions with the Lord himself to get the edge on your competition. You won’t regret it.

Alright, enough jabber. Let’s get to Week 12!

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rawls

If you are like me and drafted Thomas Rawls in August but managed to stay patient and hang onto him until now, take a bow. I’ll bow with you. September and October were some dark times, my friends, but here we are. Rawls is the top dog in Seattle, and it looks like it will stay that way for the rest of the season now that Christine Michael got shipped out of town and C.J. Prosise is hurt. We did it, guys.

Prosise ran for a 72-yard touchdown in the first quarter on Sunday, but he left the game in the second quarter. It was pretty much all Rawls for the rest of the game, with a little bit of Troymaine Pope (who also got hurt). The Seahawks getting rid of Christine Michael meant they were ready to roll with Prosise and Rawls as their top guys and that they were confident Rawls would be healthy and effective. Now that Prosise is out of the picture, it’s all Rawls, baby.

Rawls rushed 14 times for 57 yards (4.1 YPC) and added three catches for 31 yards, giving him 88 total yards on the day. Heading into the fantasy playoffs, getting an every down back like Rawls into your lineup could be just what your team needs to get that extra edge (I know my team, where I went zero RB and took Rawls as my RB1 LATE, is sitting pretty now that I have him back). The best part about the Prosise injury* is that it means Rawls will see more action on passing downs. They will find a way to spell him here and there, but Rawls should be an every down back going forward and should catch his fair share of passes.

Things change quickly in the NFL, and it seems like just last week we were excited about the idea of a Prosise-Rawls backfield combination. But this week was about much more than Thomas Rawls and how happy we all are to have him back.

To the report. . .

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It was finally nice to see some great prime time football for once last week! Seahawks versus the  Patriots was an absolutely fitting battle where the Seahawks flipped the script of their Super Bowl XLIX defeat, and Bengals vs. Giants was a tight game until the end. It would’ve been nice to see a bit more flash on Monday Night Football with stars like Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green, and Tyler Eifert on the field, but viewers and fantasy owners can’t be too disappointed with how things turned out. Even though we didn’t see much in the way of explosive, flashy plays, wasn’t Beckham’s rendition of Thriller beautiful to watch at least? Last week I wrote about the good ole’ days of football where touchdown celebrations used to make the games better, so the fact that he didn’t get flagged made it all the better. After briefly speaking about the celebration in his post game interview, Beckham got me thinking when he mentioned he was inspired by Conor McGregor’s UFC 205 victory. How ironic is it that Beckham, one of the feeblest minds in the NFL, can be inspired by Conor McGregor, one of our generation’s most prolific trash talkers? I mean, just imagine if Conor was a cornerback slotted to go against Beckham. How many plays do you think it takes for it to escalate to the Josh Norman level of 2015? Two? Three? Either way, I’m sure his fantasy owners don’t care who inspires him as long as he keeps producing. Now it’s time to look at this week, where I take you through all the guys that should be inspiring you to start them.

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C.J. Prosise rushes against the New England Patriots

If you played your cards right, 2016 may have been one of the best seasons ever to roll with a zero RB strategy in your draft. Not only have there been a litany of running back committees utilized across the league, but legitimate RB1s and RB2s have been emerging all year. Take a look at this list: Jordan Howard, Devontae Booker, Spencer Ware, C.J. Prosise, Robert Kelley. Those guys were all either not drafted at all or were taken later in drafts as a handcuff or dice roll option (I actually drafted Booker in one league but dropped him after a few weeks because I need the roster spot. D’oh!).

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My apologies for the quick and short and sudden intro, but I have hit a “creative writer’s block” when it comes to the intro for the week. Alas, I do not have any stories to tell and rapidly tie back to fantasy football. Hopefully it works for next week.

So let’s just jump right into it, cool? Alright.

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