In what has become a seemingly weekly occurrence the most interesting handcuff in the land happens to be playing in the Thursday Night Game. I think this happens just to spite me. It’s as if the Football Gods force injuries and ineffectiveness on starters the week before they play on the thirstiest of all days. This week’s example of my curse is, of course, former (?) third stringer Brandon Bolden. The man who I had pegged to be taking over the Stevan Ridley “Big Back” role in New England. I figured if Bolden failed, then James White was probably next in line. But of course Bill Belichick did the most Belichickian thing ever and activated Jonas Gray from the practice squad, gave him a few carries, and leaned heavy on Shane Vereen. It looks like Bolden is more valuable to the Pats as a special teamer than a runner, and I have no idea what James White‘s issue is. I was shocked that he was inactive and you have to figure he’s deep in Belichick’s doghouse at this point. It’s really surprising considering how good he looked in pre-season and camp. The only ownable back in this scenario is Vereen.

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This past week was brutally tough on running backs. We saw several of them get injured and there are lead backs who will miss multiple weeks from the Denver Broncos and New York Giants. Factor in Kansas City and New Orleans are on bye this week, and it makes for a minefield of running backs to work through. We’ll help you get through it in this week’s column. Here we go.

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I hate to talk ill of you on the last read of the season, I really do. I only dole out tough love when tough love is due but I think this situation is ripe for it. You shouldn’t really care about what I’m typing right now. Ok, ok, ok, I’m alright if you care because your championship is two weeks long. Not perfect but it is reasonable. But really, even in a week 17 in which games actually mattered, the fantasy football season should not be judged by the scoring leader board we got this week. Sure, LeGarrette Blount has slowly worked is way into the cockles of Belichick’s heart over the course of the season. Really let’s face facts, though; Bill’s been looking for a BenJarvus Green-Ellis impersonator since day one. Congrats, Billy boy, looks like you found your man. Blount finished with 189 rushing yards and 2 TDs on the day and 334 all purpose yards to set a Patriots franchise record and the 11th most in NFL history. That’s a pretty wild day and great if you had it on your team…but really? Did you come into 2013 saying ‘I can’t wait to sit Jamaal Charles and start Blount’? Even in a week where there were so many important games on Sunday, it was still an odd fantasy day overall as we’ll cover a bit…and by that I mean drill bit. I’m gonna drive this point home people! But for serious, I’m happy for you and Ima let you finish but week 16 championships are the great of all time…OF ALL TIME! Ok, I’m done lambasting you…for now. Here’s what else I saw from the final week of the season for 2013 Fantasy Football…

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Knile Davis is getting some real love from Andy Reid these days. Maybe it was all those layers he had to work through? Maybe it’s because the Chiefs are a lock for the playoffs? I don’t really care, it’s here and it’s real. Reid acknowledges that Knile needs more touches and after last weeks audition I would have a hard time arguing against that. Our valiant leader Sky wrote about Knile already once this week, so at least we know that I really know how to suck up to the boss. Great job Sky! Looking good in that new mock turtle neck! The Chiefs offense is like small ball in baseball, mostly because Smith can’t throw farther than 20 yards, or so it appears, and like to pound it out and dump passes to the closest guy in a red and white jersey. I know I might be exaggerating a little here, but I have my reasons…Whiskey. If Knile gets his shot this week, and I’m 99% sure we see 15 touches from Knile, then what we got here might be a winner. The Broncos lost to the Chargers so the door is open and I think the Chiefs come out and knock the crap out of the Raiders. This leads to Davis getting those touches as they run it out against the Raiders and also evaluate a weapon that has been under utilized. Like Sky said, he’s a flex play this week in PPR formats and is probably in a better UPSIDE position than those with a better floor. Next week is the more ideal, but I could see him getting some run.

You might not be in the championship and you might be playing for pride….you always should play for pride. Regardless of where you are, players are still good to stash and use. Here’s a few others that might make some week 15, 16 and 17 play.

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I can’t fight it anymore. I know everyone tells you never to let others influence how you think and feel but it’s so hard to this week. I mean, I recommended the Oakland Raiders last week on defense. How stupid could I be? I’ve got to right the ship. I gotta become one with the other rankers and just give in, right? There’s no hope trying to play outside the box, all outside box playing is futile. I should just jump off the fantasy rankings bridge with everyone else…nah, I’m just joking. But I had you going for a minute, right? I’m one of the best written actors of my generation, or so I’ve been told. You should see me type Hamlet! I’ve been compared to Kenneth Branagh in that regards. In fact, I’m hoping for my first Golden Globe nomination this year once they create a category for me. I’ve already picked out my suit. I wonder if people will be able to tell I borrowed it from my dad…eh, let’s not talk about my eventual rise to fame. It bores me. Better yet, let’s talk about Pierre Thomas and his great matchup against the Rams. To be honest, I’m a bit surprised I’m one of the few this high on him. Do these other ‘perts not know the Rams are ranked near the bottom in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs? That was rhetorical. Of course they know but they’re probably too busy paying attentio to how unproductive he’s been of late. It happens but to be fair, when PT has been given a good matchup he has produced. Sure, he’s not likely to put up 200+ yards any time soon but about 120 total yards and a TD are well within reach for the PT Bruiser this week and I like his chances he grabs those reigns and rides into fantasy glory. In other areas to trumpet on, we’ve got quite a few rankings wrinkles this week. Steven Jackson? Sometimes the matchups make the man and given he’s performed well of late, it’s hard to deny him a top 10 RB finish. Same goes for Ryan Mathews who has sneakily been a top 10 play over the last 4 weeks in PPR leagues but he’s out there singing Black Eyed Peas to us. Folks, where is the love? Besides these guys, further down the road we have Mendenhall getting a mega-bump along with the Ogre and Donald Brown to wrap up my top 20 RBs and I also gave Ellington a nudge. This IS still the same Titans team that can’t stop the run, right? At wide out, I’m finally treating Dez like what he has been: good but not great. And while I’m at it, I gave Hilton and Patterson a little WR2 love bite due to matchups and explosiveabiltiy. No need to google that, it’s totally a word. At TE, I gotta say: it Ertz so good. On the DST front, Tampa Bay…woah. I know, I know, San Fran isn’t the Buffalo Bills. But Tampa Bay isn’t 0-8 Tampa Bay anymore and for very good reasons and are playing at home. Kickers? Just my niece and I playing a game of Hungry Hippos where the marbles have kicker names on them. The ones I got were in, the ones she got were out. But enough about Delta Burke winning me Josh Scobee, let’s get on with it. Here’s the rankings for week 15 of the 2013 Fantasy Football season…

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Well, he ain’t from down in Louisiana close to New Orleans. Then again, he might be. Didn’t read the bio. This is fantasy, not A Football Life. We don’t care if Jacoby Jones is from near Lake Titicaca, we just care that he has an awesome Sunday for us. Or Monday. Or sometimes Thursday. Anyone think we’ll eventually just have football on 7 days a week? I think they’ve expanded college football to pretty much every day but Tuesday and Wednesday at this point. Not that I’m complaining, of course, just wanted to know I’m not the only one seeing this trend. Speaking of trends, sometimes they’re your friend. Well, not the kind you can borrow money from or go to the bar with but a friend nonetheless. The trend I speak of is the Detroit Lions secondary and how it just loves to give up points to secondary receivers for teams. Let’s ignore Green Bay’s passing debacle and look back at a few secondary receivers who’ve benefited from facing the Lions in the last few weeks. Week 12 saw Tiquan Underwood drop a 3/108/2 line on them. Week 11 saw a healthy line of 3/48/1 from Cotchery. Week 9 saw a 2/64/1 line from Terrance Williams of the Cowboys. Ok, with all this good can we stamp him as a must play for week 15? Nah, of course not. But your team needs force you into strange positions sometimes. Hopefully not the lotus blossom…fantasy football isn’t THAT kind of fantasy. But if you need a nice gamble at flex or WR3 for week 15, Jones could be the Jacoby of all trades for you. Hrm, or free agent pickups I guess. But that doesn’t flow off the wordpress tongue quite as well. But enough about tongues, strange positions and Underwood, let’s move along and see who else is a good pick up for week 15 of 2013 Fantasy Football…

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Tis the season, right? Unless you’re not of the xmas-religion affinity. I wish I had something for you but I have zero knowledge of Decker-related things I could say about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and all the other holiday things I could talk about here. Happy Winter Solstice? What about Festivus for the rest of us? Don’t leave, I swear I’ll be more inclusive! The holidays are much like ordering a large pizza for a room full of college students: all drunk and stoned and should be doing their homework. Wait, no! Well yes but more so you can’t please everyone. No way no how. They don’t usually let you order pizza with different toppings on every piece. There’s also something else that doesn’t always make people happy: the Denver passing attack. It was a concern coming into the year that there would be a few guys left out in the cold most of the year, if not the whole year. Well much like life, those Broncos have ebbed and flowed. Early on, it was Welker. Then DT got it turned on for a stretch. The Orange Julius had been oddly one of the more consistent of the slick quatro (yeah, it’s not their nickname; just made it up) but he’s been out with a leg issue the last two weeks. So in the stead of an underused Welker and a missing OJ, someone had to step up and on this day it was Eric Decker who finished with 8 receptions, 174 receiving yards and a whopping 4 TDs. He only had 3 total coming into Sunday on the year. The end line for Decker is gonna look fine on the surface. He’ll go well over 1,000 yards receiving and may still end with 10 TDs. But I give the fair warning that I’ll probably say the same thing about Welker when the season’s over and I think we both know how that has been of late. Moving into 2013, these two are gonna go much higher than I’m gonna be willing to pay for in most leagues due to inconsistency. Sure it’s nice when this happens but how many of you experienced this Decker explosion on your bench? Exactly, there was a good reason he was there to start the day. Don’t forget that when 2014 hits. In other news from week 13 of the 2013 Fantasy Football season…

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I hope everyone in Razzball Nation had a nice Thanksgiving!  I decided to buck the trend and roasted up Tehol’s chicken for my centerpiece.  Fingerlickin’ good!

So we’ve already had our three Thanksgiving games, and you’re all set with a round of leftovers for the rest of week 13.  You’ve got gravy all over one hand and turkey grease from the wing all over the other, and you’re just not worrying about looking at you line-up.  No one is on bye right?!  But with all teams now in action, it gives you a lot more line-up decisions.  A lot more “last second decisions.”  Hey, that’s the name of the article!  Yeah, I had nothing else better to run with in my Thanksgiving hangover.  My stomache feels like an ever-expanding mushroom [gravy] cloud of stuffing.  But I’m ready to go for today, ready to help you get into the playoffs, and ready for one last turkey sandwich while my Panthers wipe out da Bucs.

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I hate you Chris Ogbonnaya!  Hate you so much.  Chris O-Bones was a hot pickup as a cheap RB for the PPR upside, but nooooooo…. Luckily with daily leagues, you can wipe the slate, officially never pick a guy again, and move on from your former tribulations.

We’re quickly approaching only a few weeks left until the WEEK 17 MILLIONAIRE FINALE, and I’m still eagerly trying to get my ticket on the cheap – so I’m rockin’ out in the $2 Fantasy Millionaire qualifier for Sunday’s games.  After feeling extremely confident last week and losing in a few other contests, I’m only sticking to the one lineup this time.  O-Bones be damned!  And if you’re jones-ing for DraftKings while watching on Turkey Day, there’s all sorts of contests just for the Thursday games to hop into.  So DraftKings it up and enjoy the Holiday!

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As a life long Panther fan, it’s usually been fantasy that’s carried me through the season, but flippity floppity and look at em go!  In the midst of their 6-game win streak I’ve seen my fantasy teams go to way of the Nick Capozzi David Wilson hot tub.  But I had decent starts in my leagues – I’m mostly around .500 on most teams (and mostly come out at night!  mostly…) – so there’s a few weeks left to cross my fingers and hope my Writer’s League team can make the playoffs after starting 8-0.  Because it’s looking really, really bad…

What’s great about the fantasy football season is that the pivotal weeks go down the next few weeks, and if I suffer a ridiculous Thanksgiving showing (something as nuts as say, Michael Floyd getting a bajillion points), I can just eat my pity away with Thanksgiving leftovers.  I’ll go into the day like Shawn Kemp as a rookie and leave it like Kemp as a Cav.  Except minus all the baby mamas!  Tryptophan isn’t exactly an aphrodisiac…  I hope you all have a great week 12 and Thanksgiving, and hope Razzball Nation crushes towards a 1st seed.

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