Well, well, well. Week 12. Do I need to introduce what ended up being one of the weirdest weeks in NFL history? From a fantasy perspective, we watched Patrick Mahomes chase the Chiefs’ record for single-game passing yards (held by Elvis Grbac, you Trivial Pursuit maniac), while also watching Denver Broncos practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton make his NFL debut as a QB. One of those situations did not end well. On top of all of that, we’re looking forward to Tuesday Wednesday Night Football. In case you forgot, when Tuesday Night Football that happened earlier in the year wreaked havoc on stats providers who hadn’t prepared for “Y2K,” and some fantasy providers went weeks without accurate scoring. And now we’ve got a WNF, which is also the name of my favorite Korean boy-band. SEW (<- not a boy band). I’m giving you the best information that’s available at the time of writing, and hopefully Week 13 will be a bit easier to navigate. Next week will be the final installment of the rest of season QB rankings, so if you’re hoping to follow me here at Razzball, I’ll ask you to navigate over to the basketball section, where I’ll be doing a weekly player highlight column. 

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Who’s ready for Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving means three things: Matt Stafford, the turkey and contentious political commentary. Wait, what’s an Oxford comma again? OK, that was one thing. Hopefully you’ll be safe in your mansions this week. For the rest of us, let’s take a look at the thing keeping us hopeful: the upcoming fantasy playoffs and the quarterbacks that lead our teams through darkness. 

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When Covid isn’t flattening QBs and teams left and right, massive windstorms have completely shut down QBs several times this year. In Week 10, another Vortex Giant (CR25 for you nerds) stomped into many stadiums, leaving giant killers like Nick Chubb and [checks notes] Ben Roethisberger (hmmm) to save the villagers. I’ve asked fantasy managers to be proactive about rostering useful streaming QBs, if not to provide options in case of Covid or weather, but at the very least to deprive your opponents of a starting QB. This last week, your opponents would have gotten useful streaming games from bottom-tier QBs like Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers. Now, I’m not applauding their games. But when other QBs are facing off against sustained 25MPH winds, gusts to 50MPH, and rain/sleet, those fair weather QB streamers look awfully nice. 

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The week 11 waiver wire looks like a bunch of desperation bye/injury fillers. I’d get more aggressive with your FAAB now, as there’s probably not much to be saving it for.

I group the adds by position and then within the position, rank them in order of preference. The sherpa will only advise players who are rostered in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.

This went to press before the Minnesota/Chicago game.

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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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Earlier in the summer when I was ranking pitchers over on the baseball side, there was a moment early in the baseball season when less than 60 starting pitchers had played; the rest were injured or quarantined or got caught at the club and sent home. The starting quarterback landscape is increasingly looking that way: tons of injuries are taking their toll, and the NFL has a baffling Covid policy where they’re punishing teams for practicing during the week yet still marching teams out every Sunday rather than delaying the games. Was Tuesday Night Football really that bad? I mean, other than screwing up the fantasy scoring systems for like two weeks. ENYWHEY. Outside of Dak Prescott, most of the injuries and quarantines haven’t affected the bulk of fantasy managers playing in standard leagues. Those who are in deep leagues, dynasty leagues, or superflex leagues, however, are probably in massive frustration mode. Here’s how I’m seeing the QB landscape unfold. 

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I like it when there’s a penalty in football. The ref comes out, takes center stage on national television, and in avuncular tone, tells us what exactly went wrong and what the consequences will be. There’s a sincere clarity to a football penalty. It’s like my team’s on-the-field problems are my own. When my team’s cornerback interferes with a pass, it’s like I was getting vicariously handsy with the receiver. Then the ref comes out and tells me I was a bad boy, and that I better keep my hands to myself next time. But then the ref says “Half the distance to the goal,” and I think to myself, I haven’t gotten any of my goals achieved. Now I’m halfway there!

Thanks to you ref, maybe I’ll achieve something this year. 

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Here at Razzball headquarters — which is actually Grey’s basement in a rambler in Toledo, Ohio — the writers have been preparing for Halloween. You would imagine that a bunch of guys who use cartoon avatars would be really good at costumes, but with the world stricken by seven months of the piranhavirus, we’ve run out of crafting materials in the basement. Our running back guru, Hobbs, was pretty easy to cover in ketchup and coal dust to make a worthy facsimile of Hobbes the Tiger. And because we’re really committed to our imaginary games, we quickly put the writer Hobbs into a toy chest and ignore his calls for extra Pop Tarts. Donkey Teeth, of course, dresses the part of Donkey from Shrek, like, all the time. Did you know they made a Shrek 5? If you scour the Filipino black markets of DVDs, you’ll see our own Donkey Teeth starring in his self-created fan-fiction where a donkey gets psychic powers and finally — finally! — wins the Draft Kings Mega Millionaire. Myself, I’m dressing up as my hero, Big Nick Power, because he inspires me to treat everyday like a Hail Mary. If enough people get injured and struggle, I could be a New York Times columnist! 

If you would like to contribute to the Razzball Halloween candy fund — they might even buy the candy fresh this year! — be sure to check out our other writers’ rest of season rankings, and consider getting an ad-free membership or a Roto Deluxe membership

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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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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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