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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THUMP. That was Week 10 crushing us in the face. It was unpredictable, I know, but let’s begin the conversation about the running back position this past week with a look at some of the names that finished inside RB1 territory, with their overall rank listed: RB3 Nyheim Hines, RB4 Ronald Jones, RB5, D’Andre Swift, RB6 Devontae Booker, RB7 Rex Burkhead, RB8 Antonio Gibson, RB10 Wayne Gallman, RB11 Malcolm Brown and RB12 Salvon Ahmed. That’s three-fourths of the past week’s RB1 finishers going to running backs that were likely all drafted outside of the first five rounds in your fantasy draft and at least three, maybe four players who may not have even been rostered in your league as of Sunday night. Next, let’s move over to RB2 territory: RB14 J.D. McKissic, RB15 Boston Scott, RB17 Kalen Ballage and RB23 Alex Collins. Overall, that’s 12, or half, of Week 10’s RB1-2 crop going to names that likely required very little draft capital to make your roster. Some of those names are less surprising, like Swift and Gibson, but for the sake of argument, both running backs finished outside the top-28 running backs drafted in 2020. It’s already been a miraculous year at the position — for some, perhaps heart-breaking is a more fitting adjective — and the madness ensued in Week 10, to put it lightly. Fortunately, we can at least say we did not see the same absurd number of running back injuries as we’ve grown accustomed to.

Even so, it was a truly unpredictable week. Before you begin beating your forehead against the keyboard and your boss yells at you (or partner/child/parents/etc. for those still stuck at home) for disrupting the workplace over fantasy football for the umpteenth time since the onset of September, remember this: we’re all in it together. We’re all playing the same game, with the same weekly uncertainty factored in and with the same information at our fingertips. That’s reason for composure. That’s reason to keep fighting the good fight because, as you may have heard me say many times before, the grinders beat the whiners. I’ve actually never said that before, but you get the point.

It’s time to get to the rankings, but before we do, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

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What a weekend! Masters Sunday in November due to pandemic scheduling. College football hanging on by a thread with virus outbreaks and cancelled games. But the NFL? No worries, mon. It was a light news cycle this week with lots of wind and weather, but one man had the gall to go off.  Wayne Gallman toted 18 carries for 53 yards, caught 1 pass for 7 yards and hit pay dirt for his 4th and 5th touchdowns. Wayne Enterprises’ stock spiked this past week when Devonta Freeman (hamstring) was placed on the IR. Somehow Gallman’s only owned in 50% of Yahoo leagues. Most of those leagues are probably abandoned but make sure yours isn’t one of them. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

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What in the Anthony Lynn is going on in San Diego!? I mean, Los Angeles!? Justin Jackson (zero carries; zero targets) seemed like a safe RB2 play with upside heading into the weekend, but suffered a first quarter knee injury and exited the contest prior to receiving a touch. In his stead, it was Kalen Ballage (15 carries, 69 yards, one rushing TD; two receptions on three targets, 15 yards) who burst onto the scene and answered the call. With the opportunity, Ballage finished as Week 9’s RB4, posting 15.4 half-PPR points. That was good for RB4 overall, you might say? Yes, indeed. Times are tough. The RB landscape has a bleaker outlook than the FBI Director’s job security. Joshua Kelley (nine carries, 28 yards; five receptions on five targets, 31 yards) did very little with his 14 touches, managing just 3.1 YPC and finishing outside RB2 range as the week’s RB25 with 8.4 points. Ballage, on the other hand, cruised his way to 4.6 YPC and was targeted three times by Justin Herbert in his debut. If you didn’t even know Ballage was on the Chargers until this past Sunday night, don’t fret! You’re not alone! With Troymaine Pope out with a concussion, Los Angeles elected to activate Ballage off their practice squad just over one month after the New York Jets cut him on Oct. 5 — making this entire situation all the more hilarious.

As we attempt to forecast the weeks ahead, there is still no official word as to when fantasy managers might expect Austin Ekeler to return outside of details provided on his Instagram account. For some of you, that may be the definition of a scholarly source. Ekeler showed that he started running last week and is ever-so-slowly increasing his activity, making a Week 12 return seem like a possibility, albeit an optimistic one. I speculated last week that his chances of returning at all seemed to be dwindling, but we may in fact see him on the field again in 2020. In the interim, I’m going to go out on a limb and state that Ballage is the Chargers running back to own. *hears a crack, stops to think, then plummets to the ground* It was an incredibly precarious limb.

There’s a lot more to discuss and break down this week, so before getting into the Week 10 rest of season running back rankings, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

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As we head into week 9, there is a plethora of useful running backs and wide receivers to help you navigate byes and injuries. 

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.

NEW FEATURES – I have made the FAAB suggestion a percentage of whatever your budget is instead of raw dollars. I also separated the quarterback section into suggestions for single and multi-QB formats. 

This went to press before the New York/Tampa Bay game.

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The sun rises once again, as we survey the wilderness of our fantasy win/loss columns. Week 3 was not as brutal for injuries and in fact, some new players emerged simply because they earned it. There was a rookie renaissance as multiple top draft picks showed off. The fantasy landscape could look very different if these budding stars earn season long roles.

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Top places to avoid during a pandemic? 

#1 Adam Gase’s Basement (not just during pandemics, that guy’s clearly crazy)

#2 Emergency Room

#3 Dentist Office

I avoided only one of those locations in the past 24 hours. It all started at dinner last night when I began to choke on some sugar beets. Taking Grey’s advice from this past week’s Razzball Patreon Podcast—where we talk TV shows, movies and a bunch of other nonsense each week for only $5/month to support the site, shameless plug!—my imaginary girlfriend dragged me to the front door and threw me outside. As Grey says, you don’t want EMTs coming into your house during a pandemic. So I crashed head first into the sidewalk cracking a 3 inch gash in my forehead which would require an ER visit along with 10 stitches. Next it was off to the dentist for an emergency repair of a chipped front donkey tooth. I now sit here, wearing sunglasses and nursing a concussion as I write this post which will surely make even less sense than usual. Anyway, here’s my top 50 rookies for 2020 PPR dynasty football:

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It’s NFL Draft Week 2020! I hope you are all planning to celebrate in some kind of awesome way. I will be setting up a draft prediction pool and running a Zoom poker night while the picks come in. This is the closest thing to sports we’ve had since the shutdown and we have to bask in its glow.

While I think it’s valuable to have your favorite prospects in some tiered order pre-draft, there’s no way to ignore that landing spot matters to some extent. In dynasty I think your own talent evaluation should be weighted most, but for redraft leagues landing spot is very important in how we should view a rookie’s year 1 potential. I have laid out my rankings for QB, RB, WR, and TE previously but now will give you my favorite rookie landing spots.

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