Hello fellow Razzballians. Now that the season has officially begun, it is time for a paradigm shift. That paradigm shift is hitting the switch from “preseason ranking” to “regular season reality”. As the season progresses, your preseason rankings (and ours!) will matter less and less. And if you will follow that logic one step further, then the round (or money spent, for you auctioneers out there) in which you drafted a particular player becomes less important. Or at least it should. Mentally and emotionally, it is very hard to bench, trade, or drop a first or second round player. However, once the season the starts, your success is based on trades, waiver wire moves, and having the guts to bench your second round player when it is necessary. Your success is not based on how well your team looked after the draft. More so, it is based on how well your team looks after Week 8, when injuries and bye weeks cripple teams. Now with that all being said, I want to look at the New York Football Giants for a little bit. And more specifically, Eli Manning and his long list of productive receivers. (While this may be a little lengthy, I promise I will tie it all back in at the end).

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It’s been commonplace around here to poke a bit of fun at Joe Flacco’s expense, and I have to admit, it probably starts with me. Look, I don’t actively root against the eyebrow guy. Granted, I don’t root for him either, seeing as how it’s like rooting for a speed bump. But there is a certain something about him that really fascinates me. And that can essentially be boiled down to the the gift that keeps on giving… and that’s the process for measuring how elite Joe Flacco actually is (not just his eyebrow(s), which are too f*cking elite). Well folks, I think it’s time, once again, to go through this process once more. After a convincing win against a Steelers team that was clearly missing LeVeon Bell and any semblance of a third down defense,  John Harbaugh said this after the game:

“Joe Flacco, what can you say… He’s the best quarterback in football.”

Well, first of all, don’t lead this off by asking “what can you say”. I can say a lot of things, and none of them would be what you said, John. Granted, yes, Flacco has a long history of being part of a lot of successful Ravens teams, including a Super Bowl ring and being the only quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons. Of course, there’s also the fact that he’s not really that good of a quarterback. But hey, when you’re just elite enough to win, who cares?

I guess I don’t. Then again, I’m now realizing that the Ravens vs. Patriots media extravaganza might be something I could have done without… been there, done that, ya know? Wait. What’s that you say? We’re going to have a Petyon Manning/Andrew Luck narrative to deal with as well?

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If you’re reading this column, one of the following things must be true:

A. You have a team in the championship game and are looking for an extra edge.

B. You’re trying to figure out how to play the DeMarco Murray situation.

C. You really love fantasy football.

D. Any combination of the above.

With it being championship week, there aren’t a whole lot of updates that can be made or waiver wire pickups. You should be in a position where your team got through the semifinals okay and you should be able to set your lineup now for the final. Keep in mind we have a Thursday night clunker (TEN vs JAX) and games on Saturday this week too (WSH-PHI; SF-SD), and that will play a little role in how you set things up.

Let’s see what we can figure out for those little extra boosts…

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Welcome back, my lovelies! Once again, we find ourselves all cozied up together, commiserating on our busted a*s rosters, re-evaluating every life decision we ever made, wondering when we are going to get to receive, rather than continually bend over and take it raw week after endless week. Even the stalker in my bushes outside of my house is giving me a look of shame as he peers at me through my bathroom window when I shower. This has to be, by far, one of the wackiest Fantasy Football seasons I have ever had the displeasure of being a part of, and I have done some questionably wacky things in my day (hey, it was college and I needed the money). Anyhoo, I digress… well, let’s get down and dirty with what I know you are all waiting for, Hit it or Quit it, Week 9.

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J.J. Watt has more fantasy points than LeSean McCoy. I just thought I would share that with you fine folks out there. With that being said, I also want to establish that we witnessed the first competitive Thursday Night Football game of the season… in Week 6. And it certainly did not look like that at first. The first quarter was actually written by Franz Kafka. The Colts built a 24-0 lead, and the Texans had run more plays than yards gained. And as the game started getting away from us all, like a small child being held by Adrian Peterson. Or like the freedom once held by Adrian Peterson. Adrian Peterson is an a**hat is what I’m trying to say. What I’m also trying to say is holy f*cking sh*t T.Y Hilton. And despite the Colts going Ivan Drago on the Texans early in the game, they amazingly gritted their way back with an insane display of footballing by J.J. Watt (good lord, I should have drafted Watt as an offensive player), Arian Foster staying injury free, and Andre Johnson actually proving that, in fact, he is alive and well. Yes, it was all in an effort so that Fitzmagic could lose by a closer margin than expected (oh Houston), but seeing as how we have to watch the Patriots win by at least 30 points next Thursday, this competitive game (mostly) was a wonderful reprieve.

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So, if you don’t know what to make of this year so far, join my club. I just started it, but looking at the numbers… yes, it appears the entire Earth is already a member. There are so many fascinating and ridiculous and unfortunate and just plain dumb things happening all around us this year, it’s no wonder that Wes Welker took a Molly. Wait a second… WHAT IF WE’RE ALL ON MOLLY? It’s almost as if Rust Cohle is writing my life at the moment. “Someone once told me, ‘Time is a flat circle.’ Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.” Alright-alright-alright. I’ll be sure to tell my grand kids about that. In the meantime, I’ll have to seek out some kind of solution as how to grasp the events that this season has wrought upon us all. I hear whiskey is nice this time of the year…

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Thank god I don’t do these posts till Saturday, because you wouldn’t have liked my advice had I included Thursday night’s players into my start/sits. Everyone knows that Thursday Night Football is a curse for fantasy players.  Even Peyton Manning has fallen victim to it.  In the final TNF game of the 2013 season, Manning had arguably his worst performance of the year, completing just 65.8 percent of his passes for 289 yards in the Broncos’ embarrassing 27-20 home loss to the Chargers.  Maybe it’s the short week coupled by the night game, or the fact that it’s on national television.  Who knows.  But it doesn’t bode well for good statistics.

I had Ben Roethlisberger and Torrey Smith pretty high up in my Week 2 rankings, but that was just stubborn of me.  You can’t get much worse than the nine fantasy points Big Ben put up, Owen Daniels vulturing Dennis Pitta every step of the way, or the one catch for 10 yards Torrey had — especially after Joe Flacco had said earlier in the day that he expects his top receiver to catch 100 balls this year.

Sunday should offer many more offensive fireworks than Thursday night’s dreadful affair.  There are plenty of matchups to exploit, including the Saints vs. Browns, Patriots vs. Vikings, Chiefs vs. Broncos, Jaguars vs. Washington Football Team, and Cowboys vs. Titans.  But none should be more exciting (and fantasy-team boosting) than the Eagles/Colts game. The high-flying Eagles (pun intended) travel to Indy to take on the 900 horsepower Colts (pun also intended).  You’re always gonna start Andrew Luck, Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy, but their supporting casts deserve a lot of attention this week and are all nearly must starts in most fantasy formats. Fringe fantasy starters like Darren Sproles, Riley Cooper, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Dwayne Allen are near automatic starts this week, and even Colts’ tight end Coby Fleener is worthy of consideration in deeper leagues.  The only guys I’d be hesitant to recommend are Hakeem Nicks and Trent Richardson, who have proven to be too untrustworthy. Not only will this game have a large effect on the outcome of your fantasy matchups, but we get to wait till Monday night to have it all play out.  Now, that, my friends, is what fantasy football is all about!

Please feel free to post your start/sit questions below. Until then, here are the rest of my starts and sits for Week 2…

(All recommendations are based on PPR formatted leagues)

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The following post has some of my thoughts for the first three rounds of the draft. You can catch Jay’s thoughts on Round one here. I will be covering the players (either drafted or the players affected by the new draftees) that weren’t covered in-depth by Jay, and what this does to their value for the upcoming season in redraft leagues. All of my views will be for that of a standard (Non-PPR) scoring.

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Welcome to the new off-season series, aptly named ‘Final Fantasy’. In this series, Razzball will be focusing the spotlight on certain players that either exceeded or fell-by-the-wayside of our expectations, and we’ll briefly touch them with our thoughts, legally. Despite rumor (and the series name), we will not be discussing anything +5 to magic missile. Unless there’s actually a NFL player that shoots missiles. And has, like, an amulet to vitality or something like that. Michael Vick’s -98 amulet of dog-caring will be excluded in this particular instance. Regardless, let’s get to the spotlight for today, and that’s Eli Manning.

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Interestingly enough, Ben Tate going to the Cleveland Browns might end up improving his fantasy prospects (or a strange attempt to prevent more rib-breakage), while Steve Smith signing with the Baltimore Ravens might end up doing the opposite. Yet another example of why a fantasy game with fake teams based upon real players based upon a real game isn’t always rational in the scope of things. (Just like that sentence.)

You see, under the scope of ‘real’ football, these moves mean the exact opposite. Steve Smith goes to a team that should be in or around the play-off picture, a somewhat competent (based on NFL standards) coaching staff, and a team that has some interesting weapons. Just make sure to hide if you’re a fiancée. On the other hand, Ben Tate has basically gone to the football equivalent of Siberia. But with Skyline Chili. So much worse. However, add some fantasy context, and the sky is no longer blue, roses are no longer red, and Skyline Chili does not exist. Totally worth it…

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