Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t just a trade column. This week mostly won’t be. In the spirit of week 1 overreactions, I want to provide a buy and sell of narratives and performances this week. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Josh Jacobs being on pace for 48 regular season touchdowns. 

Too often, people get caught up in overreacting to week 1 boxscores without seeing the whole picture, but sometimes the reactions end up being valid. August didn’t give us a preseason to work with so the week 1 sample size is what we have to work with. There were things that every analyst was right and wrong about coming out of week 1, including me. But whether you are heading into week 2 1-0 or 0-1, there is still a ton of football to be played. 

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As the final night of Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season winds to a close, I find myself updating Razzball’s top 60 running back rankings with some unusual sights dancing in front of my eyes. Stephen Gostkowski has missed three kicks and a field goal, Noah Fant looked like the best player on the field in the first half, Corey Davis is shredding the Broncos defense and my dog is licking his butt in the corner of the room as I scream about all of these things. Also on Monday were some unusual running back performances, highlighted by Saquon Barkley’s six-yard game on the ground and a breakout day for Benny Snell of Pittsburgh. Oddly enough, it looked for a little while like we really might see a 50-50 workload split in Denver before Melvin Gordon took over in the fourth quarter. If you’re already losing your mind over realities such as these, it might be a long 16 weeks to follow for you. On the plus side, we’re here to help you navigate the rest of the way with your running backs, as the weekly top 60 picks back up today with some drastic changes including some movement inside the top 10. First, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

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Welcome back to another trek to the highest peak. If you followed me last year, you’ll know that I am going to be your guide through this fantasy season. The first checkpoint in 2020 feels like the 50th as we have all already weathered a storm much more dangerous than fantasy football. However, we’re here now and ready to work. 

Take a sip of your morning coffee, brewed extra strong for the journey ahead. Week 1 is behind us and now there is much work to be done. I will group the adds by position and then within the position, rank them in order of preference. You’ll also be able to tell who is more valuable by the free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) suggestion, assuming a $100 budget. The sherpa will only advise players who are rostered in less than 33% of ESPN leagues. DISCLAIMER – at press time Tennessee and Denver had not kicked off yet. 

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Has anyone else been up since Thursday night? This football stuff is a hell of a drug. My hundredth sleepless hour was marked by a somber event on Monday morning when we conducted a Viking funeral on a nearby pond for my Kerryon Johnson Fathead. The Jonathan Taylor Fathead was disturbingly excited to launch the flaming arrow into Kerryon’s boat. When the police showed up to our fiery procession, I explained what was going on and they laughed at me for drafting Kerryon Johnson, again.

Monday night couldn’t come soon enough.

Unfortunately the Steelers/Giants game had me wishing I was back at Kerryon’s Viking funeral for most of the first half. The big story from that first game was Benny Snell who easily looked like the best running back in the Steelers backfield, rumbling for 113 yards on 19 carries. With James Conner appearing slow and also “being evaluated” for a mystery injury, Snell jumps to priority numero uno on my waiver claims list this week ahead of Nyheim Hines and Joshua Kelley; the Steelers’ second year man has legit RB1 upside. Here’s what I said about Snell when I ranked him #59 in my top 60 running back rankings, “It’s a crowded young backfield behind James Conner, but Uncle Benny is my favorite Steelers RB target this year. He looked great in his rookie season before getting banged up. Conner’s now been injured each of the last two seasons. Two plus two equals Benny. Someone please check my math there . . .” The interns did check my math and I guess it checks out. So open up your pocket books and Snell the coffee. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

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I’m not a condiment guy when it comes to food. Mustard and relish on my dog? Disgusting. Mayonnaise on my burger? Naw. Let me just savor the meat with egg, mushrooms, grilled onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. I know. I’m a freaking weirdo. Tell me something my wife doesn’t say to me every day. I’m good with dipping my fries in ketchup and fish and chips in clam chowder, though, and hot sauce on my mexican delicacies. Is that cool? Anyways, when it comes to fantasy football, give me all the sauce, especially the hot stuff. I want flips crossing the goal line, hips gyrating in the end zone, and leaps into the stands. I want catches, yards, and first downs. Nyheim Hines provided plenty of sauce on Sunday, scoring two touchdowns on the day. Was this a one squirt occurrence or can we expect a steady flow all season?

Hines is 23 years old, 5′ 9″, and 196 pounds. He played his college ball at NC State and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, he rushed 85 times for 314 yards with 2 touchdowns while catching 63 passes for 425 yards and 2 touchdowns on 63 targets. Last season, the numbers dropped to 52 rushes for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns with 44 receptions for 320 yards on 58 targets, as Jacoby Brissett was thrust into the starting quarterback role due to the retirement of Andrew Luck. 

Entering this season, Hines was slated for third down and two-minute drive duties. With Phillip Rivers signed to be the new quarterback, that role was going to be a prosperous one. Below are the number of targets that Rivers has given to the running back position over his career.

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Saturday was a momentus day for NFL contract extensions. It was like a scene from The Oprah Winfrey Show. You get a new contract! You get a new contract! And you, Mr. Fournette, get a signed copy of Oprah’s new book Journey to Beloved! Free money giveaway for everyone but Leonard! It all really started last summer when Jerry Jones bent over and gave Zeke his 30 year, 10 billion dollar contract, completely resetting the fair market value for NFL running backs.

Christian McCaffrey was quick to cash in back in April, followed recently by Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook and now Alvin Kamara. Rams’ wide receiver Cooper Kupp dipped his paw into the honey pot too, signing a three-year 48 million dollar extension on Saturday. Heck, I even decided to hold out over the weekend and Razzball agreed to meet all of my contract demands by giving me one Chipotle burrito—WITH guac. Now we have another running back who’s sure to want a new contract: Josh Jacobs took 25 carries for 93 yards, 4 catches for 46 yards and 3 touchdowns in the newly minted Vegas Raiders’ opener. By my math, that’s worth at least 800 billion dollars. The legendary Rudy Gamble Pigskinonator (only $17.99 for the entire season) projected Jacobs as the #4 fantasy running back this week, smart bot. Sign up for a 7 day free trial now! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy football:

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Did you see what’s going on out in San Francisco? I’m sure you’ve seen, it’s a pretty big story; that crazy pandemic sex party involving 8 emus, 2 wild boars, a bunch of “little people” and a fountain of semen. True story. Oh, and the whole surrounding bay area is on fire causing extremely poor air quality which has put the Cardinals and 49ers game in jeopardy of being postponed. Besides the tragedy of people’s homes burning down, I also own Kyler Murray on 49 of my 50 fantasy teams. So I’m not crazy about this developing story. I mean the fires story, the sex party stuff was actually kind of intriguing. So stay safe if you’re out west and keep tabs on the status of the Cardinals/49ers game if you own any of their players. And if you end up needing help finding last minute replacements, my week one fantasy football rankings will continue to be updated all the way up until Sunday kickoff. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy football:

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I went to the doctor yesterday to request a procedure. No, not an enlargement, those are apparently on hold until post-pandemic. I was there to see if my doc would inject the Thursday night Texans vs. Chiefs game directly into my veins; I wasn’t sure if ocular consumption would be enough to tide my cravings until Sunday afternoon. You wouldn’t believe how rude the women at the front desk was to me. Here’s a direct quote, “Sir, this is a Wendy’s! Please stop talking to the Dr. Pepper dispenser and put your clothes back on!” Hey, lady, how bout a little compassion for an addict?!

Speaking of compassion, Clyde Edwards-Helaire had none of it for the Texans in the season opener. The hyped up rookie gashed the Houston defense by taking 25 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown. Granted there were times when it seemed the Texans had only 3-men in the box and Clyde didn’t impress at the goal line, but even Edwards-Helaire haters have to admit he looked great otherwise. And the Mahomes led offense will yield plenty of light boxes throughout the season. I ranked CEH #11 overall in my 2020 fantasy football rankings, and looking to the rest of the season, I’d bump him up to #5 or 6 after this impressive week one workload. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy football:

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Here comes your week 1 disclaimer! Individual roster talent has everything to do with how you use the information in this post. Different folks have different strengths and weaknesses on their roster. If I say that I don’t like JuJu Smith-Schuster this week and you are in a 14 team league and your next best option is Sammy Watkins, that doesn’t mean that you should take “sit JuJu” as gospel. It just means that I like other players in a certain player’s tier more. I’ll specify if I think a player is going to put up a donut. Let’s sort through the rosters and find the plays for week 1.

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