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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To begin Week 9’s rest of season top 60 running back rankings, I’m going to get up on my body wash box. What is a body wash box, you ask? Well, I don’t use soap, so I don’t have a soap box to stand on. *someone whispers* “That’s just a phrase, Mr. Hobbs.” To which I reply, “Your face is just a term, and Mr. Hobbs is not my name.” Anywho, as I was balancing on top my mountain of body wash bottles, which was rather precarious and not at all safe, there was a particular player I kept thinking about; a running back I love for the rest of the 2020 fantasy football season and don’t quite understand why he’s being undervalued in so many industry circles. And to be clear, this is a player I have zero — you heard that right — zero, total shares of across the 11 fantasy football leagues I play in. None. Zip. So, there’s no self-serving bias here. That player is Josh Jacobs (31 carries, 128 yards; zero receptions on one target). Jacobs is currently positioned as RB9 overall on the season, averaging 14.5 FPPG, which is tied for 13th among running backs. So why do I like him even more than that as we forecast the rest of the 2020 season?

For starters, I’ve taken some heat as a result of my bullish ROS ranking of Jacobs in recent weeks. I expect to take even more this week, as I’ve moved him up to RB6 overall despite an RB15 finish in Week 8. But with my madness, comes reason. Through Week 8, the Raiders are 4-3 despite playing a brutal schedule that featured a combined opponent winning percentage of .623. Five of their seven games have come against teams with five-plus wins and, amazingly enough, they have won three of those games (Chiefs, Saints, Browns). Now, that doesn’t mean all of those high caliber teams Las Vegas has played feature elite front sevens, but the point is as follows. Jacobs didn’t exactly have positive game script on his side throughout the first half of the season, but he will moving forward, as the Raiders face one of the NFL’s easiest remaining schedules. Jacobs will see even more positive game scripts as the Raiders play with a lead more frequently. Plus, Jacobs is third in the entire NFL in touches with 165, trailing only Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott. That’s 23.6 touches per game. On top of that, much of Jacobs’ issues in 2020 have come via a lack of ground efficiency, but I don’t think any of us are doubting his talent between the tackles. If Las Vegas can get Trent Brown and Richie Incognito back healthy, which appears to be on the horizon, Jacobs could very well be one of the five best backs to have in your lineup for the remainder of the season. He’s up to RB6 overall this week. I already told you to buy low last week, and now this window is closing faster than my high school ex-girlfriend’s when she saw me coming down the street with a boom box.

Before we get to the entirety of the week 9 rest of season running back rankings, 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 Propageddon, readers new and old. Last week we finally had a reader beat the touts. With an 8, reader Biz outscored the field, while Russ Prentice (@Russ1Prentice) was the best scoring tout at 7. This is what happens with poor voter turnout people. The terrorists win. Or something. I know it’s bad.

This week we have a legitimate prize. Rudy has offered up a subscription to his NFL Tools for the rest of the season to the winning reader. To be entered into the running you must complete the survey, include your email address, and get the most correct. The smart thing to do would be to go and get the free trial, then use the tools to dominate the props. It’s the equivalent of asking the genie for more wishes. So dig in with THIS WEEK’S PROPS. Here are some of the more interesting tout side results.

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You know, at first glance, you wonder why we’re watching a prime time game featuring the Vikings. At least, that was my reaction on our last podcast… but when you delve into the actual thought process NBC went through, it starts making a bit more sense. First, it’s the Packers… their like the Patriots, in that half the nation tunes in out of love and fandem. The exception here being that the other half of American which has resounding disdain for the New England franchise let out a collective “meh” when it comes to Green Bay. Could the combination of Rodgers doing State Farm commercials and Clay Matthews never cutting his hair be part of the reason why? Most definitely not, but I’m no psychologist. Second, the Vikings are debuting their new stadium and were a team on the rise. A lot of young talent, and a lot of upside, quite possibly leading them to be a nice sleeper pick for the postseason. Then, Teddy Bridgewater’s knee exploded in 18 different places and the Vikings decided to mortgage a part of their future for Sam Bradford. Seems good. So we get tonight’s game… which should be stated, has the ingredients to be close. A division matchup, at home for the Vikings, the air of a new stadium. Then again, this is Sam Bradford’s debut, so an 80-point blowout is also just as possible…

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Welcome back to our division previews here at Razzball.  Today we are going to dive deeper into the NFC North than Mac Miller into Ariana Grande.  By the end of this article we will be more worthy to be kings of the North than Jon Snow himself.  Speaking of awesome shows, I’ve been watching Oz for the first time and I’m about halfway through the 2nd season. Does the narrator in the wheelchair ever go away? Please somebody tell me I don’t have to go through 5 seasons of this.

Well anyways, this division has pretty average talent all the way around besides some outliers which we will get into.  Just a heads up, if you’re looking for tight end takes, you clicked on the wrong division preview.  There’s nothing to see here if you’re looking for top 10 guys.  As always we will go in order of most fantasy relevant offenses…

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While Teddy Bridgewater is technically a game time decision, Adam Schefter is reporting that the “signs point to him (Bridgewater) not playing tonight.” Which means that there’s a 50% chance that he’s playing, while there’s a 100% chance that Christian Ponder might play. THE SUSPENSE EVERYONE. Suffering a high ankle sprain in last Sunday’s surprising win against Atlanta (41-28), Bridgewater was held out of practice all week. Seeing as how this is the same injury that’s been ailing Jamaal Charles, I expect nothing less than three touchdowns and 90 rushing yards from the Minnesota quarterback tonight. But, if Ponder starts (UPDATE: Ian Rapoport has now confirmed that Ponder will be starting), that should be just as exciting. And by exciting, I mean like how watching two cars crash into each other is exciting. Remember, the Vikings are facing a Packers team fresh off a game against the Bears where they ended every single drive with at least a field goal attempt. Adding the cherry on top, the forecast is calling for a torrential rain storm that we haven’t seen the likes of since Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. So… should be derptastic fun for all folks…

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