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.

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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.

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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.

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It’s starting to feel more like football season, eh? The SEC is back, the Big 12 is playing in conference games, and the Big Ten is now under a month away from football. If that’s not enough for you, the NFL is sizzling through two weeks and we are on to week 3. I have far fewer complaints about the level of play than I thought I would and I am thrilled about it. Do you all remember the first weeks of the officiating strike a few years back? Do you remember how watching football wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as a result? That is sort of what I was expecting, but here we are. The quality of play is fine, our star players are dynamic. The injury bug was bad last week, but if 2020 has taught us anything; if there is a sliver of hope for normalcy, you just have to embrace it. 

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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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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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Danny Kelly of the Ringer, stops by the Razzball Football Podcast to chat with B_Don and Donkey Teeth. We discuss Raheem Mostert’s trade/contract demands, and how the 49ers RB situation could play out moving forward.

Then we move on and take a look at Danny’s #SFBX (Scott Fish Bowl 10) draft, and his general strategy for the event. We ask him about his draft strategy, his slllloooowwww draft, and ask him about the expectations for some of his team members.

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When Scott Fish personally reached out to me (that didn’t happen) and begged me to participate in SFBX (also didn’t happen) to raise money for his Fantasy Cares charity, I reluctantly joined to help the kids. If you aren’t familiar with the Scott Fish Bowl, it’s the fantasy football equivalent of Burning Man. With a field of 1,440 participants, most of whom are in the fantasy football industry, some call it the greatest fantasy football competition in the universe. The Razzball camp was lit for this event: B_Don was handing out the experimental drugs, MB was twirling fire sticks, Rudy was waxing poetic about his 2020 fantasy football projections and The Boof was boofing anything and everything he could find to boof. And he found plenty to boof. All the while I sat in the corner whispering sweet dick jokes to my beloved Kerryon Johnson fathead. After making the SFB playoffs last year and then getting demolished in the first round, Kerryon and I were laser focused for this year’s draft. Without further ado, here’s the recap of my 2020 Scott Fish Bowl Draft out of the #2 slot (see the full draft board here):

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You may have heard that Raheem Mostert’s agent logged onto twitter and publicly demanded a trade after failing to reach an agreement for a new contract over the offseason. I’m not going to tell an agent how to do his job because I, myself, am not an agent. But this move was so telegraphed and desperate. But I totally get it and Raheem Mostert is 150% justified to demand more money. Mostert is 28 years old and making special teams money while he outperforms every other back on the team. A running back’s shelf life is the shortest of any position in football so Mostert has to get it while he can. The one thing that he has going for him is that he doesn’t have a ton of mileage. Raheem Mostert has a little over 200 career touches compared to Le’Veon Bell who also is 28-years old but also has over 1,800 career touches. 

Anyways, I think that there is about an 80% chance that Mostert isn’t leaving San Francisco. There isn’t a trade market for running backs. Nobody is going to offer substantial draft capital to pay a running back more for a season that might not even happen. If John Lynch can even get a day 3 draft pick I would be very surprised. I also don’t think Raheem Mostert is in a financial position to stage a hold out and I’m simply basing that on career earnings. That didn’t stop the speculation from the hungry twitter crowd that isn’t being fed the sports content that it is used to. Let’s break down what you should do with the San Francisco backfield in fantasy drafts. There are a few different ways to go about this.

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