We have reached the depths of the tub of ice cream. The “I was just leveling off the top” excuse is no longer legitimate (like it ever was). What remains is merely a mélange of candied toppings and molten cream. Take a deep breath, we are about to finish this off, the work we do may be messy, but it will be rewarding. I present to you, the final 40 Running Backs, ranked 81-120.

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As Axl Rose once said:

And when your fears subside

And shadows still remain, oh yeah

I know that you can love me when there’s no one left to blame

So never mind the darkness, we still can find a way

‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever, even cold November rain

We’re in the darkness right now as a football community. Confusion, injuries, controversy, and most strikingly, tragedy. We’re surrounded by it right now and this is already generally a tough spot in “normal” football seasons but it seems obvious this is anything but normal. This has been a real tough one with some big highs and some of the lowest lows in a long time. 

And it’s my job to help guide you, as a fantasy football player, through these lows to succeed at this game we all love. Is the senseless death of a young woman something I want to cover in what should be an entertaining run-over of your roster options for Sunday football? No, of course not but the dice have unfortunately been cast and this is how they’ve fallen and I’d be remiss to ignore the 2000 lb elephant in the room. I’m going to go from here on without some of the sentimentality and just talk football because frankly, as callous as it sounds, that’s what you’re here for and that’s what I get paid patented Razzball Fun Bucks™ (Redeemable at participating Razzball locations) to do. And who really wants to hear me pondering on these deep ethical and moral questions this week have brought about? I spent most of last week’s article talking about the Monster Mash for crying out loud. 

With that being said, let’s jump into it.

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Another new day is upon us, folks. Another beautiful weekend of NFL football, another week of eating chicken wings and slamming brews while enjoying a real sport instead of some European nonsense like smelling gross cheese and discussing feelings. Or whatever those degenerates do over there. Could we be more blessed? Well, yeah. Your players could be healthy and your teams could be playing well but instead, here we are! 

 So let’s get into the latest injury news and updates for Week 4!

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Two weeks down, a whole bunch more to go folks! So don’t worry about being too overreactive when… Wait how many players are injured? This is just like week 2 last year? This is what happens when you shorten the preseason? Well, that changes things.

Maybe it is overreaction time, eh?

Here’s your weekly round-up of all those poor souls we’ve lost; all the hurting ankles, knees, toes, and groins (heh) you could ever ask for. Buckle up because this is a big one. 

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Ah, well. That was a rough week one. Some amazing games, spectacular moments, and lots of injuries. It’s always a bit of shell-shock from the offseason to week one, seeing all the guys you’ve salivated over (no innuendo intended) suddenly go down with an injury, erasing all the precious production you were waiting for. But this is football after all and injuries will happen. Profound right? Maybe not but whatever, you just want to know who’s gonna post those precious stats on the board, huh? You goddamned sicko? These are human beings! You just want that sweet, sweet fantasy advice, huh dirtbag?  Well, here it is!

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Over the last three seasons, the difference year to year between team’s production to the running back position is within five points per game roughly eighty percent of the time. In terms of improvement or deterioration to the position, unless drastic changes have been made to either on field or coaching personnel, the vulnerabilities or strengths do seem to carry over in most of the cases.

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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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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 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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Just your standard week in the never ending year 2020, right? This presidential election was the most intense race since I ran for student council president against Dong Johnson. My platform of pizza roll Fridays kept the vote interesting, but at the end of the day I never really had a chance against a dude named Dong. Heck, I even voted for Dong; Johnson was just too smooth. Speaking of dong, Marquez Valdes-Scantling whipped his out on Thursday night as he caught 2 catches for 53 yards and his 2nd and 3rd touchdowns of the season. I won’t tell you to rush out and grab MVS, nor his dong, in your 10-team league because the 49ers skeleton defense was sketchier than my Richie Incognito Halloween costume. Also, Allen Lazard with probably return from his core injury next week. But kudos to you if you were desperate enough to start Valdes-Scantling this week. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

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People come up to me and they say, “MB, this is it, this is the biggest Tuesday of our lives so far.” I must say that I am confused. Every Tuesday from the start of the season to the fantasy football trade deadline is a big Tuesday. Stealin’ or Dealin’ comes out! They say, “No MB, the presidential election! This election could save or doom the next couple of decades in this country.” Excuse me, but is Kanye West giving you advice on how to manage your fantasy football team? Between making shoes, Gap clothes, making unlistenable music, and foreign policy I’m not so sure he can tell you how much trade value Kareem Hunt has once Nick Chubb returns from injury. They say, “MB, there is more to life than fantasy football, can’t you see that?” Of course I can! I’m not that dull. There is fantasy baseball too and Grey is already putting out rookie profiles. Anyways, here are some buys and a sell for week 9!

Please, blog, may I have some more?