Green Bay Packers starting running back Ty Montgomery, a converted slot-receiver selected in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft, certainly doesn’t have the body-type, resume, and hype of a NFL workhorse running back. However, Montgomery’s rare blend of elite rushing vision and smooth receiving abilities make him the perfect running back in Green Bay’s offense, a scheme centered around short, high-percentage passes that serve as a proxy running game. Montgomery punctuated his breakout campaign with 121 combined touches for 805 yards and 3 touchdowns after he took the reigns as the starting running back for injured Eddie Lacy in Week 6 of 2016.

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Hello everyone, and welcome to the second post my mini-series on talking about each different position before the start of NFL Training Camps in a month and a half or so from now. Again, something to keep in mind, this is by no means a draft plan, or any sort of in-depth analysis about each position, as those articles will come out later in the summer during the camps themselves, but rather, a series of articles that can get the ball rolling towards the 2017 fantasy season.

I’ll be moving away from the structure of the”Players I Like and Players I Don’t Like”, and move towards an open discussion on my feelings about the position as a whole.

So enough chatter, let’s get right to it!

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Folks, it is already June and we are within double digit days from the regular season.  When you’re in a dynasty league, the season never ends.  I’ve been thinking about the 2017 season for my dynasty team since the day after week 16 ended.  I guess that I’m like Bill Belicheck with four fewer titles.  I may have won the championship, but I was 3 weeks behind everybody else in the fantasy football offseason.  I’m just joking (kind of), that would be a bit obsessive.

Before I get into a few stand out players, I have just a little bit of house keeping.  Zach and I started a podcast called Razzblitz and it’s really easy to find.  If you subscribe to the Razzcast on iTunes or whatever app you download podcasts on, our podcast will be on that thread.  Or, if you just click on the football side of the Razzball blog, our podcast will be up as posts as well.  Zach and I want to provide you with as much fantasy knowledge as possible and keep each episode pretty digestible time-wise while doing so.  We have two up so far this off season with Episode 3 and beyond coming soon…

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Hello everyone! I say with great pleasure that we are launching a brand new show on the Razzball Football podcast feed: Razzblitz! Join myself and the always great Matt Bowe as we start off the first episode of the show! While we don’t quite have the looks of our fearless counterparts, Jay and Tehol (especially Tehol), we quickly dive into the latest news and notes from the football world, covering Ladarius Green’s release, LeGarrette Blount’s addition to the Eagles, and different backfield situations across the NFL. We then quickly go over my updated Top 100 rankings (article out shortly) to round out a pretty solid first episode. Enjoy!

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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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markingram

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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rawls

If you are like me and drafted Thomas Rawls in August but managed to stay patient and hang onto him until now, take a bow. I’ll bow with you. September and October were some dark times, my friends, but here we are. Rawls is the top dog in Seattle, and it looks like it will stay that way for the rest of the season now that Christine Michael got shipped out of town and C.J. Prosise is hurt. We did it, guys.

Prosise ran for a 72-yard touchdown in the first quarter on Sunday, but he left the game in the second quarter. It was pretty much all Rawls for the rest of the game, with a little bit of Troymaine Pope (who also got hurt). The Seahawks getting rid of Christine Michael meant they were ready to roll with Prosise and Rawls as their top guys and that they were confident Rawls would be healthy and effective. Now that Prosise is out of the picture, it’s all Rawls, baby.

Rawls rushed 14 times for 57 yards (4.1 YPC) and added three catches for 31 yards, giving him 88 total yards on the day. Heading into the fantasy playoffs, getting an every down back like Rawls into your lineup could be just what your team needs to get that extra edge (I know my team, where I went zero RB and took Rawls as my RB1 LATE, is sitting pretty now that I have him back). The best part about the Prosise injury* is that it means Rawls will see more action on passing downs. They will find a way to spell him here and there, but Rawls should be an every down back going forward and should catch his fair share of passes.

Things change quickly in the NFL, and it seems like just last week we were excited about the idea of a Prosise-Rawls backfield combination. But this week was about much more than Thomas Rawls and how happy we all are to have him back.

To the report. . .

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C.J. Prosise rushes against the New England Patriots

If you played your cards right, 2016 may have been one of the best seasons ever to roll with a zero RB strategy in your draft. Not only have there been a litany of running back committees utilized across the league, but legitimate RB1s and RB2s have been emerging all year. Take a look at this list: Jordan Howard, Devontae Booker, Spencer Ware, C.J. Prosise, Robert Kelley. Those guys were all either not drafted at all or were taken later in drafts as a handcuff or dice roll option (I actually drafted Booker in one league but dropped him after a few weeks because I need the roster spot. D’oh!).

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Nov 6, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) is stopped short of the end zone by Denver Broncos safety Darian Stewart (26) in the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back, everyone. I apologize for missing last week, but I had a bunch of running around to do and was never able to settle down and hammer out the Week 9 Handcuff Report. Let’s just assume that I gave you great advice last week and that you’re back this week for more. Ok? Ok. Good. Great. Now, about those running backs.

The Oakland Raiders have been really fun to watch this year unless you have been trying to predict running back touches all year. While Latavius Murray was frustrating earlier in the year and then got hurt, but one thing he has done all year is find his way into the end zone. And in a week when a ton of people probably benched him because he was going up against the defense of the Denver Broncos, he decided to get into the end zone three times. Hopefully, you rolled the dice or were forced to start him because of bye weeks and injuries, but I know that many of you didn’t start him. I probably wouldn’t have.

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devontae-booker-102716-getty-ftr_2gb22j1yq27o18gdvwd0fqfc7

With Halloween just around the corner, I had a couple thoughts run through my brain: I’m about to be dedicating quite a few hours to Pokémon GO with everything giving double candy for the next few days, and I wonder what most people think the scariest part of fantasy football is. Without a doubt it’s got to be injuries, as there truly is nothing like having to pick up the pieces when your top running back goes down for the year. Eddie Lacy owners have a slightly more cringe worthy injury on their hands since his ankle most likely just snapped under the pressure of all that weight. Is it too late for Tony Horton to make Lacy put down all the Halloween candy? Unfortunately it is, and with quite a few backs out with injuries and bye weeks, this seems to be a particularly brutal week. Luckily, there are quite a few running backs worth a look that can be had on waivers. Devontae Booker leads the charge in what I like to call “The Week of the Handcuff”… it’s only fitting his team colors include Halloween orange.

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