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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It was the best of Cams, it was the worst of Cams, it was the age of Akers wisdom, it was the age of Newton foolishness, it was the epoch of Akers belief, it was the epoch of Newton incredulity, it was the season of Akers Light, it was the season of Newton Darkness, it was the spring of Akers hope, it was the winter of Newton despair. It was certainly the spring of hope for Cam Akers’ owners Thursday night as the rook toted 29 carries for 171 yards and hauled in 2 catches for 23 yards. We speculated last week that Akers was taking the Rams’ backfield by the horns but even I didn’t expect the kid to out touch Darrell Henderson (2 carries for 5 yards) 31-2. Neither did the brilliant Pigskinonator, who was extra bullish on Akers this week ranking him #14 among RBs compared to the expert consensus of #25, but only projected him for 15 touches. The L.A. runner just might be a league winning RB1 down the stretch, at the very least he looks like a rock solid RB2.

Unfortunately, it was the winter of despair for Cam Newton owners as the “quarterback” went 9/16 for 119 yards, 7 carries for 16 yards and 1 interception before being bench for Jarett Stidham (5/7 for 27 yards). This game scared the Dickens out of anyone who happened to make the unwise decision to start Newton in their playoff matchup. Odds are this is Stidham’s team for the final three weeks. Add him up in superflex league and ignore him everywhere else. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

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All season long, we’ve been grinding through the top-60 rest of season running backs. There has been a lot of turnover, an excess of movement both in and outside of the top-24, and a heck of a lot of injuries and COVID-19 to navigate around — both in the fantasy realm and the real world. But, alas, we’ve finally made it to Week 14. Hopefully, for many of you, this means the start of a successful playoff run, as Weeks 14-16 is when the vast majority of fantasy playoffs occur. For this very reason, I find myself feeling sentimental as I write this. At times, I led you stray, and at others, I did my job well. Now, as we leave the regular season behind and enter the postseason threshold, I have the opportunity to provide you with one last set of running back rankings as it relates to the 2020 season. In this final installment, I’ll be focusing on the set of matchups each running back faces over the next three weeks, as I’ve replaced the previous “bye” week component in the rankings with a look at each respective player’s “upcoming schedule.” And before you ask, yes — I do have David Montgomery ranked as a top-10 rest of season, fantasy playoff run option for that very reason, among others.

But before we get to the rest of that top 10, let’s take one final, albeit emotional trip around the league together. Feel free to bring a pack of Kleenex or, if you wish, simply deploy your own makeshift snot sleeve. Personally, I haven’t cried this hard since I said goodbye to my foreign exchange student in 10th grade. It was emotional. We played a lot of ping pong together. To fully appreciate this last ROS top-60 segment, I highly recommend playing the song “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. Blast it from the speakers as you digest the fickle words to follow.

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Congratulations! If you’re reading this, I assume you made into your league’s playoff bracket. There’s not a lot of meat on the bone but hopefully you don’t need a ton of help from here on. However, if there are any holes to fill I might be able to help.

I group the adds by position and then within the position, rank them in order of preference. With the playoffs upon us, I have removed percentages of the FAAB. If you need any of these guys to start for your team, then spend what you need to spend. The sherpa will only advise players who are rostered in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.

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In a casual conversation with my future mother-in-law this past week, she adamantly described Derrick Henry as “sexy.” Now, I’m no expert on the perceived attractiveness of 6-foot-3, 250-pound behemoth running backs, but I do know one thing: there’s only one. There’s only one Derrick Henry, and as he approaches a fantasy playoff schedule as easy as hiding a piece of Thanksgiving stuffing in Matt Patricia’s beard at the end of No-Shave November, we’re likely to see history repeat itself yet again. Remember, Henry averaged 24.2 half-PPR points in his final five games of 2019, which was only slightly better than the 23.1 points he averaged across the final five games of 2018. Historically, Henry is stretch-run hero — a fantasy playoff superman in a class all his own. Even if Henry hadn’t erupted for 37.5 half-PPR points in Week 12, he would likely enter the Week 13 rankings as the RB1 overall, as an upcoming matchup with the Browns is the only thing that stands between him and a remaining schedule against the Jaguars, Lions, Packers and Texans. No matter how your league is structured, those matchups scream league-winning upside, and there’s no doubt in my mind Henry will again have a high ownership percentage on championship rosters. But, since Henry did pop off in Week 12, let’s unpack it: 27 carries, 178 yards, three rushing touchdowns; two receptions (four targets), seven yards. All three of Henry’s rushing touchdowns came in first half, as he legitimately provided three healthy weeks of fantasy value in a single half. Now I understand the “sexy” part. 

While Henry is up to RB1 this week, there’s a lot of other movement on the top-60 list and, as always, an overwhelming amount of injury updates to digest. So, before we get to the rankings, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

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The week 13 waiver wire continues the streak of slim pickings for late season help. It’s surprising that there has been so few notable adds for the playoff push. Most difference makers are already rostered and no major injuries opened up new featured starters.

I group the adds by position and then within the position, rank them in order of preference. The sherpa will only advise players who are rostered in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.

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Frank Reich is a fine man. A good man, even. Sometimes, I sit around daydreaming, wondering what it would be like if he were my father. He would no-doubt instill many wholesome values in me, his son, and be a great fishing partner. He simply has that look about him — the one that comes with a Geppetto-eque twinkle in one’s eye — that exudes wisdom and level-headedness. Personally, I believe he’s a tremendous football coach, perhaps one of the most underrated in the entire league. The Indianapolis Colts are incredibly fortunate that Josh McDaniels spurned their head coaching offer back in the February of 2018 to remain with New England, leading to Reich landing the job as a sort of second choice candidate at the time. Since then, he’s done wonders with the team and carries many strengths as the man in charge, but he’s largely been a fantasy enemy to this point — especially as it relates to the running back position. That’s because he treats his backfield like a true father figure would: he believes in all of his backs, especially the young Jonathan Taylor, and is always willing to give dish out a second chance. The issue is… it’s hard to predict when those second chances are going to come. Heading into the week, Nyheim Hines was one of the highest risers up most rest-of-season rankings after receiving 12 carries in Week 10, rushing for 70 yards and one touchdown in addition to his typical receiving workload: five receptions for 45 yards and another touchdown. Jonathan Taylor saw just seven carries in that game, to which he translated to a mere 12 yards, which came on the heels of a Week 9 game in which Reich gave Taylor a measly six carries. Fast-forward to Week 11: Taylor rushed 22 times for 90 yards, also catching four passes (on four targets) for 24 yards. Those 22 carries equated to 68.8% of running back carries (22/32), as his 26 total touches were by far the highest amongst the Indy trio. Jordan Wilkins (four carries, 21 yards; one reception on one target, 15 yards) touched the ball just five times, while Hines (six carries, two yards; three receptions on four targets, 31 yards) registered nine touches. It’s certainly encouraging to see Taylor so involved in a crucial, competitive game that the Colts ultimately won in exciting fashion — but what can we expect from him moving into the home stretch of the 2020 fantasy football season?

After sinking to RB30 overall in my rankings last week, Taylor is back up into RB2 territory thanks in large part to an incredibly easy schedule from here on out. The only truly difficult matchup remaining for Taylor will come in Week 16 against the Steelers, which isn’t ideal as it’s when most fantasy championships will occur, but until then he’ll go up against the Titans, Texans, Raiders and Texans, again. There are certainly RB2 options with safer floors, but Taylor is once again trending up and represents a much more attractive Flex play than he did one week ago.

There’s a lot more to dive into this week, so before getting to the rankings, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

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The week 12 waiver wire is about the same as the last few weeks. Most difference makers are already rostered and no major injuries opened up new featured starters. There is no slam dunk FAAB add, however Michael Pittman comes close.

I group the adds by position and then within the position, rank them in order of preference. The sherpa will only advise players who are rostered in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.

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If you’re only into ground and pound games then read no further. There were a total of 79 rushing yards between both the Rams and Bucs on Monday night. There was even less runs than the time I stopped eating Chipotle for an entire year. But what this game lacked in rushing was made up for in the passing department as the teams combine for a total of 99 passing attempts. The Rams’ air attack ended up being the headline as Jared Goff went 39/51 for 376 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Cooper Kupp hauled in 11 of those passes for 145 yards, while Robert Woods snatched another 12 of them for 130 yards and his 7th touchdown. Both of these pass catchers are rock solid WR2 options, and Goff remains a nice streamer with a friendly playoff schedule on the horizon. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

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B_Don and Donkey Teeth are back to talk about the events of week 10. What a weekend with the grossest week of football so far this season and a new Masters record. 

The podcast starts with the Drew Brees injury and what each of us thinks it could mean for the Saints offensive weapons. We discuss the possible fallout of the Stafford and Bridgewater injuries. 

With the rise of D’Andre Swift, we take a look at rookie RB rankings from this point forward. The guys can’t seem to agree on a specific order, but hash it out. The two then talk about some confusing backfields in the Browns, Rams, Bucs, and Colts, and how we are approaching them over the ROS. 

As we move to WRs, B_Don asks DT if he trusts Marquez Valdes-Scantling after 2 strong showings, even with Allen Lazard likely to return to the mix. As with the RBs, the guys discuss a few complicated situations in the Eagles, Bucs, and Steelers. And of course, we finish with the A**hole of the week. 

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