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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Granted, there isn’t a rich history to draw from in terms of “quality football” on Thursdays, but you have to think that this being an actual Sunday Night production, coupled with the fact that we actually haven’t had a real game in what feels like decades, I’m pretty sure I would have been enamored if it was the Vikings playing against the Titans (which we’ll actually receive this Sunday! Wooo?). That being said, the game was actually pretty good on the scale of Graham Gano to those muscles in your arm that benefit the most if you’re throwing a penalty flag. (I mean, there were so many flags this game, it felt more like a United Nations summit, amirite?) Both teams looked sluggish throughout though, which was probably to be expected in the first game of the season. The Broncos and Panthers burned a lot of timeouts too, each for their own derpy reasons. For Denver, they seemingly forgot to count and had multiple downs where 12 men were on the field. For Carolina, five total timeouts from both halves were wasted because of terrible clock management by Newton (though I’m pretty sure Jerry Richardson was only upset with three-fifths of them). In fact, Andy Reid probably uploaded all these timeouts to his PornHUB account. That being said, I have to add that I found myself pretty frustrated with the continued non-calls on what were some brutal hits to Cam Newton. There were at least three blatant roughing the passer calls that were missed (or ignored?), and the last hit, late in the fourth quarter that actually drew a flag (you can see it after the jump), which was a helmet spear of all things, was offset by an intentional grounding. Oh, okay then, that makes sense. But the game was close throughout and quite entertaining, and due to the fact that Trevor Siemian flirted between the lines of profoundly mediocre and downright awful, the Panthers had a chance with seven seconds to win the game with a 44-yard field goal attempt in altitude… so yeah, we know how that turned out. Congrats to your 0-1 undefeated Panthers! Wait a second…

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It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s malamoney’s fantasy football rankings. The best thing about rankings and projections is that no one ever calls you out for having absolutely sh!tty projections. It’s not until months later when the season is over that projections can really be evaluated for efficiency, and by that time who really give a flying [fill in the blank]. Not to mention, who’s actually going to take the time to do so.

Here is my process for generating projections. Step one. Develop a random number generator. Step two. Generate hundreds of random numbers. Step three. Publish projections. Okay, so that’s not exactly how I get from point A to point B. Truth be told, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some sources out there that did.

First I calculate my own set of player projections. Next I download between five and ten other sets of projections. Finally I take all of the projections, including my own, and run them through a program I’ve written that averages all of the projections together. I considered dropping the high and the low scores, but that just seemed a little counterintuitive. Besides, it’s not like I’m judging figure skating over here. The biggest pain in the ass is dealing with all the various spellings of the same name. Odell Beckham Jr. versus just Odell Beckham. Steve Smith Sr. versus just Steve Smith. T.Y. Hilton (with the dots) versus Ty Hilton. And how about Le’Veon Bell (with the apostrophe) versus LeVeon Bell. When the dust finally settles and I’ve lined up all the edges, I have my projections.

If you are interested in my positional rankings based on projected points, please take a look at my last post, The Adventure of Bidding. If you are just too damn lazy to click a link, I will summarize…

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Well, we all knew the Bengals season was going to end as soon as they played their first playoff game, the only questions to be answered was the how and why. Unfortunately for the Bengals, the answers came about a month too early. Now sitting at 10-3, Andy Dalton broke his thumb while, of all things, making a tackle (shown above) after throwing an interception. The loss came at the hands of perpetual division rival and bee-uniform wearing Steelers, further complicating the Bengals road to their one-and-done playoff appearance. Even Tyler Eifert went down with a concussion in the first half of yesterday’s game. So you have to wonder, can they still get a bye and go for a loss during the divisional playoffs? Or will that loss come during Wild Card Weekend? All joking aside, you’d have to think that with this year’s Andy Dalton, the Bengals had the best chance they’ve had since the Carter administration to get a playoff victory, but depending on how long Dalton is out, you have to figure that limping into the tournament and unable to get a playoff win is the most likely scenario. And also sounds like a new verse for Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic”.

Here’s what else I saw during Week 14’s Sunday games…

New to Daily Fantasy Football? Try out this new free FanDuel’s contest, where half the league is guaranteed to win. (Played on FanDuel before? You can build a team for $5 for a chance of $100,000, part of a one million dollar prize pool!)

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Technically, it’s “Newton’s law of universal gravitation”, but let’s not cut hairs here when it comes to aesthetically pleasing titles. I’m into that whole brevity thing, man. But like Newton’s law — that two bodies in the Universe attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them, or, like how Paula Abdul explained while singing with a cartoon cat, that opposites attract, Cam Newton has been able to work with what is probably the most underwhelming receiving depth in the league. Not counting the Browns. (You never count the Browns.) I mean, Ted Ginn Jr. is a starter. THIS IS CRAZY. With last night’s win against the hapless Saints, the Panthers are now 12-0 and the only undefeated team remaining. Or, if you live in Carolina, they are now the only undefeated team with a 11-1 record. Regardless, no matter what unfolds the next month, at this point, it looks like the Panthers are set to make their run to the Super Bowl, where they’ll likely face off against the not-Bengals…

Here’s what else I saw during Week 13’s Sunday games…

New to Daily Fantasy Football? Try out this new free FanDuel’s contest, where half the league is guaranteed to win. (Played on FanDuel before? You can build a team for $5 for a chance of $100,000, part of a one million dollar prize pool!)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The heat check. Familiar with it? When you’re comin’ in so hot to a matchup that you feel like you’re as on fire as the Mike D cheat code from NBA Jam TE, you just start trying anything. Shooting from 30′ in basketball, swinging at anything thrown to a catcher in baseball, or attempting to break free in football by running more horizontally than vertically. None of those things I just mentioned are sound decisions, but you’re in the delirium of the heat check. Mr. T and his entire A-Team couldn’t stop you from doing what you need when you’re on fire. But it’s in these moments where you forget what made you so hot…and you get stoopid.

That hot streak you rode in on just blew a tire to send you tumble-weeding face first into the embarrassment of soured achievements. Now before you get all defensive and read this as a prodding of your glorious and gluttonous track record in fantasy football, because I’m sure you’re the king of the world of the water cooler of your work, but deep breath…these fun little analogies are incredibly befitting of none other than me.

A new week, a new storyline. It’s the beauty of fantasy football. Week 10 brought with it some exciting highlights in my fantasy football season: my teams went 7-0, I came out strong in the DFS games, and I began my writing foray here at Razzball covering the weekly game we offer. How’d I finish in my inaugural attempt? 2nd. And with it a little bit of instant clout. I was feeling good about my entry until time failed to stop at Week 10, moved on with the calendar seven days, and brought with it Week 11. Ever had one of those moments in sports where your heat check cooled into something a frigid as Elsa’s fingertips way too fast (yes, I just referenced Disney. You’re welcome.)? Yeah, for Week 11, ‘hot’ was the last thing I was comin’ in as. Week 12? Still didn’t learn my lesson, even though we didn’t offer the Razzball FanDuel Contest. What’s that you ask?

Each week we offer a 22-man Razzball-only FanDuel Contest that pays out the top-5 finishers. Think you’re good enough to operate beyond just luck and work your way to the prize? Then put your money where your fingertips are and enter the $5 Contest for Week 13!

Time to remember what got us here and take advantage of the final week of the fantasy regular season. Here’s how to navigate Week 13 in a 22-man contest…

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I’ll admit it. That was probably the best Sunday Night Football game of the season, and it had everything I’ve come to expect from an NFC East divisional game. It’s almost as if the Giants and Washington were there in spirit. In what was the second and final match-up between the Eagles and Cowboys, the game feature two quarterbacks that would probably be quite successful at the collegiate level. And most likely Canadian Football. And the aforementioned ingredients for this divisional game? All there. Turnovers, questionable officiating, amazing plays, the bi-weekly Sean Lee injury (honestly, Lee needs to be banned from playing football for his own good), back and forth scores leading to overtime, and of course, derp. In the end, the Cowboy’s failed to tackle anything during overtime (last play shown above) and now the Eagles have an insurmountable lead in the division at 4-4, good for second. Because Giants, that’s why. So… in summation: F*ck Greg Hardy.

Here’s what else I saw during Week 9’s Sunday games…

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Another week, and unfortunately another huge injury. On Sunday, Arian Foster tore his Achilles’ tendon and is out for the season after coming back only a few weeks prior from preseason groin surgery. A tough blow for owners who had seemed to have gotten a steal when drafting him back in August and September. The situation in Houston tough and to try and replace their star running back is not going to be a pretty one. Alfred Blue is expected to receive the first shot at replacing Arian Foster, but it’ll be hard to trust someone that outside of a 31 carry/139 yard/1 touchdown in Week 3 versus Tampa Bay (it’s Tampa Bay for Godsake), has gone for 95 yards rushing on 29 rushing attempts (3.28 yards per carry). He should still be picked up in most leagues but stashed on benches as he can’t be trusted as more than a low end RB3/FLEX option for the time being. Neither Chris Polk nor Jonathan Grimes are worth rostering for the time being, however.

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Last week. The Stats Machine had a chance to rest its algorithms and recharge its data structures. This week, it’s ready to pinpoint last week’s top performances. Looking back is always easier than looking ahead, but it’s important that when looking back, to ensure we are examining the right stats. The Stats Machine does that for us. Let’s see what it saw last week.

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Good god, what was that?

In what, dare I say, was a pretty good football game for a majority of the time (let’s just agree to not include a very morose and slug-paced fourth quarter), the Patriots continued their trend of deflating balls, cheating, receiving biased officiating, beating the Colts, which, based on recent history, was really no surprise. However, as I mentioned in last night’s Sunday Night Football Live Thread, this game really had no business being close, and it’s a testament to either Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis offense playing competently or the New England defense not being as good as we thought. In this case, it might have been a little of both (not including fourth downs, as shown above). But eventually, nature was able to drive the score to it’s most natural environment when mistakes from the Colts started to stack, all with a heaping side of LeGarrette Blount to help drive it all home. Which leads me to wonder, when the Colts draft defensive players, do they make sure that they can’t tackle first? Haha, just kidding, the Colts only draft wide receivers. With the win, the Patriots continue, along with the Bengals, Broncos, Packers, and Panthers to be the only unbeaten teams through Week 6. I’d say half of those teams are mediocre and the other half deserve their record. I’ll let you figure out which team gets the 0.5 left over from that equation…

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