Just north of Chicago, Fermilab was one of the most important sites in the Manhattan Project, which resulted in the development of the first atomic bombs during World War II. Throughout the Cold War, the particle accelerator at Fermilab crashed protons together at speeds nearing that of light, and scientists investigated their interactions to learn the deepest secrets of the universe. With research budgets under attack, the scientists at Fermilab brought in the top minds from Japan to work with the local businesses — namely the Chicago Bears — to study the deepest secrets of quarterbacks. With some of the nuances of English lost in translation, many of the Japanese scientists said they had unlocked the energy that would bring success to the Bears’ franchise quarterback. The report they drew up was titled, “Big Mitch Power.”
But there was a group of dissenting scientists who argued that “Big Nick Power” was the secret to the Bears’ success in 2020. They kept pointing to the salary of the Bears’ backup quarterback, Nick Foles, as the proof that the incumbent Trubisky was indeed a “Little Mitch.” Meanwhile, Big Nick Power had the arm and the salary to justify his stature as the Bears starting quarterback going forward.
Until Week 3, it was unknown whether Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy was concerned about his QB being a “Little Mitch,” but when Trubisky failed to inspire the Bears offense during their matchup against the Falcons, Nagy indeed outed himself as a believer in Big Nick Power.
September 28-October 4, 2020
Back in the pre-season — and even in the pre-pre-season if you’ve been following me since The Razzbowl Guidebook — I argued that you needed a consensus top 10 QB to remain competitive in your fantasy league. Now, for you 8-team leaguers, getting a top 10 QB isn’t hard, right? Things change as you include more teams in each league, and those 12-team superflex leaguers are absolutely desperate for QBs right now. Through Week 3, the top 4 scorers in standard scoring 2020 fantasy football are quarterbacks — Russell Wilson, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Dak Prescott — and 8 out of the top 10 scorers are quarterbacks as well. Comparatively, there are 5 WRs in the top 40 scorers. Sure, small sample size — it’s only week 3! — but in many head-to-head leagues, that’s 20% of the season, and in cutline leagues like the Razzbowl, that’s 33% of the pre-playoff season. Let me tell you, I’m in a best ball charity league with the biggest names in the fantasy football business, and I’m tied for 3rd place thanks to Russell Wilson. Hopefully Russ keeps cookin’ for the next 14 weeks.
News and Notes
Mitchell Trubisky — Hey, Reddit friend who told me I ranked Trubisky too low, are you out there? I feel your pain. Come! Come into the warm, sweaty embrace of the Razzball headquarters. Take some of our complementary nacho cheese sauce and a stale soft pretzel and chill out on our bean bags while I recap your nightmare in excruciating levels of detail. Now, if fantasy sports were as easy as “start the guy with the most fantasy points,” you wouldn’t really need any of us fantasy analysts. Trubisky is, perhaps, the best example of why you need — nay, must have! — fantasy analysts as your tour guide through the game of imaginary sports management. Trubisky had sneaky fantasy value in 2020: he was #19 in QB scoring, which was pretty useless in most leagues, but more than reasonable as a superflex QB or a fill-in if, say, Jimmy Garoppolo was your QB1. However, every sign pointed to Trubisky’s tenure as the Bears’ signal caller being short. His first game of the year was a come-from-behind victory due to the Detroit Lions having only 3 healthy cornerbacks period. In Week 2, Trubisky targeted Allen Robinson 9 times but only connected for 3 catches…and Robinson didn’t drop any passes. Trubisky’s On-Target% in 2020 was a miserable 48%, and, well, Big Nick Power connected on a deeper pass in one half of action than Trubisky completed in 2.5 games. Trubisky is out as the Bears’ starter, and BNP has taken over a rejuvenated (read: Allen Robinson is happy) Bears offense.
Nick Foles — OK, are you messing around with Big Nick Power? Now, if you’re just here for fantasy hot taeks, well, the answer is, “Yes if in superflex, no if in leagues smaller than 12 teams, definitely against the Lions in DFS, and a big maybe in dynasty.” Seriously, what happened to the good ol’ ESPN standard fantasy league? (<–Things I say while watching YouTube TV next to my kid doing virtual school). Now, the fantasy deal on Foles isn’t all that thrilling: in the time frame from 2017 until 2020, Foles hasn’t even started a complete year. His 169 yards/game were lower than DeShone Kizer and just higher than Dwayne Haskins. He’s averaged 9 points per fantasy game, which is less than Tyrod Taylor and just ahead of Brett Hundley (that guy who filled in for Aaron Rodgers for one year). Are you getting excited yet? ACKSUALLY, the interesting thing about Foles as a fantasy QB is for those niche dynasty superflex owners. Foles has a rather wacky incentive-laden contract that nearly doubles his base salary in 2021 and 2022 if he reaches specific snap counts and fairly reasonable performance metrics. In other words, Foles will likely be the Bears’ signal caller in this year and — unless he turns into Limp Nick Power — he’ll probably be there next year. Even with the likes of Trubisky and Foles, Bears’ offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has managed to tie for the third most QB TDs in the league (Trubisky with 6TDs, Foles with 3TDs). So, Foles might be an ugly play that gets fantasy value in 2020 by means of the system, rather than his skill. So, deep league players, you’ve got your no-cost superflex QB locked up all the way through the seventh wave of the coronavirus. Foles gets a tough Week 4 matchup against the league-leading Colts defense, which has 6 INTs. In Week 5, Foles faces another tough matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So, if you’re desperate for QBs in standard leagues, avoid Foles until his Week 6 matchup against the porous Carolina Panthers secondary.
Joe Burrow — Here’s one of those small-sample size stats that makes a good tweet: Burrow has the fourth highest fantasy points per game among active quarterbacks who played from 2017-2020. I know! It’s meaningless clickbait but you get so excited to see it. Burrow’s averaging 273 yards per game and has 7 total touchdowns to only 1 INT. For a rookie taking over a rather mediocre Bengals offense (dodges audience insults), Burrow has performed exceptionally well. Of course, the correlation to Burrow’s explosiveness is the near-disappearance of Joe Mixon. As the Bengals offense evolves through its first season, Burrow’s yards/game will likely drop a bit and Mixon will likely get more rushing reps as the offense diversifies. As many viewers and social media mavens saw on Sunday, Burrow takes too many sacks. The Bengals coaches are already publicly stating that Burrow needs to take fewer sacks — his 9.6% sack rate is just behind Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson — although the Bengals’ chronic offensive line woes are also to blame. Football Outsiders has the Bengals’ offensive line ranked 30th in the league for run blocking and 29th in the league for pass blocking. So, there might be some games where Burrow simply can’t withstand the opposing defense’s pass rush, and his numbers regress more towards expectations.
Cam Newton — Hey Reddit friends! You still with me? The #1 comment I had last week from our Reddit readers was, “Cam’s too low.” Sure, the guy can limbo with the best of them. However, in Week 1, Cam had the lowest intended air yards and lowest yards per game of qualified quarterbacks. In Week 2, Cam went hog and looked like he was playing Tecmo Bowl. In Week 3, the uninspiring Raiders DEF closed down on Cam and limited him to 162 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and 27 yards rushing. Back in my first summary, I noted that Cam’s career rushing totals are 38 yards/game and about 0.5 TD/game. Certainly, his gaudy rushing stats from Week 1 and 2 weren’t going to be sustainable. I’m absolutely not telling you to write off Cam, but his next three weeks come against the Chiefs, the Broncos, and the 49ers, each team of which is in the top 12 DEF so far. Rather, keep an eye on Cam. If you’re rostering him in a 12-team league, keep a capable backup QB on hand. If you’re thinking DFS, then Cam shouldn’t be your cash game QB, but rather a contrarian upside GPP option. The pre-injury Cam indeed seems to be back, but it seems like Bill Belichick hasn’t quite decided to unleash Big Cam Power on the NFL quite yet.
Brett Rypien — Uh, the Broncos have three QBs with NFL experience on the roster — one of them being just outside the top 10 QBs in yards and TDs from 2015-2018 — and the Mile High team decided to just throw all that down the mountain and start Brett Rypien this Thursday. Now, for those of you old enough to see the Ramones play live rather than on Youtube, you might remember Mark Rypien as the 2x Super Bowl-winning QB for the Washington Football Team. Brett is Mark’s nephew. Brett, however, comes un-drafted and has already been cut by the Broncos twice. Jeff Driskel didn’t thrill in his Week 3 start, but he was also taking on a tough Tampa Bay secondary that hasn’t allowed many scores, and he was doing that with basically no experienced receivers on the team. Pundits on social media believe that Thursday’s game between Denver and the New York Jets could be the last for Jets coach Adam Gase if he loses. Expect Gase to try his hardest to hold on to his job, and Rypien to hand off the ball a lot to Melvin Gordon. I wouldn’t roster Rypien in any format, and the odds that he’ll maintain a starting spot beyond Drew Lock’s period of recovery is very slim.
Tier 1 = 1-9. Start these players every game, pursue in DFS, trade targets for redraft.
Tier 2= 10-22. Matchup/Superflex QBs. Use as DFS QBs in favorable matchups.
Tier 3= 23-32. Desperation QBs. Contrarian DFS matchups only.
- PY/G = Passing yards per game
- RY/G = Rushing yards per game
- TTDs = Passing + Rushing TDs
- CAY/AT = Completed Air Yards per Attempt (Shows accuracy + Thrown Distance)
- YAC/C = Yards After Catch per Catch (Shows role of receivers in yardage)
- Bad% = Percentage of badly thrown passes (not including spikes/throwaways)
- FanPts = Standard League fantasy points (2020 season)
- Green = Player is top 20% in that category
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Aye, you made it this far, didn’t ya. EverywhereBlair is, well, located at home right now. He’s a historian and lover of prog-metal. He enjoys a good sipping rum. When he’s not churning data and making fan fiction about Grey and Donkey Teeth, you can find him dreaming of shirtless pictures of Lance Lynn on Twitter @Everywhereblair.