Most who are educated on Viking lore are familiar with the legendary Lief Erikson, the first European to ever set foot on the North American continent. But generations before Lief raped and pillaged his way across the ocean, there was one even more historic Viking: Ragnar Thielen. You won’t read about Ragnar in any of those propagandized history books. He was the most peaceful of the Vikings. Instead of collecting skulls Ragnar spent his time knitting with the skin of pig. That’s right, old Ragnar Thielen created the first football back in the year 969. Fast forward 1,051 years and his great-greatX20-grandson Adam Thielen showed how the pigskin runs in his veins as he snatched 4 catches for 43 yards and his 8th and 9th touchdowns. Viking lore aside, I’ve been saying since summer that Thielen is a first half player. In the last two seasons he’s caught only two touchdowns in 12 games after the first week in November. This could be the year he bucks the trend, but I’m not betting on it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

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This is a really, really bad week for Covid in the NFL. It’s been overshadowed as we await election results, over one third of teams have reported positive cases this week. All we can hope for is false positives and to keep things moving as we have reached the halfway point of the season. Part of the reason this is coming out on Friday instead of Thursday is because I didn’t think there was a chance San Francisco and Green Bay would play on Thursday Night. It’s probably for the best, because JaMycal Hasty would have been a start and I haven’t seen him touch the ball yet.

With the NFL sort of doing everything on the fly this season, I don’t understand why this game couldn’t have been pushed back to Sunday after Kendrick Bourne’s false positive. I would have thrown a fit if I were San Francisco. But instead of ranting and raving in here, let’s dig into the starts and sits for week 9.

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I hope for your sake that you were busy Monday night and unable to watch the Bears vs. Rams puke fest. Here’s how bad the game was: the undisputed player of the game was Rams’ punter Johnny Hekker. In all fairness to Hekker, the man can punt with the best of em. All five of his kicks pinned the aimless Bears offense inside the 10 yard line, and he booted a 63 yarder down there too. Needless to say, if you own Hekker in a punter league—I’m sure these actually exist—then you had a great fantasy night; unlike the rest of us. Fantasy Lord willing, this will be the last time I ever write an intro about a punter. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

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At Razzball, we pride ourselves in the quality of our readers, because it sure takes a wise fantasy manager to dodge some of the hot taeks that we dish out. Lamar Jackson as QB1? What the hell were you thinking, Blair? Certainly, what I meant to write in the preseason QB article was that JUSTIN HERBERT WOULD BE QB7 BY WEEK 6! Yes! That’s what I meant! 

And why does it matter that we have smart readers? Glad you asked! Some of you know that I, EverywhereBlair, was a Razzball originalist dating back to 2009. And look where I am now! In Grey’s basement with a Capri Sun and a bag of Cheetos writing fantasy football articles. From fan to fantasy analyst, you could do it too! 

Why am I hyping our fans’ intelligence so much? Because one of our fans, Curtis Jones, has taken the #1 spot on the Razzbowl leaderboard. Congrats, Curtis! 

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Everyone wants to get some booty. Living in my mom’s basement, I haven’t seen much booty. Pirate’s booty, I mean. What I wouldn’t do to get some of that swashbuckling plunder. The Bears, however, didn’t appear to want any part of the Buccaneers nor Tom Brady’s booty for most of the first half Thursday night. Then, late in the 2nd quarter, Nick Foles took off the eye patch, tossed his peg leg aside and began his quest for the Brady booty. Foles went 30/42 for 243 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception as he led the Bears to their 4th victory. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but plundering is an ugly business by nature. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

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I have been tiptoeing around writing about Allen Robinson as a fantasy target. I really like Allen Robinson, which I will get to, but I have been writing a lot about players in the 25-40 ADP range as targets and I would love to focus on all parts of the draft board. But this year, more than ever, it is important to be diverse on the draft board. Especially if you play in more than one league. Every year you should have backup plans and tier your rankings because it’s assumed that you are going to get sniped at some point in every draft. But also, we need to assume that players that we draft will test positive for Covid-19 at some point in the season, so diversifying and not putting all of your eggs in one basket in every league is ideal. After all, if you play in a lot of leagues, it’s about return on investment. If you miss badly in one league, you can still have fighting chances in others. 

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The 2020 tight end class lacks top end talent, but there were 5 players taken on day 2 which bodes well for future production. These will be my final off-season rankings now that we know landing spots and draft capital. For more background information, please check out my initial TE article for details on the players’ profiles and more of the process used to rank the position. 

The List!

Rank Movement Name Team  Draft Round
TE1 +1 Adam Trautman Saints 3
TE2 +1 Cole Kmet Bears 2
TE3 -2 Brycen Hopkins Rams 4
TE4 NR Devin Asiasi Patriots 3
TE5 NR Dalton Keene Patriots 3
TE6 +1 Colby Parkinson Seahawks 4
TE7 NR Josiah Deguara Packers 3

NOTE: There are no tiers for this list, as everyone is going to be a slow burn for fantasy relevance

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Over the past four weeks Tom Brady has been slowly settling into life in Tampa Bay, scouting retirement communities and getting to know his new Buccaneer teammates. On Monday young tight end O.J. Howard ate Brady’s spinach, arugula and GOAT cheese salad out of the team fridge while complaining about the lack of tomatoes. Howard then violated the quarterback’s 6-foot radius of personal space before coughing without covering his mouth. Enough was enough, it was time for Tom to dust off his trusty Gronk signal and shine the big man’s light into the balmy Florida night sky. And Rob Gronkowski wasted no time in answering the call of his old friend. By Tuesday afternoon Gronkman had been traded from the Patriots with a 7th-round pick in exchange for the the Buccaneers 4th-round pick.

Gronk battled injuries from 2016-2018 missing 13 games over his final three seasons prior to his early-retirement. He also looked quite slimmed down during his 2019 public appearances. That said, you can’t help but root for the big boy, and a year of rest and relaxation likely did his overworked body some good. Off the bat, I’ll pencil him in as my #7 tight end behind Kelce, Kittle, Waller, Ertz, Andrews and Hooper. And I’ll give him an initial projection of 50 receptions for 700 yards and 6 touchdowns with lots of upside (and downside) from there. Anyway, here’s what other news I saw around the league for 2020 fantasy football: 

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As I crawled through the desert wearing my backpack filled to the brim with toilet paper and various lotions, dying of sports thirst, a small rain drop landed squarely on my nose. The NFL players narrowly approved a new collective bargaining agreement Saturday night, lengthening the season by one game and expanding the playoffs to 14 teams; the rain drop for which I’d been longing. Then on Monday, the flood gates opened with a downpour of high profile free agent signings, trades and franchise taggings on the first day of legal tampering. 

Lightning struck when then Texans inexplicably handed DeAndre Hopkins and a 2021 4th rounder over to the Cardinals in exchange for David Johnson, a 2nd round draft pick and a 2020 4th rounder. The amount of hand sanitizer included in the deal was not disclosed, but my sources tell me at least three ounces of Purell headed back to Houston. The echo chamber seems to believe this move will have a decidedly negative affect on Nuk’s fantasy value, but I’m rose-colored in my year two outlook for the Kliff Kingsbury/Kyler Murray show. If he’s a mid to late 2nd round fantasy pick this year, I’ll dhop all over him.

Later the thunder rumbled as Stefon Diggs was dealt with a 2020 7th rounder to the Bills in exchange for pick #22, their 2020 5th, 2020 6th and 2021 4th rounder. I’ve seen many folks say this was a terrible deal for the Bills, but if you toss the 26 year old Diggs into this draft class he’d go top 10, right? And he’s signed to a reasonably team friendly deal thru 2023. Change of scenery may be just what Diggs needed. I’ll be buying again in 2020 and bumping Josh Allen up my board as well. Anyway, here’s what else I saw for 2020 fantasy football during this already crazy coronavirus-filled NFL offseason:  

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We are now just one week away from the fantasy playoffs, and while he struggle for the final few spots in our league’s playoff brackets, many NFL teams are also having to mount some serious playoff pushes if they hope to be playing football in January and February this season. One team in particular will prepare to get into a divisional race against some familiar foes as they prepare to head to Miami, Florida in one of the best offensive matchups of the week.

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