Every year we get burned by fantasy football players we expect to produce for us at a high level. Whether it be from injury, COVID list inactives, suspensions, or simply underperforming and losing playing time, it’s important we review each season from a bird’s eye view in addition to our granular approach. Some players just […]

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Another new day is upon us, folks. Another beautiful weekend of NFL football, another week of eating chicken wings and slamming brews while enjoying a real sport instead of some European nonsense like smelling gross cheese and discussing feelings. Or whatever those degenerates do over there. Could we be more blessed? Well, yeah. Your players could be healthy and your teams could be playing well but instead, here we are! 

 So let’s get into the latest injury news and updates for Week 4!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There were some epic battles between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier back in the 1970s including the “Thrilla in Manilla” and “The Fight of the Century”. We had the Ali vs George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” and the Foreman vs Mike Tyson “Ear Biting” match. Iconic slugfests that will forever be remembered in boxing history. Well, football fans all over the world were treated to a different kind of heavyweight slugfest in last night’s kickoff to the 2021 NFL season.

The NFL schedule makers gave us all a treat by scheduling two of the most high-powered offenses in football in the Thursday Night Football season opener. The Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers got to kick us off by playing host to the Dallas Cowboys in a game that brought us all the jabs, crosses and uppercuts that we remember from those iconic heavyweight boxing matches. Coming into the game, we had a superstar showdown of 44 year old Tom Brady facing off against Dak Prescott who was 11 months removed from being carted off the field with a sideways ankle. The star power was abundant on both sides, and neither side disappointed in a game that hit 60 points and made a lot of fantasy football managers happy.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ah, yes. We’re almost there folks.

Homestretch! 

In these final days before the beginning of regular season football, let’s take inventory and hear those glorious hot takes that we thrive on in these waning days of the offseason. And who better to direct your vitriol at than the ragamuffins here at Razzball while we walk through their boldest, most hot-blooded predictions for the coming season.  

Let’s hear from 13 of your favorite very handsome fantasy writers, shall we? 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The role of the every-down workhorse running back in todays NFL has pretty much disappeared. Guys like Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry are top tier backs who carry the bulk of their backfield’s workload, but even Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb and Ezekiel Elliot all have other backs who could be a thorn in their sides. After you get through the first few rounds in your draft, you land in that questionable territory at running back. This is the point where there are many backs who are going to be in a split backfield situation of some sort. This two-part series will look at some of those backfields and I will answer the question of “Which back are you backing?”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of the most compelling fantasy football draft strategies that has been rising in popularity in recent years is the Zero RB approach in which players wait until the sixth round or later to draft their first running back. The theory here is that the running back position is highly volatile and subject to more injuries than wide receivers and tight ends. For example, of the top ten running backs drafted last year, only Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, and Nick Chubb actually finished inside the top ten at the position (half-PPR scoring) – that’s just a 50% hit rate.

Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Joe Mixon suffered notable injuries, Ezekiel Elliott suffered from a weakened offense due to injuries around him, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire was not nearly as involved as a rookie as we expected. Meanwhile, David Montgomery, Jonathan Taylor, and Kareem Hunt were mid-round picks who finished in the top ten, Aaron Jones was the 14th running back off the board, and James Robinson was undrafted in just about every league.

Every season, there are breakthrough running backs who unexpectedly garner significant roles in their respective offenses that place them firmly on the radar in fantasy football. Those are the guys you’re looking to pick up for Zero RB builds. The following are some of my favorite candidates at the running back position for Zero RB who are being drafted in the sixth round or later in fantasy leagues.

However, did you know that you can bet on these players? FanDuel Arizona is coming, and not only will daily fantasy sports be arriving in Arizona, but sports betting as well. If you have a player that you’re high on you can find futures and prop bets with FanDuel Sportsbook. This is a great way to make a profit from your fantasy football knowledge.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A question we get a lot as fantasy football analysts is who is this year’s ___? Whether it’s a late-round tight end who broke through as a weekly starter or a running back who gained surprise relevance down the stretch of the season, all fantasy players would love to replicate the previous success that they or their league-mates enjoyed. After all, identifying values and gaps in the market is how we succeed as fantasy football players. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest success stories of the 2020 season and players who could replicate that narrative this season.

Remember that you can use this great fantasy football knowledge on sports betting. You could always check out prop-bets on BetMGM where you can wager on players hitting certain statistical marks in a game or on the season. You can register now on BetMGM and use the BetMGM bonus code to receive a $600 risk-free bet on the house.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Now that the 2020 fantasy football playoffs are upon us, my job overseeing the rest of season top 60 running back rankings here at Razzball are as through as the chances of Carson Wentz inviting Doug Pederson to this week’s Bible study. Last week, I put a bow on that project with one final, playoff edition of the top backs to target for those still in hot pursuit of a fantasy championship. Friends, we’ve come a long, long way from the initial set of rankings I constructed in the preseason edition, when I was young and naïve and my only prior experience with Reddit commenters was through the illegal streaming of countless sporting events. But now, since there are truly only two weeks of fantasy football remaining, my job is done. Instead, for those looking for rankings to use the next couple weeks, look to Donkey Teeth & Co. for further insight. All season long, Razzball’s Donkey Teeth and MB have been providing excellent work as always with their weekly fantasy football rankings. That’s the place to go for any and all remaining decisions. As for me, my final fantasy football post for 2020 will look ahead to 2021. Who is an early favorite for that first overall pick in drafts? Which 2020 rookie backs have put themselves in the conversation for a first round pick? And hey, how about the incoming 2021 rookie class? Any early-round selection potential there? You already know I want me some Najee Harris the same way I wanted to be in bed with Dobbins the Take-it-to-the-House Elf all season long. But first, before you all take your Sunday wizardry robes off,  I’d like to take a few moments to reflect briefly on what we observed in 2020 (in lieu of a trip around the league), and how maybe we can use it as a learning experience to improve as fantasy owners in the years ahead.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

All season long, we’ve been grinding through the top-60 rest of season running backs. There has been a lot of turnover, an excess of movement both in and outside of the top-24, and a heck of a lot of injuries and COVID-19 to navigate around — both in the fantasy realm and the real world. But, alas, we’ve finally made it to Week 14. Hopefully, for many of you, this means the start of a successful playoff run, as Weeks 14-16 is when the vast majority of fantasy playoffs occur. For this very reason, I find myself feeling sentimental as I write this. At times, I led you stray, and at others, I did my job well. Now, as we leave the regular season behind and enter the postseason threshold, I have the opportunity to provide you with one last set of running back rankings as it relates to the 2020 season. In this final installment, I’ll be focusing on the set of matchups each running back faces over the next three weeks, as I’ve replaced the previous “bye” week component in the rankings with a look at each respective player’s “upcoming schedule.” And before you ask, yes — I do have David Montgomery ranked as a top-10 rest of season, fantasy playoff run option for that very reason, among others.

But before we get to the rest of that top 10, let’s take one final, albeit emotional trip around the league together. Feel free to bring a pack of Kleenex or, if you wish, simply deploy your own makeshift snot sleeve. Personally, I haven’t cried this hard since I said goodbye to my foreign exchange student in 10th grade. It was emotional. We played a lot of ping pong together. To fully appreciate this last ROS top-60 segment, I highly recommend playing the song “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. Blast it from the speakers as you digest the fickle words to follow.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In a casual conversation with my future mother-in-law this past week, she adamantly described Derrick Henry as “sexy.” Now, I’m no expert on the perceived attractiveness of 6-foot-3, 250-pound behemoth running backs, but I do know one thing: there’s only one. There’s only one Derrick Henry, and as he approaches a fantasy playoff schedule as easy as hiding a piece of Thanksgiving stuffing in Matt Patricia’s beard at the end of No-Shave November, we’re likely to see history repeat itself yet again. Remember, Henry averaged 24.2 half-PPR points in his final five games of 2019, which was only slightly better than the 23.1 points he averaged across the final five games of 2018. Historically, Henry is stretch-run hero — a fantasy playoff superman in a class all his own. Even if Henry hadn’t erupted for 37.5 half-PPR points in Week 12, he would likely enter the Week 13 rankings as the RB1 overall, as an upcoming matchup with the Browns is the only thing that stands between him and a remaining schedule against the Jaguars, Lions, Packers and Texans. No matter how your league is structured, those matchups scream league-winning upside, and there’s no doubt in my mind Henry will again have a high ownership percentage on championship rosters. But, since Henry did pop off in Week 12, let’s unpack it: 27 carries, 178 yards, three rushing touchdowns; two receptions (four targets), seven yards. All three of Henry’s rushing touchdowns came in first half, as he legitimately provided three healthy weeks of fantasy value in a single half. Now I understand the “sexy” part. 

While Henry is up to RB1 this week, there’s a lot of other movement on the top-60 list and, as always, an overwhelming amount of injury updates to digest. So, before we get to the rankings, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Frank Reich is a fine man. A good man, even. Sometimes, I sit around daydreaming, wondering what it would be like if he were my father. He would no-doubt instill many wholesome values in me, his son, and be a great fishing partner. He simply has that look about him — the one that comes with a Geppetto-eque twinkle in one’s eye — that exudes wisdom and level-headedness. Personally, I believe he’s a tremendous football coach, perhaps one of the most underrated in the entire league. The Indianapolis Colts are incredibly fortunate that Josh McDaniels spurned their head coaching offer back in the February of 2018 to remain with New England, leading to Reich landing the job as a sort of second choice candidate at the time. Since then, he’s done wonders with the team and carries many strengths as the man in charge, but he’s largely been a fantasy enemy to this point — especially as it relates to the running back position. That’s because he treats his backfield like a true father figure would: he believes in all of his backs, especially the young Jonathan Taylor, and is always willing to give dish out a second chance. The issue is… it’s hard to predict when those second chances are going to come. Heading into the week, Nyheim Hines was one of the highest risers up most rest-of-season rankings after receiving 12 carries in Week 10, rushing for 70 yards and one touchdown in addition to his typical receiving workload: five receptions for 45 yards and another touchdown. Jonathan Taylor saw just seven carries in that game, to which he translated to a mere 12 yards, which came on the heels of a Week 9 game in which Reich gave Taylor a measly six carries. Fast-forward to Week 11: Taylor rushed 22 times for 90 yards, also catching four passes (on four targets) for 24 yards. Those 22 carries equated to 68.8% of running back carries (22/32), as his 26 total touches were by far the highest amongst the Indy trio. Jordan Wilkins (four carries, 21 yards; one reception on one target, 15 yards) touched the ball just five times, while Hines (six carries, two yards; three receptions on four targets, 31 yards) registered nine touches. It’s certainly encouraging to see Taylor so involved in a crucial, competitive game that the Colts ultimately won in exciting fashion — but what can we expect from him moving into the home stretch of the 2020 fantasy football season?

After sinking to RB30 overall in my rankings last week, Taylor is back up into RB2 territory thanks in large part to an incredibly easy schedule from here on out. The only truly difficult matchup remaining for Taylor will come in Week 16 against the Steelers, which isn’t ideal as it’s when most fantasy championships will occur, but until then he’ll go up against the Titans, Texans, Raiders and Texans, again. There are certainly RB2 options with safer floors, but Taylor is once again trending up and represents a much more attractive Flex play than he did one week ago.

There’s a lot more to dive into this week, so before getting to the rankings, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re only into ground and pound games then read no further. There were a total of 79 rushing yards between both the Rams and Bucs on Monday night. There was even less runs than the time I stopped eating Chipotle for an entire year. But what this game lacked in rushing was made up for in the passing department as the teams combine for a total of 99 passing attempts. The Rams’ air attack ended up being the headline as Jared Goff went 39/51 for 376 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Cooper Kupp hauled in 11 of those passes for 145 yards, while Robert Woods snatched another 12 of them for 130 yards and his 7th touchdown. Both of these pass catchers are rock solid WR2 options, and Goff remains a nice streamer with a friendly playoff schedule on the horizon. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy football:

Please, blog, may I have some more?