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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Welcome to week 2 of the 2020 NFL season! Some of the stories that I have heard already from fantasy players have been downright brutal. I have a friend who thought that he had won his league right after the draft after starting with Michael Thomas, Kenny Golladay, and Chris Godwin. And I know he is not the only one. You just never know! The injury bug can kill even the sharpest starts of drafts. I’m looking to turn my own season around after taking Miles Sanders pretty much everywhere that I could. I have a lot of 0-1 starts to redeem. I hate sweating this early. We still have 12 weeks until the fantasy playoffs so there is a lot of time to turn it around. Let’s start with the injury report, follow that up with some DFS plays that I like, and then finish with the rankings that I will be updating all the way until kickoff. 

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It’s 7AM Tuesday morning. Blair wakes up. Pours the coffee, adds the half and half. Toast with butter and jam. Three kids shouting about Cinnamon Toast Crunch fill the background. His wife returns home from a shift in the ER. More drunken ATV crashes. The smoke from the west coast fires has arrived in the midwest, the morning sun shining red through the haze.

“It’s time to check the Razzbowl standings!” Blair shouts to his family audience, nobody caring in particular. Phone in one hand, coffee in the other, he opens the NFC app on his phone, looking at the league summary. “First place!” he exclaims. But wait. Razzbowl Satellite Rank: 1. He scrolls up. The Razzbowl Online Rank: 234. A tear forms. “Covid patients for covid reasons last night,” his wife says. Another tear forms. 

Looking for solace, he checks his neighbors in the standings. Ah! Yes, there are some powerful names around me. People from Rotoviz, Rotoballer, people who have big publications. People who are leaders in the industry. Blair thinks back to last year, when he drafted Andrew Luck and then Zay Jones in the 8th round. He was in 6th place in a competitive league at one point! Before, well, falling to 11th place and feeling the sting of defeat. 

Blair scrolls to his roster, eyeing Leonard Fournette. “You can do it, Lenny!” he whispers, hardly noticing the two kids hammering cereal spoons at his shins. 

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I have been doing a lot of thinking about week 1 and what we can trust and what we should throw away. It’s a tough thing to not trust your eyes for future projections. I guess that’s what makes sports gambling so difficult. New casinos don’t pop up from everybody winning. How does one pick who to double down on off of a blah performance? The same goes for breakout performances. How do we know it wasn’t a one-off occurrence? Instincts plays a big role. When you’ve been playing fantasy football for over a decade you pick up on trends and apply it to new situations. Another thing, I’m really excited to be writing the start/sit column every week. Yes, the title alone brings a lot of eyes, but also I want to challenge myself to put personal biases aside to try and help build lineups for you, the reader. I had a BIG whiff last week on Ben Roethlisberger. That was a failure on my part to not weigh the matchup heavier than the overall narrative that I have for him in 2020.

The results from last week weren’t bad at all outside of that misstep. Shout out to Will Fuller! Nobody outside of him really popped. Taylor, Garappolo, and Ronald Jones were fine, I suppose. Desean Jackson didn’t do diddly squat, but that’s on his QB. Everyone outside of Roethlisberger that I suggested sitting did absolutely nothing. We’re on to week 2.

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Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t just a trade column. This week mostly won’t be. In the spirit of week 1 overreactions, I want to provide a buy and sell of narratives and performances this week. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Josh Jacobs being on pace for 48 regular season touchdowns. 

Too often, people get caught up in overreacting to week 1 boxscores without seeing the whole picture, but sometimes the reactions end up being valid. August didn’t give us a preseason to work with so the week 1 sample size is what we have to work with. There were things that every analyst was right and wrong about coming out of week 1, including me. But whether you are heading into week 2 1-0 or 0-1, there is still a ton of football to be played. 

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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.

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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. 

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I’m not a condiment guy when it comes to food. Mustard and relish on my dog? Disgusting. Mayonnaise on my burger? Naw. Let me just savor the meat with egg, mushrooms, grilled onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. I know. I’m a freaking weirdo. Tell me something my wife doesn’t say to me every day. I’m good with dipping my fries in ketchup and fish and chips in clam chowder, though, and hot sauce on my mexican delicacies. Is that cool? Anyways, when it comes to fantasy football, give me all the sauce, especially the hot stuff. I want flips crossing the goal line, hips gyrating in the end zone, and leaps into the stands. I want catches, yards, and first downs. Nyheim Hines provided plenty of sauce on Sunday, scoring two touchdowns on the day. Was this a one squirt occurrence or can we expect a steady flow all season?

Hines is 23 years old, 5′ 9″, and 196 pounds. He played his college ball at NC State and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, he rushed 85 times for 314 yards with 2 touchdowns while catching 63 passes for 425 yards and 2 touchdowns on 63 targets. Last season, the numbers dropped to 52 rushes for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns with 44 receptions for 320 yards on 58 targets, as Jacoby Brissett was thrust into the starting quarterback role due to the retirement of Andrew Luck. 

Entering this season, Hines was slated for third down and two-minute drive duties. With Phillip Rivers signed to be the new quarterback, that role was going to be a prosperous one. Below are the number of targets that Rivers has given to the running back position over his career.

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Two days, football fans! Two days! That means the 2020 NFL Season will be upon us in a smaller span of time than your average game of cricket. Quicker than your seven round NFL Draft. And much faster than it takes Kirk Cousins to get rid of the ball on a typical pass play. Just two days and we’ll have NFL football. Two days until you get to turn months of research and late-night draft parties into something that actually matters as all the projection slowly turns into production. Today, we’ll begin with the former as I reveal my top 60 running backs heading into week one of the 2020 season. As a general baseline, I’ll be using half-PPR scoring for these rankings. Moving forward, I will continuously update these 60 backs on a weekly basis to provide an up-to-date snapshot at the top options at the position moving forward. Before we get into the actual rankings, here are some highlights from the opening list.

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For the past two days I’ve been intently glued to some form of screen or another, experiencing an arousal not felt since I spied on Kerryon Johnson in the shower. It’s Scott Fish Bowl draft week! As I sit impatiently wondering what could possibly be causing my league mates to take two hours to make one draft pick during Pandemic 2020, I decided to pass the painful minutes by working thru some more 2020 fantasy football rankings. But first, here’s what I like about me! In round one and two of my SFB draft I landed my #2 and #7 running backs from the top 10 running back rankings—Saquon Barkley and Kenyan Drake.  Then, after snatching up Uncle Julio Jones down by the school yard in round three, I came back with my #11 running back from the top 20 running back rankings—Le’Veon Bell. As you can see, I like my RBs like I like my psychedelic drugs: early and often. But there’s also some fun fliers waiting for us in the later rounds—I gave you my top 40 running backs last week, and there’s plenty of upside even outside of that group. Which leads us to the top 60 running backs for 2020 PPR fantasy football:

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