Hello everyone! I hope you guys all had a great 4th of July holiday, filled with great food, great friends and family, and even better fireworks!

Before we get even further into July, where I will be releasing many different articles, rankings and podcasts with the rest of the Razzball team, I want to take a quick look at quite possibly one of my favorite fantasy football teams this year – the Chicago Bears.

Even though my heart lies with the Patriots, I do have to say, I have a bit of a soft spot for the Bears. I always like to see them do well, especially because as I was growing up in the past 18 years, they were always the lovable losers against the Packers. But this year, I believe things will be different. I think this year is shaping up to be a great one for the Bears. In fact, I think they could finish second in this division (ahead of the Packers but behind the Vikings), make it to the playoffs as a Wild Card team, and be one of the most productive fantasy offenses in the NFL this year.

So let’s get into it!

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This piece of writing is going to hurt my soul and hurl my remaining brain cells right down a metaphorical volcano. Perhaps it’s the thin Colorado air at over 9,000 feet above altitude or the activities that are legal here, but I am starting to see myself drafting Leonard Fournette this season. If you read my preseason stuff or listened to the podcast last season, you know that I faded Fournette and made fun of his YPC and lack of production every week that the yards weren’t there. Every time he was listed as questionable or was ruled out Sunday Morning, I was thankful that it wasn’t my problem. The thing is there were not a lot of owners who were upset by the results when it was all said and done. He also looked like a pretty serviceable work horse in the playoffs. There were things to not like last year when it came to Fournette, but damn it, there is some promise for fantasy owners going into 2018.

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There is no denying just how important how important the running back position is to fantasy football roster construction. Once you get past the first couple of rounds, the position becomes a cesspool of what ifs. If you’re in a 12 team league, current ADP data says that only eight picks in the first two rounds won’t be a running back. It’s more important than ever to make the right pick.

Just like with wide receivers, this is a pre-training camp evaluation so my opinion is subject to change going into August. But, as of now, I’m going to let you know what running backs that I don’t see myself drafting this season. When I’m drafting running back early, I’m targeting volume second only to skill. Dual-threat is also something that I look for too. I mostly play in PPR leagues. A lot of the time, the past performance and current off season moves at offensive line can also sway me.

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Alright guys, welcome to Week 5 of the NFL season! We now have official hit #byeszn, so today I’ll be sprinkling in some under-the-radar plays so you guys can get some fillers for those players on bye this week. Enough chatter, let’s get to some Razzball-certified picks!

Check out Rudy’s exclusive DFS and season-long tools that are sure to help you be profitable this fantasy football season!

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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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Last week I tried something new by analyzing another expert’s weekly picks. Some of you did not take very kindly to my approach. If I’m being honest, while you are entitled to your opinion, your comments did not phase me as I’m right back at it again. If you’ve read my posts, both here and on the baseball side of business, you will know that I like to mix it up with respect to post topics. Some weeks you will get an advice column while others will be more of a recap rant. Sometimes I’ll use my math and computer science background to try and analyze the numbers, and once in a while I like to go off the rails and hit you with a wild card. That is exactly what I did last week. If you didn’t like it, I’m not sorry. If you’d prefer to ignore what I have to say, then I’m pretty sure you know how to to not click the link when you see my name announced as the author. If you don’t, then I suggest you pick up the following book.

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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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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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Another week of the NFL season is in the books, and we have a few more developments at the running back position to keep an eye on. There are a few injuries hitting the wire this week, and out in Seattle, a youngster is outplaying some familiar names. Over in Philadelphia, the guy who is supposed to be the lead back barely saw the field…

Razzball Football’s partner FantasyDraft is starting a new sign-up promotion this week, all new depositing signups receive a free $4 “Everyone Wins” NFL GPP ticket for the upcoming Sunday slate along with offering all players 4% cash back on their initial deposits! 

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