As Axl Rose once said:
And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain, oh yeah
I know that you can love me when there’s no one left to blame
So never mind the darkness, we still can find a way
‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever, even cold November rain
We’re in the darkness right now as a football community. Confusion, injuries, controversy, and most strikingly, tragedy. We’re surrounded by it right now and this is already generally a tough spot in “normal” football seasons but it seems obvious this is anything but normal. This has been a real tough one with some big highs and some of the lowest lows in a long time.
And it’s my job to help guide you, as a fantasy football player, through these lows to succeed at this game we all love. Is the senseless death of a young woman something I want to cover in what should be an entertaining run-over of your roster options for Sunday football? No, of course not but the dice have unfortunately been cast and this is how they’ve fallen and I’d be remiss to ignore the 2000 lb elephant in the room. I’m going to go from here on without some of the sentimentality and just talk football because frankly, as callous as it sounds, that’s what you’re here for and that’s what I get paid patented Razzball Fun Bucks™ (Redeemable at participating Razzball locations) to do. And who really wants to hear me pondering on these deep ethical and moral questions this week have brought about? I spent most of last week’s article talking about the Monster Mash for crying out loud.
With that being said, let’s jump into it.
Byes for this week are Seattle, Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Washington. See you next week!
Starting off the week with a real stinker of a matchup with the Houston Texans visiting the Miami Dolphins. Not much to report on the end of the Texans minus the usual DeShaun Watson DNP and Tyrod Taylor returning from IR, likely starting over Davis Mills. Tyrod should be… slightly better than Mills but this team just sucks. The Dolphins are dealing with a rib injury to Tua Tagovailoa that has had him limited in practice but it looks like he’s on track to play. He’ll be without DeVante Parker who’s headed to the IR and has done basically nothing all season but look to Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki to catch slants and checkdowns all the way to victory against a truly wretched Houston secondary.
Las Vegas is going to be visiting the Giants in Jersey. This is where things get a bit heavy with the Raiders without Henry Ruggs after he essentially murdered a young woman with his car. Ruggs has been able to stretch the field and force opposing defenses to respect him as a deep threat opening up the middle for Derek Carr so without him we’ll see a slightly different offensive plan on short notice. Zay Jones looks to fill the gap for now, not necessarily a speedster but he’s come up in big moments. Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards should see an uptick in usage. I’ve seen a few conspiracy theories that they’ll convert Darren Waller to a WR and move him to the right side while putting Foster Moreau as TE1. As much as this would be a fun experiment, it doesn’t gel with the way that teams pay WRs and TEs. A WR designation comes with several million more dollars on the max contract, so don’t expect it.
The Giants got hit by Covid and then Covid said “sike”. It’s hard to say if a pause in in-person practices will impact the Giants come Sunday since if you’ve been watching them it looks like they don’t practice anyway. Saquon Barkley was cleared of his Covid designation but still will miss Sunday with his lingering ankle injury leaving Devontae Booker to underwhelm for another week. They’ll also be without Dante Pettis, Sterling Shepard, and possibly without Kenny Golladay, further limiting their already limited offensive potential.
The Patriots will be matching up against the Panthers and per usual, the Patriots’ injury report includes basically their entire roster. And realistically they’ll probably all play. The Panthers though are waiting on Sam Darnold‘s status to become more clear going into Sunday after he suffered a concussion last week with PJ Walker coming in as relief. Walker was, well, bad and Belichick might just eat him for lunch. Unless the Panthers can finally get back Christian McCaffrey, whether it’s Darnold or Walker they’re going to struggle.
The Atlanta Falcons are going to be without star receiver Calvin Ridley for likely the rest of the season after he stepped away from football for mental health reasons. Hopefully, things are doing alright in his personal life but for the Atlanta Falcons this is a major loss in their passing game. Without him, the newly healthy Russell Gage, Cordarelle Patterson, and Kyle Pitts should all see a bump in production even against a sturdy Saints defense.
The Saints… Man, this one hurts. I’ve been preaching the gospel of Jameis Winston for years now and he’s been having a pretty good season. It was clear Sean Payton was holding Jameis back from his old school, gunslinging ways but Jameis was limiting turnovers and was extremely efficient with his passing attempts. I’m gonna miss him as he’s been ruled out for the season with a torn ACL after a dirty horsecollar tackle by Devin White, who is now my mortal enemy. In Jameis’ place we’ll likely see Trevor Siemian starting with some major snaps being taken, especially in the redzone, by Taysom Hill once he’s fully healthy. I think Sean Payton can make any of these guys relevant but if Siemian stumbles then Taysom is going to be the highest ceiling play out of the two.
The Denver Broncos are going to be visiting Jerry World in Dallas, they’re going to miss Noah Fant to the Covid protocol. In his place we should see Albert Okwuegbunam, who’s actually been good when he’s gotten targets, but he’s currently questionable with a knee issue so his status is up in the air. I guess next man up is Eric Saubert? Yeah, I’m taking a pass there.
The Cowboys look like they’re going to get back Dak Prescott after missing him last week while Cooper Rush hilariously ate up Minnesota. CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper have both been limited during the week and their status is still unsure going into Sunday. I would take a look at Cedrick Wilson if he’s still available, who should see some more targets after a great performance last week and a banged-up receiver core.
The Cleveland Browns are doing classic Browns things as they finally broke off their public beef with Odell Beckham Jr., releasing him to waivers this coming Monday. It’s really anyone’s guess where he’ll land with the waiver priority but chances are it’ll be a team like Detroit, Jacksonville, or Miami who’ll want to take a flier for a cheap unguaranteed contract unless Odell makes it clear he won’t play for them. Needless to say, he’s not playing this week.
The Buffalo Bills are going to be without their breakout TE Dawson Knox for another week off of his broken hand. Tommy Sweeney made things work on only 3 receptions, finishing with 30 yards. That could be a lot worse, just ask Odell! You could probably do better but they’ll be playing Jacksonville so honestly, go nuts. Cole Beasley is questionable with a rib injury but he returned to practice Friday after missing the rest of the week. If he plays, he’s a decent WR2 with this matchup.
The Jaguars might be missing their RB James Robinson, who’s suffering from a heel injury. If he’s out, Carlos Hyde is the next man up in the backfield. I’m not playing Hyde unless I have to against the Bills, especially since chances are the Jags are going to be down 60 points by halftime and will force Trevor Lawrence to sling the ball.
Green Bay is going into Sunday with no Aaron Rodgers who is out until at least next Saturday on Covid protocol. Look to the most annoying people on the internet to find some strong opinions about the situation if you’re curious! Jordan Love is going to start in his place against a wretched Chiefs defense so he’ll at least have a good matchup in his first NFL start. I like him as a QB2 this week.
The Cardinals look like they’re going to be shorthanded against the 49ers, both Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins are questionable and are trending towards being out. This isn’t great. Colt McCoy is the next man up at QB and playing the backup without the top receiver is a recipe for not-good things. Even if Kyler does play, he might be limited in mobility which could hurt against a solid 49ers front 4.
The 49ers are dealing with injuries to Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel. If Elijah is out I’d guess we’d see some JaMycal Hasty in his place. If Deebo is out we might finally see Brandon Aiyuk do something! Maybe? Please?
The Tennessee Titans took a major, major loss with Derrick Henry out for the season with a Jones fracture in his foot. I think I went to a bar called Jones’ Fracture in Colorado Springs once. Anyway, this sucks. Jeremy McNichols looks to be the lead back in Henry’s absence with the ghost of Adrian Peterson lurking in the background. The Titans whole offensive strategy relied heavily on the run game to open up the middle for Ryan Tannehill and they’ll likely keep pushing the run at least until it completely fails. I’d consider McNichols to be a high priority waiver target if he somehow hasn’t been snagged and could have RB2 potential in this scheme. A.J. Brown is still not practicing with a knee injury and looks to be trending towards sitting out. Julio Jones is slated to return but I’m approaching the whole thing with a high level of caution. He just hasn’t been good this year and against a top-level Rams secondary and without the need for the Rams to stack the box to stop Henry. Bad news here.
You can find me on Twitter in the cold November Rain at @skorishism. Be sure to let me know what you think and who you’ll be playing Sunday in the comments below. Cheers.