Remember way back in February, back before I’d even started on my 2020 fantasy football rankings, when you went from store to store buying up all the toilet paper you could find and then sold it all on eBay in March for $20 per roll yielding a 1,000% profit? First off, not cool. Second off, think of these  backs outside of the top 20 running backs as rolls of toilet paper. There’s a good chance you’ll use these TP backs at some point, even if their utility is limited to just one chili filled Sunday in September. But if things go right—or really wrong—these running backs, who you thought you’d be wiping with, might just bring you returns beyond you wildest dreams. Alright, so maybe not that wild, there’s no large sausages or broomsticks in this dream—hey, I’m not judging your fantasies! But last year guys like Austin Ekeler and Mark Ingram (#4 & #11 RBs in PPR scoring) and the year before James Conner, James White and Tarik Cohen (#6, #7 & #11 RBs in PPR scoring) were all found on the shelves of these aisles. Chances are there’s at least one or two RB1s lurking in this group if you’re a thrifty enough shopper. Anyway, it’s not quite as exciting as my top 10 running backs, but here’s my top 40 running backs for 2020 PPR fantasy football:

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At the highest-stakes Texas hold ’em poker table in Iowa, you put your career on the line. Every Friday, a group of graduate students gathered at a professor’s house. This professor, he was short, balding, and a British footballer. If it was your first time at his table, you’d drink wine for free and he’d chip $10 into the pot for you. He’d grab an LP, something you never heard before but was charming, like The Doves or Interpol. A 500-page book sat at the edge of the poker table, and the professor talked about the awards it won and his Cambridge education. He’d invite you back for another game, but next time, you bring the wine and chip in $20 to the pot. By the fifth game, you’re bringing snacks and booze and maybe some of his groceries. The book was always on the table, as were the stories of Cambridge. One night, the soundtrack would be Tom Waits for three hours straight. Who listens to Tom Waits for that long? Of course, he asked you to get the $60 bottle of wine because you’re enjoying your time so much. Seems like the professor is winning more than usual tonight. Around 11PM, you notice there’s some cards missing from the discard pile nearby the professor. You mention it. The professor stands, his hand on his award-winning book, his mood affected by the Pinot Noir you paid for. He looks you in the eye and says, “You’re accusing an award-winning, full professor in your department, from Cambridge, of cheating?” And you realize: it’s the cost of the wine and the buy-in, or your career. You went swimming with the sharks, and you got eaten. You back down. Tom Waits keeps growling in the background. 

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If you’ve never played in an IDP league you probably have one major question. When do you start taking defensive players in your draft? With July’s arrival the fantasy draft season starts to ramp up and we can take a look at early ADP. The linebacker position is your bread and butter when it comes to consistent fantasy scoring and finding value here can allow you to take a top defensive lineman early in your draft.  

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The Boof. It’s in the name. Every once in awhile he’s going to go Boof and leave Donkey to malpractice all on his own. Fortunately, two of our newest Razzball Fantasy Football writers were standing by to jump in and talk football with me on this week’s episode of the hottest show on all of YouTube—yes, even hotter than the topless chick feeding her cats. So Everywhere Blair and Aaron Pags tagged in to save the day. We talk about Cam Newton in New England and whether we’ll be buying the risky fantasy asset this season. Then we dive deep on the RazzBowl as Blair shares a little about his RazzBowl Success Story article and what it takes to finish near the top of the pack. Then Aaron swoops in to brag a little about his top 6 finish in last year’s contest (don’t forget to read Aaron’s RazzBowl Strategy article). All of this and much more philosophical RazzBowl musing on this weeks Boofless episode of Fantasy Football Malpractice! 

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You want to win RazzBowll II. Well, the feeling is mutual. I competed in the original iteration last season and made it agonizingly close to achieving the dream. Sixth overall! Making it through the final cutline to the Championship Tier was a massive challenge that required hard work and luck alike. For me, the work began in the weeks leading up to the draft when I formulated a plan of attack.

Knowing the scoring and roster settings beforehand is the first step toward being successful. The RazzBowl used the following positions and scoring rubric: 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 2FLEX, and 11Bench, with 12 teams and a 1 point per reception (PPR) style. The twist was the “better ball” format, where your best lineup scores each week until the cutline rounds begin. With this knowledge, I was waiting to draft a quarterback until the middle rounds, since only one could be active each week. I was going to use the extra FLEX to ignore positions longer than I usually would and find as many players who caught passes as possible.

Ignoring positions allows you to expand the player pool to your advantage. It’s common for fantasy managers to “fill” their rosters either consciously or subconsciously. Those empty RB or WR spots naturally begin to carry more weight, and therefore, the drafter starts to narrow down players based on their needs. If your settings give you the leeway, take advantage and broaden your prospective selections without regard for where they fit the puzzle. Be the puzzle master, not mastered by the problem.

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On June 26th, Razzball’s own, B_Don @RazzBDon, was Twittering with someone about the legitimacy of Gardner Minshew’s rushing ability.

I immediately headed over to PlayerProfiler.com and typed in Peyton Manning. 4.90 40-yard dash time. Whoa. Gardner Minshew? 4.97. Now, Minshew’s college rushing production is skewed because he only attempted 38 rushes for -76 yards in two years at East Carolina, while he rushed 58 times for 119 yards in his one year at Washington State, but the 40-time and comparison to Manning picqued my interest, so I scurried down the rabbit hole to explore. Here’s what I found:

My first query was for seasons in which any quarterback in the history of the league rushed for at least 340 yards. I used that number because Minshew accumulated 344 yards on the ground last season. The results brought 136 instances, but there were players I couldn’t get 40-yard times from, such as Bob Davis from 1944 and Johnny Lujack from 1950. As a result, I decided on using the arbitrary year of 1999 for this piece. Why 1999? Well, 20 years of data is a reasonable sample size and 1999 was the first year when 40 times were timed electronically.

Here’s the list by 40 time:

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There was a conspiracy theory that was being widely floated that the Patriots planned on tanking the 2020 season to put themselves in position to draft Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 draft. As far fetched as it was, I wouldn’t put anything past Bill Belichick. The man isn’t getting any younger and finding success without Tom Brady is clearly at the top of his priority list. 

It was only a matter of time before the Patriots brought in Cam Newton. Apparently this deal has been in the works for a while but Covid provided difficulties with physicals and workouts. But alas, Cam will be an NFL starting quarterback on a very team friendly deal that probably comes with some under the table cigar shop investments from Robert Kraft. The personality fit will be the most interesting part of this whole experiment. Cam Newton has always been a player to show a lot of personality. He’s honest, willing to talk, he loves to smile, he loves to celebrate, and he loves to interact with fans. He’s the exact opposite of Tom Brady during his time with the Patriots outside of a few instagram productions and a very weird Facebook show.

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What wide receiver stats really matter? If you scroll through Twitter on any given day you will see a plethora of numbers backing up sleepers, busts and “league winners” among other things. For WRs you’ve got YAC stans, yards/target pushers, market share aficionados and everywhere in between. It’s easy to get excited when you see that a certain player had 25 yards/reception and is in line for increased targets the next year!

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Deep in the hills of Los Angeles, there is a sacred space of learning that the kids call, “UCLA.” For those not familiar with the nature of university, it is like a bank where you can keep borrowing money no matter how bad your report card is. On the outskirts of UCLA, there is a junction where students spend their borrowed money. Hip shoppers stop at the Whole Foods, put their Chase Sapphire cards into a point-of-sale machine, and smile with maskless glee as the POS takes nine bucks from their account for a single watermelon. Across the street, there’s an In-N-Out, where students shout “ANIMAL STYLE” and wait for their slathered beef like it was the first co-ed on screen in a slasher film. 

In the winter, the Rose Bowl celebrates the imagined paradise that is California: the orange groves, the rose gardens, the summer nights on the beach with a Mai Tai. The RazzBowl, however, celebrates the real paradise that is California: Raiders Chargers Rams greasy burgers and expensive watermelons. And just like your friends want you to come out for one more $15 Mai Tai before taking the Uber to your dad’s condo, the RazzBowl wants you on board for the wildest ride in fantasy football. 

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Since time immemorial tight ends have perplexed the world. We all know you want an end that’s tight, but how tight is too tight? The great Albert Einstein tackled this enigma with his theory of relativity, where he concluded Darren Waller epitomizes the perfect balance of tightness and plumpness in the end department. And who is Donkey Teeth to argue with genius Einstein? Waller’s an adonis of a man, and well endowed too.

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