Hello everyone, and welcome to another post in our Razzball Divison Preview series. Today I’m taking a look at the NFC North, which, in my opinion, is one of the most interesting divisions in fantasy this year. There are so many storylines and moves that occurred over the offseason that have made this division incredibly relevant fantasy-wise (not that it hasn’t been in the past though). This could either be a great division, or a frustrating one, but we’ll have to see how it shakes out during the regular season itself. But we can’t wait forever, right? So let’s get started now and talk about these four interesting teams.

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Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green (80) warms up before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

For the last fourteen weeks or so I have proven that even a team that looks like absolute hot garbage on paper can prove the old adage true, never judge a book by its cover. That’s easy to say with the benefit of hindsight. It’s not like I’m predicting who these players will be a week in advance. I would, but I can’t seem to find my copy of Gray’s Sports Almanac. Each week I have tried to pick the players for the upcoming week, but if I said it was an easy task, I’d clearly be lying. Many weeks I have gotten a player or two correct, but my low batting average is nothing to write home about. George Brett? Tony Gwynn? Wade Boggs? More like the Mendoza Line for me!

If you are still reading this post that most likely means you have made the playoffs. Congratulations. But you are a long way from hoisting that championship trophy. And if you’ve made the playoffs, it is even more unlikely that you are going to be looking for under owned players that “might” have a good week. At this point you need high floor players.

If you have not made the playoffs and just enjoy reading my banter, rock on!

However, in the spirit of this post I’d still like to present to you last week’s crop of crapshoots…

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Granted, there are many times when the lede’s topic is about the Sunday Night Football game, but sometimes I like to shake things up a bit. If only because there some really annoying things about it, ranging from Cris Collinsworth not taking a vacation in Syria, to the lazy, league approved narratives for everything, all the way to being reminded that NBC’s dramas are still being made. So sometimes, I just need a breather, ya know? And plus, if there’s an opportunity to make fun of the a Jeff Fisher led team, you know I’m going to take it, no questions asked. If you’re new to the site, I’ll give you a brief synopsis of my own personal feelings towards Fisher. You know how the words “winless” and “undefeated” exist? There should be a word for “being two games under .500”, and I think that word should be: JeffFisher. Here, let’s put it in a sentence: “People keep saying that Todd Gurley is regressing to the JeffFisher, but I really just think it’s because the offense is sh*t.” And now we have the first career game from Jared Goff, and it looked about as bad as we were expecting. And I gotta tell you, I lived in Los Angeles for almost five years… this is not the best way to grow a fan base. Not only is Fisher challenging the patience of Rams fans, but also men’s hair fashions. And also my ability to come up with a third thing, but I think you get the point…

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jim-schwartz-lions

In a thrilling day of footballing, there were nine games decided by a touchdown or less, three games decided by a field goal or less, and two overtime victories. It was enough to make some teams (looking directly at you Jim Caldwell and the Lions) wonder why someone like Alex Henery, who single-handedly (or footedly? Is that a word?) lost the game against the Kyle Orton led Bills 17-14, (to what was a 58-yard field goal to Dan Carpenter) still holds a job in the NFL. Missing one field goal is okay. Missing two is unacceptable. Missing three in a game, one of which came with 51 seconds remaining… well… if anything, Henery should be immediately cut just for allowing the above photo to be a thing. Fun fact: If you look up the word “d*ckish” in the dictionary, you’ll find a smug Jim Schwartz smiling right back at you. And while you could easily see getting carried off the field after beating Detroit in the fifth week of the regular season as the most Buffalo thing ever (landing as a tie with eating and drinking too much before sobbing uncontrollably… or is that Cleveland?), apparently asking your team to do this in the preseason, as far back as OTA’s seems, I don’t know, spiteful? Smarmy? Maladjusted? Well, to be fair, with Schwartz, no one would ever see him being that kind of guy… But hey, some good came out of this. Kyle Orton threw for over 300+ yards with a touchdown against the number one ranked defense in the NFL, which is pretty good. And probably the eighth sign that the end of the world is here.

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nfl-refs-confused-hed-2012

So, if you don’t know what to make of this year so far, join my club. I just started it, but looking at the numbers… yes, it appears the entire Earth is already a member. There are so many fascinating and ridiculous and unfortunate and just plain dumb things happening all around us this year, it’s no wonder that Wes Welker took a Molly. Wait a second… WHAT IF WE’RE ALL ON MOLLY? It’s almost as if Rust Cohle is writing my life at the moment. “Someone once told me, ‘Time is a flat circle.’ Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.” Alright-alright-alright. I’ll be sure to tell my grand kids about that. In the meantime, I’ll have to seek out some kind of solution as how to grasp the events that this season has wrought upon us all. I hear whiskey is nice this time of the year…

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Last week, I got a big fat punch of what’s happening in my mouth with my flex picks. I don’t think I’ve ever been as wrong as when that one time I thought it was a good idea to draft Jay Bruce ahead of Giancarlo Stanton. Hey dumba*s, wrong sport! You’ll have to excuse me, I’m still stuck in baseball and crossing my sports. To call my calls a train wreck is insulting to train wrecks. On a positive note, and this is me trying to be positive, I’m glad Sammy Watkins had a big game. I see my negativity really rubbed off on him and he threw it back in my face. Thanks for reading Watkins, awesome! This week, I’m going to go position on position. Let’s keep it simple, short and sweet. Well not too sweet, I am Jack Full of Hate, and have more hate in me than NOW has for the NFL… too soon?

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dysentery

To be honest, I’m not really sure what to do with myself right now. As I’m writing today’s recap (which will be yesterday’s recap when you read this), I find myself essentially writing my first ever obituary. It’s certainly not a fun feeling writing about gruesome, year-threatening, maybe even career-threatening injuries, but seeing as this all came on a day where we saw the Cleveland Browns finally have an opportunity to understand what this “happiness” emotion is that they’ve heard so much about, but have never experienced, and that the Bills are officially on pace to go 16-0, we can try to find some sort of silver lining here. Or just realize that the world is about to come to an end. Also, LOL Jets.

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Week 1 in the NFL brought us a number of injuries, and it also brought us the (unnecessary) return of some of our favorite Saturday Night Live characters.  Reprising their Aaron Rodgers “Discount Double Check” series, State Farm graced us with a couple of new commercials featuring The Richmeister (Rob Schneider repeatedly saying “makin’ copies!”), and of course, Hans and Franz.  You remember those two lovable German steroid freaks?  All they cared about was getting us puny weaklings in shape… and at any cost.

Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin may need a little pumping up from Hans and Franz, ‘cuz a knee injury could sideline the Muscle Hamster for the Bucs’ matchup with the St. Louis Rams this Sunday.  Lovie Smith is downplaying the injury, but the fact that Martin got just nine carries, yet his knee injury was deemed “minor”, is a little bit concerning.  There could be other factors at play here (conspiracy theorists unite!).  Some NFL pundits have speculated that Martin may have been benched, and as a member of the old regime in Tampa, he doesn’t look to be a favorite of the Bucs’ new coach.  Either way, after a dismal and injury-shortened 2013, there is very little wiggle room for the Bucs back.  Fantasy owners in standard leagues would be wise to stash Bobby Rainey (4 carries, 12 yards; 2 catches, 8 yards, TD).  Mike James is also worth a look in much deeper leagues.

And, now to the rest of the forlorn…

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The first week of the NFL season reminded us of how volatile this league can be. We saw rookie Allen Hurns of the Jacksonville Jaguars score touchdowns on his first two receptions. Then we saw the Jaguars blow a 17-0 lead and lose 34-17 to Philadelphia. Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens went from being suspended for a few more days, to being suspended indefinitely by the league in a 48-hour span shaking things up. Injuries played a big part as well, with tight ends Jordan Cameron and Jordan Reed suffering injuries and sending rosters into flux. He can be dropped in redraft leagues but hang on to him in dynasty leagues. Thankfully, we’ll help you make sense of it all on the waiver wire this week. We’ll break it down by position and ownership on ESPN, NFL and Yahoo Leagues to help you out.

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 uk2ZYmu

An artist’s depiction of yesterday’s Cowboys game.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the first every Sunday of football should always have the Dallas Cowboys doing whatever that was they did yesterday afternoon. In fact, let’s start a petition to have them on Monday AND Thursday night as well. I mean, can we even say that the Cowboys actually did anything in training camp? This looks like the exact same team from last year, and I’ve already started decorating my house for the holidays seeing as how the Cowboys are already in mid-December form. True, as the sharp and always entertaining (in gouging your own eyes out sort of way) commentating duo of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman informed us, if not for all the turnovers, this would have been a close game. I’ve never seen something so beautifully and succinctly useless at the same time. If it weren’t for the Normandy landing and the eastern invasion of Russia, Germany had a pretty good World War II. And while the game was technically close without including large portions of events that happened during the game, I was left with this one burning question– What is it called when you throw to a receiver that had 12 people covering him?

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