Here we are, the conclusion of Combine Week 2014! We’re finishing up this week with my review of the running backs from the Combine. I will warn you, though, that trying to formulate a long-term fantasy forecast for a running back who has yet to be drafted is tricky business. So much of a running back’s fantasy value is derived from the situation they are brought into (number of touches, type of offensive system) and the offensive line they get the pleasure, or misfortune (see: Lamar Miller) of running behind. A perfect way to illustrate this point is to look back at the running back draft class from last year. Two prime examples immediately come to mind when thinking about how team situations affect fantasy value for running backs. These two players are Christine Michael and Le’veon Bell.

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Well, this is it, the day we’ve all been waiting for. And yes, the Fantasy Football season has long since ended, and there are no more points to be had, no more injuries to deal with, no more lineups to set. Most importantly, we are that much more removed from having anything to do with C.J. Spiller. And, well, if you are still playing Fantasy Football, congratulations, you are the most inventive person I know. OR, you are suffering from schizophrenia. Regardless, you might be wondering what’s going on here. Why is there a post here on a Sunday? And that, my friends, is a very fantastic question.

We’ll be starting a new trend where I will throw-up (#ChuckStrong) a post on game day, that will serve as a sorta ‘base-of-operations’ for the morning and afternoon slate of games, including Sunday Night Football. And, as a bonus, I’ll be hanging out with all you fine folks in the comment section. Why? Why not? We’re here to talk football, and more specifically, fantasy football, amiright? I AM RIGHT. So this will be one of the new toys for the upcoming 2014 season, and we’re going to call it ‘Sunday Razznic’. Because Razzball is awesome. And Picnic’s are awesome. Because sammiches. And not to worry! There will be Monday Razznic’s and Thursday Razznic’s, to fill all of your Fantasy Football needs. So let’s start this picnic off the best way we can, and that’s with this year’s Super Bowl. Or Superb Owl, as some have called it. Or, you know, Su Perbo Wl, which no one, has in fact, called it. Yet…

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Highs and lows. Yup, that about sums it up. Both the running backs from 2013 and how I view my medicine cabinet in the bathroom. Today I’m typing on trilacridopaprylocine. The current effect is everything I’m typing looks like its in Wing Dings. I’ll keep you up to date on how the rest goes…but let’s get back to the first part of this. It wasn’t just my top 10 that got blown up by injury, ineptitude or both. There were plenty of assets that made their owners go mad given their price this year and I can promise you the result from this year is going to make me take a hard look at how I evaluate RB rankings in 2014. As the NFL slowly moves onto being a passing league moreso than a running league, having a lead back – or at least the original definition of it for fantasy – looks like its becoming a dying breed. Truthfully, there was very little value in drafting an RB high this year when we compare the peaks and the valleys and how much gold came much later in the draft. You’ve heard of the scrub QB theory, we might be well on our way to working one up for RBs in 2014. But of course that’s a topic for another time. For now, instead of looking forward let’s look at our behinds. Here’s the Top 20 Running Backs from the 2013 Fantasy Football season…

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Sure, you got a few points out of him last week, but if you want to win your league championship game, you need to bench Jamaal Charles.

Oh good, you’re still reading.

Benching a player just because someone told you it’s the right thing to do is the fantasy football equivalent of jumping off a bridge because your friend told you to. If you even considered benching Charles after reading that first sentence, you need to get outside more. This is your team. As I’ve said all season, if you have a good feeling about someone, start them! Sure, Adrian Peterson is coming off an injury and has a tough matchup in Cincinnati, but are you going to bench the guy you likely drafted in the first round or traded some serious talent to acquire? Of course not! Sure, Zac Stacy has a tough game against Tampa Bay this week, but he’s done great things against tough defenses before and the Rams are handing him the rock often so there’s no way you can bench him now.

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Monday Night Football is all about the narrative, whatever that narrative might be. What story could we blatantly exacerbate that builds up what was already a notable game between two playoff bound teams in the Saints and the Seahawks you ask? Well why not talk about the shorties on the field, right? Where’s T-Pain when you need him? I ask because Russell Wilson needs an auto-tuned ballad rapped about his abilities to play bigger than he really is. Tonight’s matchup was all about featuring the little guy as RW3 was pitted against DB9 in a battle that would ultimately clear the argument: who really was the world’s tallest midget QB? I keed, of course. I’m just blathering about pointless conjecture. I don’t care how tall you are at QB, I just want you to ball dawg. Russell Wilson proved tonight that not every short QB from Seattle played like Rick Mirer as he went for 310 passing yards on 22/30 to go with 47 yards rushing and 3 passing TDs. Now I got a weird look when I put @DangerRussWilson #3 in the weekly rankings but maybe I’ve been too clued into what he’s been doing of late and y’all have not. I just don’t know. What I do know is coming into week 13, he’d been on fire and I couldn’t ignore that given he was at home in a marquee matchup on Monday Night Football. Minus his bye week, RW3 has been a top 10 QB over the last 4 weeks heading into MNF and he kept that trend, finishing 2nd in scoring by ESPN standards. Moving forward, the only worry I have is a letdown game in week 15 if the Seahawks triumph against the 49ers in San Fran but the road to a decent end to the year seems well within reach. I had him ranked as the 6th best QB heading into the year. He was 8th heading into MNF after everyone else had played. Something tells me that call wasn’t too far off now like many may have perceived. Don’t worry, I made up for it by putting Robert Griffin, III 5th, of course. Neverthewho! Here’s what else I saw in the game for 2013 Fantasy Football…

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I swear, players with names like this were made for Razzball. Do you know how many puns I’m gonna squeeze out of this down the stretch with him? Trust me, you don’t even know. But more to the point, we here have been all over this guy this week. This isn’t an ‘I toldja so’ but I do hope you all listened to the Razzball Podcast on Tuesday when I said you should pick up Chris Rainey. Then I hope you read the first comment on the Podcast post where I clarified who I was talking about. Anyone out there picking up the 5th string RB for the Steelers…mea culpa. Hopefully you read my BUY column on the following day and made sure it was Bobby Rainey. Sure, I didn’t tell you to start him but Tampa Bay said Leonard was starting. And clearly Tampa Bay never lies…wait, what? Neverthewho! Finally, as if we didn’t treat you like a baby seal enough, we clubbed you over the head on Friday with J-FOH making Rainey the lead in The Handcuff Report. All this to say, unless you were in a coma for the last week, we got you in early on this gem. And if you’re reading us first after coming out of a coma, thank you! Now you should really put life in perspective if we’re the first thing you think of upon waking from something like that. But now that we’re done slapping each other on the ass for the good call over here, let’s get to the numbers: Rainey carried the load in Tampa with 30 carries for 163 yards and 2 TDs on the ground while chipping in 2 for 4 through the air and another score. Yes, that’s three TDs from a guy who’s 23% owned as of mid-day Sunday which probably means he was owned under 10% prior to games starting. Seriously guys, put it at automatic waivers when Sundays start. Cheaters! But more about Bobby: that boy ain’t right…to opposing defenses. There was a lot of concern about his size holding him back from being a lead RB but all I have to say to that is Warrick Dunn. Bobby (5-8, 212) and Warrick (5-9, 180) have a little in common in that area. Everyone wants to pick on the little guy back there but little doesn’t mean these guys can’t carry the load when presented. Looking forward, Rainey had a nice matchup against a Falcons team that has given up plenty on the ground to fantasy backs on the year so I’m not going to anoint him straight away. I’d like to see a little adversity before I do that but I do think if you nabbed him, you’ve got a mid-tier RB2 right now with explosive upside and the potential to make up for all the RB heartache you’ve no doubt suffered to date. Here’s to Rainey making you into the Reigning champion this year. See? We got this for days, people. In other news from Sunday of week 11 for 2013 Fantasy Football…

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Ostentatious. Adjective. Definition: Characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; designed to impress or attract notice. Welp, it sure worked. We saw it all, Tavon Austin, and we’re all impressed. The 98 yard punt return? Flashy. The 81 yard TD catch and run? Swank. The 57 yard bomb? Razzle-Dazzle. Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m using synonyms here for that ‘o’ word you can’t pronounce. It’s ok, it’s the internet, you only need to know context, you don’t have to know how to actually say them. Well here’s where I’m supposed to say ‘Tavon has arrived’ or ‘look for Austin to test his city limits’ because we pun like that around here. But I’m not gonna. Not even close. NOPE. Sure, it was an impressive day but here’s what doesn’t impress me: the number 2. No, I’m not talking about the polite way to say you’re taking a crap. I’m talking about his receptions in the game. Sure, he had 138 yards receiving but c’mon this game screams fluky. Further problems with the ‘pick up Tavon’ mantra or ‘Tavontra’ if you will? The number 7. That’s the number of drops he has on the year heading into the weekend. That’s tied for the league lead and of the 4 others he’s up against in that category, he has the smallest amount of targets. Third? Kellen Clemens is still throwing to him. That’s, to say the least, not a positive. Look, I’m not saying this kid can’t be good some day but that day isn’t today. In deep leagues, I can see getting interested but if I own any shares I’m looking to move on from Tavon. In other 2013 Fantasy football news from Sunday of week 10…

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The season is at the midway point and as we journey into the second part of our lonely trudge into fantasy fame in some leagues and fantasy infamy in others, it gets harder and harder to get in on someone and call them a buy low. Too much work has been done at this point to point at a player and say ‘that guys underperforming’ or ‘that one’s clearly playing above his head’ or ‘he should’ve had a V8′. We’ve seen too much and know too much to be fooled by a bad game or two…but it never stops us from trying. And in the spirit of that, I’m here to talk to you about Marshawn Lynch. I’ve been ragging on the ‘hawks coaching staff of late and their offensive game plan and I think it’s fairly warranted. This is a team known for its run game, great defense and the heroics of RW3 when they’re needed. Lemme be the first of many to tell you, the heroics of a game generally aren’t needed until the 4th quarter. Heroics usually don’t watch their running back rush for nearly 50 yards on one drive in the first quarter only to turn the ball over on an interception and then go away from the run for another 2 and a half quarters to top it off. What I’m saying is, after 8 carries for 23 yards against a team defense that gave up almost 200 rushing yards to the Titans a week later, Lynch should’ve been feasting on the Bucs but he didn’t really get the chance to. Well I’m here to say I think the OC in Seattle has learned their lesson – ok, I’m hoping they have – and will go back to the style of ball that has put Seattle in the driver’s seat of the NFC West. Lynch is still on track for a good season – Nearly 1,650 total yards and 12 touchdowns is his current pace – but it only takes a couple of weeks without a touchdown for owners to get anxious. So go calm their fears and taste the rainbow while you’re at it. In other buy/sell news for 2013 Fantasy Football…

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I’m not one to talk the trash or put someone in a verbal vice-grip, but when it comes down to knocking off my fellow RCL writers I feel the urge to gloat. Just a little. Despite my Red Sox World Series hangover of 2004 proportions, your humble-but-nonetheless-bloviating Guru took down JB’s undefeated team that is cleverly named “JB Gilpin” last week and he spent most of Sunday crying to me on the phone about “bye weeks” and how his cat doesn’t “understand” him. Sorry JB, I don’t know how to help you with Mittens, but bad things happen when you assemble your roster after 14 wine coolers. The one and only “Tis Tehol” also fell to your turban clad friend last week. Of course Tehol was too busy checking the progress of his receding hairline to set his roster again, but I’ll take the win. Tehol, are you so mesmerized by your Drakkar drenched banana hammock that you can’t find a tight end to start? However, my first place 6-2 “Scotch Fueled Gurus” lost to an unknown 12-year-old “expert” somewhere in Pennsylvania Amish country whose trash smackin’ prose made Richie Incognito look like Maya Angelou. The kid told me my turban smells like my grandma’s…well, you know, then he beat me 20 points. I feel so bullied. *one lonely tear drops* However, the jammer crammers have been coming through for us this year. Last weeks jams of Terrelle Pryor and Tim Wright were solid plug ‘n’ plays. Let’s forget I suggested jamming on the New Orleans defense, okay? Overall, we have hit on about 70% of our jammer/crammers in any given week. I’m not ready to surrender my turban just yet, my Razzballer’s. And I certainly won’t hand it over to a prepubescent, Fall Out Boy loving kid that sleeps in his Ben Roethlisberger footie pajamas while his mommy rubs his heiny and tells him how special it is. By the way, kid, my dad can beat up your dad. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

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