Times, they are changing, and rapidly. Nobody really knows what tomorrow will bring with the Covid-19 outbreak currently ravaging the globe. That hasn’t stopped NFL free agency. At least we have something in the sports world to day dream about and project. 

The cancellation of the Olympics is the beginning of the realization that Covid-19 could affect the 2020 NFL season. I’m not a science expert and I’m rarely considered a fantasy football expert for that matter, but I do believe that there is a solid possibility that football could fall victim to a postponement. 

I’m not embracing full blown panic that football will be cancelled in it’s entirety for the 2020 season, but if I had a guess, proper precautions will be taken by any means necessary. That’s enough for the subject that nobody can get away from. Fantasy football is our escape after all, so let’s keep try and find a light at the end of the tunnel. There are roster changes happening daily which of course means shake ups in fantasy football value for players across the league.

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As I crawled through the desert wearing my backpack filled to the brim with toilet paper and various lotions, dying of sports thirst, a small rain drop landed squarely on my nose. The NFL players narrowly approved a new collective bargaining agreement Saturday night, lengthening the season by one game and expanding the playoffs to 14 teams; the rain drop for which I’d been longing. Then on Monday, the flood gates opened with a downpour of high profile free agent signings, trades and franchise taggings on the first day of legal tampering. 

Lightning struck when then Texans inexplicably handed DeAndre Hopkins and a 2021 4th rounder over to the Cardinals in exchange for David Johnson, a 2nd round draft pick and a 2020 4th rounder. The amount of hand sanitizer included in the deal was not disclosed, but my sources tell me at least three ounces of Purell headed back to Houston. The echo chamber seems to believe this move will have a decidedly negative affect on Nuk’s fantasy value, but I’m rose-colored in my year two outlook for the Kliff Kingsbury/Kyler Murray show. If he’s a mid to late 2nd round fantasy pick this year, I’ll dhop all over him.

Later the thunder rumbled as Stefon Diggs was dealt with a 2020 7th rounder to the Bills in exchange for pick #22, their 2020 5th, 2020 6th and 2021 4th rounder. I’ve seen many folks say this was a terrible deal for the Bills, but if you toss the 26 year old Diggs into this draft class he’d go top 10, right? And he’s signed to a reasonably team friendly deal thru 2023. Change of scenery may be just what Diggs needed. I’ll be buying again in 2020 and bumping Josh Allen up my board as well. Anyway, here’s what else I saw for 2020 fantasy football during this already crazy coronavirus-filled NFL offseason:  

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The 2020 NFL Draft Combine has come and gone. Here’s what we learned: Henry Ruggs isn’t slow, two large trees were killed in the making of A.J. Dillon’s legs, Jonathan Taylor is THE MAN, and eight large deep dish pizzas (Pequods-only) in three days is too much for any one donkey. So now what? First, I’ll probably need to go to the gym to work off these 30 extra combine-pizza-pounds. But you’re here for fantasy football discussion, not updates on Donkey’s rapidly deteriorating physical and mental health. Well, our 2020 Dynasty and Rookie Rankings are now being populated and updated frequently, and B_Don is plowing thru the film on his 2020 NFL Draft Previews. I went over my top 20 and top 40 dynasty running backs last week and made a couple minor post-combine tweaks once the dust settled (insert Jonathan Taylor eggplant emoji). Anyway, here’s my top 60 running backs for 2020 PPR dynasty football:

Disclaimer: If you’re sensitive to ridiculously high rankings of Kerryon Johnson, don’t scroll too far. 

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With the final week of the 2019 fantasy season upon us, we’ve got a shortened Ambulance Chasers column, due to the fact that there aren’t a lot of fantasy-relevant players still left, with many teams out of contention, and therefore, a lot of players out of contention too. While we’ve only got to focus on a handful amount of players left, there are a few trouble spots that we should be aware of…

So let’s dive right into it.

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The fantasy football playoffs are finally here. In the interest of the rest of season rankings being as useful as possible I’ve thrown a whole pile of players in the 70-80 range that could potentially be a one week plug and plays for your team. I encourage all readers to map out their lineups throughout the playoffs to find expendable players. Ensure you have the optimal lineup for this week if you are in a playoff matchup, after that move on to week 15 and week 16. If there are players on your roster who will not make your projected lineup in any of those weeks those players become droppable (sans handcuffs). Prior to dropping any players, the last key question to ask yourself is will throwing this player to the waiver wire improve any potential competitor’s lineup substantially? If that isn’t the case find the highest upside players possible and get them on your roster. For a personal example, I have a first-round bye secured in a league. In the league I dropped Bo Scarbrough for David Njoku for the outside chance he returns against Arizona in week 15. Scarborough will never make my lineup. He is a usefully player, but the upside of Njoku against Arizona is worth the risk of one of my opponents snagging Scarborough.

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With the fantasy playoffs just one week away, we hope and pray that none of our stars get hit the injury bug. Yet this is the time, now more than ever to make sure we are fully prepared with handcuffs stashed away, and backup receivers scouted to make sure that if the bad news comes our way… we improvise, adapt and overcome!

It’s Thanksgiving Week, which means we have officially survived the bye weeks as well. What a time to be truly thankful.

Let’s talk about some of the biggest names in the league who landed on the injury report this week.

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It’s that time of the year, the majority of fantasy leagues are entering the last week of the regular season. Fantasy owners that have secured a playoff spot need to prepare themselves for a championship victory. One way to protect yourself through the playoffs is by grabbing your stud running back handcuff. Unless you own two top 10 QBs, there is no reason to hold two quarterbacks. There is no point wasting bench spots with players that are never going to hit your starting lineup. Nothing is worse than losing Dalvin Cook while you are in the hunt for fantasy football glory only to find that you have no shot at grabbing Alexander Mattison because of low waiver priority or min FAAB budget. Make sure you grab your insurance policy before the price increases. Chris Carson owners are learning that lesson this week. Don’t get caught with your pants down and good luck as you jockey for playoff positioning.

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It’s go time! The fantasy playoffs are a short 3 matchups away. The Cowboys will finally play an early game for once and they will travel to Detroit to take on the Lions to stay in the NFC East race. The Buccaneers will host the Saints who are probably not too happy following a loss to the struggling Falcons at home. The Vikings will play host to the pesky Broncos and one of Allen QBs while the Jets will visit the Redskins. The Falcons and Panthers will face off in Carolina, but the big one for the early slate is Houston traveling to Baltimore to take on the red hot Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. 

In the afternoon we have a Super Bowl rematch between the Eagles and the Patriots and the Eagles have a ton of injuries on offense so we will see how that goes. We have a rematch of the Thursday night game from a couple of weeks ago with the Cardinals traveling to San Francisco or where ever they play to play the 49ers. And at night we have the Bears traveling to Los Angeles to take on the Rams who have a pretty beat up offensive line. It should be interesting. Let’s get to the injuries and the rankings!

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Mattison made the handcuff report back in the pre-season as a premium handcuff, and needs to be rostered by all Dalvin Cook owners heading down the stretch of the fantasy football regular season. Barely on the field for a quarter of the Vikings offensive snaps (26.4%), Mattison’s athletic ability was still on full display. The Vikings are giving Mattison the ball when he is on the field, touching the ball 78.9% percent of his snaps compared to Dalvins 54.9%. In week 8, Alexander took 13 carries for 61 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and now averaging 4.9 ypc on the season. If anything were to happen to Cook, Mattison is fully capable of producing in our fantasy lineups in an offense built around the run. The Vikings rank 3rd in the NFL in rushing attempts per game (32.9). Mattison is averaging 10.8 touches per game over the past 4 weeks, if he is able to find the field for more than 26% of the offensive snaps he’ll start to flirt with weekly flex value.

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