Dear Running Backs,
What the hell is going on? Seriously guys, not only are you getting injured at an alarming rate, but your off the field antics are ridiculous, and not ridiculous in a Dennis Rodman fun idiot kind of way. Let’s take a minute to reflect. More than likely we the fantasy football collective will be without Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles (maybe not), Ryan Matthews, Mark Ingram, Knowshon Moreno, Doug Martin and Jonathan Dwyer for several weeks. Oh okay, yeah, no one cares about Jonathan Dwyer, but you get my point. That’s seven starting running backs and we’re only two weeks into the season. Early in the fantasy baseball season we talked about the closerpocalypse well this is the runningbackalypse. I fully expect another three to be injured and Matt Forte to be found out as the real life Buffalo Bill by the time this blog posts. It’s been that kind of year. As corny dancehall reggae artist Elephant Man would say ju-kno! Well I guess the silver lining is there were plenty of intriguing handcuffs promoted to starter in the last week. Some are temporary, others could be more permanent, and some tried to get in on the runningbackalypse. Either way here are the ones to keep an eye on.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s Sunday, and the clock is about to strike 1:00 pm.  Anticipation is building, and you finally cave, as you remove Stevan Ridley from your FLEX and replace him with Joique Bell.  After all, Ridley has been in the doghouse with Coach Belichick and Bell has a great matchup vs. the Eagles.  We’ve all be there before — at the last minute you completely reverse course from the original starting lineup you had all week long.  Sometimes it pans out, but sometimes you’re left kicking yourself — like when Bell cedes carries to a red-hot Reggie Bush and Ridley sneaks in for a couple of one-yard touchdown dives.

This column is here to help you make those decisions easier.  Each Saturday throughout the NFL season, I will be providing you with a list of some players you should start, as well as some that should take a seat at the end of your bench.  I won’t be telling you to start LeSean McCoy, ‘cuz if you’d ever consider sitting him, well, you’ve got way more things to worry about than fantasy football (like getting your head checked).  Instead, I’ll focus more on the fringe players or the sneaky second- or third-tier guys who aren’t automatic starts or sits each week.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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For a sixth straight season, Razzball will be interviewing NFL-team blogs and site contributors for some actual in-depth football knowledge to shed some additional light on our fantasy football knowledge. Keep your eye out for an interview for every NFL team for our Team Preview Series through the summer. This installment comes courteous of our very own Jennifer Warner.

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Greetings and salutations, one and all. You’re here for the all important last rankings review of the 2013 Fantasy Football season. We went back through all the important ones so far like the Top 20 Quarterbacks, Top 20 Tight Ends, Top 20 Wide Receivers, Top 40 Wide Receivers, Top 20 Running Backs, and now that we’ve gone to the end of the road…still I can’t let go. How many guys out there wanted to be Michael McCary? Like, who needs to sing when you sound like a subwoofer when you talk? If the movie Private Parts taught me anything, it’s not the size of the speaker, it’s how close you stick the woofer to your tweeter. But yeah, enough innuendo, this is recap time. A time to reflect on the year that was in the hopes we can glean a bit about what year is to come so that we can repeat the same mistakes and sit depressed eating a gallon of ice cream while watching The Bachelor, crying…forever alone. Some of these names will be expected, some un and others ‘ummm…’ but over all there’s as much hope in this group as their was in the top 20 so keep your minds and hearts open y’all, cuz if you don’t I’m going to get a bone saw and a rib spreader to show you how, m’kay? But enough about my unorthodox version of the board game Operation, let’s have at it. Here’s the Top 40 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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Tis the season, right? Unless you’re not of the xmas-religion affinity. I wish I had something for you but I have zero knowledge of Decker-related things I could say about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and all the other holiday things I could talk about here. Happy Winter Solstice? What about Festivus for the rest of us? Don’t leave, I swear I’ll be more inclusive! The holidays are much like ordering a large pizza for a room full of college students: all drunk and stoned and should be doing their homework. Wait, no! Well yes but more so you can’t please everyone. No way no how. They don’t usually let you order pizza with different toppings on every piece. There’s also something else that doesn’t always make people happy: the Denver passing attack. It was a concern coming into the year that there would be a few guys left out in the cold most of the year, if not the whole year. Well much like life, those Broncos have ebbed and flowed. Early on, it was Welker. Then DT got it turned on for a stretch. The Orange Julius had been oddly one of the more consistent of the slick quatro (yeah, it’s not their nickname; just made it up) but he’s been out with a leg issue the last two weeks. So in the stead of an underused Welker and a missing OJ, someone had to step up and on this day it was Eric Decker who finished with 8 receptions, 174 receiving yards and a whopping 4 TDs. He only had 3 total coming into Sunday on the year. The end line for Decker is gonna look fine on the surface. He’ll go well over 1,000 yards receiving and may still end with 10 TDs. But I give the fair warning that I’ll probably say the same thing about Welker when the season’s over and I think we both know how that has been of late. Moving into 2013, these two are gonna go much higher than I’m gonna be willing to pay for in most leagues due to inconsistency. Sure it’s nice when this happens but how many of you experienced this Decker explosion on your bench? Exactly, there was a good reason he was there to start the day. Don’t forget that when 2014 hits. In other news from week 13 of the 2013 Fantasy Football season…

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Normally a big game from someone comes early in the day and I circle it, pin it on my 100 %recycled cork board and dictate the rest of my post in pieces here and there throughout but I’m not gonna lie: the Broncos vs Pats game I had circled. I just knew the name would come out of this game. I mean, we had all those stars and great storylines. Wes Welker returning to face his former team. Amendola living up to the hype of trying to replace Wes in New England. Peyton Manning doing his best nihilist impersonation. Gisele rushing onto the field and Tonya Harding’ing Welker also came to mind. But instead, out of all the storylines this game brought to life, it was really center stage for a guy who’s been under-appreciated for what he has meant to his team, been called out on twitter and in general gets no respect. I’m of course talking about Knowshon Moreno, the much maligned starting RB for the Broncos whose emergence started last year when Willis went down with an injury and rolled into this year while all the pundits said Montee Ball would be the star in Denver. And yet, through it all Moreno has put up some very solid fantasy numbers on the year. But I’m taking this second to point out a different part that’s just as important; what he means to his team. Moreno ‘gets it’ and Peyton knows it. He trusts him. When Moreno is out there, Manning knows he’s got a guy who knows the play and will be ready to block if the play changes and where he needs to be to make the team successful. Of course, twitter has been cruel to him but it’s also shed some light here and there as well. And despite the massive fantasy day, tallying 224 rushing yards on 37 carries to go with a TD, Moreno left the stadium in a walking boot and on crutches. I’m pointing all of this out to say it’s not just Moreno owners who should be worried about this injury as it could affect the offense as a whole if he misses significant time. You think I’m being melodramatic up in here? Think back on all those fumbles by Peyton on huge sacks. Guess who was in to pass block? Mmm-hmmm. He’s real football important and because of that his fake football persona is relevant. Montee Ball started the collapse for the Broncos in the second half with a fumble and has had pass pro issues. Ronnie Hillman has been in the inactive dog house since his fumble fiasco at the goal line in the Colts loss. CJ Anderson? Odd if they wanted him involved why they haven’t given him many reps since the Hill demotion. All this to say, Broncos thought it was cold Sunday Night. We might be finding out how warm it is when he’s away. I know, I know, I know, I know, I know…in other news from week 12 of the 2013 Fantasy Football season…

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As a life long Panther fan, it’s usually been fantasy that’s carried me through the season, but flippity floppity and look at em go!  In the midst of their 6-game win streak I’ve seen my fantasy teams go to way of the Nick Capozzi David Wilson hot tub.  But I had decent starts in my leagues – I’m mostly around .500 on most teams (and mostly come out at night!  mostly…) – so there’s a few weeks left to cross my fingers and hope my Writer’s League team can make the playoffs after starting 8-0.  Because it’s looking really, really bad…

What’s great about the fantasy football season is that the pivotal weeks go down the next few weeks, and if I suffer a ridiculous Thanksgiving showing (something as nuts as say, Michael Floyd getting a bajillion points), I can just eat my pity away with Thanksgiving leftovers.  I’ll go into the day like Shawn Kemp as a rookie and leave it like Kemp as a Cav.  Except minus all the baby mamas!  Tryptophan isn’t exactly an aphrodisiac…  I hope you all have a great week 12 and Thanksgiving, and hope Razzball Nation crushes towards a 1st seed.

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Football is a funny sport, especially for a team that rarely gets to be in the spotlight. The last time I remember seeing Cam Newton under the watchful eye of prime time, it was Thursday Night Football, week 3 and it was the 2012 season. Heading into the game, the Panthers were 1-1 and were fresh off a win over a division rival – the New Orleans Saints – and were riding high. It was Cam’s second season in the league and people were expecting great things from the young man. And then September 20th happened and the good times left the building. Cam and company left their home turf after a humiliating loss at the hands of the Giants. After a 36-7 loss, a lot of people – both fantasy enthusiasts and real – began to question Supermans superpowers. Was the guy that looked like he was pouting on the sidelines under his towel really a leader? Was the guy who just threw 3 interceptions really the person that was gonna bring Carolina back to prominence? And so on and so forth and the rest of the season played out and people forgave but never forgot the towel-covered Cam. He was a childish athlete who’d never learn how to play within the game, they said. An egotistical prat who lacked the ability to guide a team to victory, they chattered. And for most of 2012, the people were right. But some light must’ve popped on at the end of 2012 as they went on to win 5 of their last 6. Sure, the Panthers finished 7-9 but there were flashes of the team we saw on Monday last year. We were just too blinded by Cam hatred to see. And of that Cam hatred? Well, to help his team go to 8-3 on the 2013 season, Newton finished with 209 passing yards and 3 passing TDs while leading his team in rushing on the night with 62. Yeah, but you ain’t talking fantasy, Sky, this is all about real football. No one cares. Well you SHOULD care, imaginary reader. This team is fighting for the playoffs. It has motivation and incentive down the stretch to actually win their division and a supercharged Cam can be a Superman Cam at any moment and tonight he definitely was that. Cam looked better than he has in a while in the passing game. I don’t know if it was his receivers stepping up or him playing at another level – I’ll defer towards the former but that’s cuz Cam’s been pretty damn good all year, y’all – but there’s reason for JB to be pointing at the back of that jersey tonight. Cam is legit. Panthers are legit. And now I have to write about other guys and I’m completely spent. In other news from week 11 MNF for the 2013 Fantasy Football season…

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Both Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green are in tough matchups this week, but you’re going to play them anyway. Why? They’re just too talented to bench. Baltimore is incredibly good at protecting against the run, but that won’t stop you from starting Matt Forte will it? Probably not. There are just some players you have to start regardless of their matchup, but that list is pretty short, so here are some players that aren’t on that list.

Steven Jackson has so much potential! After a decent performance in New Orleans week 1, Jackson has been a huge disappointment ever since, thanks to his injury. There are better scenarios ahead, but against a surprisingly decent Tampa Bay run defense, you shouldn’t expect much from him this week. Consider him a low end flex play until next week…when the Saints come marching in.

Please, blog, may I have some more?