At the highest-stakes Texas hold ’em poker table in Iowa, you put your career on the line. Every Friday, a group of graduate students gathered at a professor’s house. This professor, he was short, balding, and a British footballer. If it was your first time at his table, you’d drink wine for free and he’d chip $10 into the pot for you. He’d grab an LP, something you never heard before but was charming, like The Doves or Interpol. A 500-page book sat at the edge of the poker table, and the professor talked about the awards it won and his Cambridge education. He’d invite you back for another game, but next time, you bring the wine and chip in $20 to the pot. By the fifth game, you’re bringing snacks and booze and maybe some of his groceries. The book was always on the table, as were the stories of Cambridge. One night, the soundtrack would be Tom Waits for three hours straight. Who listens to Tom Waits for that long? Of course, he asked you to get the $60 bottle of wine because you’re enjoying your time so much. Seems like the professor is winning more than usual tonight. Around 11PM, you notice there’s some cards missing from the discard pile nearby the professor. You mention it. The professor stands, his hand on his award-winning book, his mood affected by the Pinot Noir you paid for. He looks you in the eye and says, “You’re accusing an award-winning, full professor in your department, from Cambridge, of cheating?” And you realize: it’s the cost of the wine and the buy-in, or your career. You went swimming with the sharks, and you got eaten. You back down. Tom Waits keeps growling in the background. 

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The Boof. It’s in the name. Every once in awhile he’s going to go Boof and leave Donkey to malpractice all on his own. Fortunately, two of our newest Razzball Fantasy Football writers were standing by to jump in and talk football with me on this week’s episode of the hottest show on all of YouTube—yes, even hotter than the topless chick feeding her cats. So Everywhere Blair and Aaron Pags tagged in to save the day. We talk about Cam Newton in New England and whether we’ll be buying the risky fantasy asset this season. Then we dive deep on the RazzBowl as Blair shares a little about his RazzBowl Success Story article and what it takes to finish near the top of the pack. Then Aaron swoops in to brag a little about his top 6 finish in last year’s contest (don’t forget to read Aaron’s RazzBowl Strategy article). All of this and much more philosophical RazzBowl musing on this weeks Boofless episode of Fantasy Football Malpractice! 

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You want to win RazzBowll II. Well, the feeling is mutual. I competed in the original iteration last season and made it agonizingly close to achieving the dream. Sixth overall! Making it through the final cutline to the Championship Tier was a massive challenge that required hard work and luck alike. For me, the work began in the weeks leading up to the draft when I formulated a plan of attack.

Knowing the scoring and roster settings beforehand is the first step toward being successful. The RazzBowl used the following positions and scoring rubric: 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 2FLEX, and 11Bench, with 12 teams and a 1 point per reception (PPR) style. The twist was the “better ball” format, where your best lineup scores each week until the cutline rounds begin. With this knowledge, I was waiting to draft a quarterback until the middle rounds, since only one could be active each week. I was going to use the extra FLEX to ignore positions longer than I usually would and find as many players who caught passes as possible.

Ignoring positions allows you to expand the player pool to your advantage. It’s common for fantasy managers to “fill” their rosters either consciously or subconsciously. Those empty RB or WR spots naturally begin to carry more weight, and therefore, the drafter starts to narrow down players based on their needs. If your settings give you the leeway, take advantage and broaden your prospective selections without regard for where they fit the puzzle. Be the puzzle master, not mastered by the problem.

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Deep in the hills of Los Angeles, there is a sacred space of learning that the kids call, “UCLA.” For those not familiar with the nature of university, it is like a bank where you can keep borrowing money no matter how bad your report card is. On the outskirts of UCLA, there is a junction where students spend their borrowed money. Hip shoppers stop at the Whole Foods, put their Chase Sapphire cards into a point-of-sale machine, and smile with maskless glee as the POS takes nine bucks from their account for a single watermelon. Across the street, there’s an In-N-Out, where students shout “ANIMAL STYLE” and wait for their slathered beef like it was the first co-ed on screen in a slasher film. 

In the winter, the Rose Bowl celebrates the imagined paradise that is California: the orange groves, the rose gardens, the summer nights on the beach with a Mai Tai. The RazzBowl, however, celebrates the real paradise that is California: Raiders Chargers Rams greasy burgers and expensive watermelons. And just like your friends want you to come out for one more $15 Mai Tai before taking the Uber to your dad’s condo, the RazzBowl wants you on board for the wildest ride in fantasy football. 

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Helicopter blades whirl above my head, the whomp whomp of each rotation replacing my own pulse, putting me into a transcendent state where I commune with the all-knowing extra-dimensional beings of fantasy football. I pull a knife from my pocket and cut plastic strips from forty-pound bags of pellets of synthetic mosquito hormone. I lift the bags chest high to hand them to my partner, who dumps them in the hopper attached to the side of the helicopter. Whomp, whomp.  “You’re drafting with experts,” I hear from my inner monologue as I cut and lift and cut and lift. “It’s the RazzBowl. You can do this.” In 37 seconds we dump 320 pounds of pesticide into the hopper. When the bags are empty my partner and I step quickly away toward a row of pickup trucks baking in the sun. We secure our waste bags, pull out the sun umbrella, lower the tailgates, and watch the helicopter take off to distribute the pesticide in wetlands across the St. Paul area. I pull out my phone. It’s time. I’m on the clock in RazzBowl. With Christian McCaffery taken at 1.01, I pick Alvin Kamara at 1.02. I shout out my victory to my co-workers, who nod and go back to their League of Legend highlight videos. By the end of the day, I’ve drafted Keenan Allen, and I think–I know!–that I’m going to win in RazzBowl. 

[record scratch]

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Year one of the RazzBowl was a great success. Very nice. Sexy time. Wawaweewa. Sorry, I had Borat playing in the background while working on my 2020 fantasy football rankings.

So last year we were graced with a loaded field for the inaugural RazzBowl better ball tournament. It was a real who’s who of the fantasy football world, including Heath Cummings, Jake Ciely, Andy Behrens, Brad Evans, Michael Salfino, my cousin Goncharius with the lazy eye who claims he’s the greatest fantasy footballer of all-time, plus many more of the industry’s biggest guns. But it was Mike Beers of RotoViz who took us all to Kazakhstan, hoisting the RazzBowl Cup with the help of his three-headed-monster backfield of Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry. 

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I heard the other day that beer is on the decline in the United States. Over the past 5 years beer sales are down around 2.4% and a whopping 1.5% over the last year alone. More and more Americans are turning to spiked seltzer, canned wine and hard liquor these days. And I understand it. When my RazzBowl dreams were dashed on a dropped Will Fuller touchdown during week 13 Sunday Night Football, beer wasn’t strong enough to kill the pain. I was forced to turn to hard liquor—and hard drugs—to find momentary contentment.

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While B_Don continues his trek across Europe, Donkey Teeth is joined by another special RazzBowl guest: Heath Cummings of CBS Sports. Heath elaborates on his self proclaimed “terrible draft strategy”, his improbable RazzBowl title run and his dream of taking the fabled RazzBowl Trophy out to a nice candlelight dinner at his favorite pub. The guys also discuss the future of several players from Heath’s team including Lamar Jackson, Rashaad Penny, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Tevin Coleman.

Then in the pickups segment, Cummings tears apart Donkey’s top 5 pickups for week 14. These recommendations include Darwin Thompson, Raheem Mostert, Patrick Laird, Jordan Wilkins and Anthony Miller. Heath and DT also chat about a few deep league options like Myles Gaskin, Zay Jones, Russell Gage, Jakobi Meyers and Pharoh Cooper before Donkey heads off to have his teeth taken care of at the dentist.

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The first round of the first ever RazzBowl Playoffs is now in the books and the RotoViz crew isn’t playing around. Mike Beers and his three headed monster backfield of Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry are striking fear into the butts of the RazzBowl field as they carry a first place lead into the second round of the playoffs. If you’re looking for something to put into your ears, The Beers Man made a special guest appearance on the Razzball Fantasy Football Podcast this past week. Beers’ RotoViz compadre Hasan Rahim is hanging out in second place, with a squad also led by McCaffrey along with Ronald Jones and a slew of wide receivers including Mike Evans, D.J. Moore and Calvin Ridley.

To recap the very simple, not at all confusing, RazzBowl Playoff format: 90 out of our 180 team field (140 industry titans & 40 fans) advanced into the playoffs after week 9. The top 3 teams from each of our 15 leagues were placed into the RazzBowl Championship Bracket and the next 3 teams in each league were placed into the RazzBowl Wildcard Bracket. The scores for round one of the playoffs were tabulated by taking the teams’ scoring average from weeks 1-9 plus their cumulative scores from weeks 10, 11 and 12. The top 15 teams from the 45 team championship bracket will now continue on to round two of the playoffs in the championship bracket while the next 30 teams from the round one championship bracket will be funneled into the round two wildcard bracket.

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While B_Don is off gallivanting in Europe, Donkey is joined by special guest and current RazzBowl leader, Mike Beers of RotoViz. Beers elaborates on his best ball and RazzBowl draft strategy as well as his in season RazzBowl management. Then the guys discuss several of Mike’s RazzBowl players and what the future might hold for each: Derrick Henry, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, George Kittle and Keke Coutee.

Later in the waiver wire segment (24:55), Beers tears into Donkey Teeth’s Top 5 waiver adds heading into week 13. Players in consideration for a pickup this week include Rashaad Penny, A.J. Brown, Bo Scarbrough, Benny Snell and Randall Cobb. Tune in now and discover what RazzBowl dreams are made of!

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