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.
Andy Dalton — About three weeks ago, you took all your FAAB money and dropped it on Chase Claypool and Andy Dalton. Did you think that was going to save your 1-4 team against the likes of “Bryan from Thursday Zoom Meeting” and “Rebekkah, who Drafted Tom Brady in Round 1”? Your new beau from Dallas, Andy Dalton, took an enormous knock to his fiery head on Sunday and doctors were left trying to figure out if his hair was that color of red naturally or whether he needed surgery to stop the bleeding. Reports on Monday (my favorite jazz combo, btw) indicate that Dalton has a concussion and is “questionable” to play in Week 8. Now, I know that patriarchal complex has us so wound up to downplay injuries and sicknesses that A) we’re cool with letting more Americans die from the piranhavirus than Americans died in combat in World War II, B) we’re letting the clearly mentally unhealthy Antonio Brown back into the league, and C) we’re so desperate to keep Colin Kaepernick out of the NFL that we’ll bring back the Ghost of Andy Dalton to lead the 2-4 Cowboys. Concussions are very serious and many careers have been derailed by one of these traumatic brain injuries (if you’re into baseball, check out my article on Robbie Ray’s post-concussion career that I wrote last week). People with concussions are supposed to avoid activities like driving, reading, jumping on the sofa, and watching videos of your team’s atrocious defense on a Surface tablet. So, IFF (the extra “f” means “frantically-desperate-for-franchise-QB”) Andy Dalton takes the field next week, then you know Jerry Jones’ $5 billion franchise is captained by a man with a brain injury, and I’m not talking about Dalton. If Dalton doesn’t go, then Ben DiNucci will helm the sinking Cowboys ship.
Ben DiNucci — Welcome to the NFL, Ben! Here’s the thing about doing the quarterback free-fall in fantasy football: in a 12-team league, your opponents are deciding between Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill each week, while you’re spending FAAB on Ben DiNucci because you drafted Kirk Cousins as your QB1. DiNucci comes to the NFL as a 7th round draft pick out of the famed quarterback factory, James Madison University, where he faced brutal competition from Elon University, Stony Brook University, and Morgan State. DiNucci’s most surprising statistic results from his legs, where he put up over 4 yards per carry in 2018 and 2019. While it’s easy to chuckle at DiNucci putting up 157 yards and a pick against Northern Iowa, there’s no denying that DiNucci can get out of a jam with his legs, which gives him surprising “upside.” With the Cowboys’ offensive line allowing ten sacks last week, DiNucci might be doing a lot of scrambling. You shouldn’t start him in any matchup, unless you’re in one of those reverse scoring leagues that rewards for poor play. Dallas plays the Philadelphia Eagles next week, and the Eagles are middle-of-the-pack in terms of pass defense. In Week 9, the Cowboys play the Steelers, who are one of the league’s leading pass defenses and made Ryan Tannehill look silly for three quarters on Sunday. If you’re in a superflex and need an emergency QB, you’re better off starting a WR in that spot.
Cam Newton — Outside of Jeff Garcia, people love Cam in real life. I do too. I wish I had like, 10% of his swagger, instead of having 80% more belly fat and -10,000% his bank account. But, when Bill Belichick benches you, that means something. The San Francisco 49ers have one of the stronger pass defenses in the league, and after Ryan Fitzpatrick — the 37-year old now former starter of the Miami Dolphins — torched the Niners for 342 pass yards in Week 5, the Niners defense responded by allowing less than 340 passing yards over the next two games combined. Two of Newton’s three interceptions in Week 7 weren’t entirely his fault: one was on a bomb near the end of the second quarter that looked more like a game of 500, and another was a pass that deflected off of his receiver before ballooning in the air to a defender. That said, the Patriots’ offense is pretty one dimensional: Cam Newton accounts for nearly 60% of the Patriots’ 2020 yardage, even though he missed a game and was benched in another. Despite his production, Newton has been inefficient and his advanced numbers are worrying. His intended air yards are the lowest of his career, and his adjusted air yards per attempt and QB rating are lower than Ryan Fitzpatrick, Gardner Minshew, Nick Foles, and Philip Rivers. Remember how much we loved Cam’s rushing in Week 1? His career rushing yards per game is less than 40 yards, which is still great, but Daniel Jones is doing that too. Daniel Jones’ adjusted air yards are just a tick behind Cam Newton, as well. Yuck. Friends, I’m not saying to give up on Cam Newton. But — and it’s a Blair’s been watching scary movies every night-sized but — Newton does not look like the consensus QB 10-12 where he’s sitting on everybody’s ranking board. This year, I’ve been right to steer you clear of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Baker Mayfield and keeping you in the game by directing you toward Ryan Tannehill and Justin Herbert. I’m cautiously telling you fantasy managers that the fantasy football regular season about halfway done, and Cam Newton doesn’t seem like the QB who will take you to the promised land. However! His next two matchups are against the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets — each of which are some of the worst pass defenses in the league — so you might want to let Cam’s trade value increase a bit before he faces the brutal Baltimore Ravens defense in Week 10. No matter what, you should start looking for a backup in case my prophecy comes true. And don’t ever let Jeff Garcia tell you how to dress.
Meet Ulysses "F.T." Newton. Migrated from Atlanta in 1906. He's the proud owner of Fine Threads, a popular clothing store in Chicago. A tailor by trade, he got his start dressing Mushmouth Johnson. His clients also include Jesse Binga, Jack Johnson and Rube Foster. pic.twitter.com/2KhJgBfWQn
— profloumoore (@loumoore12) October 26, 2020
Baker Mayfield — [whispers] could it have been that Odell Beckham Jr. and Mayfield didn’t get along? [swirl of voices and fireworks and a fire alarm going off] Loyal readers, you know I’ve been hard on Mayfield. And, up until this week, I was right. Mayfield’s statistics were dismal and his PFF rating was lower than ratings for my spec script, Amish and Pregnant. He started off Week 7 in his traditional way — throwing an interception– but then something new happened: ODB got hurt while trying to defend that interception and will miss the rest of the year. Of course, we all forgot about why star players should — maybe — not defend an interception later in the evening when D.K. Metcalf ate a can of spinach to outrun Budda Baker and stop a pick-six. But Mayfield? Something changed when ODB left the (May)field. Maybe Mayfield realized that being the leading interception-thrower since in the past 25 weeks of NFL football wasn’t a good thing. Instead of throwing the ball to the other team, Mayfield threw five touchdowns and put up the best fantasy game of his career, outscoring his previous best by nearly 20%. In terms of air yards per attempt, it was Baker’s third most prolific passing game of his career. And all of this is made more frustrating by the fact that Baker’s worst fantasy point game and worst passing yards per attempt game in his career was literally Week 6 of 2020. Look, I wrote about it! 2020, why do you do this to us? Don’t let anybody tell you that seven days won’t make a difference in your life. To reiterate my Baker Mayfield preseason article, in 2018 and 2019, Mayfield was a top 10 fantasy QB in the second halves of the season. And, well, we’re halfway through the 2020 season, aren’t we? Part of Mayfield’s first half struggles stems from the fact that Mayfield has had a carousel of head coaches and offensive coordinators; when he learned the playbook, he became more effective. Are we looking at Week 7 being signal or noise for Mayfield? If you’re a gambler, you pick up Mayfield as your backup. There’s track record for second half success in Mayfield’s career. Keep in mind, though, that the Browns are near last in the league in pass attempts. There’s upside, but it’s limited.
Derek Carr — Who is absolutely crushing the competition in every advanced metric, just got off bye, and faces the Falcons, Jets, Chargers (2x), and Browns in the second half of the season? Your fantasy waiver wire stud, Derek Carr, that’s who! Admittedly, Carr’s had a bit of an easy season, but he torched the Chiefs and put up a respectable 284/2 line against the Bucs — with an offensive line that was entirely backups due to Covid exposure — so, you take the upside where you can find it, right? If you’re in a 12-team league, I’m betting that Carr will be in must-roster territory after next week. Go ahead and jump the gun by grabbing him this week. Yahoo says he’s rostered in a miserable 29% of leagues (4-team leagues strike again!), so while your league mates are sleeping, go grab Carr and get ready for your second half comeback.
Jon Gruden is using up-tempo to give Derek Carr time to use his snap count to identify the Bucs pressure. He hits Nelson Agholor on All-go from a 3×1 and 11-personnel for a 20-yard TD. #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/67r1QFIjlI
— Chris Reed (@ChrisReed_NFL) October 25, 2020
Carson Wentz — Every week I look into Rudy’s crystal ball of premium projections and give you a value pick that his system likes. Last week, I opted for Drew Brees as my pick of the week, and despite playing without his top 2 WR — Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders — Brees finished as QB11 in fantasy points last week. This week, his system is showing that Carson Wentz will go wild against the Cowboys. The Cowboys are fresh off of being embarrassed by Kyle Allen’s arm, which was purchased at Wal-Mart in the clearance section on Red Wednesday — the mega-corporation’s secret day of value shopping that coincides with their pagan tradition of summoning Pan, the goat god, to earth in the service of corporate value. Allen’s success was, in part, to Terry McLaurin getting nearly 15 feet of separation from cornerback Trevon Diggs. Can Eagles breakout wide receiver Travis Fulgham do a similar stunt? Fulgham is #11 in total fantasy points from Week 5-7, despite facing the suffocating Steelers defense, the strong Ravens defense, and a surprisingly not-bad Giants defense. Wentz is owned in a lot of leagues, but you may have been benching him recently, or another owner might have moved on. If he’s on the waiver wire, grab him for this week, if only to keep his upside out of the hands of your opponents.
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) October 25, 2020
Weekly disclaimer: Outside of Russ, Kyler, and Mahomes, it really doesn’t matter who is above whom. 5 fantasy points separate QB8 from QB14, and 10 fantasy points separate QB16 from QB23. Your job as a fantasy manager is to either ride your top-tier QB to fantasy victory, or have an effective streaming strategy among the QBs in tier 2 based on matchups. Your top 12 here are the starters in every 12-team league, the second tier are your matchups/superflex starters, and tier 3 are the quarterbacks that make you question why you play this game in the first place.
- 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
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.