Last summer NFL teams were dishing out new contracts to running backs like the United States government giving away free money to the indispensable, too-big-to-fail, cruise lines. The year after Zeke hit the Jerrypot with a 7 bajillion dollar contract, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook each received upwards of 10 Bitcoin. Unfortunately, there were a couple stud backs whose team’s treated them more like the government has treated failing small businesses. Will these hard luck incumbents return or will they be in search of another source of crypto this off season? And if the incumbents are voted out of their backfields, what should we expect from the new regime? I’m glad you ask, here’s the top free agent running backs for 2021 fantasy football:

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Rudy Gamble, Razzball co-godfather, joins B_Don and Donkey Teeth on the podcast! With the playoffs upon us, we discuss our Super Bowl predictions (one of B_Don’s has already been eliminated). Rudy digs into his projection system results for the season and we compare how his method may benefit you in a different way than some other ranking styles, and where he and DT finished the season in the rankings contest.

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This year we’re playing for keeps! For the six of you readers who haven’t already scrolled hastily down to the list, there’s a few matters to clarify regarding keeper leagues, dynasty leagues, rankings for both, and my neighbor, Bucky. Over the past month I gave you my early top 10 and top 20 rankings for 2021 dynasty leagues as well as my top 25 rankings for superflex dynasty leagues. It’s important to note that those rankings are intended for full fledged dynasty leagues where you retain your entire roster from year to year. In dynasty formats, the career longevity of both wide receivers and quarterbacks needs to be reflected in valuations along with the short shelf life of the running back position.

The keeper league rankings below are designed to reflect player valuations in leagues where you retain only a portion of your roster—maybe only one play even. These rankings assume all players have an equal cost associated with keeping them, if any. Of course, most keeper leagues have their own quirks like my neighbor Bucky who thinks the dinosaurs never existed and their bones were planted across the earth by visiting alien lizards. Nice guy, Bucky. Crazier than a juggling monkey on a unicycle, but really nice guy. Bucky aside, if you want some input regarding your specific keeper rules and options then feel free to hit me in the comments. Anyway, here’s an early look at the top 100 keepers for 2021 fantasy football:

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There’s no shortage of news to digest for all you week 17 championship seekers out there. If you enjoy chaos and a championship matchup completely detached from the previous 16 weeks then you’re going to love this week! It kind of reminds me of way back in the year 2020 when there was a surprise around every corner. On top of the normal week 17 chaos of elite fantasy players being rested (See: Mahomes, Kelce, Hill and maybe even the Bills) and players who might have played had their games held any meaning (See: Dalvin Cook, Miles Sanders and Keenan Allen), we also have the added COVID madness with Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray and Cooper Kupp all missing. While I don’t approve of week 17 championships, I’m still here for you friends. Below you’ll find the Sunday morning injury report, some sneaky week 17 starting options and my updated week 17 rankings. Go forth and start the year 2021 right by bringing home all of the fantasy glory!

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The Shadow Coverage Report – Week 17

Shadow Coverage Tracker
WR Finish Total
1 23
2 13
3 13
4+ 29
Grand Total 78

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Opponent: New York Giants

WR1: Amari Cooper

Shadow Coverage Matchup: James Bradberry

Amari Cooper vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents 31 5.6 77.6 0.5 13.3
Vs. Shadow Coverage 15 4.4 57.5 0.4 10.3
vs. James Bradberry 1 2 23 0 3.3

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

Amari Cooper’s performance vs. shadow coverage has been ok vs. shadow coverage posting 10 PPG in .5 PPR since 2018. However, it is important to point out he has failed to hit double digits in 8 games while failing to hit 6 points in 7 of those contests. This low floor tends to make Cooper more of a boom or bust prospect when facing notable shadow corners.

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The great part about predicting the future is you can be wrong 99% of the time and still be remembered forever. Right Nostradamus? But get one thing right and they’ll name comets and theories after you. Hopefully after this article, 2021 will be the year of the “EWB Dak Prescott Model of Fantasy Football.” That’s a tongue-twister. Maybe, “Damn the Darnolds!” Actually, I’m gonna start writing a spec script on that right now! 

ENYWHEY. I’m aiming this article for the dynasty players that probably want to shore up their QB position before going into what will undoubtedly be a nasty 2021 campaign for QBs. On the plus side, there are 12 pretty good quarterbacks ready for your 2021 teams. On the downside, it’s a complete catastrophe after that. On the other upside — which is a Soundgarden B-side FYI — quarterbacks have a stunning point parity so if you don’t draft a top QB you can just stream 3-4 QBs at will. 

Foremost, I’m looking at consistency, upside, and return on draft capital. The quarterback position is usually the highest scoring position on a week-t0-week basis for fantasy teams, but there’s also remarkable point parity within the second tier of QBs. (I said that above but the message never seems to get through). On a per-week basis, the second tier of QBs are separated by about 2 fantasy points per game. Your job as a fantasy manager is to try your hardest to get a top QB, and failing that, predict which QB will have consistently high outcomes and play matchups. So, let’s take a look at the QBs going into 2021. 

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So you just reached the pinnacle of your existence by winning your fantasy football championship, now what? First, finish that pile of celebratory drugs, then slip your pants back on and put the Jergens away. Now it’s time to get back to work, with an eye toward 2021. A couple weeks have passed since I shocked the world with my top 10 dynasty rankings for 2021 fantasy football. December 4th, 2020 is a date which will live in infamy. The date when Donkey Teeth declared D.K. Metcalf as the top dynasty asset in all the land and then took his first shower in three months.

This year I brought in a ringer to keep me in check: Pat Fitzmaurice. Pat is currently sitting at #1 (out of 160 experts) in this year’s FantasyPros’ Ranking Accuracy Competition, he also finished #2 (out of 162 experts) in FP’s Draft Ranking Accuracy Competition in 2019 and he holds the title of #1 most accurate draft ranker from 2017-2019. In short, the man is a fantasy football ranking sorcerer and he was kind enough to record a YouTube show with me discussing each of our top 10s—subscribe and give us a like if you don’t hate it. Full disclosure: I haven’t had a professional haircut since February. Anyway, here’s that show, followed by my top 20 dynasty rankings for 2021 fantasy football:

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Hopefully you are still playing at this point in the season. If you are, best of luck! Let’s go get those ‘ship! Whether your trophy is more of a dingy or a yacht, go get that boat!

This will be the last TE rankings post of the season, so, if you don’t listen to the podcast, I wish you a Happy Holiday season. 

There’s not much left to do in the way of 2020 ROS rankings, so, let’s ask Doc Brown to fire the DeLorean up to 88 and look ahead to 2021 TE rankings. As it is an early list, wanted to note that I tended to lean on the cautious side for free agents and didn’t rank them too highly. Tight ends are more situationally dependent than maybe any other position in our game, so, where they end up can vastly alter their value. 

ELITE

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Now that the 2020 fantasy football playoffs are upon us, my job overseeing the rest of season top 60 running back rankings here at Razzball are as through as the chances of Carson Wentz inviting Doug Pederson to this week’s Bible study. Last week, I put a bow on that project with one final, playoff edition of the top backs to target for those still in hot pursuit of a fantasy championship. Friends, we’ve come a long, long way from the initial set of rankings I constructed in the preseason edition, when I was young and naïve and my only prior experience with Reddit commenters was through the illegal streaming of countless sporting events. But now, since there are truly only two weeks of fantasy football remaining, my job is done. Instead, for those looking for rankings to use the next couple weeks, look to Donkey Teeth & Co. for further insight. All season long, Razzball’s Donkey Teeth and MB have been providing excellent work as always with their weekly fantasy football rankings. That’s the place to go for any and all remaining decisions. As for me, my final fantasy football post for 2020 will look ahead to 2021. Who is an early favorite for that first overall pick in drafts? Which 2020 rookie backs have put themselves in the conversation for a first round pick? And hey, how about the incoming 2021 rookie class? Any early-round selection potential there? You already know I want me some Najee Harris the same way I wanted to be in bed with Dobbins the Take-it-to-the-House Elf all season long. But first, before you all take your Sunday wizardry robes off,  I’d like to take a few moments to reflect briefly on what we observed in 2020 (in lieu of a trip around the league), and how maybe we can use it as a learning experience to improve as fantasy owners in the years ahead.

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Last December when I released my top 25 and top 50 dynasty rankings for 2020, there were three rankings for which I was mocked most: Kerryon Johnson (way too high at #18, they scoffed), Joe Mixon (way too low at #26, they cried) and Juju Smith-Schuster (way too low at #50, they howled). Two for three would make me the best baseball player in the history of baseball, but in the game of fantasy football dynasty rankings it won’t fly. Also, I missed terribly on a bunch of other rankings including Fournette, OBJ and Hollywood. So now I must be held accountable and take responsibility for ranking my cousin Kerryon Johnson way, way, way too high last year. No excuses! No blame! Even though the freshly-fired-incompetent-coach/GM-duo of Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn seem like pretty good scapegoats—was it really necessary to spend an early 2nd round pick on D’Andre Swift AND sign Adrian Peterson AND not use your talented 23 year old RB Kerryon Johnson at all? Ah right, no excuses. But the sun was in my eyes last year when I was writing my rankings. So this year I brought in a ringer to keep me in check: Pat Fitzmaurice. Pat is currently sitting at #1 (out of 160 experts) in this year’s FantasyPros’ Ranking Accuracy Competition, he also finished #2 (out of 162 experts) in FP’s Draft Ranking Accuracy Competition in 2019 and he holds the title of #1 most accurate draft ranker from 2017-2019. In short, the man is a fantasy football ranking sorcerer and he was kind enough to record a YouTube show with me discussing each of our top 10s—subscribe and give us a like if you don’t hate it.  Anyway, here’s that show, followed by my top 10 dynasty rankings for 2021 fantasy football:

Please, blog, may I have some more?