The Joey Wright was a king without a prince, even though the song 1999 pulsed in the background of the VIP section at Sticks, the only football-themed nightclub on the West Coast. The Battle of Lake Tahoe was won, but the War of the Razzbowl had taken its toll. 

“Another New Coke?” the bottle girl asked Joey, her referee-striped uniform reminding him of the Super Bowl Shuffle. 

“IT DOES NOTHING FOR ME!” Joey shouted, tossing a red flag on the floor to indicate he was done with his VIP session. The tech bros at the booth across the aisle poked their eyes up from their Nachos Grande and noticed Joey cradling a picture, whispering to it. One of them came over. 

“You OK, man?” the tech bro asked Joey. 

“Not since I lost The Mick,”

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When Covid isn’t flattening QBs and teams left and right, massive windstorms have completely shut down QBs several times this year. In Week 10, another Vortex Giant (CR25 for you nerds) stomped into many stadiums, leaving giant killers like Nick Chubb and [checks notes] Ben Roethisberger (hmmm) to save the villagers. I’ve asked fantasy managers to be proactive about rostering useful streaming QBs, if not to provide options in case of Covid or weather, but at the very least to deprive your opponents of a starting QB. This last week, your opponents would have gotten useful streaming games from bottom-tier QBs like Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers. Now, I’m not applauding their games. But when other QBs are facing off against sustained 25MPH winds, gusts to 50MPH, and rain/sleet, those fair weather QB streamers look awfully nice. 

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Their gas tank empty, The Joey Wright and The Mick Ciallela stood on the side of a Coloradan road. It didn’t matter which one, they all looked the same here. “Tumbleweed West” is what Joey called it. “The death of us” is what Mick called it under his breath. 

“Check the trunk again,” Joey said, shaking his slurpee container and trying to get the last rocks of sugar into his straw. Mick pounded the trunk of the baby blue Buick Skylark, the latch popping and the trunk opening. “Yeah, I told you, it’s gone. Just this manifesto!” Mick picked up the zine, the color of a rainbow without contrast. The lede: STEAL THIS RAZZBOWL. 

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Earlier in the summer when I was ranking pitchers over on the baseball side, there was a moment early in the baseball season when less than 60 starting pitchers had played; the rest were injured or quarantined or got caught at the club and sent home. The starting quarterback landscape is increasingly looking that way: tons of injuries are taking their toll, and the NFL has a baffling Covid policy where they’re punishing teams for practicing during the week yet still marching teams out every Sunday rather than delaying the games. Was Tuesday Night Football really that bad? I mean, other than screwing up the fantasy scoring systems for like two weeks. ENYWHEY. Outside of Dak Prescott, most of the injuries and quarantines haven’t affected the bulk of fantasy managers playing in standard leagues. Those who are in deep leagues, dynasty leagues, or superflex leagues, however, are probably in massive frustration mode. Here’s how I’m seeing the QB landscape unfold. 

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Through the hole in the floorboard near the gas pedal of the baby blue Buick Skylark, The Joey Wright and The Mick Ciallela watched the pavement pass underneath, mile by mile. The sky was the color of toast, burnt on both sides. 

“How much gas we got, Mick?” Joey asked, his hands jittery on the wheel and his eyes on the horizon. He had heard Nebraska was flat, but he had never heard about how the crows –thousands of a crows aloft in the sky — flew in mesmerizing patterns. He felt they were waiting for something. For them. 

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I like it when there’s a penalty in football. The ref comes out, takes center stage on national television, and in avuncular tone, tells us what exactly went wrong and what the consequences will be. There’s a sincere clarity to a football penalty. It’s like my team’s on-the-field problems are my own. When my team’s cornerback interferes with a pass, it’s like I was getting vicariously handsy with the receiver. Then the ref comes out and tells me I was a bad boy, and that I better keep my hands to myself next time. But then the ref says “Half the distance to the goal,” and I think to myself, I haven’t gotten any of my goals achieved. Now I’m halfway there!

Thanks to you ref, maybe I’ll achieve something this year. 

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He probably doesn’t remember this, but The Joey Wright — former film critic and Frozen 2 aficionado — has changed my life before. You see, in the effort to diversify Razzball holdings into all realms of the media world, we had a short-lived film studio named RazzWorkz, where we leveraged Grey’s ties to A-list celebrities to greenlight independent and gritty films. When I submitted my spec script, Nunchuckers 3: Hail Terry — my coming-of-age movie about Terry McLaurin teaching a group of nuns to play football to save their charter school’s tax-exempt status — it was The Joey Wright whose critical review ended my screenwriting career. Joey said my script was, and I quote, “Worse than Air Bud 6: Mile High Pup, that movie where Patches the Pup spends spring break in the Rockies touring dispensaries and learns a lot of life lessons.” And now, to rub salt in the wound, The Joey Wright has re-taken the lead in the Razzbowl for the second time. So, let’s turn the tables, and now I’ll play the critic to Joey Wright’s Razzbowl sequel. 

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Here at Razzball headquarters — which is actually Grey’s basement in a rambler in Toledo, Ohio — the writers have been preparing for Halloween. You would imagine that a bunch of guys who use cartoon avatars would be really good at costumes, but with the world stricken by seven months of the piranhavirus, we’ve run out of crafting materials in the basement. Our running back guru, Hobbs, was pretty easy to cover in ketchup and coal dust to make a worthy facsimile of Hobbes the Tiger. And because we’re really committed to our imaginary games, we quickly put the writer Hobbs into a toy chest and ignore his calls for extra Pop Tarts. Donkey Teeth, of course, dresses the part of Donkey from Shrek, like, all the time. Did you know they made a Shrek 5? If you scour the Filipino black markets of DVDs, you’ll see our own Donkey Teeth starring in his self-created fan-fiction where a donkey gets psychic powers and finally — finally! — wins the Draft Kings Mega Millionaire. Myself, I’m dressing up as my hero, Big Nick Power, because he inspires me to treat everyday like a Hail Mary. If enough people get injured and struggle, I could be a New York Times columnist! 

If you would like to contribute to the Razzball Halloween candy fund — they might even buy the candy fresh this year! — be sure to check out our other writers’ rest of season rankings, and consider getting an ad-free membership or a Roto Deluxe membership

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The first time you do something, it’s memorable. Like, your first kiss, or your first time waking up in a bathtub with a kidney missing. Because if you wake up a second time in a bathtub with a second kidney missing, well, it’s going to be a rough day that you don’t want to remember. 

Now, will Mick Ciallela’s second time at the top of the Razzbowl rankings be remembered as a second kiss or a second missing kidney? Let’s find out!

With 66% of the cutline best ball portion of the tournament done, Mick becomes the first Razzbowler to repeat as the Leadingest Leaderboard Leader. Let’s take a look at what the man from Fantrax has been doing to chase that coveted Razzbowl trophy and sweet, sweet Razzball merch. 

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Part of being a fantasy analyst is that you’re always, at least to some degree, a contrarian. And being a critic and being contrarian are two different things: the former involves the deployment of data to make an argument, and the latter is going up when others go down [wait, what site am I writing for again?]. The most effective moments in fantasy analysis are when criticism and contrarianism connect, and the fantasy analyst makes a predictive move that could help readers win their fantasy leagues. 

Now, I’m not claiming oracle status, but I will claim a short victory lap on Ryan Fitzpatrick, who I warned my readers to stay away from. 

The (Fitz) magic disappeared on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, when rookie signal caller Tua Tagovailoa was named the starter for the Miami Dolphins. 

Therein lies the vex of fantasy analysis: some of the stuff we say seems, well, loco. Fitzpatrick had been putting up pretty good fantasy numbers. But (and it’s a Blair’s been sitting here writing this update for too-long sized but), Fitzpatrick’s peripheral numbers were terrible. Last week, I pointed out that Fitzpatrick was struggling with moving the ball down the field, was throwing too many interceptions, and had an on-target percentage sandwiched in-between Trubisky and Haskins, each of whom had lost their starting job this year. And now, the Fitzmagic has disappeared. 

Aye, I definitely am a bit crazy. But, if I saved you some cash by navigating you away from Fitzpatrick this season, then take a moment to consider an add-free subscription to the site, or, for less than $2/week remaining on the season, get a Roto Deluxe membership to get all of Rudy’s fresh projections updated for Tua Tagovailoa as the starter. 

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