Last summer NFL teams were dishing out new contracts to running backs like the United States government giving away free money to the indispensable, too-big-to-fail, cruise lines. The year after Zeke hit the Jerrypot with a 7 bajillion dollar contract, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook each received upwards of 10 Bitcoin. Unfortunately, there were a couple stud backs whose team’s treated them more like the government has treated failing small businesses. Will these hard luck incumbents return or will they be in search of another source of crypto this off season? And if the incumbents are voted out of their backfields, what should we expect from the new regime? I’m glad you ask, here’s the top free agent running backs for 2021 fantasy football:

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What. A. Mess. Have mercy on us, 2020. To anyone who owns or has ever owned a pet, or is a parent, you may have experienced a scenario much like the one I am about to lay out. You turn your back for a few minutes, heck, maybe even just a few seconds. Perhaps you had to take the garbage out, or quickly snuck away to take a shower, and left your furry friends unsupervised for a brief moment. Upon your return, you are shocked to find the stuffing of a destroyed pillow strewn about the room, or a box of tissues shredded throughout your home — maybe, for the most unfortunate of souls, even some poopy footprints scattered across the floor. That feeling is what Week 7 felt like, at least to me. We let our guard down for just a second, reclined on the couch to relax and enjoy a pleasant Sunday afternoon of football — and we returned to reality to find an array of crap flung all across our roster and, more importantly of course, the top 60 rest of season running back rankings. Sure, we didn’t see the high-caliber superstars do gown that we saw earlier in the season, but that’s more so because, well, there are only a few healthy ones left unscathed at the position as is.

Let’s run through it. Chris Carson. Kenyan Drake. Devonta Freeman. Phillip Lindsay. Thankfully, one previously injured back, Raheem Mostert, was replaced via a breakout from Jeff Wilson, who finished as Week 7’s RB1 with 31 half-PPR points. Oh, yeah. Right. INJURED. Out several weeks. Then we have the lingering injuries from Week 6 that are accompanied by just as much, if not more, uncertainty than the aforementioned names. Miles Sanders. Joe Mixon. Let’s go a degree deeper. Nick Chubb. Austin Ekeler. All of this, crumpled together one layer after another, has created arguably one of the most clouded RB groups in recent memory. Even the top 24 is incredibly weak, relatively speaking, at the tail end. It’s ugly — and it’s tough to project considering many of these injuries come with timetables of “several weeks.” Or “for a while.” I especially get a kick out of “some time” and wouldn’t be surprised to hear a head coach give a *shrug* followed by “beats me, man, you heard anything?”

In this week’s column, I’ll do my best to make sense of it all. The rest of my colleagues here at Razzball are doing an incredible job attempting to do the same at their own respective positional assignments, so be sure to check out all of our rest of season positional fantasy football rankings. Before I get to mine, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

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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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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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The so-called “toilet bowl” was… actually pretty exciting.

The fashion in which the Dolphins lost to the Redskins last week was absolutely hilarious. The poor guys played their hearts out in what may have been their lone realistic shot to win a game all season long and actually put themselves in a position to come from behind and tie up the game.

And then they came literally nowhere close to converting the game-winning opportunity as opposed to forcing OT. Oh well. Such is life for a Miami Dolphin. Why they’re continuing to roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick is an entirely different discussion.

The other thing that came out of this game was a fantastic performance from Terry McLaurin, a name featured in a good amount of winning daily fantasy lineups despite his questionable availability heading into the game. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find the Scary Terry’s of Week 7 in this week’s DFS Guide.

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Week 1 and 2 Handcuff Reports hit on Raheem Mostert, Jamaal Williams, Chris Thompson and Rex Burkhead, so far this season. Handcuff values can fluctuate on a week-to-week basis and injuries are not the only influencers. Efficiency, usage and fumbling issues are additional indicators that can influence the rise of a ‘handcuff.’ The Week 3 Handcuff Report highlights a number of RB situations that need to be monitored heading into week 4 of the NFL season. Enjoy!

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It wasn’t well reported by the mainstream media, but prior to week one Mike Evans gave a sample of his secret family sausage recipe to Jameis Winston. When Winston inserted the mystery meat into his mouth, the funkiness he tasted was beyond words. Jameis was so offended by the foul tasting wiener, he vowed to look to Chris Godwin before Evans on every pass play for two weeks. Then, earlier this week Mike Evans tweaked the family sausage recipe and placed the new wiener into his quarterbacks’ hands. The fresh Evans man meat was so juicy and flavorful, Jameis was addicted!

Needless to say, Winston adjusted his game plan for week three targeting Mike Evans 15 times against the New York Giants. Evans turned those 15 targets into 8 catches for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns. That must have been some sausage! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in yesterday’s late games for fantasy football:

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Week 2 is almost in the books with only a Monday Night Football tilt between the Browns and Jets remaining. A couple of star running backs had scares over the weekend, and few week 1 handcuffs produced. Don’t get caught with your pants down and avoid the risk of a league-mate snagging up a starting backup. Let’s jump right in to this week’s handcuff report.

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