Isaiah Crowell Cleveland Browns
After giving my selection for most underrated and overrated players in upcoming fantasy football drafts, my pick for biggest sleeper is Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell. Most importantly, “The Crow” has the privilege of running behind a newly revamped offensive line that includes ProFootballFocus.com‘s top offensive guard duo of Kevin Zeitler and Joel Bitonio in addition to future Hall-of-Fame left tackle Joe Thomas and free agent addition Center J.C. Tretter. Last season, the Browns offensive line ranked in the Top5 in terms of creating yards before contact for running backs, and the line has only gotten better.  Crowell, the 24 year-old former first overall running back recruit out of high school, believes that he will have a “Monster Season” and coach Hue Jackson has stressed during OTA interviews how the need to get the running game going early in games from the start of the season to set the tone for the franchise moving forward. Early reports out of training camp suggest that backup running back Duke Johnson is actually the leader for the slot receiver role, which further solidifies Crowell as a rare workhorse volume running back. Another major factor in Crowell’s sleeper status is that he is currently ranked as the 13th best running back per FantasyPros.com with an ADP of 25, making him a 3rd round pick depending on league size. Looking at the names in the same tier as Crowell, he is slotted about right where he should be when taken in consensus, but in many drafts, rookie running backs Joe Mixon and Christian McCaffery may leapfrog Crowell based on pedigree and training camp hype. Even a player like Marshawn Lynch, who is 2 year removed from the NFL grind and has a stable of capable young running backs behind him could sneak his way past Crowell by the time your draft rolls around in late August.

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During the season, I will be spotlighting a player who is either on the cusp of your starting line-up for the week, or someone I see that needs some light shed on him due to match-up, man-scaping ability, or because I see something someone doesn’t.  This week we shed the spotlight on Markus Wheaton.  Basically being drafted as a WR3/4 in the vast majority of places, he is a maybe-start for most people.  Well, I am here to learn you some stuff about the second fiddle now in the city with ‘tree rivers.  Let’s start with the obvious…  Antonio Brown is as legit a number one receiver as there is in the league.  That’s a good thing, because they play the Browns, and have a top shutdown corner who they like to shadow all across the field on number one recievers.  So Haden covers Brown, but it should be noted that I’ve heard rumors to the contrary, and that Haden might be all over the field.  To tell ya the truth, I am not buying it at all.  He is a shut-down corner, is paid like one, and will try to take Brown away from the under-rated Steeler passing attack.

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If you’re looking for a good way to avoid depression in the months between the NFL Draft and Fantasy Draft Season, I recommend getting your league(s) together to discuss rule changes for the upcoming season. Will we eliminate kickers? (YES!) Will we award extra points for RBs who break 100 yards (NO!) Will we use individual defensive players? (HMMM…). That last question is complicated, and cannot be answered in one word. In fact, I’m about to spend 1200 words discussing just that question: Should your league be using IDPs?

Adding defensive players to your league is not for the faint of heart. Roster sizes will increase by only a few slots, yet the amount of players available will more than double, and you will now have to grasp the significance of stats like Assisted Tackles and Passes Defended. These changes may seem overwhelming, but in reality, defense in fantasy football is a lot like offense. Between now and Week 1, I will be outlining IDP Strategy, ranking players by position, and discussing scheme changes, but today is all about selling the concept of IDP itself. Here are a few reasons why your league should include defensive players:

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Greetings!!!  Welcome to Razzball’s first ever, REAL NFL Mock Draft. The more you know and understand about rosters and the NFL in general, will only help you achieve your grandiose dreams of fantasy greatness. Who better than I, Tehol Beddict, Razzball’s own in-house football expert, to break down what all 32 NFL teams should be doing with their first round selections? Don’t answer that.

I expect there to be numerous trades in the first round, and all throughout the draft, but I’m not even going to attempt at predicting all of the trade scenarios. That’s like trying to decipher how Nicolas Cage went from an A-list leading actor to the holding up “Will Work for Food” signs on Hollywood Boulevard.  I don’t recall ever being this pumped up about an NFL Draft, as this is one of the more intriguing draft classes in some time.  I’m giddy like a school girl on Christmas Eve!

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We’re coming down to the last week of the regular season in most leagues and the first week of the playoffs in others. Hopefully you have your playoff spot wrapped up and are planning your path to postseason glory.

But Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) shouldn’t be a part of those plans. He practiced yesterday for the first time in the month since he suffered his collarbone injury against the Bears. Matt Flynn is expected to get the start this week against Atlanta at Lambeau Field.

If you’re hanging on to the hopes of having Rodgers for the playoffs, don’t. The Packers are 0-4-1 without him this season and his absence has dragged down the values of the Green Bay wide receivers. At 5-6-1 their only real chance of trying to make the playoffs is to win the NFC North. They have virtually no shot at a wild card and losses to Philadelphia and San Francisco really hurt their chances in that regard.

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The team that resides in the nation’s capital is having a real hard time lately. They have two key injuries this week and it’s starting to look bleak.

First they lost WR Leonard Hankerson for the season to a torn ACL. The doctors were checking his knee after an injury to his LCL suffered against Denver and that’s when they found the ACL damage.

Tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) is also up in the air for this week’s game too. He’s sat out the last couple days’ worth of practice and his status for Monday night against San Francisco is unknown. While he has the extra day this week, he’s not an advisable start this week.

I’d also be gunshy about playing RGIII for the same reason. He’s also starting to run out of receivers. It’s basically down to Santana Moss and Pierre Garcon, the latter of whom I am amazed is still healthy and upright at Week 12. Fred Davis isn’t inviting at the tight end spot. Alfred Morris adds nothing in the passing game (three receptions this season) so Roy Helu would be the only real pass-catching option out of the backfield.

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This week’s injury report is brought to you by hurt hamstrings. These seem to be all the rage around the league right now and make up a majority of the injuries we’re seeing on this week’s report. The good news is that once old Doc here can figure out how to heal them, a lot of players should be coming back.

Hamstrings are the muscles in the back of the leg that help allow you to bend your knee. Imagine yourself trying to kick a football but you couldn’t bend your leg. That would be what life is like with a hamstring injury. Kicking is tough, running is hard and slow and they don’t seem to heal quickly for anything.

Let’s take a look at who is all on the training table this week. All injuries are hamstring unless noted otherwise.

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Fantasy Football thoughts and opinions heading into NFL Week 1.   New Orleans 34, Green Bay 42 I think the NFL should have used this version of an American anthem to kick off the season. Pierre Thomas, not Darren Sproles, was the running back in the first part of the two minute drill. Head coach […]

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