Does anyone else get the old Sherwin Williams jingle stuck in their head when they see Kerwynn Williams’s name? No? Just me?

Anyway, welcome to the 2017 Handcuff Report. For those who followed this post last season, welcome back. For those who are new, where were you last year? Too good for us? I have researched other available handcuff reports and tell give you my completely unbiased opinion that none of them are half as good as this one. Shame on you, and welcome.

So, first things first: what exactly is a handcuff? For the fantasy football n00bs out there, or perhaps for those who have taken the last few years off, a handcuff is a backup who will likely take over as the starter in the event of an injury, extreme ineffectiveness, off-the-field trouble, or coach’s decision. There are probably other reasons that I am forgetting here, but those are the most common one.

Most NFL teams now run a running back by committee of some sort. While not every team is as unpredictably maddening as the Patriots, most teams share the load in an effort to keep guys fresh and give defenses different looks. With fantasy leagues more competitive than ever, thanks to sites like Razzball offering great advice, it is important to recognize trends and identify value quickly. If you drafted a stud running back early, you might want to grab his handcuff in case of injury. Or if you went zero RB or went really light on RB early, you might want to squat on a couple handcuffs or, especially in PPR leagues, grab a change-of-pace/pass catching back. With the influx of young running backs and each team having two or three options this season, I tended to do the latter in drafts this year. For every Melvin Gordon, I have like two Shane Vereens or Theo Riddicks this year. Speaking of young running backs:

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We are here today to point out the differences between the Razzball Rankings (which finished Top-3 in 2016) and those that ESPN has released to the masses. Haha, just kidding. You know, it used to be that Matthew Berry, Tristan Cockraft (lovely human being, totally serious. Met him at the LABR party down in Arizona Spring Training, probably one of the nicest guys in the industry along with Eno Sarris), and Eric Karabell submitted their rankings for the Accuracy Challenge that our friends over at FantasyPros host… After both Berry finishing in the lower 80’s back in 2015 and then Karabell finishing in the same area-ish (“ish” because I can’t remember exactly ) last season, they have yet to be seen this season putting their rankings to the test. So while I used to be able to compare our rankings to what the “industry” had made “standard” (parenthesis for sarcasm I suppose), the first thing you’ll notice with our yearly “Rankings Versus” series is that there won’t be any Matthew Berry. Whether that’s ultimately a good or bad thing, I’ll let you decide. Because, hey, I’m just that kind of guy. But don’t worry! Instead, we’ll be taking a look at how our “industry” leading rankings stack against the ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings), and last season’s top “Accuracy Expert” (no sarcasm), Dalton Del Don from Yahoo! (do I have to yell it every time? Geez, that gets old real fast…) Sports, not to be confused with “Yoohoo! Sports”, which I do all the time. Then again, I usually confuse most things with chocolate drinks. Totally normal.

So be sure to check out our 2017 Fantasy Football Rankings, Auction Values, and our very own Cheat Sheet for any context you may need. I’d say that context needs more chocolate drink to be honest…

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Welcome to Razzball’s Fantasy Football Preview series, where yours truly will guide you, caress you, perhaps even coddle you through your draft preparations and processes. Mmm, processes. And while none of this may be legal and I’ll end up with multiple restraining orders, rest assured that we’ll all be the better for it. Maybe. We’ll go in depth (that’s what she said) at every position… well, the positions that actually count (I’m looking at you Kickers and DSTs…), going over some analysis, the tiers, and any illuminating observations I might have. Because light bulbs are just the coolest thing. Said everyone from the 1800s. Before you get settled down, please refer to Razzball’s 2017 Fantasy Football Draft Rankings, and specifically for this post, refer to our Running Back Rankings

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This is it, I’ve reached the end of my half of the Razzball Division previews with the rest coming from Zach.  It’s been quite a journey researching the NFC for the upcoming season.  It was great going through all of the players that have disappointed me in the past and still loving them for this year and vice versa. Now, I feel somewhat ready to start my rankings for 2017.  Within a week, I will put out my top 200 for the season and I will also put out a top 100 IDP players post as well.  We’re reaching the home stretch of the NFL offseason, but we still have a lot to cover over here at Razzball.  Without further ado, let’s get to the Starks of the NFC North.

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Wide receiver is a tough position to draft outside of the top 15.  Within the next 35 players of the preseason top 50, there are 10 guys who are going to outplay their ADP, maybe by a lot. There are also 10 other receivers getting hype, who just don’t live up to it, whether they are a complete bust or just somebody who frustrates you to put into your lineup every week.  I’ve been there, I drafted Kelvin Benjamin and Sammy Watkins on the same team last season.  This league is a two-keeper league and my keepers were ho-hum going into the draft, and I knew that I had to make a splash.  Doug Martin and Brandin Cooks were career hit or miss guys so I went high upside with my first couple of picks…

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After two straight Superbowl appearances, the NFC South is coming up faster than that lady from The Leftovers and this past season of Fargo.  Yes, I know her name is Carrie Coon, I didn’t have to google it, and she’s become my favorite actress.  Some of you already know that I think that the Leftovers is the best show ever made, but I’m also impressed that Fargo was able to pull off another good season for the third straight year.  Fargo has a built-in setting, but coming up with a different cast, story line, and ending every year and doing it well blows my mind.  To put it in perspective it only took a second season for True Detective to suck at the same format.  Well, I guess it didn’t “suck”, the acting was awesome.  I’m one of the few who bought into Vince Vaughn in his role.  The story was a snoozer, I can’t defend that part.

Before we get into our second division preview, be sure to check out Zach’s preview of the AFC East.  Zach will be covering the AFC while I cover the NFC.  Also, we must rejoice that Jay has returned to give you his rankings and predictions for the 2017 season.  Zach and I are going to try and record a podcast every week to get you ready for the football season.  We plan on having a few surprise guests, but most of it will just be us two talking shop.

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Welcome to the very last Beyond the Numbers! of the year and also one of the most important. I, and everyone here at Razzball, have put in our best efforts this week to get you closer towards your goal of making the fantasy Super Bowl. Sorry I had to go with another overused Blount pun as the title, but I spent too much time reviewing games to come up with a more clever one. Hell, I’ve been watching so much game tape my NFL Game Pass Replay asked me if I was a robot. To that, I of course sarcastically answered yes and it somehow let me continue watching. I guess my TV is also a robot and vouched for me or something. Let’s just say I definitely did my homework this week. There are way too many scary matchups to not be prepared. That and figuring out the value of injured players’ backups are the most crucial items on the docket. For fantasy owners in just about any situation in the playoffs, I got you covered.

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playoffs

If you are reading this, congratulations. And I don’t say that just because you are fortunate enough to be reading one of my articles. If you are reading a fantasy football article in Week 14, it is likely because you are in the playoffs and still have a reason to care about your team and your lineup. So, congratulations. I mean it. To those of you who didn’t make the playoffs: see you in hell, candy boys! This is, unfortunately, the last Handcuff Report of the year. It has been a great ride, but we are wrapping things up as the fantasy playoffs begin!

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It’s Week 13, which means we are heading into the fantasy playoffs soon. I know that because my readership has dwindled the last two weeks, as many fantasy owners have been eliminated from the playoffs and are throwing in the towel. But that’s OKAY. That just means we can be more serious and a bit more intimate now. It’s just me and you, playoff hopefuls.

Heading into this week, Tim Hightower was a name to watch because Mark Ingram was still in the concussion protocol and was questionable to play. If Ingram couldn’t go, Hightower was going to be a high-end flex/RB2 to throw into lineups before they locked on Sunday. But word came out on Sunday morning that Ingram was going to play, so many likely left Hightower on the bench or on the waiver wire.

But something funny happened. It didn’t matter that Ingram played. Ingram and Hightower combined for three touchdowns and almost 300 yards, with Hightower accounting for 51 rushing yards, 54 receiving yards, and one of the touchdowns. Although, Hightower’s final stat line would look a bit different if not for the late 50-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Willie Snead. If Hightower can keep producing even with a healthy Ingram, he can help out some of the needier fantasy owners come playoff time.

To the report…

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Hello everyone, and welcome to another installment of our Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em series.

Hopefully all of you had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday full of great family, friends, food and hockey! Can’t you believe that the Canadiens clawed out another close win against Carolina, and now they are 15-4-2! If only they could start Carey Price every game…. oh, and the Cowboys are 10-1 I guess. I dunno.

We are now one week away from being one week away from the fantasy playoffs, and I hope most of you (hopefully all?) are looking good for some fantasy postseason action, and if you aren’t, hopefully you are close! And if you are at the bottom of your league… well, there is always next year.

I can definitely say that I have greatly enjoyed my time here at Razzball currently over these past two years, and I believe this is a direct result of how awesome some of these writers are here. One of which being my good friend Tehol. Over these past two weeks, Tehol has finished 4th and 2nd out of all of the other experts in the FantasyPros rankings challenge, and I want to give him some mad props for it. If you are feeling good about your team, double-check some of your crucial week-to-week decisions with the Lord himself to get the edge on your competition. You won’t regret it.

Alright, enough jabber. Let’s get to Week 12!

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