Congratulations everyone! You have passed the first grueling test. After thirteen weeks of non-stop ascent, we’ve reached a clearing where we can all exhale and stretch those weary bones. Grab a mug of tea and admire just how far we’ve come. We used to squabble over whether Chris Godwin and Mike Evans could both be top 10 WRs. Some of us thought it was wise to draft Antonio Brown. Some of us thought Josh Gordon was a league winner.

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As we march towards Week 14 and the start of the fantasy playoffs, this week will be a crucial one for many owners. With 6 NFL teams on bye, there are a bunch of stars that we need to find replacements for. We’ll be giving some extra attention to some players that wouldn’t normally ever sniff our starting lineups.

Let’s get to the rest of this week’s matchups, and talk about some players we should start, and those we should keep on our bench.

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So I was out of town this past weekend and I was flying back Sunday in the late morning. As much as airports suck and flying in general can be a real drag, I’ve always enjoyed watching football while waiting for a flight. If I’m by myself I can enjoy my overpriced beer served by an antipathetic server while I overhear the most ridiculous conversations of the nearby tables. When I’m with a friend, it’s just like being at a real bar, where shit talking reigns and wildly outrageous proclamations are never verified via cellphone. Watching football is one of the only saving graces of airports, and I for one, am thankful for it.

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I know the climb has been brutal for you, as it has for us all. This past Sunday my eyes froze over as I watched many of my teams drop under .500 for the first time. As I write this, I am enduring Jason Witten hand me a loss one excruciating 3 yard catch after another. This section of the season is the darkest grind when the post-draft excitement has long worn off but the playoffs are still far away. Injuries and bye massacres come for us all, but it’s how we respond that defines us.

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Every time that we start to wonder about how good the Texans are, they come out and have an impressive performance. The Jaguars historically play really well in London games, but the Watt-less Texans still lived in Minshew’s grill. Minshew followed up a great game against the Jets the previous week with a stinker against a defense that is susceptible to the passing game. The Jaguars will head into the bye and have to decide if Foles is going to take his job back. If I were the Jags, I’d be putting Foles back under center. The last wild card spot in the AFC might only require 9 wins. The division crown is definitely an uphill climb after dropping both games against the division-leading Texans, but getting to 9 wins is definitely in play. 

The early games had some key injuries to the fantasy football world. Jacoby Brissett left the game against the Steelers in the second quarter with an MCL injury. Adam Thielen tried to give it a go with his bum hamstring, but he didn’t make it out of the first quarter. DeSean Jackson’s return in his first game since week 1 was short lived as he left early with an abdomen injury. Here is what else I saw during the early slate of games on Sunday. 

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I had a vivid dream last night. It was so real. I was in bed, buck naked, with my supermodel girlfriend on one side and the RazzBowl trophy nestled on my other side. When I awoke, only one of the objects of my affection was actually there: the RazzBowl trophy. That’s right, I sleep naked with the RazzBowl trophy every night! And my supermodel girlfriend is out of town for the weekend doing supermodel stuff.

But there’s another man with his eyes and heart set on the now moist RazzBowl trophy: Pat Fitzmaurice of The Football Girl. Our top dog, Fitzmaurice, has extended his lead out to a commanding 38 points and has now held the lead back to back weeks and, maybe even more impressively, his squad has been top 3 in the overall standings for the entire season except for one week when he fell down to 6th place. Can he close the deal and lay with the fabled RazzBowl trophy? Only time will tell.

What makes the RazzBowl especially unique compared to other best ball formats and industry leagues is our addition of a $10 FAAB budget for the entire way season with a minimum of $1 bids. This allows teams to cycle out dead roster spots (e.g. Andrew Luck, Lamar Miller, etc) but it also means each team will only be allowed a maximum of ten moves for the entire season. Every dollar of each competitor’s free agent budget is just as precious as a Bill Belichick smile.

When teams choose to pony up their FAAB, it’s worthwhile to take a look and see why. There could be a goldmine of speculative adds buried in the RazzBowl transactions this season.

Here were the top buys from the penultimate RazzBowl FAAB run (FAAB ends after next week’s run), along with some donkey thoughts:

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You have to love when two guys have career days and the starting percentages are probably pretty low on them. I say pretty low because I’m sure there were people in bad bye week spots or in deeper leagues that had to start Chase Edmonds or Marvin Jones Jr. Marvin Jones is a solid WR3 for fantasy but I don’t think that many were elated about slotting him in against the Vikings. For those that were savvy enough to start Jones Jr., he rewarded them with 10 catches, 93 yards and 4 touchdowns. That is a best ball format wet dream. In the leagues that I own Jones Jr., I can’t see myself leaving him on the bench again against the Giants next week. 

Chase Edmonds was a different type of situation. David Johnson was named active going into the game and he took one carry for 2 yards and didn’t touch the ball again for the rest of the game. I’m guessing that the majority of people that heard Johnson was active took Edmonds out of their lineup. Well, Edmonds carried the ball 27 times for 126 yards and 3 touchdowns. Incredible. Let’s get to some other performances from the early slate on Sunday.

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What. The Hell. Happened.

Touchdowns to AJ Brown? DeVante Parker? Trevor Davis? Brandon Bolden? Ito Smith? Ricky Seals-Jones? Troymaine Pope? AJ Brown (again)?

This was the start to Week 4’s Sunday slate that granted DFS players absolutely no pleasure whatsoever. Seriously? I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a laundry list of names that I literally would never have dreamed of drafting, and I really don’t think I have to re-evaluate my strategy.

But that’s the great thing about daily fantasy. Unless there was some lunatic who drafted Trevor Davis in hopes of a 60-yard end around score – and apologies for calling you a lunatic if you were that person – then everyone suffered the same result and it likely didn’t affect your teams’ chances of winning too, too much.

Either way, let’s hope for a more reasonable output in Week 5.

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