This is it, I’ve reached the end of my half of the Razzball Division previews with the rest coming from Zach.  It’s been quite a journey researching the NFC for the upcoming season.  It was great going through all of the players that have disappointed me in the past and still loving them for this year and vice versa. Now, I feel somewhat ready to start my rankings for 2017.  Within a week, I will put out my top 200 for the season and I will also put out a top 100 IDP players post as well.  We’re reaching the home stretch of the NFL offseason, but we still have a lot to cover over here at Razzball.  Without further ado, let’s get to the Starks of the NFC North.

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Welcome back! The NFL had a hell of a day on Monday…  Zach and I are here to give you our thoughts on Ezekiel Elliott, as well as the Dave Gettleman firing. That’s not all, we talk about Kirk Cousins, David Johnson vs. Le’Veon Bell, along with Mike Glennon’s fantasy potential.

Also, I found out that Zach plays basketball with old dudes and we argue about Christian McCaffery again.

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Free agency is one of my favorite parts of football.  This is probably because my favorite team never seems to be in the playoffs so I guess it gives me a false sense of hope going into the next season.  A couple of needs get fulfilled with players that I haven’t seen play in the Buccaneer’s system and all of a sudden I can argue them into the playoffs in my head.  The Jaguars also always look like they’ve built a dangerous roster in the offseason, and then we remember by week 2 that Blake Bortles is still the quarterback.

Free agency answers a lot of questions for fantasy football as well.  Every year, the beginning of March changes the destiny of at least a few players that might be question marks in keeper leagues. Just because the player takes the biggest check doesn’t mean that they are putting themselves in the best position to put up their best possible individual numbers.  I’m going to do my best to decipher the first week of signings and trades right here.  This was a busier year than last year for the skill positions as far as I remember, so if I forget someone you wanted to read about, forgive me.  Let’s get started with one of the fastest players in football…

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I wasn’t always so down on Vincent Jackson. In fact, it’s quite hard to be seeing as how he’s had six 1,000+ yard seasons in the past seven years, with four straight from 2011-2014. And mind you, only one of those seasons involved a quarterback named Philip Rivers. Since then, he’s had the likes of Josh Freeman (to be fair, some of it was peak Freeman), Mike Glennon, and Josh McCown throwing to him, so you’d certainly give Jackson a bunch of credit for being an above-average receiver for quite some time in fantasy football. And while the end-of-season numbers always seem to be there, the problem isn’t so much of not having a legitimate NFL quarterback (which he doesn’t), or a running game that takes focus from the defenses (he also doesn’t have this either) or even other receivers to create space (Mike Evans actually does this), the problem is consistency.

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Hrm…how am I gonna do this…*Goes and reads ‘How To Sell A Bad Idea For Dummies*. I got it! He’s cheap! Yikes, readers and readettes, we’re really digging down into the down and dirty at QB suggesting Jake Locker at $5,400 but there’s some reason for optimism here. One, it’s your money, not mine…JK. The big reason I’m staring down the barrel of Jake’s cannon arm is the matchup. The Jets have been a wreck in the secondary all year. So bad, they’ve allowed a top 15 or better finish to quarterbacks with names like Alex Smith, Teddy Bridgewater and Kyle Orton (twice). If you were looking for a sign that something’s not working, Orton hanging big weeks on you more than once in a season is a pretty good indicator. Now of course, none of this touts Locker as a great play. He’s a risk. A big one, in fact. There’s no sign nor indication that Locker will ever be a good NFL QB at this point but DFS DGAF, y’all! Boy can scramble. Let’s just pretend that he has ‘started’ 4 games this year since he was hurt half way through week 4 and has played back to back 4th quarters the last two weeks when Zach Mettenberger’s shoulder turned into ground beef. In those ‘4 starts’, Locker has averaged about 34 yards on the ground and has a rushing TD to his credit. The great thing about rushing TDs? They’re worth more than passing TDs…seriously, you play this game, why am I telling you? So Locker could net you 9 points with 30 yards rushing and a TD without doing much out of the norm for his style of play. Now let’s take that ‘could’ and tack on the bad passing defense to date by the Jets that has allowed a 29:5 TD to INT ratio and an average of 258 passing yards a game for the year. Now let’s not kid ourselves, this could easily blow up in our faces like we just got a present from Jokey Smurf so I wouldn’t get cute and play him in cash games. That said, if you’re a GPP’in, you’re lookin’ to cut corners on pricing wherever you can and this could be that one time you’ll remember the 2014 Titans fondly. Enjoy. But enough about Denzel Washington, let’s move on. Here’s my red hot takes for the week 14 DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 team league of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It lets us know that you care!

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Truth is, I used to be a Mark Sanchez apologist, and perhaps I still am. As a Jets fan coming off of two AFC Championship games, he was easy to like. Then, we got to know the real Mark Sanchez. Dancing with his pants off, the butt-fumble… need I go further? But overall, the Jets weren’t exactly a catalyst for his success. I blame them. Now, Mark Sanchez is born again with renewed hope as a follower of the Chip Kelly system, and I’m buying into it.

Full disclosure, I don’t think we see a far departure from the Sanchez we knew in New York, but I think we see improvement. He will still throw interceptions. He will still struggle in some situations, and I truly believe he will once again dance without pants, but I think the Eagles give him an excellent chance to succeed, like they did with Nick Foles. Sanchez might not be able to throw a football over them mountains, but he might be the Pedro to Nickfoleon Dynamite.  A solid one-two punch.

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Most people recognize O.J. Simpson as the guy that most likely killed his wife and her lover and got away with it. If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. Old school football fans know “The Juice” as the running back for the Buffalo Bills that became the first player to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season back in 1973. While six other players have since accomplished that feat, Simpson remains the only player to have done so in a 14-game season. He also holds the record for the single season yards-per-game average, with 143.1 yards per game.

But how many of you remember him as T.D. Parker, the veteran running back that transitions from player to coach to help lead the California Bulls in HBO’s glorious sitcom from the late 80’s entitled “1st and Ten”? I don’t know about you but that show was awesome. Starring Delta Burke (in her prime), the show included many guest appearances from NFL legends such as Fran Tarkenton, Marcus Allen, John Matuszak, Brian Bosworth, John Riggins, Lawrence Taylor, Joe Namath, Eric Dickerson, Roger Craig, Jim Everett, Herschel Walker, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon, Ted Hendricks, Bubba Smith, and more! And let’s not forget about Leslie ‘Dr. Death’ Crunchner, played by none other than Donald Gibb who is best known for his role as Frederick Aloysius Palowakski (aka Ogre) in Revenge of the Nerds. Well done HBO. Well done.

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I mean, you do have the Arizona Cardinals with the best record in the NFL. The Miami Dolphins suddenly look like they can be competent for certain stretches of time. One of those times including a game against my Chargers. Both the Colts and Eagles (depending on Nick Foles’ status) seem competent enough to being contenders. Even the Steelers have figured a few things out behind Ben Roethlisberger treating the last two games like he met them in a dive bar bathroom. But I think it’s fair to say that the Broncos and Patriots, fulfilling a narrative wet dream on a continual basis, had to have been considered the two best teams. At least until the Patriots destroyed the Broncos yesterday afternoon. While I’m a constant palm-facer when it comes to Peyton Manning’s “cold-weather” narrative, it seems that his “can’t beat the Patriots” narrative may have something to it. Also, there are way too many narratives. Please no more narratives. That being said, despite having their own problems early in the season, the Patriots have seemingly maintained their status as one of the top teams in the NFL, if not the top team. Now that you’ve figured that part out, for the love of god, can you give the ball to Shane Vereen more? Is that too much to ask?

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Normally, I start with a little opening about the week and dive into the picks for the waiver wire. This week, I’m going to go a little different to open…

It’s one thing to get waiver advice from this site. It’s another thing to get it from someone who is in first place. It’s even nicer when they’re the same person. That is exactly the case right now in the Razzball Writers League, where I am the top banana by myself at 6-1. Hooray for me at the halfway point. Enough chest-thumping, let’s get into the meat of the column.

This week is going to be a very key one on the waiver wire. This is Week 8 and each of the next two weeks feature six teams on bye. If you make the right move this week, you can potentially sit back and reap the benefits while your opponents scramble each week trying to make moves. First, the byes. This week, it’s San Francisco and the New York Giants. Week 9 features Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Tennessee sitting out. Week 10 has Houston, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, San Diego and Washington at home on the couch. Week 11 is a little easier with Baltimore, Dallas, the Jets and Jacksonville on a bye. And Carolina and Pittsburgh close it out on Week 12.

We’re going to have to keep this in mind as we evaluate our selections.

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“Start ’em and Sit ’em” was on hiatus last week as I made my way to Boston to catch Derek Jeter’s farewell game on Sunday.  Things went well.  Some random dude gave us a free parking pass when we were driving up to Fenway, Jeets got a hit in his last at bat, and I even caught a foul ball.

So did you miss me?  (You’re supposed to say, “yes”).  I’ll just assume you did, and we can all move on.  Fantasy football didn’t stop for me just because I didn’t put out a Week 4 column.  I never got off the saddle — well, maybe once to enjoy a warm bowl of chowdah.  Hopefully you survived that hectic week of byes, and let’s keep on, keepin’ on to Week 5…

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