What’s up everybody, and welcome to another Wednesday, rankings day!!

We have now reached the semifinals in a majority of leagues, and if you have found yourself in this spot, congratulations! However, the work is not done yet, so it’s time to buckle up and crush Week 15 of the National Football League.

Let’s have it!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If I could, I would focus on Alvin Kamara in this space every week. Is it just me, or does he look more impressive every week? He never goes down, keeps his balance, and keeps moving forward. Really, really impressive. It seems like the Saints are finally taking note, too:

Anyway, welcome back from Thanksgiving break. I hope you remembered to set your lineups and didn’t end up sitting there eating turkey with that feeling that you forgot to do something, then lost your matchup and knocked yourself out of the playoffs. I know there’s at least one of you out there.

Week 12 was a bit of a handcuff special. Injuries led to Jamaal Williams getting the call in Green Bay, and he delivered with two touchdowns and over 130 total yards. A 54-yard reception and run for a touchdown made his numbers look a lot better than they would have otherwise been, but the points still count. Going forward, on the other hand, I wouldn’t count on getting similar production from Jam-Will (just made that up mid-sentence). 

It is looking like Aaron Jones will be out for at least another week, but Ty Montgomery could be back this week. If Montgomery is back, he is going to be the starting back over Williams. At the very least, he will eat into enough of the touches to render Williams worthless. It probably isn’t safe to start Montgomery this week if you are in a must-win for the playoffs, but if you have to start a Green Bay back (a Green Bay Backer, one might say…), he should be the guy over Williams.

Elsewhere on the handcuff landscape, Tevin Coleman proved once again to be one of the more valuable handcuffs as he played for the injured Devontae Freeman for the second week in a row. He was a top-5 running back this week, piling up nearly 100 rushing yards and punching in two touchdowns for the Falcons. Freeman should be back this week, but the timeshare isn’t very clear. With Coleman’s success and Freeman coming back from a fairly serious concussion, the Falcons could turn to a more 50-50 share as opposed to the previous setup that featured Freeman more prominently. Heck, they could decide to roll with the hot hand and lean 60-40 or more on Coleman. They are, however, going up against a Vikings defense that won’t make things easy on them…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We are now more than two-thirds and less than three-quarters of the way through the NFL season (#math), which means your league should be right at its trading deadline as you try to shore up those running back slots for a playoff run. Making matters more interesting the last couple weeks were a bunch of injuries that should clear up some playing time for running backs who were either riding the bench or snoozing on the waiver wire. Like Samaje Perine, for example.

I liked Perine coming into the season for a number of reasons. The biggest was that I think Rob Kelley stinks, so I figured Perine would take over that job and keep it at some point. Kelley has been injured off an on for most of the season, and Perine has gotten some chances and not done much with them. But those were week-to-week situations, with Kelley lingering in the background as he got healthy, so you knew that Perine would have to get hot in order to keep the job. And even if he did, Kelley would probably still be there to vulture and eat into the share of touches.

But Kelley is gone now and was placed on injured reserve. Making matters more interesting, Chris Thompson, who was averaging roughly a gazillion fantasy points per game earlier this season by taking swing passes to the house, joined him on injured reserve on Tuesday. That leaves Samaje Perine all by his lonesome with all those touches. His backup, Byron Marshall, was on the Eagles practice squad last week and is nothing more than a third-down running back/wide receiver hybrid and return man.

The time has come for you to consider a Perine implant. In his first game as the dude, Perine put up 126 total yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he got 24 touches (23 carries and one reception) on Sunday, while Thompson seeing five before leaving with a fractured fibula. If you need a running back and can find that kind of volume on the waiver wire or in a trade that shouldn’t be very expensive (don’t overpay, but check in on his price), you have to pull the trigger.

If you have a solid team but are maybe one running back short of a real run, Perine could be your guy. Maybe you’re like me and have been alternating one spot between Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, Marlon Mack, and someone from the Seahawks all year. Perine can be our savior, guys.

Now, to the charts!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

All over the box score and all up in the backfield in Green Bay is the answer, as Aaron Jones has officially taken the job from Ty Montgomery with his solid performances. The offense overall in Green Bay is going to take a hit with the other A-Aron out for what looks like the rest of the season, but they are more likely to want to run the ball, which is good for Jones owners.

Montgomery is still a solid all-around running back and, really, is a solid all-around player in general, as he is a wide receiver who really became a running back out of necessity for the Packers. He didn’t do anything to lose his job other than get hurt and give Jones a chance.

Jones is the better and more explosive running back, and rolling with him as the hot hand is the right decision for now. Montgomery is not going to disappear, though, and he is going to rotate into the backfield and as a wide receiver going forward as the Packers figure out ways to get him involved and use him as a matchup problem for opposing defenses.

For fantasy purposes, Montgomery’s value is probably going to fluctuate on a week-to-week basis depending on the matchups and the gameplan. He is probably going to light it up some weeks and be a non-factor others, so it is going to be hard to rely on him other than as the occasional flex or RB2 when the bye weeks call for it.

Jones, on the other hand, is going to be the more reliable running back and is coming off his best game as a pro last week. Unfortunately, this is a ROS play and not a Week 8 play because the Packers are on a bye this week.

If you are looking for a Week 8 play, may I interest you in a Jalen Richard now that Marshawn Lynch has lost his appeal and will miss this week? (eyes emoji)

Now, to the charts!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Giants finally got off the schneid this past week when they upset the Denver Broncos. More importantly, they started giving the ball to Orleans Darkwa, something a certain Razzball writer has been asking for for what seems like two years now. Paul Perkins, your reign of terrible tip-toeing to the line of scrimmage is over!

Darkwa took 21 carries for 117 yards with a long of 47 yards and added a catch for 13 yards. OD seemed to always produce when given limited touches, and he did the unthinkable when given a full supply of touches: continued to produce! Who would have thought such a thing was possible! Oh, right, everyone who, like me, have been clamoring for Darkwa for two years.

After turning eight carries into 69 yards for a nice little average of 8.625 yards per carry, OD rushed for more than 5.5 yards per carry on nearly three times as many carries. The logical assumption would be the keep feeding him the ball. However, with this year’s New York Giants, who knows what to expect, but a few things are working in OD’s favor.

For starters, the Giants lost roughly 14 wide receivers to injuries over the last two weeks. And in better news for Darkwa, Ben McAdoo handed over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Now, I don’t know a ton about Sullivan, but he does have one very important quality: he isn’t Ben McAdoo. Oh, and he seemed to enjoy employing a more balanced offense that featured a running back who has been having success.

The Broncos had boasted one of the league’s better rushing defenses heading into last week’s game, but they barely slowed Darkwa down for most of the day. Granted, his yards per carry average is boosted by that one long run, but he was still hitting holes fast and running hard and should have earned himself a steady taste of touches at least in the short term. I have been stashing OD in a deep roster dynasty league for two years now, and it looks like I might finally get to play him. Hooray for me.

Now, to the charts!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One more week in the books, a few more young running backs on the shelf. This week, the devastating running back news was Dalvin Cook going down with a torn ACL. If you watched the injury live or watched the replay over and over again like I did, you had to feel for the kid. He went down with a non-contact injury less than four weeks into what was quickly becoming an impressive rookie season, and it looked as ugly as it sounds.

But we fantasy owners don’t have time to feel bad for Cook. Pour out some Duff for your boy and move on with your fantasy life. For Cook owners, this likely leaves you scrambling for replacements. For owners desperate for running backs and streaming options, Latavius Murray just started dancing into your dreams.

While Murray won’t be confused for Cook on the field, he does have some appeal. The Vikings signed Murray before they were able to go out and draft Cook, so they at least considered him a serviceable option in the event that the draft did not go their way. They also signed him to a three-year deal, and even though most NFL contracts are filled with fake money and fake years, that is more than nothing (what an endorsement!).

While some have pointed to Jerick McKinnon as taking over a bigger role, I really don’t see that happening. He should continue with his current role, and he might see a slightly increased workload, but Murray is going to get the first shot at taking the lead role. I am desperate for running backs in at least two of my dozen leagues, and I am going to use the waiver priority I have been saving on Murray this week.

To the charts!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After last week’s boring as hell waiver wire we’re back this week with some real options. Not the sexiest of options, mind you, but more (the ol’ quantity over quality). Remember we’re going with $100 FAAB dollars (though most of you probably have much less than that, and I’m working off the loose assumption you have about $50 or so left so adjust accordingly):

Please, blog, may I have some more?