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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Our expectations for Monday night’s Patriots against Jets showdown were lower than my expectations for the art fair my lady made me attend over the weekend. Or as I call it, the fart fair. One of these events yielded more entertainment than expected (hint: it wasn’t the fart fair).  Two under the radar receivers put on a show for us as the Jets attempted to steal their first win and the Patriots attempted to avoid the embarrassment of losing to the Jets. Breshad Perriman erupted for 5 catches for 101 yards and his 1st and 2nd touchdowns. But on the other side of the ball, Jakobi Meyers had a response, reeling in 12 catches for 169 yards (nice). I’m not sure I’ve ever properly highlighted the boldness factor which makes our Pigskinonator projections bot so valuable. For instance, this week the Bacon-bot ranked Jakobi Meyers as it’s #11 fantasy wide receiver, ahead of some big name players who busted like Adam Thielen, Michael Thomas and Marquise Brown. This hunk of metal certainly ain’t shy! Now, it’s worth pointing out that these computer generated projections and rankings aren’t intended to be used as gospel, but they’re a phenomenal complementary data driven reference point which pays off week in and week out. Sign up now for your free trial! And to answer your question regarding Meyers and Perriman moving forward: they’re both worth adding if you’re needy at wide receiver; Meyers and his 14 targets should be prioritized first. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The week 7 waiver landscape is as barren as the Gobi desert. No major injuries opened up prime starting spots for fantasy teams. There are some rookies begging to be added on merit alone, however. And this is the best type of add, because these are players earning their volume. Guys like Higgins and Patrick should see their roles increase and can be real assets down the line. Conversely, players who get a bump simply due to injury may not capitalize on their touches (see: Mattison, Alexander)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Monday Night Football (the second one, not the first one), Todd Gurley finally broke out for fantasy owners (kind of). By “broke out,” I mean that he found the end zone not once, but twice — despite averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. That’s as hot as a lukewarm cup of coffee — as sexy as assless chaps with patches sewn in. It was the kind of performance that you had to be pleased with if you had him in your lineup, but at the same time, you were probably also clapping slowly while shooting those around you sneaky glares out the corner of your eyes to see if they were equally excited. On the plus side, Gurley out-touched Brian Hill 17-to-six, one week after Hill appeared to be the much more explosive back even as Gurley rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown. On the down side, Gurley caught just one pass for the second consecutive week (Ito Smith and Hill combined for five grabs), bringing his season total to a measly four receptions. Gurley clearly isn’t the back he once was, however, he did show some elusiveness inside the green zone on his first rushing touchdown, even shaking a second would-be tackler for the score. This is the point we’re at with running backs in 2020, as both Austin Ekeler and Nick Chubb went down in Week 4 with significant injuries. I am actually, tentatively, kind-of excited about Gurley. This is not good.

On the opposing sideline, Aaron Jones enjoyed yet another strong week, rushing 15 times for 71 yards (4.7 YPC) and hauling in five passes for 40 yards and a touchdown. The Packers look like the cream of the crop in the NFC (right alongside Seattle), as the Super Bowl could (I said could) potentially pit two State Farm figureheads against one another in Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Can you imagine the marketing potential for State Farm!? Let’s all buy stock now! *does quick Google search* It’s already up 4.2% since Sept. 23 — people must really be catching on. Unfortunately, my popularity stock over on Reddit — and in life — is doing the exact opposite. My parents visited last week, and somehow, my father locked himself in the stairwell three different times. Again, this is 2020. This is real. And this is not good.

Before I lose everyone’s attention, let’s get into the Week 5 rest of season top 60 running back rankings. But first — a quick trip around the league.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Thursday’s thrilling Broncos/Jets matchup was overshadowed by the unfortunate COVID developments in Tennessee which have resulted in the postponement of Sunday’s Titans’ game against the Steelers. This Titans fiasco got me thinking about a picture I snapped during the NFL Draft back in April:

Take your time, there’s a lot to digest in this shot. Someone in this picture has to be responsible for the viral outbreak in Tennessee this week, right? Vrabel’s spandex-hooded son and Joe-Dirt-mullet son are solid candidates, just look at those two goons. And Vrabel himself can’t be counted out either based on the offspring he produced. But the odds on favorite has to be the dude on the crapper in the back left corner—that guy’s up to no good. Where is he pooping? Is that even a toilet? Alas, one player who didn’t take a dump during Thursday night’s game was Melvin Gordon who handled 23 carries for 107 yards, 2 catches for 11 yards and his 3rd and 4th touchdowns. Pigskinonator was all over this one, ranking Gordon as it’s #9 RB this week. Now might be a decent time to sell Gordon since Phillip Lindsay (toe) may be ready to swoop in and steal half the carries in week 5. Don’t forget, we have a free trade analyzer to help you brainstorm deals and dominate your league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I just snuck out of a court ordered gambling rehab facility to write this post, so I’ll have to be brief. After I was arrested for stealing old ladies’ purses from the retirement home down the block to fund my string of Arizona Cardinals’ Super Bowl wagers (a 50:1 lock!), the judge sentenced me to 6 month’s of in-patient rehab. Since I’ll be releasing my weekly fantasy football rankings each Thursday morning for the duration of the season, I’ve decided to throw in some bonus bold Thursday Night Football predictions along with my expertly handicapped pick for the contest:

Denver Broncos (-3) at New York Jets

Forecast: I didn’t think primetime could get much more exciting coming off the Chiefs at Ravens Monday night slugfest to cap off week 3, but the NFL has a real treat in store for us to begin week 4. Broncos at Jets is objectively the most anticipated game of the 2020 season. The story of the first half will be superstar QB Jeff Driskell leading the Broncos to a seemingly insurmountable halftime lead of 7-0. But in a move that surprises absolutely no one, Adam Gase will be fired at halftime, injecting new life into the hapless Jets squad. With Gase out of the picture, Frank Gore will be named player/coach for the remainder of the season. Coach Gore will call his own number 30 times in the second half as he tramples the Von Miller-less Broncos defense for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jets 17, Broncos 7

Wager: Jets +3 (0.5 Units)

2020 Season: 0-3 (-3.3 Units) 

 

Anyway, here’s my fantasy football rankings for week 4 which will be frequently updated until Sunday kickoff:

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There’s a very important place that I want to start today’s fantasy football conversation. Imagine getting fined $100K at work, just like Pete Carroll, Vic Fangio, Jon Gruden, Sean Payton and Kyle Shanahan did this past week. Not by Feds. Not by the IRS. Not by your local county judge. Think about that — just for one second. Fined 100-grand, at work. For me, this would bring up a concerning follow-up meeting: “So, uhh… are you asking me to quit? No? Ok… so the next three years are just pro-bono? Got it. Okay. I’ll be over here pummeling my head into this wall. Forever.” Although I don’t have a vendetta against any of those five head coaches, it’s an absolutely insane concept to even consider. In Green Bay, head coach Matt LaFleur actually has an assistant whose job it is to make sure he’s wearing a mask at all times. That’s literally his job! I don’t know if this is better or worse than Sean McVay’s “Get Back” assistant. I guess better, because this at least helps promote safety. Meanwhile, we’ve got reigning Super Bowl Champion Andy Reid looking one step away from being the next Power Ranger with the face shield he’s donning out there. Can you imagine being the intern that was tasked with finding a face covering that would please Andy Reid? Bet you it took weeks. I’d rather work as Philip Rivers’ governess. It’s just like I always say, if Julie Andrews can do it, so can I!

Shame on me for using the NFL’s current sideline mask fiasco for a lede two weeks in a row, but everything starts to get hazy on these late Monday nights. There’s a lot of movement in the rankings this week and even more question marks with certain running backs going down with injuries for undetermined periods of time, but it’s a job that has to be done nonetheless. Am I a hero in plain man’s cloth? No, I am but a man. Before we get into the rankings, let’s take our weekly trip around the league.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s the difference between Jon Gruden in September and an overripe California-grown tomato? The tomato doesn’t have to put up with Mark Davis for the next seven years, who, coincidentally (or not?), also looks like an overripe tomato — except Davis does for all 12 months of the year. For Gruden, it’s just about a two-month sweet spot, and who can blame him for wanting to get his bronze on to complete that irresistible visor look? From the TV, he looks like he’s yap-yap-yapping from the first whistle to the last, the same way Pete Carroll is chomping at the bit from the moment he comes out of the tunnel.

Both Carroll and Gruden have attractive fantasy running backs at their disposal as they prepare week after week in the form of Chris Carson and Josh Jacobs. They also appear to be staring at pretty hefty fines from the league office after looking somewhat lax with their mask usage during gameplay on Sunday and Monday. No matter how you spin it, the NFL was hit with a plethora of unfortunate story lines in Week 2, with stars on both sides of the ball doing down with seemingly every ailment underneath the moon. That makes my job entering Week 3 of the season as difficult as it’s going to get (*knock on wood, although Gruden’s mid-section as of late Monday night would suffice*), so let’s fast-forward through the pleasantries and get to the ever-controversial top 60 ROS running back rankings. First, let’s take a quick trip around the league via some player news and updates.

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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?