Back this week after a brief hiatus last week while I was traveling. Plus, the weird Tuesday Night Football schedule threw off the whole week. It’s like somebody pissed on the rug, but while still leaving a stain, the piss smelled like roses. Because it was awesome having TuNF and a doubleheader this week on MNF. Anyway, you don’t care, and have probably stopped or never read the intro, so, on to the tight end rankings.

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Your WR top 80 8.0 is here! We’re getting some studs back playing on the field, so that’s a bonus to the upper tier. As a rule, injuries will always bump guys down. I am generally pessimistic that players will return on time at full strength without a setback. 

This list is not league or format specific, but it is based on 2020 rest-of-season projection only. When thinking through tiers and rankings I asked myself simply – “all things considered who would I rather have on my roster?”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Part of being a fantasy analyst is that you’re always, at least to some degree, a contrarian. And being a critic and being contrarian are two different things: the former involves the deployment of data to make an argument, and the latter is going up when others go down [wait, what site am I writing for again?]. The most effective moments in fantasy analysis are when criticism and contrarianism connect, and the fantasy analyst makes a predictive move that could help readers win their fantasy leagues. 

Now, I’m not claiming oracle status, but I will claim a short victory lap on Ryan Fitzpatrick, who I warned my readers to stay away from. 

The (Fitz) magic disappeared on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, when rookie signal caller Tua Tagovailoa was named the starter for the Miami Dolphins. 

Therein lies the vex of fantasy analysis: some of the stuff we say seems, well, loco. Fitzpatrick had been putting up pretty good fantasy numbers. But (and it’s a Blair’s been sitting here writing this update for too-long sized but), Fitzpatrick’s peripheral numbers were terrible. Last week, I pointed out that Fitzpatrick was struggling with moving the ball down the field, was throwing too many interceptions, and had an on-target percentage sandwiched in-between Trubisky and Haskins, each of whom had lost their starting job this year. And now, the Fitzmagic has disappeared. 

Aye, I definitely am a bit crazy. But, if I saved you some cash by navigating you away from Fitzpatrick this season, then take a moment to consider an add-free subscription to the site, or, for less than $2/week remaining on the season, get a Roto Deluxe membership to get all of Rudy’s fresh projections updated for Tua Tagovailoa as the starter. 

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The choice for this week’s lede seemed obvious heading into the final game of the Week 6. Fresh off the Chiefs’ signing of Le’Veon Bell to a one-year deal, Clyde Edwards-Helaire erupted for 161 yards on 26 carries, adding another four receptions on four targets for eight yards. Other than the fact that CEH remains allergic to the end zone, it was an outstanding performance, as he cruised to 6.2 yards-per-carry while handling all of his targets with ease. Meanwhile, Bell saw a much different line in the box score: three plane rides, two luxury hotel stays, seven tweets and a new Mahomes. A big boost to the fantasy value? Well, it depends on how you look at it, as they say. All things are relative. It’s certainly a worse landing spot compared to somewhere like Miami or Buffalo where Bell would have a much greater likelihood of handling lead-back duties. However, playing second fiddle to CEH (which we have to assume for now, based on his Week 6 performance) still beats being the feature back for the New York Jets. Hell, being Andy Reid’s butt-scratcher beats being the No.1 running back for Gang Green. Still, I have to mention that it was in fact Darrel Williams (six carries, 16 yards, one rushing TD; one reception, 15 yards) that found pay dirt, running in a 13-yard score in the third quarter.

As of 8:15 ET on Monday night, that was the clear headline for my top 60 rest of season running back rankings. Well, that was until early in the second quarter of the nightcap between the Cowboys and Cardinals, where we saw the second highest paid running back in the NFL, Ezekiel Elliott, cough up his fourth and fifth fumbles of the season — and it’s only Week 6! By the way, that gives Elliott a share of the NFL lead for fumbles alongside Joe Burrow, Derek Carr and Carson Wentz. That’s right, he leads all running backs. Notably, the Cowboys actually showed a willingness to move away from Elliott for much of the second quarter after that, likely out of an attempt to both wake Elliott up and prioritize salvaging the game as it quickly got away from them. Tony Pollard ended up with a season-high seven carries in the first half, which he turned into 26 yards on the ground. In the end, however, it was obviously still Zeke’s backfield in the second half. Zeke finished with 12 carries for 49 yards, but he also caught eight of 11 targets (most on team) for 31 yards. Pollard finished with 10 carries for 31 yards, adding another two catches for nine yards. It’s reasonable to be concerned if you own any fantasy weapons in the Dallas offense after their performance on Monday night. Abysmal just doesn’t seem to be the right word, but it’ll do for now. The remainder of Dallas’ schedule is also pretty tough against running backs, so I’ve downgraded Elliott one spot.

Before we get to the Week 7 rankings, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

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A lot of people think fantasy writers spend our days and nights surrounded by B-list rappers from the 2000s (I see you Chingy!), 16 big-screen TVs playing NFL Red Zone, and Mike Mayock on speed dial (does Twitter have speed dial?). OK, that’s actually how Grey and Donkey Teeth spend their days. But me? I’m a lowly midwestern Vikings fan living in Packers territory running DSL off a bankrupt company. Thanks to the novel piranhavirus that delayed the Titans/Bills game, I’m submitting this article before some of the top quarterbacks have even finished playing. But, I’m not alone in my wishes to be hanging with Luda, have a fiber connection, and a direct line to Dick Butkus (wait, did I say that last part?). Most of the fantasy world is delayed right now due to scoring glitches caused by Tuesday night football. So, let’s huddle up…no, not that close…and take a look at how the quarterbacks are shaping up for the rest of your fantasy football season. 

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Your WR top 80 7.0 is here! Now we not only have to deal with injuries, we have to account for COVID inactives and postponements. Tier 2 got bigger, but until the elites we are waiting on return, tier 1 remains a two man show. As a rule, injuries will always bump guys down. I am generally pessimistic that players will return on time at full strength without a setback. 

This list is not league or format specific, but it is based on 2020 rest-of-season projection only. When thinking through tiers and rankings I asked myself simply – “all things considered who would I rather have on my roster?”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Entering Monday Night Football, Alvin Kamara was already the season-long RB1 overall in half-PPR and PPR formats despite having one less game played than much of the competition. So although his 15.9-point performance in half-PPR represented his weakest game of the season, it did very little to change his standing atop the top 60 rest of season running back rankings. Kamara rushed 11 times for 45 yards on Monday, fulfilling his usual role in the passing game with eight catches on 10 targets for another 74 yards. Latavius Murray (eight carries, 34 yards; two receptions, 23 yards) was effective but unspectacular, as it was the QB-duo of Drew Brees and Taysom Hill that punched in both of the Saints’ rushing touchdowns in the red zone. Yep, just how the fantasy gods drew it up.

As for the Chargers, the one-two replacement punch of Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson didn’t exactly play out the way many anticipated. Although Kelley was the popular pick to step into startable RB2 status with the absence of Austin Ekeler, he averaged a measly 2.6 YPC while totaling 29 yards on 11 carries, catching just one pass for nine yards. In fact, it was Jackson who handles lead back duties, out-touching Kelley 19-to-12. Jackson rushed 15 times for 71 yards (4.7 YPC), but the major takeaway was how much more effective he was in the passing game: five receptions on six targets for 23 yards. Both look to be risky plays until Ekeler returns, likely lending no value outside of weekly Flex consideration — but the unpredictable split between the two makes even that risky.

In other news, Le’Veon Bell is back, Todd Gurley finished as an RB1, Raheem Mostert’s return rendered Jerick McKinnon all-but-irrelevant and Chase Edmonds appears to be overtaking Kenyan Drake in Arizona. Before we get into the Week 5 rankings, let’s take a look at all of that and more via a quick trip around the league.

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The Elites

Prev Rank Rank Name Team Avg Snap % Total Tgts Avg Tgts Non-PPR PPR Non-PPR/G PPR/G Rec Yds TD
1 1 Travis Kelce KC 0.88 33 8.3 41.7 65.7 10.43 16.43 24 297 2
2 2 George Kittle SF 0.98 20 10 30.4 49.4 15.2 24.7 19 227 1

What do you want here? They’re really good. They play every down. They get a bunch of targets. 

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When I first started writing with Razzball, I was fairly convinced it was one of those MLM-schemes. You know, the kind of thing like scented candles, or really expensive vitamin patches, or leggings that don’t improve your yoga whatsoever. Because when I came into Razzball Headquarters for the interview, Donkey Teeth had all of that going on in his office. “Can I offer you a Cran-Razzle-Berry Tonic Water?” he started, his zebra-striped leggings leaving little to the imagination. “It’s fortified with Taurine!” I politely declined, reaching for a chair before DT pulled the splits to stop me. “Can’t let you sit in that before I cleanse it!” he said with a smile. He pulled out some sort of chicken feather duster and chanted as he cleaned the seat. I swore the chant was to the tune of the Super Bowl Shuffle. When the chair was properly cleansed, I took a seat and pulled out a folder that had my rankings inside, ready to do my interview. DT had no desk in his office, just a giant bench that I later found out he stole from the sidelines of Soldier Field before it was demolished. “Let me introduce you to my co-editor, Kerryon,” he said, gesturing to the Fathead of Kerryon Johnson on the wall. I laughed, which really didn’t help things. I handed over my rankings, proud of my #1 choice, Lamar Jackson. DT just laughed, and I asked what he found funny about my rankings. “There’s no hot takes in here!” he said, his zebra-striped legs man-spreading across the Soldier Field bench. “There’s promise, yes, but not a single hot take.” DT said he would bring me on board, as long as I started getting others on board with some bold takes. 

Four weeks later, Justin Herbert appeared in the top 12 of this ranking series. DonkeyTeeth, I hope I made you proud! 

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Your WR top 80 6.0 is here! Now we not only have to deal with injuries, we have to account for COVID inactives and postponements. Some shuffling in the top 12 but until the injured elites return, tier 1 remains a two man show.

This list is not league or format specific, but it is based on 2020 rest-of-season projection only. When thinking through tiers and rankings I asked myself simply – “all things considered who would I rather have on my roster?”

Please, blog, may I have some more?