If you hadn’t noticed from the alerts that you are getting on your phone that are annoying your wife or girlfriend, the trade deadline is upon us and we had a busy Monday night. We have two trades that have big impacts on three offenses so far. Since the trade deadline isn’t officially over until 4:00 P.M. Est on Tuesday, you may be hearing from me twice.

There are reportedly two teams that are showing interest in Frank Gore. As if that is not a big enough clue that the Colts are tanking for the season, Indianapolis is also reportedly fielding calls for T.Y. Hilton as well. It would be surprising to me, but maybe Martavis Bryant gets moved to a contender who needs some burst in their receiving corps. Earlier today, it was reported that the Eagles are kicking the tires on the possibility of the Detroit Lions trading them the rights to Calvin Johnson. But this morning, we are focusing So, let’s get this started before you make your waiver wire claims this evening.

[BREAKING: Ezekiel Elliott has been denied his Preliminary Injunction, which essentially means his suspension has been upheld. Note that the suspension will begin after a 24 hour period and the NFLPA will certainly appeal. So he can’t play for the next six games. MAYBE. We’ll know more tomorrow. Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden remain must-owns in all formats.]

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So, the NFL is cancelling the season after Monday Night Football in tribute to Aaron Rodgers, right? His injury is clearly worse than 9-11, if you are to believe the outpouring of melancholy media ejaculate yesterday. Not that they don’t have a reason. Losing one of the NFL’s most marketable players for selling insurance not only leaves us just with Peyton Manning and J.J. Watt (who died last week) to hawk stupid sh*t, but also allows the Packers to show how terrible Brett Hundley is at quarterbacking. Football sure knows how to expand it’s market share! And I realize there’s already a lot of hype building for signing Colin Kaepernick, which if we’re writing seriously (rare, I know) makes some sense, but I feel like a sports organization has to do triage for these situations with a bit more vigor. So I’ve come up with a strategy, a “plan of attack” if you will, that I believe the Packers are considering right this very moment:

  • Plan A – Send feelers out about signing Colin Kaepernick to gauge the reactions from fans and media. Invest in the TIKI torch brand if signing takes place. If not, move to Plan “B”.
  • Plan B – Beg Tony Romo to leave the booth. If Romo says yes, move to “Plan XXIV” when he gets injured in his first game back. If Romo says no, move to “Plan XXIV”.
  • Plan XXIV – WHERE IS MATT FLYNN? If found, give him more free money. If not, give him more free money and move to the next plan.
  • Plan LOL – Trade for Jay Cutler, since he has the most experience throwing to Packers receivers. If Miami says no, move to the last plan.
  • Plan OMFG – Tim Tebow time! Because at this point, why the ef not?

The NFC North is gonna otherwise be ceded to a team that got blown out by the Saints yesterday. But yeah, darn shame about Rodgers… now that I’ve confirmed the Chargers don’t play Green Bay later this season…

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Now that my little Fantasy Football science experiment is over I’m going to change things up a little bit. You wouldn’t believe all the hate mail I got in the past couple of weeks. It seems my ESPN accounts have been locked out and someone even toilet papered my front yard. Enough is enough. Going forward I’m just going to give you my top six picks for the week. The only rule for a pick is that a player cannot be considered a stud to be eligible. Recommending Antonio Brown helps no one.

Before we get started let’s quickly see how I did last week…

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Sometimes you’re the dog — sometimes you’re the hydrant. Ben Roethlisberger was one of my QB sit recommendations last week and this week he is my first QB start recommendation. Last week I recommended you start 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin and this week I want nothing to do with anyone on offense for San Francisco. What a difference a week makes!

I’ve got your cure for the bye week blues right here:

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Adrian Peterson is free! On Tuesday, AP was traded from the New Orleans Saints (who seemingly never wanted him?) to the running back-desperate Arizona Cardinals. He is here to save the day for all fantasy owners who stashed him through the first few weeks or were able to submit a successful waiver claim for him after the trade. Our prayers are answered. All is right in the world. Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

Right?

Well, kind of. There is no doubt that getting traded from the pass-happy Saints, where Peterson was an odd fit from the second they signed him, to the Cardinal who lost David Johnson in Week 1 and have gotten zilch from the running back position in the weeks since, significantly improves Peterson’s fantasy value. The questions we have to answer now are: just how much has it improved? And what exactly can we expect going forward?

In the last few weeks, AP was not seeing regular touches, and his value was pretty much nonexistent. When he signed with the Saints in the offseason, you could hear a collective “huh?” from football fans and writers everywhere. We gave the Saints the benefit of the doubt and figured they knew what they were doing, but it turned out exactly how we all thought it would. Peterson was an odd fit for a Saints team that likes to pass the ball and likes to operate out of the shotgun, two things that don’t mess with Peterson’s style. Add to that the presence of Mark Ingram and youngster Alvin Kamara, and it is no surprise the team moved on from AP.

With the Cardinals, Peterson should get plenty of opportunities. Chris Johnson has not looked good in a couple years now, and he was a free agent until David Johnson got hurt. With Peterson entering the fold, the Cardinals did not even wait a week or two before cutting CJ. He got cut to make room for AP.

There are, however, a few reasons to roll our Peterson optimism back to “cautious optimism.” For starters, he is moving to a new team with a new playbook in the middle of a season. The complexity of NFL playbooks and schemes is why we don’t see a ton of in-season trading in the NFL. It is very difficult to fully learn everything while also preparing to play every week. To start out, they are going to have to feed him plays in bunches and get him acclimated a little bit more every week. Early playing time/snaps are question marks for Peterson right now.

Next, there is the issue of the Arizona offensive line. They’re bad. They’re really bad. They are particularly bad at run blocking, which is the primary reason the Cardinals have struggled so much on the ground this season. If they can’t open up some room for Peterson, he might have a fairly low ceiling in Arizona.

Lastly, the Cardinals are another team that likes to throw the ball. Carson Palmer currently leads the NFL in passing attempts. Part of that is likely because they have struggled to run the ball so much that they have been forced to pass, but they are not going to flip the script and decide to run the ball 60% of the time just because Adrian Peterson has arrived. Peterson is not much of a pass-catching back, so will he get enough touches to be valuable on a weekly basis for fantasy owners?

These are all valid questions that cause concern. Of course, the upside with Peterson is definitely worth taking the chance on him, even if just to stash him for a couple weeks while you see how he looks in that offense. Just don’t get your hopes up too high until we actually see him getting the ball with some space to work with.

Now, to the charts!

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Last week I promised that I would dedicate the following week to subjecting myself to the save level of scrutiny I have spent the past two weeks bestowing upon the author of ESPN’s weekly fantasy football Love/Hate article. Well fast forward to today and it is now next week. You like how I did that. I didn’t need a flux capacitor, 88 MPH or 1.21 gigawatts to launch us into the future. Eat your heart out Doc. On a related note, did you hear they are doing a remake of Back To The Future with Will Smith’s son as Marty McFly. Donald Trump will be playing Biff Tannen.

Well I guess it’s time to see just how much I am going to ridicule myself. Without further adieu…

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We are a quarter of the way through the fantasy football season. There are some trends that are becoming more or less of a normalcy. Fantasy football performance is almost as unpredictable as the injuries that ravage our rosters. As rankers, we have a big enough sample size to start fading some of the players who performed well in past seasons at our choosing and also consistently moving up players that are having good seasons for more than just their match ups.

Without further ado, here are my Week 5 rankings…

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Last week I tried something new by analyzing another expert’s weekly picks. Some of you did not take very kindly to my approach. If I’m being honest, while you are entitled to your opinion, your comments did not phase me as I’m right back at it again. If you’ve read my posts, both here and on the baseball side of business, you will know that I like to mix it up with respect to post topics. Some weeks you will get an advice column while others will be more of a recap rant. Sometimes I’ll use my math and computer science background to try and analyze the numbers, and once in a while I like to go off the rails and hit you with a wild card. That is exactly what I did last week. If you didn’t like it, I’m not sorry. If you’d prefer to ignore what I have to say, then I’m pretty sure you know how to to not click the link when you see my name announced as the author. If you don’t, then I suggest you pick up the following book.

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The talk of this week at the running back situation has been Wendell Smallwood. If you don’t believe me, take a scroll through the last dozen or so Razzball articles to see the takes and advice. With Darren Sproles somehow breaking his arm and tearing his ACL on the same play, there are touches available in Philadelphia. LeGarrette Blount is still around and actually looked productive on Sunday, and Corey Clement scored his first career touchdown and could rotate into games going forward, but Smallwood is the guy who stands to benefit the most from the Sproles injury. If you don’t believe me, the Eagles offensive coordinator said as much in his press conference on Tuesday. I have the transcript if you want it.

For me, though, there is a more exciting running back to target. Heading into Week 3, we knew two things: 1. There would be a new offensive coordinator. 2. Marvin Lewis has been coaching the Bengals for 15 years without winning a single playoff game. Number 1 is relevant for fantasy owners, while number 2 is simply fascinating.

The position to watch in Week 3 was running back, as it was expected that we could see more Joe Mixon and less Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. And that is exactly what happened. Mixon looked like the complete running back he was projected to be coming out of college, gaining more than 100 yards from scrimmage on 21 total touches. Expect that trend to continue going forward, as Mixon should only get better and the Bengals should continue to ride him.

I talked up Mixon last week as a great buy-low option prior to the change at offensive coordinator. Hopefully, you either drafted and stashed him or grabbed him on waivers last week because he is less likely to be available this week. But if he is, grab him and go. On the flip side, I would also try to hold onto Jeremy Hill and/or Giovani Bernard if you have the kind of league that provides you with the roster/bench space to do so. It looks like Mixon will be the guy, but we have seen before that one week doesn’t mean everything and that injuries happen all the time. If you have to pick one, I would probably lean Bernard in PPR.

To the charts!

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Another week of the NFL season is in the books, and we have a few more developments at the running back position to keep an eye on. There are a few injuries hitting the wire this week, and out in Seattle, a youngster is outplaying some familiar names. Over in Philadelphia, the guy who is supposed to be the lead back barely saw the field…

Razzball Football’s partner FantasyDraft is starting a new sign-up promotion this week, all new depositing signups receive a free $4 “Everyone Wins” NFL GPP ticket for the upcoming Sunday slate along with offering all players 4% cash back on their initial deposits! 

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