I usually spend the introduction writing about some aspect from my life or the player’s connection to my fantasy strategy that I am writing about. But this time I have to give it up to my Razzball companion and friend, Rudy Gamble. Rudy is one of the founders of Razzball and one of the boldest fantasy football rankers in the yearly FantasyPros rankings contest. For a short time a couple of years ago we did a weekly podcast during the season and I was always excited to hop on with him and was fascinated to learn more about his process. 

During the season, Rudy’s projections are behind a paywall, but during the preseason, you can view them for free. He has all of his rankings and depth charts for each team. What I really like about Rudy’s rankings compared to the rankings that you can just google, is that Rudy lists the stat projections for each player. So you can take a look at a lot of stuff that you aren’t getting elsewhere, including targets. I was combing through his projections recently and had to do a double take when he had Terry McLaurin as his WR4? Look, I’m with you, that’s crazy talk. But clearly, you don’t have to pay a WR4 price tag for him so I decided to take a deeper look. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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The early part of the middle rounds in fantasy football drafts create a lot of strategy separation in my experience. In some cases you have league mates that are itching to get their starting quarterbacks and tight ends. Other league mates are keeping an eye on their ESPN draft rankings sheets and taking the highest player available trying to grab value. There are fantasy players in the mid rounds that start making bold high upside reaches that might end up being dropped by week 5 when they don’t get the snaps or targets. And then there are those who wisely spend their 6th round pick on Raheem Mostert.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When my wife and I first moved in together, she wasn’t really into football but it was my Sunday ritual. The house we lived in wasn’t really big so it was either watch football with me or hang out in the bedroom all day if the weather was crappy. The weather is often crappy during football season around these parts. If you can’t beat ’em join ’em right? But first she needed a team and my favorite team is not great. 

We were watching Monday night football together one time and my Buccaneers were playing the Carolina Panthers. This was the first time she truly enjoyed football and a lot of it was at my expense. She fell in love with Cam Newton. The confidence, the swagger, the first down and touchdown celebrations, the absolute ass kicking that he was putting on the Buccaneers. By the end of the game, she decided that she was a Panthers fan. And she watched them every week from there on out. If the Buccaneers were on in the living room, she turned the game on on the laptop. If there was a story about Luke Kuechly or Jonathan Stewart or whoever, we would talk about it and it was a fun couple of years. Soon enough, the roster changed, Cam couldn’t stay healthy, and she lost interest in football. I think the heartbreak of losing a Super Bowl had a lot to do with it. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

My parents are in the golden years of their lives right now entering their 60’s. My mom just retired after 25 years working for the government and my Dad is less than a year away from retirement. I guess that you could say that my dad is already semi-retired, because he works remotely during the winter in a condo that they bought down South. Now that they spend their winters away from the cold, they see no reason to maintain their home in the Midwest so they are down-sizing to condo here as well. Down-sizing has it’s perks, but it also comes with the burden of getting rid of the amount of unnecessary things that they have acquired and put into storage over the years.

Some of the stuff there is mine from when I lived with them up until my early 20s. Stuff I didn’t have room for in an apartment. Stuff that I had forgotten even existed until very recently. As an excuse to go down memory lane with me, my mom has been inviting me over to go through my things and see if I want to keep anything before it’s basically inaccessible forever. There’s baseball and football cards, posters, model cars, yearbooks (yuck), and childhood pictures that I might want to show or give to my kid who is now 10.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The NFL schedule came out last week. Tradition continues as uncertainty looms over whether we will have a 2020 season or not. One of the more polarizing plays the the NFL made was having the Giants host a week 1 Monday night football game. East Rutherford, NJ is 8 miles west of New York City and that entire area is a Covid hotbed. I’m not an epidemiologist, but this still seems like a bold strategy by the NFL. The NFL clearly wants the consumer to have confidence that there will be football in 2020. 

Speaking of confidence, Daniel Jones clearly had more confidence in himself than NFL mock drafters and fantasy football players. I will be the first to admit that I made a lot of jokes about the Giants spending their first of two picks in the first round of the 2019 draft on him. If his first start against Tampa was any indication, Gettleman is smarter than me. He let it fly in Florida completing 23 of 36 passes for 336 yards and 2 touchdowns despite being sacked 5 times. He also picked up key first downs during his 4 rushes for 28 yards. Even though Tampa had no business losing that game, Matt Gay missed his 5th field goal attempt from 36 yards out after making his first 4 attempts of the day. It doesn’t matter, Neither team was competing for a division title and it marked the arrival of the former Duke QB.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Ravens are having a hell of an offseason after a great run in 2019. The Ravens added 2 potential stars in the draft via Patrick Queen and JK Dobbins, Lamar Jackson (enthusiastically?) acknowledged praise he received from polarizing president Donald Trump, and now we have the Earl Thomas story.

I need to know everything about this. I need the six-part Netflix documentary with the Wondery podcast to boot. When did orgies with his brother become his go-to method to blow off steam? This is all the material that Ballers needs for a one-season reboot. Are you in, Dwayne?

The details are just so perfect for our boredom without competition right now. Earl Thomas gets the standard “you drink too much” talk. Like, come on, it’s quarantine, what else is one supposed to do? He decides that group sex with his biological brother is just what he needs to forget about it all. His wife, knowing that he is up to no good, finds him via his Snapchat location (turn it off man), then grabs the strap and a couple of friends to set him straight. This Ballers script writes itself. His wife barges in, Earl dials out to The Rock. Spencer Strasmore answers his phone, “Yo Spence, I have a serious problem! My wife is craaaazy!!!” Spencer hastily blows off whatever zoom meeting he’s in about saving the 2020 NFL season, jumps in his Porsche and hollers “send me your location!” Earl fires back, “check my snap!” I could go on for pages about this, but without much happening in the sports world, I should probably save some sporadically useful material. But I do want to dive into Mark Andrews for the 2020 season. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We have all had enough Corona already, but that doesn’t stop the calendar from striking Cinco de Mayo. So get your blenders ready and have a drink along with Baker Mayfield.  The Cleveland Browns spent the 2019 offseason making the biggest splash that they could. Baker had shown some promise in his rookie season and it was time to go full throttle in putting pieces around him. They forgot two at least two things in the process: pass protection and a head coach that can coach. 

The big additions on the offensive side of the ball were Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt. Odell should have been a game changer but playing through injuries and mental frustration definitely took it’s toll. As we all know, Kareem Hunt was suspended for the first 8 games of the season and didn’t see the field until week 10. The Browns were good enough on the offensive side of the ball to be competitive in a lot of games, but not good enough to win the games that they should have. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday started like any other Saturday in this current timeline. I woke up and had my morning coffee and started meal planning for the weekend. What more is there really to think about right now other than eating and watching TV? It’s getting warmer out, so why not fire up the smoker? Ribs it is. I ran off to the grocery store after a proper hand cleaning and got my materials and fired up the smoker. If you have smoked ribs before, you probably know that the go to method is 3-2-1. Three hours unwrapped, two hours wrapped with liquid, and one hour wrapped with sauce. Bang, fall-off-the-bone goodness. 

So I have three hours to kill until I need to worry about the ribs, so some Twitter entertainment is in order. And…. President Trump is tweeting about a Lamar Jackson draft pick video. Am I in some covid fever dream? I know that Trump tried to buy the Buffalo Bills some years ago but I didn’t think he was still a casual enough observer to know of Lamar Jackson’s greatness. I thought that the extent of his football attention was being mad at the kneelers. Anyways, jokes are tweeted and I am entertained.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Arizona Cardinals haven’t been relevant in the NFL since Bruce Arians “retired” a couple of years back from health issues. Steve Wilks was hired in 2018 and made it just one season after finishing 3-13.  The Cardinals traded Josh Rosen just one year after spending a first round pick on him and used the number one pick on Kyler Murray after hiring Kliff Kingsbury. It was clear that Arizona wanted to take a modern approach to the future of their offense. 

Although the Cardinals weren’t stacking up wins in 2019, they didn’t shy away from building towards a future where they could. Before the trade this year getting rid of dead weight in David Johnson in exchange for DeAndre Hopkins, they sent a 6th round pick for Kenyan Drake. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tuesday was the big unveiling of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new uniforms officially wiping the slate clean before the Tom Brady era, or whatever. I’ll give Tampa credit, these look like actual NFL uniforms as opposed to the knockoff XFL jerseys that they had been rocking for the past few years. I suppose that you could say that these new uniforms have a similar feel to golden era of Tampa Bay football in the late 90’s and early 00’s. The new uniforms are not that original though. They look like a hybrid of the Houston Texans’ and the Atlanta Falcons’ jerseys. 

I don’t think that the uniforms are the only similarity that there will be with the Bucs and Falcons this year. In fact, I think the Falcons could have a breakout receiver similar to what the Bucs had with Chris Godwin. And that receiver is none other than Calvin Ridley. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?