The Eagles were on their bye week, so I took Sunday off from football this week. And by took Sunday off I mean I got up early to set my lineups and monitor the actives and inactives for FantasyPros, went to the movies with my wife around noon, and was back home by 3pm for the afternoon and evening games. That counts as taking the week off from football, right?

Two of the top four scoring running backs this week play for the Saints because it is that kind of year. Another one of them was Dion Lewis, one of the 14 running backs on the Patriots (depending on your scoring settings), who rushed for a touchdown and returned a kick for a touchdown. DeMarco Murray was the fourth guy on the list. Since I mentioned the other three, figured I might as well tell you who the other guy was.

Two other running backs making appearances in the upper tier of scorers in Week 10? Austin Ekeler and Corey Grant? Wut. Yup. Ekeler, who is the running back on the Chargers not named Melvin Gordon, rushed 10 times for 42 yards and added five catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Congrats to Ekeler’s mom, who finally cashed in on that FanDuel lineup that featured Austin Ekeler for like $1,800.

According to Google, Corey Grant is 25 years old, has the same birthday as my dog Young Money (different year), played college football at Auburn, and currently plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also did this on Sunday:

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of Webb, it was the age of Sanchez, it was the epoch of Beckham, it was the epoch of Rex…

I can’t remember a more interesting year of QB play in New York. Eli Manning, on the brink of passing his brother on the all-time consecutive regular season game start list and Josh McCown, two years older than Eli at 38 and now on his 8th team since being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2002 — the odds makers would’ve never predicted which one of these two would potentially be threatening for a playoff spot — and the other could be losing his job to a younger QB by mid-season.

But both McCown and Manning have intriguing fantasy match-ups this week and are my ‘start’ options.

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Hello everyone, and welcome to another Wednesday, Rankings Day! Hopefully you guys had a great Week 7 filled with fantasy goodness, food, family and most importantly, our articles and projections. It’s crazy to think we are almost at the halfway point of the NFL season, but I just wanted to let you guys know how much we appreciate your readership. I really do love it when you guys love what we do!

Alright, enough chatter, let’s get to Week 8!

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So yeah, I get it, the title is a bit overused in today’s parlance with the bizarre yet hypnotizing Adult Swim “horror-comedy-90’s sitcom” experience bringing the idiom back into style. Combined with the fact that I’d faint if you told me that this headline hadn’t been used by any other football writer before today when referring to Brandin Cooks (seen above with the 11-yard touchdown)… yeah, that saying’s been here before. But how apt! How meta I say! Because that’s exactly how I felt about last night’s prime time rematch of last year’s Super Bowl (did you know? You’d think they would mention that at least once last night!) that 95% of the Northeast tuned out of in the third quarter. There was some horror, some comedy, and of course Bill Belichek carries the whole 90’s sitcom vibe all by himself… but ultimately, it seemed to be a game that’d we’d all seen before and we were all the worse for it. And sure, while it might have been the Falcon’s gameplan all along, to give the Patriots a 23-point lead only to start a miraculous comeback of their own… problem was, the comeback never came and the Falcons looked about as good in the first three quarters yesterday as they did in the last quarter in the aforementioned Super Bowl. But there was fog! And lots of it! (I can’t find confirmation if it was coming out of Cris Collinsworth’s or Bob Costas’ mouth.) So instead of calling this a Super Bowl rematch, maybe we should call it the “Trent Green Bowl”? Kind of an “NFL’s concept” of what it’s like travelling through Trent Green’s head. You know, minus the purple bears and robot unicorns…

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There are a lot of obvious start & sit candidates for this week. Patriots vs Falcons? Give me everyone involved in the passing game. Bucs/Bills? I don’t want anything to do with the Bucs offense. Rams vs Cardinals? I’m bullish on the Rams. Start your stars and take a shot on some of these guys below if you’re suffering through the Texans/Lions bye week like I am. I own Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller in one of my leagues. I’m prepared for the L, but will be trusting my own advice in this article. Live by the Razz, die by the Razz!

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Adrian Peterson is free! On Tuesday, AP was traded from the New Orleans Saints (who seemingly never wanted him?) to the running back-desperate Arizona Cardinals. He is here to save the day for all fantasy owners who stashed him through the first few weeks or were able to submit a successful waiver claim for him after the trade. Our prayers are answered. All is right in the world. Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

Right?

Well, kind of. There is no doubt that getting traded from the pass-happy Saints, where Peterson was an odd fit from the second they signed him, to the Cardinal who lost David Johnson in Week 1 and have gotten zilch from the running back position in the weeks since, significantly improves Peterson’s fantasy value. The questions we have to answer now are: just how much has it improved? And what exactly can we expect going forward?

In the last few weeks, AP was not seeing regular touches, and his value was pretty much nonexistent. When he signed with the Saints in the offseason, you could hear a collective “huh?” from football fans and writers everywhere. We gave the Saints the benefit of the doubt and figured they knew what they were doing, but it turned out exactly how we all thought it would. Peterson was an odd fit for a Saints team that likes to pass the ball and likes to operate out of the shotgun, two things that don’t mess with Peterson’s style. Add to that the presence of Mark Ingram and youngster Alvin Kamara, and it is no surprise the team moved on from AP.

With the Cardinals, Peterson should get plenty of opportunities. Chris Johnson has not looked good in a couple years now, and he was a free agent until David Johnson got hurt. With Peterson entering the fold, the Cardinals did not even wait a week or two before cutting CJ. He got cut to make room for AP.

There are, however, a few reasons to roll our Peterson optimism back to “cautious optimism.” For starters, he is moving to a new team with a new playbook in the middle of a season. The complexity of NFL playbooks and schemes is why we don’t see a ton of in-season trading in the NFL. It is very difficult to fully learn everything while also preparing to play every week. To start out, they are going to have to feed him plays in bunches and get him acclimated a little bit more every week. Early playing time/snaps are question marks for Peterson right now.

Next, there is the issue of the Arizona offensive line. They’re bad. They’re really bad. They are particularly bad at run blocking, which is the primary reason the Cardinals have struggled so much on the ground this season. If they can’t open up some room for Peterson, he might have a fairly low ceiling in Arizona.

Lastly, the Cardinals are another team that likes to throw the ball. Carson Palmer currently leads the NFL in passing attempts. Part of that is likely because they have struggled to run the ball so much that they have been forced to pass, but they are not going to flip the script and decide to run the ball 60% of the time just because Adrian Peterson has arrived. Peterson is not much of a pass-catching back, so will he get enough touches to be valuable on a weekly basis for fantasy owners?

These are all valid questions that cause concern. Of course, the upside with Peterson is definitely worth taking the chance on him, even if just to stash him for a couple weeks while you see how he looks in that offense. Just don’t get your hopes up too high until we actually see him getting the ball with some space to work with.

Now, to the charts!

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My Week 4 recommendations went much better than week 3. I said Deshaun Watson would score “25+ points” and he put up 33. I told you to start James White over Mike Gillislee for his PPR contributions and he scored 14 to Gillislee’s 4. I told you to not even look at Marshawn Lynch and he only scored 1 fantasy point. I even said this about a certain Dolphins QB: “I recommended him last week against the Jets secondary and he laid an 11.7 fantasy point egg on my face! Well, now he’s facing an equally bad Saints secondary who have allowed the second-most passing yards to opposing QBs this year. If _____ fails to capitalize again this year you shan’t see his name again!” As promised — that Dolphins quarterback is He-Who-Shan’t-Be-Named!

Here were a few more of my solid start suggestions from Week 4:

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One more week in the books, a few more young running backs on the shelf. This week, the devastating running back news was Dalvin Cook going down with a torn ACL. If you watched the injury live or watched the replay over and over again like I did, you had to feel for the kid. He went down with a non-contact injury less than four weeks into what was quickly becoming an impressive rookie season, and it looked as ugly as it sounds.

But we fantasy owners don’t have time to feel bad for Cook. Pour out some Duff for your boy and move on with your fantasy life. For Cook owners, this likely leaves you scrambling for replacements. For owners desperate for running backs and streaming options, Latavius Murray just started dancing into your dreams.

While Murray won’t be confused for Cook on the field, he does have some appeal. The Vikings signed Murray before they were able to go out and draft Cook, so they at least considered him a serviceable option in the event that the draft did not go their way. They also signed him to a three-year deal, and even though most NFL contracts are filled with fake money and fake years, that is more than nothing (what an endorsement!).

While some have pointed to Jerick McKinnon as taking over a bigger role, I really don’t see that happening. He should continue with his current role, and he might see a slightly increased workload, but Murray is going to get the first shot at taking the lead role. I am desperate for running backs in at least two of my dozen leagues, and I am going to use the waiver priority I have been saving on Murray this week.

To the charts!

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The talk of this week at the running back situation has been Wendell Smallwood. If you don’t believe me, take a scroll through the last dozen or so Razzball articles to see the takes and advice. With Darren Sproles somehow breaking his arm and tearing his ACL on the same play, there are touches available in Philadelphia. LeGarrette Blount is still around and actually looked productive on Sunday, and Corey Clement scored his first career touchdown and could rotate into games going forward, but Smallwood is the guy who stands to benefit the most from the Sproles injury. If you don’t believe me, the Eagles offensive coordinator said as much in his press conference on Tuesday. I have the transcript if you want it.

For me, though, there is a more exciting running back to target. Heading into Week 3, we knew two things: 1. There would be a new offensive coordinator. 2. Marvin Lewis has been coaching the Bengals for 15 years without winning a single playoff game. Number 1 is relevant for fantasy owners, while number 2 is simply fascinating.

The position to watch in Week 3 was running back, as it was expected that we could see more Joe Mixon and less Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. And that is exactly what happened. Mixon looked like the complete running back he was projected to be coming out of college, gaining more than 100 yards from scrimmage on 21 total touches. Expect that trend to continue going forward, as Mixon should only get better and the Bengals should continue to ride him.

I talked up Mixon last week as a great buy-low option prior to the change at offensive coordinator. Hopefully, you either drafted and stashed him or grabbed him on waivers last week because he is less likely to be available this week. But if he is, grab him and go. On the flip side, I would also try to hold onto Jeremy Hill and/or Giovani Bernard if you have the kind of league that provides you with the roster/bench space to do so. It looks like Mixon will be the guy, but we have seen before that one week doesn’t mean everything and that injuries happen all the time. If you have to pick one, I would probably lean Bernard in PPR.

To the charts!

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Image result for home dogs

Week 3 was a crazy, crazy week. Thanks Trump! I kidd. Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Eli Manning all threw for at least three touchdowns, with Bortles throwing four! The Jets dominated. It gets crazier, though. Eight of the games on Sunday had the road teams as favorites. The Jaguars, Colts, Bears, Jets, Bills, and Redskins all took care of business at home. Bow wow wow yipee yo yipee ya! Home dogs! The Lions should have won and the Chargers…well, just scroll down to the recap of that game and all will become clear.

The 2017-2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues for Basketball are now open. Get more info and join here!

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