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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Entering Monday Night Football, Alvin Kamara was already the season-long RB1 overall in half-PPR and PPR formats despite having one less game played than much of the competition. So although his 15.9-point performance in half-PPR represented his weakest game of the season, it did very little to change his standing atop the top 60 rest of season running back rankings. Kamara rushed 11 times for 45 yards on Monday, fulfilling his usual role in the passing game with eight catches on 10 targets for another 74 yards. Latavius Murray (eight carries, 34 yards; two receptions, 23 yards) was effective but unspectacular, as it was the QB-duo of Drew Brees and Taysom Hill that punched in both of the Saints’ rushing touchdowns in the red zone. Yep, just how the fantasy gods drew it up.

As for the Chargers, the one-two replacement punch of Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson didn’t exactly play out the way many anticipated. Although Kelley was the popular pick to step into startable RB2 status with the absence of Austin Ekeler, he averaged a measly 2.6 YPC while totaling 29 yards on 11 carries, catching just one pass for nine yards. In fact, it was Jackson who handles lead back duties, out-touching Kelley 19-to-12. Jackson rushed 15 times for 71 yards (4.7 YPC), but the major takeaway was how much more effective he was in the passing game: five receptions on six targets for 23 yards. Both look to be risky plays until Ekeler returns, likely lending no value outside of weekly Flex consideration — but the unpredictable split between the two makes even that risky.

In other news, Le’Veon Bell is back, Todd Gurley finished as an RB1, Raheem Mostert’s return rendered Jerick McKinnon all-but-irrelevant and Chase Edmonds appears to be overtaking Kenyan Drake in Arizona. Before we get into the Week 5 rankings, let’s take a look at all of that and more via a quick trip around the league.

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It’s that time of the week again! Thursday night football will be played just hours after you read this. It’s week 5, which means the beginning of bye weeks. Bye weeks are another road block to go along with the plethora of injuries and COVID cancellations that are surely on the horizon. There might even be a cancellation this week between Buffalo and Tennessee. But we must trudge on and work with what we have. Hopefully you still have some healthy studs to get you through the tough times. 

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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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What’s up everybody? Your usual Sunday roundup author, Donkey Teeth, is in a bit of a predicament, so I’m stepping in to help you catch up on the Sunday games. What predicament is DT in, you ask? Glad to spill the secrets! See, DT is a member of an elite club of adventurers who, upon the release of pumpkin spice lattes in the fall, gather in Los Angeles for their annual Kart Across America race. Donning the costumes of their favorite Mario Kart character, the group hops on actual go karts to race across the great American highways at 20 MPH. This year, our beloved DT — dressed as his hero Wario — took a banana to the face and crashed into an In-N-Out just outside of El Segundo. Of course, he lost his wallet in the crash. He’s also slightly blinded from the animal sauce that got in his eyes. Yet, he wants to finish the race, so he got back on the kart, took some mushroom power, and was last seen drifting by Lake Tahoe. 

ENYWHEY, let’s take a look at some of the highlights for Sunday’s NFL games for your fantasy football teams. 

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Just north of Chicago, Fermilab was one of the most important sites in the Manhattan Project, which resulted in the development of the first atomic bombs during World War II. Throughout the Cold War, the particle accelerator at Fermilab crashed protons together at speeds nearing that of light, and scientists investigated their interactions to learn the deepest secrets of the universe. With research budgets under attack, the scientists at Fermilab brought in the top minds from Japan to work with the local businesses — namely the Chicago Bears — to study the deepest secrets of quarterbacks. With some of the nuances of English lost in translation, many of the Japanese scientists said they had unlocked the energy that would bring success to the Bears’ franchise quarterback. The report they drew up was titled, “Big Mitch Power.” 

But there was a group of dissenting scientists who argued that “Big Nick Power” was the secret to the Bears’ success in 2020. They kept pointing to the salary of the Bears’ backup quarterback, Nick Foles, as the proof that the incumbent Trubisky was indeed a “Little Mitch.” Meanwhile, Big Nick Power had the arm and the salary to justify his stature as the Bears starting quarterback going forward. 

Until Week 3, it was unknown whether Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy was concerned about his QB being a “Little Mitch,” but when Trubisky failed to inspire the Bears offense during their matchup against the Falcons, Nagy indeed outed himself as a believer in Big Nick Power. 

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It’s the age old question. Pondered by all the great philosophers for millennia. Debated by all great leaders and all feared dictators since the beginning of time. Beard or mustache? Abe Lincoln or Tom Selleck? Grizzly Adams or Groucho Marx? Gandalf or Ron Swanson? Merlin or Ron Burgundy? This enigmatic dispute has built for ages with no sign of a clear answer. That is, until Thursday night’s legendary culmination of Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Gardner Minshew: a Beard vs. Mustache rumpus to rule them all. And it was nothing but beard in this one as Ryan Fitzpatrick flashed his facial prowess at a clip of 18/20 for 160 yards, 7 carries for 38 yards and 2 passing touchdowns—he now has 4 touchdowns on the season. The virtual fan chants for Tua and his baby face goatee will have to wait another week.  Many will question whether this was a valid win for the beard crowd, citing the illegal use of Fitzmagic in this contest—and rightfully so. Unfortunately, we may never have a definitive answer to the greatest question in the history of mankind. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

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I just snuck out of a court ordered gambling rehab facility to write this post, so I’ll have to be brief. After I was arrested for stealing old ladies’ purses from the retirement home down the block to fund my string of Arizona Cardinals’ Super Bowl wagers (a 50:1 lock!), the judge sentenced me to 6 month’s of in-patient rehab. Since I’ll be releasing my weekly fantasy football rankings each Thursday morning for the duration of the season, I’ve decided to throw in some bonus bold Thursday Night Football predictions along with my expertly handicapped pick for the contest:

Miami Dolphins (+3) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Forecast: Dolphins at Jaguars, Fitzmagic at Minshew Magic, beard at moustache, it doesn’t get much better than this folks! Obviously this game will be all about Uncle Rico Minshew. His swag will cast a shadow so big on Thursday night that no other player will even be seen other than maybe Saucy Boi Preston Williams—who happens to be my favorite buy-low wide receiver target following weeks 1 and 2. But back to Minshew Mania: the Jock Strap King will arrive at the stadium 10 minutes before game time wearing nothing but a leopard print jock. Without any stretching or warm up throws, the mustachio’d one with lead the Jaguars on a 69 yard touchdown drive on the opening series. It’ll be all mustache from there except for a series he’ll take off after halftime while recording a track for his new album—see below. So jump on that sweet stache and ride it all the way to a Thursday night victory!

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You ever watch that move Napoleon Dynamite? Come on, you’re looking at advanced statistics for your imaginary football team — I KNOW you’ve got that movie on DVD and a “Vote for Pedro” shirt sitting non-ironically in your closet. ENYWHEY, there’s the character of Uncle Rico, who kept taking film of himself throwing a football in an effort to chuck it over a local mountain or grain field or really, just about any object that could be placed in front of him. Now, after the complete decimation that your fantasy football team received in week 2, are you thinking, nay, hoping that some team will sign Uncle Rico so he can bring his swagger and dynamite — see what I did there? — arm to your favorite team? Well, worry not! Blake Bortles has come back! Undrafted free agent Nick Mullens is taking the field! Taysom Hill is making $8 million to be the third best quarterback on the Saints and he’s completed 6 passes in his NFL career. And Kaep is still on the outside. At this point, let’s give Uncle Rico a shot. Heck, Gardner Minshew is 90% Uncle Rico DNA. Fingers crossed no more QBs get hurt in Week 3, otherwise you should be gearing up to start Dwayne Haskins in your next DFS hot taek.  

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