In what has become a seemingly weekly occurrence the most interesting handcuff in the land happens to be playing in the Thursday Night Game. I think this happens just to spite me. It’s as if the Football Gods force injuries and ineffectiveness on starters the week before they play on the thirstiest of all days. This week’s example of my curse is, of course, former (?) third stringer Brandon Bolden. The man who I had pegged to be taking over the Stevan Ridley “Big Back” role in New England. I figured if Bolden failed, then James White was probably next in line. But of course Bill Belichick did the most Belichickian thing ever and activated Jonas Gray from the practice squad, gave him a few carries, and leaned heavy on Shane Vereen. It looks like Bolden is more valuable to the Pats as a special teamer than a runner, and I have no idea what James White‘s issue is. I was shocked that he was inactive and you have to figure he’s deep in Belichick’s doghouse at this point. It’s really surprising considering how good he looked in pre-season and camp. The only ownable back in this scenario is Vereen.

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There were lots of cringe-worthy injuries in the NFL this week, and many that will have a lasting impact in fantasy football leagues. I could sit here and draw out the lede with some funny remarks that are linked to even funnier videos, but let’s face it, injuries aren’t very funny, and with so many guys to cover, let’s just get right into it!

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The 2014 NFL season looks more and more like a demolition derby of humanity with each passing week. In Week 6, Victor Cruz of the New York Giants was the biggest name to see his season end. He ruptured the patella tendon in his knee on a fourth-down play and that was it. The night didn’t get any easier for the New York Giants as they lost Jerrel Jernigan for the season, which put them down two wide receivers. Losing 27-0 to the Eagles on Sunday night seemed to be secondary. Things worsened for the Giants in one day but is your fantasy team dealing with injuries? Of course it is. If you haven’t had a player get hurt you’re either extremely lucky or it’s a total fluke. Either way, we’ll help you get through this difficult time of the season.

Let’s look back and see the big fantasy-relevant names who got hurt on Week 6…

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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.

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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.

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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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