Who’s ready for Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving means three things: Matt Stafford, the turkey and contentious political commentary. Wait, what’s an Oxford comma again? OK, that was one thing. Hopefully you’ll be safe in your mansions this week. For the rest of us, let’s take a look at the thing keeping us hopeful: the upcoming fantasy playoffs and the quarterbacks that lead our teams through darkness. 

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When Covid isn’t flattening QBs and teams left and right, massive windstorms have completely shut down QBs several times this year. In Week 10, another Vortex Giant (CR25 for you nerds) stomped into many stadiums, leaving giant killers like Nick Chubb and [checks notes] Ben Roethisberger (hmmm) to save the villagers. I’ve asked fantasy managers to be proactive about rostering useful streaming QBs, if not to provide options in case of Covid or weather, but at the very least to deprive your opponents of a starting QB. This last week, your opponents would have gotten useful streaming games from bottom-tier QBs like Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers. Now, I’m not applauding their games. But when other QBs are facing off against sustained 25MPH winds, gusts to 50MPH, and rain/sleet, those fair weather QB streamers look awfully nice. 

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Earlier in the summer when I was ranking pitchers over on the baseball side, there was a moment early in the baseball season when less than 60 starting pitchers had played; the rest were injured or quarantined or got caught at the club and sent home. The starting quarterback landscape is increasingly looking that way: tons of injuries are taking their toll, and the NFL has a baffling Covid policy where they’re punishing teams for practicing during the week yet still marching teams out every Sunday rather than delaying the games. Was Tuesday Night Football really that bad? I mean, other than screwing up the fantasy scoring systems for like two weeks. ENYWHEY. Outside of Dak Prescott, most of the injuries and quarantines haven’t affected the bulk of fantasy managers playing in standard leagues. Those who are in deep leagues, dynasty leagues, or superflex leagues, however, are probably in massive frustration mode. Here’s how I’m seeing the QB landscape unfold. 

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Just your standard week in the never ending year 2020, right? This presidential election was the most intense race since I ran for student council president against Dong Johnson. My platform of pizza roll Fridays kept the vote interesting, but at the end of the day I never really had a chance against a dude named Dong. Heck, I even voted for Dong; Johnson was just too smooth. Speaking of dong, Marquez Valdes-Scantling whipped his out on Thursday night as he caught 2 catches for 53 yards and his 2nd and 3rd touchdowns of the season. I won’t tell you to rush out and grab MVS, nor his dong, in your 10-team league because the 49ers skeleton defense was sketchier than my Richie Incognito Halloween costume. Also, Allen Lazard with probably return from his core injury next week. But kudos to you if you were desperate enough to start Valdes-Scantling this week. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

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I like it when there’s a penalty in football. The ref comes out, takes center stage on national television, and in avuncular tone, tells us what exactly went wrong and what the consequences will be. There’s a sincere clarity to a football penalty. It’s like my team’s on-the-field problems are my own. When my team’s cornerback interferes with a pass, it’s like I was getting vicariously handsy with the receiver. Then the ref comes out and tells me I was a bad boy, and that I better keep my hands to myself next time. But then the ref says “Half the distance to the goal,” and I think to myself, I haven’t gotten any of my goals achieved. Now I’m halfway there!

Thanks to you ref, maybe I’ll achieve something this year. 

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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

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Part of being a fantasy analyst is that you’re always, at least to some degree, a contrarian. And being a critic and being contrarian are two different things: the former involves the deployment of data to make an argument, and the latter is going up when others go down [wait, what site am I writing for again?]. The most effective moments in fantasy analysis are when criticism and contrarianism connect, and the fantasy analyst makes a predictive move that could help readers win their fantasy leagues. 

Now, I’m not claiming oracle status, but I will claim a short victory lap on Ryan Fitzpatrick, who I warned my readers to stay away from. 

The (Fitz) magic disappeared on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, when rookie signal caller Tua Tagovailoa was named the starter for the Miami Dolphins. 

Therein lies the vex of fantasy analysis: some of the stuff we say seems, well, loco. Fitzpatrick had been putting up pretty good fantasy numbers. But (and it’s a Blair’s been sitting here writing this update for too-long sized but), Fitzpatrick’s peripheral numbers were terrible. Last week, I pointed out that Fitzpatrick was struggling with moving the ball down the field, was throwing too many interceptions, and had an on-target percentage sandwiched in-between Trubisky and Haskins, each of whom had lost their starting job this year. And now, the Fitzmagic has disappeared. 

Aye, I definitely am a bit crazy. But, if I saved you some cash by navigating you away from Fitzpatrick this season, then take a moment to consider an add-free subscription to the site, or, for less than $2/week remaining on the season, get a Roto Deluxe membership to get all of Rudy’s fresh projections updated for Tua Tagovailoa as the starter. 

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A lot of people think fantasy writers spend our days and nights surrounded by B-list rappers from the 2000s (I see you Chingy!), 16 big-screen TVs playing NFL Red Zone, and Mike Mayock on speed dial (does Twitter have speed dial?). OK, that’s actually how Grey and Donkey Teeth spend their days. But me? I’m a lowly midwestern Vikings fan living in Packers territory running DSL off a bankrupt company. Thanks to the novel piranhavirus that delayed the Titans/Bills game, I’m submitting this article before some of the top quarterbacks have even finished playing. But, I’m not alone in my wishes to be hanging with Luda, have a fiber connection, and a direct line to Dick Butkus (wait, did I say that last part?). Most of the fantasy world is delayed right now due to scoring glitches caused by Tuesday night football. So, let’s huddle up…no, not that close…and take a look at how the quarterbacks are shaping up for the rest of your fantasy football season. 

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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. DonkeyTeeth, I hope I made you proud! 

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