When I first started writing with Razzball, I was fairly convinced it was one of those MLM-schemes. You know, the kind of thing like scented candles, or really expensive vitamin patches, or leggings that don’t improve your yoga whatsoever. Because when I came into Razzball Headquarters for the interview, Donkey Teeth had all of that going on in his office. “Can I offer you a Cran-Razzle-Berry Tonic Water?” he started, his zebra-striped leggings leaving little to the imagination. “It’s fortified with Taurine!” I politely declined, reaching for a chair before DT pulled the splits to stop me. “Can’t let you sit in that before I cleanse it!” he said with a smile. He pulled out some sort of chicken feather duster and chanted as he cleaned the seat. I swore the chant was to the tune of the Super Bowl Shuffle. When the chair was properly cleansed, I took a seat and pulled out a folder that had my rankings inside, ready to do my interview. DT had no desk in his office, just a giant bench that I later found out he stole from the sidelines of Soldier Field before it was demolished. “Let me introduce you to my co-editor, Kerryon,” he said, gesturing to the Fathead of Kerryon Johnson on the wall. I laughed, which really didn’t help things. I handed over my rankings, proud of my #1 choice, Lamar Jackson. DT just laughed, and I asked what he found funny about my rankings. “There’s no hot takes in here!” he said, his zebra-striped legs man-spreading across the Soldier Field bench. “There’s promise, yes, but not a single hot take.” DT said he would bring me on board, as long as I started getting others on board with some bold takes.
Four weeks later, Justin Herbert appeared in the top 12 of this ranking series. Donkey Teeth, I hope I made you proud!
October 5-11, 2020
It’s Week 4 of the regular season, but for many 12-team leagues, your pre-playoff season is 1/3 of the way over. If you’re holding onto dud QBs in single-QB leagues, believing that somehow Sam Darnold is going to start unleashing beast mode with 400 yard games and 4TDs every week, well, I wish you the best as the sharks take your money and start prepping for 2021. If your main QB isn’t cutting it, it’s time to move on, and move on quickly. If you’re in a superflex league, make sure you’re rostering at least three QBs, or are prepared to trade for a backup QB at the drop of a hat. If you feel like you’re already out of the running and are in a dynasty or keeper league, then grab some hot young QBs before their stock rises much more: Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are the clear stars of the 2020 draft class, and they’ll be likely 12-team fantasy league starters as early as next year.
News and Notes
Deshaun Watson — Watson has probably been the most disappointing QB of 2020 because of his high draft value and low fantasy scoring. I ranked Watson as my #5 QB at the start of the year, which was more or less in line with how other rankers had him. However, through the first 4 weeks of the season, Watson was outscored (as a fantasy QB) by Cam Newton, Joe Burrow, Ben Roethlisberger, Jared Goff, Gardnew Minshew, Ryan Tannehill…whew. You get the point. In Week 4 against an absolutely decimated Vikings DEF that had given up the third most points in the NFL and 5th most passing yards, Watson threw for a modest 300 yards and 2TDs. When Vikings’ all-pro safety Harrison Smith was ejected from the game in the second quarter, George Iloka came into play safety and was often paired against Will Fuller. The 30-year old Iloka, a favorite of Vikings coach Mike Zimmer from his days as the Bengals’ defensive coordinator, had lost his starting job in 2018 and wasn’t in the NFL in 2019. As injuries piled up in the Vikings’ secondary, Zimmer brought Iloka back to the team, and suddenly Iloka found himself as the centerfielder in charge of preventing Will Fuller TDs. And Texans coach Bill O’Brien, with an 0-3 record and facing a Vikings secondary that was filled with rookies and guys who couldn’t make a roster spot with the Cowboys, well, B.o.B. put Watson in a position to target his tight ends 15% of the time and his running backs 21% of the time. The Texans’ comeback attempt with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter was nearly stymied when B.o.B. called a Duke Johnson rush up the middle on 2nd down, followed by an incomplete pass to Will Fuller. However, the Vikings’ beleaguered secondary committed pass interference, which gave Watson a fresh set of downs to work with. Nearly 25% of Watson’s week 4 yards came on this final drive, which ended in heartbreaking fashion when Will Fuller made a beautiful one-handed catch that was called incomplete because the ball touched the ground before Fuller had full control. With analysts and Texans fans irate, Bill O’Brien was fired from his position as the general manager/head coach of the Houston Texans. Interim coach Romeo Crennel is a defensive mind, and last top-15 performance with a quarterback as head coach in 2007 with the Cleveland Browns, when Derek Anderson threw to Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards on his way to 3800 yards and 29TDs. With so many fantasy managers relying on a comeback from Watson, it will come from a dramatic change in play-calling from the coaches, and hopefully a better use of the Texans’ wide array of skilled receivers. I wouldn’t give up on Watson just yet, but if you’re in need of an interim QB, don’t be afraid to grab one while Watson gets familiar with this new coaching regime.
Brett Rypien — Brett “The Ryp-man” Rypien started his first NFL game against the New York Jets last week and…won! Jets’ head coach Adam Gase was rumored to be playing for his job, and when he lost, the Jets ownership doubled down and kept Gase and said he would be coach for the rest of the year. Come on, Jets fans! Get angry! Anyway, back to the undrafted rookie who was cut twice. Rypien finished the game with 242 yards and 2 TDs and 3 picks. Rypien tried to take advantage of Jets’ cornerback Pierre Desir, who struggled mightily in coverage against rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. However, Rypien’s fantasy value should have been even worse. Early in the second quarter, Rypien aired out a bomb for Jeudy that was under-thrown. Desir had the inside position and his hands were up, ready for the big pick against the rookie QB…and the ball went right through his hands, bounced off his helmet, and was snared by Jeudy for a 48 yard touchdown. Take that play away, and Rypien’s stat sheet would have been 194 yards, 1 TD, 4INT. So! Fantasy fans: don’t start any of the Denver QBs in Week 5. Whether it be Jeff Driskel, Blake Bortles, Brett Rypien, Colin Kaepernick (wait, shouldn’t he get a chance now?), or the incumbent Drew Lock, just avoid any Broncos QB for now.
Dak Prescott — You may say “small sample size,” but I’m going with this stat: Prescott is on track for 6,700 yards this season. COME ON, why won’t you let me dream!? Remember in the pre-season when we all asked “If Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott, and Blake Jarwin all get 1,000 yard seasons, then what does that mean for Dak?” A pace for 6,700 yards, that’s what it means! But, indeed, when we swap Dalton Schultz for Jarwin, the receivers are on track for 1,000 yard seasons, and Zeke isn’t far behind. Now, certainly this is unsustainable production (and I will flat out deny having written this if Dak goes 6k+), but for your fantasy purposes, there’s not much stopping Dak right now. The Cowboys’ DEF is atrocious (2nd worst in yards allowed, worst in points allowed by two touchdowns), and Dak will need to throw a lot this year. In Week 4, he topped the 500 yard mark for 4TDs, and he’s topped 450 yards for three games in a row. If it wasn’t for Russell Wilson having an even worse defense, Dak might be taking the first spot in the fantasy quarterback rankings. For you, you’re considering Dak in all your DFS lineups. What’s that noise? Is that you cheering the Cowboys opponents so Dak comes and airs it out? Yeah! That’s the spirit!
Derek Carr — Right now there’s a bunch of readers saying, “Carr ruined my team last year, and the year before, and I won’t be fooled again!” These same readers keep going to Taco Bell time after sickening time, ordering those refried beans that are really just reconstituted clown makeup, all the while saying, “It hurts so good!” OK, chill out friends. In 2019, Derek Carr finished as QB16, and if he had thrown one more touchdown, he’d be QB13, right behind Tom Brady and ahead of Jared Goff. Right now Carr is QB17, and if he had one more touchdown, he’d be QB12, right behind Lamar Jackson and ahead of Matt Ryan. Carr is top ten in yardage, second overall in completion percentage, and 7th in TDs (just behind Dak Prescott). He’s got the 5th highest QB rating in the league and he hasn’t thrown a pick yet, which is something only he, Aaron Rodgers, and Patrick Mahomes can say. He’s done this all on the 11th most passing attempts in the league, and the Las Vegas Raiders are passing nearly 25% more than they’re rushing. All this adds up to a QB who is available in basically all leagues who could be the savior for your struggling fantasy team that drafted Baker Mayfield. At the very least, if you have a competent QB on your team, you should consider grabbing Carr as your backup to prevent other managers from making a mid-season push for the fantasy playoffs.
Daniel Jones — I looked through the Pigskinonator projections for this week, and while I can’t tell you all the hot details, I think it’s worth letting slip that the Pigskinonator is showing a big week 5 for Daniel Jones. First, why does the Pigskinonator matter? Because it’s really, really good at predicting the best stacks and top players. For example, I was reading high-stakes gambler Jonathan Bales’ newsletter, and he mentioned at the end that he won $70,000 in the DraftKings Mega Millionaire last week. He posted a link to his team, and it was a pretty obvious — in retrospect — Dallas Cowboys stack with Alvin Kamara and Ronald Jones tossed in (the millionaire team was basically the same with Joe Mixon tossed in). It got me thinking as to whether Rudy’s DFS lineup optimizer would have been competitive with the guy who won the “Gambling Olympics.” I checked last week’s top lineup in the optimizer, and low and behold, it was a Dallas Cowboys stack with Alvin Kamara and Ronald Jones. With DFS, it’s best (in my opinion) to use a combination of optimizers and your own brain, so maybe take the 7-day free trial for a spin this week and see if you like it. If you have questions, let us know and we’ll help you out. As always, fantasy sports is a game of odds; no person or system is prescient. But, the Pigskinonator has Daniel Jones at a 50% chance for a 300 yard game next week against the Dallas Cowboys. That’s a bold prediction because Jones has topped 300 yards only once in his career. This makes Jones an intriguing upside play that is available on most waiver wires and will be a cheap DFS option.
Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen — Late Wednesday morning edit due to breaking news: Dwayne Haskins is out as the Washington Football Team signal caller. Was he ever really in? Sounds like Kyle Allen will start. Allen was pretty bad last year, but he was WFT head coach Ron Rivera’s go-to guy when Cam Newton was injured. Allen knows the system, but Haskins being out at QB 1/3 of the way through the season just confirms that WFT is a dumpster fire. Only roster Allen if you’re desperate for QBs in a superflex. Haskins is crossed off the list below, and Allen would basically be #31. For whatever it means coming from Dr. EWB, baseball historian and sarcastic fantasy sports writer, Dwayne Haskins should have been given the rest of the year to develop.
Cam Newton — Another edit: sounds like there are more Covid cases on the Patriots. I mean, I’d ask the Pats to stay out of the massage parlors, but you know how that goes. Even if Cam is healthier, the Pats might miss a game. Keep an eye on the news.
Tier 1: Wilson through Rodgers are separating themselves from the other QBs. These QBs are throwing through the air a lot, getting TDs, and rushing.
Tier 2: Jackson through Wentz. The good thing about QBs in fantasy? The mid-tier QBs produce nearly the same fantasy value.
Tier 3: Cousins to Lock. Superflex or contrarian QBs only. There’s upside to all of them in individual games, but they shouldn’t be your starter in 12-team leagues.
- 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)
- FP/G = Standard League fantasy points per game (2020 season)
- Green = Player is top 20% in that category
|16||Gardner Minshew II||284.5||17.3||8||4.2||4.9||12.7||18.5|
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.
Do you see the switch to Allen helping mclaurin? Haskins was not playing well but mclaurin has been seeing plenty of targets. Thx
What’s up toolshed?
I see marginal upside. Allen was basically the same profile as Haskins in 2019, but Allen chose to throw it to CMC more than he should have. Allen had marginally deeper throws than Haskins, but overall, each of them struggled to get the ball down field. If it wasn’t for CMC getting a 1,000 yard receiving season and 100 catches — indeed, giving Allen more yards after catch than yards through the air — I doubt we’re in this situation at all.
I don’t change F1’s stats that much; he’ll still be the primary target in a pass heavy offense.
Have Kirk on my bench and feel sick about it. Would you rather take a risk on someone like Keyshawn Vaughn, Mike Williams, David Moore, Ford, Cobb?
Any reason why Zach pascal isn’t on here?
What’s up ham? I think you might have been checking with Boof’s WR rankings but I’m happy to chime in.
Kirk should turn it around but behind him I would go Mike Williams, Ford, Cobb in that order. If Herbert clicks with Williams, SD could be a huge offense. Good luck!
Nick Foles is too high!
Nick Foles will light the fires in our hearts with touchdown bombs!
i get l-jax at 7 (it’d be less if really just so far’s stats) but not if it’s really about “ROS” like it says. i don’t own him anywhere (didn’t believe going into last year his passing was actually going to improve all that much all of a sudden and i surely don’t spend that much on QB’s in redrafts ever for this year) but is it really assumed like last year didn’t happen here?
All fine points, Mord, but it’s unfair to extrapolate LJax’s unprecedented 2nd half last year and say that no team has accounted for it, or that the Ravens are using him in the same manner this year.
So far, LJax is on pace for 30% fewer rushing yards than 2019, 20% fewer passing yards, and 25% fewer TDs. Can he pick up this pace? Absolutely. Are other quarterbacks crushing Lamar in terms of fantasy/points per game? Yup. Am I happy to raise Lamar’s rank if he resumes his gravel-crushing ways of 2019! Of course! LJax was my #1 QB in the pre-season. It’s a pretty major miss for me for my #1 to be down at #7 right now.
But I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out to readers that LJax’s pace is, well, not that thrilling right now.
On the plus side, Rudy’s got LJax as #1 throughout the rest of the season right now, so there’s that.
Thanks for checking in, ML!