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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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 choice for this week’s lede seemed obvious heading into the final game of the Week 6. Fresh off the Chiefs’ signing of Le’Veon Bell to a one-year deal, Clyde Edwards-Helaire erupted for 161 yards on 26 carries, adding another four receptions on four targets for eight yards. Other than the fact that CEH remains allergic to the end zone, it was an outstanding performance, as he cruised to 6.2 yards-per-carry while handling all of his targets with ease. Meanwhile, Bell saw a much different line in the box score: three plane rides, two luxury hotel stays, seven tweets and a new Mahomes. A big boost to the fantasy value? Well, it depends on how you look at it, as they say. All things are relative. It’s certainly a worse landing spot compared to somewhere like Miami or Buffalo where Bell would have a much greater likelihood of handling lead-back duties. However, playing second fiddle to CEH (which we have to assume for now, based on his Week 6 performance) still beats being the feature back for the New York Jets. Hell, being Andy Reid’s butt-scratcher beats being the No.1 running back for Gang Green. Still, I have to mention that it was in fact Darrel Williams (six carries, 16 yards, one rushing TD; one reception, 15 yards) that found pay dirt, running in a 13-yard score in the third quarter.

As of 8:15 ET on Monday night, that was the clear headline for my top 60 rest of season running back rankings. Well, that was until early in the second quarter of the nightcap between the Cowboys and Cardinals, where we saw the second highest paid running back in the NFL, Ezekiel Elliott, cough up his fourth and fifth fumbles of the season — and it’s only Week 6! By the way, that gives Elliott a share of the NFL lead for fumbles alongside Joe Burrow, Derek Carr and Carson Wentz. That’s right, he leads all running backs. Notably, the Cowboys actually showed a willingness to move away from Elliott for much of the second quarter after that, likely out of an attempt to both wake Elliott up and prioritize salvaging the game as it quickly got away from them. Tony Pollard ended up with a season-high seven carries in the first half, which he turned into 26 yards on the ground. In the end, however, it was obviously still Zeke’s backfield in the second half. Zeke finished with 12 carries for 49 yards, but he also caught eight of 11 targets (most on team) for 31 yards. Pollard finished with 10 carries for 31 yards, adding another two catches for nine yards. It’s reasonable to be concerned if you own any fantasy weapons in the Dallas offense after their performance on Monday night. Abysmal just doesn’t seem to be the right word, but it’ll do for now. The remainder of Dallas’ schedule is also pretty tough against running backs, so I’ve downgraded Elliott one spot.

Before we get to the Week 7 rankings, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

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Welcome to the start of 2018 NFL DFS season. You’re probably familiar with Donkeycorns, the wandering mythical creature who rewards your trust with a path through the desert, from the MLB Closer Report. In DFS A Donkey is someone that does foolish things. When it comes to daily fantasy, we’re all Donkeys sometimes. I’m your DFS Donkeycorn. Follow me through the fantasy desert.

Did you use Rudy’s Tools for the MLB season? You probably enjoyed success if you did. The biggest advantage a model gives you is its consistency. It doesn’t have biases. It won’t get mad at Julio Jones for not scoring touchdowns, despite the natural variability of NFL TD scoring. I recently asked Rudy how difficult it would be to start my own model. His response was, considering I have over 1,000 hours sunk into mine this off-season, not very. So get the 7-day free trial, pay for the season once that ends, and be glad Rudy exists to grind away at a projection system so you don’t have to. I’ll focus on the Sunday main slate using Fanduel pricing below.

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Last week’s waiver wire recommendations didn’t go entirely according to plan. Only the Rams defense and Jeremaine Kearse performed as I predicted. However, some of those guys like Rex Burkhead, Evan Engram and Younghoe Koo were me trying to play the long con. By season’s end is when they’ll start having their value.

Finally football season is back in full swing and we can start making REAL predictions. No more prognosticating — just cold, hard facts. Like the Jacksonville Jaguars and LA Rams meeting in the Super Bowl! FACTS!

Here we go with my waiver adds of the week! These are guys you should think of grabbing if one of your starters is injured or if Kirk Cousins was who we thought he was. Obvious grabs of the week: Marqise Lee (due to Allen Robinson’s injury), Kerwynn Williams (due to David Johnson’s injury) and Kendall Wright (due to Kevin White’s injury.)

If you’ve got league specific questions, I’ve got league specific answers — leave a comment below!

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Stay classy Baltimore!

Stay classy Baltimore!

In what will be the official debut of “Don’t Give a Sh*t Era” Michael Vick, the 0-3 Ravens travel to Pittsburgh to see if their team is interested in a getting a win. Strangely enough, this was the first ever winless September for the Ravens. Unless you count in terms of public relations, then I would say, based on the picture above, that last season’s September winless record is still intact. The Steelers have their own set of issues with the aforementioned Michael Vick starting with Ben Roethlisberger suffering a MCL sprain last Sunday. While I’m sure still having Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell is nothing to scoff at, it’ll be interesting to see which Vick shows up tonight; will it be the “watch me earn salary I’m going to do nothing to justify” type of game or “I’m going to trigger my disability insurance” type of game. You’d think both would be similar performances, but then you’d be wrong. The game will probably come down to how productive Le’Veon Bell is, now his second official game coming off his suspension. Logic dictates that since Justin Forsett has been an absolute dumpster fire that the Ravens would not be familiar enough with the concept of a running game to be able to defend against it, but I guess we’ll see. On the bright side, the Ravens do have an elite quarterback…

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i

They don’t call it the Charm City for nothing!

God, these teams are both terrible. At least that’s what I got from last night’s game. I remember when this matchup was good. Now it’s like watching a fight in the old age home between two withered, senile dudes in diapers. One thing’s for sure, The Ravens overcame a lot of adveristy last night, if adversity means the Steelers. And, to Pittsburgh’s credit, they all looked remarkably calm for being on a boat that’s sinking. For the complete recap of the game, I’ve compacted it into one sentence for each team, so as to limit your suffering: Ravens — Six trips inside the 20 and two TDs. (Thanks, no, we were just looking.) Steelers — Even by Todd Haley standards, that was some sh*t playcalling. (“HOW DO I FOOTBALL?”) But hey, you have to admit, Joe Flacco looked at least 2% more elite with that rugged beard.

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Chip Riley

I have no idea what’s going on here, but what ever it is, probably needs more doctor. 

Warning: This is a Ray Rice free zone. And as much as we’d like to adhere to this policy on Razzball tonight and in the future, you’d be crazy to think that the NFL Network will. And if ESPN and their mighty journalistic integrity are any indication of what we’re in store tonight, we’re f*cked. And what probably doesn’t take attention away from domestic violence is the fact that domestic abuse survivor, Rihanna, will be performing with Jay-Z (more like Jay-Y, amiright folks?) before the game. Well, to the NFL’s credit, at least they didn’t ask Chris Brown to perform… But, luckily for us, there’s actually going to be football going on between two franchises that really seem to dislike each other. So let’s bring in the football so we can forget everything else for a few hours. Well, okay, you’re right, with the commercials, it’s more like five hours.

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