Sep 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers (32) in action during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeat the Buccaneers 40-7. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Hey there, amigos. Welcome back to another fun-filled edition of By The Numbers. I’ll be your personal guide through this maze of numbers and fantasy goodness, so put on your reading glasses (pants) and join me in the quest for a title. Maybe some of you are like me – off to a not so spectacular start in your league. In the Writer’s RCL, I’m mired in a two game losing streak and stuck in 10th place. That’s not ideal, considering there’s only twelve teams. Sure, my team is 2-4, but it’s a good-looking 2-4, I can assure you. No worries, I’ll be okay. I kinda feel like Chuck Pagano each week, just making excuses for why my team sucks and pointing the finger at everyone but myself. Everything is fine, I tell myself…..EVERYTHING IS FINE. You have to have a certain level of resilience to be able to compete amidst adverse fantasy conditions. If you’re still reading this, well, welcome to the club. The first order of business is to get off the couch, put on our fanny packs and crocs and look into the mirror. Yes, we look ridiculous, but that’s besides the point. Stare right into that sucker and say “I will NOT lose my Week 7 match up.” There. Feel better? The truth is, well there is no magic pill we can take to ensure success each week. But we can take a look at the number and take advantage of the best matchup breakdowns we can find. This week I’m looking at a few gems that I think will help push me into the winner’s circle. One of my favorite plays this week is Jacquizz Rodgers and his tilt against the San Francisco 49ers rush defense. The 49ers defensive front was obliterated last week by Buffalo’s backfield, giving up a 44/312/4 line – just two week’s after yielding a 37/172/2 line to the Cardinals. They’re having a bad year, to say the least. I mean, like in a bus with Billy Bush bad. It’s ugly my friends. The 49ers are dead last in the league in rushing yards allowed (174.3) and they’ve given up 9 rushing scores so far this season. Over the past three week’s opposing RBs have averaged 34.7 points fantasy points per game, which happens to also rank last in the league. There’s a theme here if you’re paying attention. Basically, you want to be invested in the Tampa Bay rushing offense this week. If you act quick enough, he’s still available in 61% of ESPN leagues. As of Wednesday, Doug Martin was still not practicing, so there’s a good chance Rodgers will see a healthy workload Sunday.

Here’s a look at a few more of my favorite passing and rushing match ups this week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

2008-Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after losing to the Atlanta Falcons 27-24. The Green Bay Packers hosted the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field Sunday October 5, 2008. Steve Apps-State Journal.

Greetings! Oh how I wonder… will the Elder Gods bless me this week? Will they take the six pounds of Mexican schwag as a gift in place of my usual animal sacrifice, or will they rain piss down upon me as if they were R. Kelly (only if he had a full grown African elephant chonger) for not coming correct with some high-grade blueberry kush? Only time will tell, but what is time really anyway? Just a creative way of recording our meaningless existence on this earth as we build this fascinating technology-driven world, only for us to be eventually wiped out like the courageous dinosaurs before us, obliterated like krill being sucked up by a massive blue whale. Oh, to be young again. Building forts, playing General Chaos on Sega Genesis, catching frogs, measuring dick… And what is life now? Fantasy football?  Help me.

I am Lord Tehol Beddict and this is Disgrace/Delight! Take head!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oct 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) carries the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Well, we all saw that coming. We all knew the Miami Dolphins were going to smash the Pittsburgh Steelers, and we all knew that they were going to do so by riding Jay Ajayi and his 204 rushing yards and two touchdowns. We all knew that, even with Arian Foster coming back, Ajayi would get 25 carries and, oh, you know, rattle off 8.2 YPC on the day. We all knew Jay Ajayi, sent down from above by his Heavenly father to be the savior of the Dolphins in the fifth round of the NFL draft last year, was going to get more touches than any running back not named Terrance West, Ezekiel Elliott, Lamar Miller, or Melvin Gordon.

And, of course, we all knew that Spencer Ware was going to get 26 touches on 40 snaps to Jamaal Charles’s 11 on 15. This was the first time all year that many Jamaal Charles owners started him, as he was finally considered healthy enough for a full workload. So, of course, Ware dominated the snaps and touches. But we all knew that was going to happen. That’s what makes this so easy!

Now, if you are this far into the article and haven’t been able to detect the sarcasm, please stop reading. We cannot help you here. You have bigger problems than fantasy football, and you will not find the answers here. You will likely only find more questions and a Simpsons referenced forced into here somewhere (this one doesn’t count).

For the rest of you, we have work to do. This was another strange week for running backs, as I so subtly alluded to above, and we have a number of question marks at running back going forward.

And now, to the report…

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Ahh, it’s that refreshing time of year when the scorching heat is finally dying down, and the weather is turning cold enough to completely forget about the summer. With the middle of the season approaching, the fantasy outlook, like the weather, is rapidly changing.  Sure you may have had one of the best teams in the league when Eric Decker and DeAngelo Williams were still producing, but those days are gone and their positions have been filled. This is true for many of the players you drafted, whether they were once putting up great numbers or not, and it’s about time to adapt to the changes. Get ready to trust in players you never thought you would, in this week’s Beyond the Numbers.

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Week 5 saw some dominant performances by running backs we were counting on, with David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, DeMarco Murray, Jordan Howard (told you!), and the Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman two-headed monster delivering for their owners. But this week also saw its fair share of disappointments, both from new faces fantasy owners were taking chances on and from running backs drafted to be fantasy starters.

If you picked up Wendell Smallwood, Kenneth Dixon, or Orleans Darkwa and threw them right into your starting squad, you paid for it with essentially a blank spot in your lineup. If you started regulars such as Jeremy Hill, Isaiah Crowell, Matt Jones, or Lamar Miller, you didn’t do much better. This second list of names hurts a bit more, though (except for maybe Jones), because you likely plugged them into your lineups without a second thought. On the plus side, you can look forward to now having that second thought for the rest of the season.

Cameron Artis-Payne bounced back on Monday night after a certain Razzball contributor lamented his performance last week. Artis-Payne scored two touchdowns and rushed for 85 yards on 18 carries, but both Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart, so our days of starting CAP and crossing our fingers are likely over, at least until Stewart gets hurt again. Don’t drop CAP just yet, but you can start cracking your fingers.

And now, to the report…

Please, blog, may I have some more?


If you think that headline is bad, the other one I considered was “Seeing the Forsett for the Trees.” And if you don’t like making a pun out of a phrase that is at least a few centuries old, then I don’t know what to do for you. Oh well, maybe you and I are just not meant to be. It’s not easy coming up with running back puns every week based on fantasy relevance. Sometimes you have to dig deep and get weird with it.

Before we get down to business, everybody, pour a little out for the homie Justin Forsett. This dude has had a rough couple months. Forsett got cut at the end of the preseason, got resigned a week later and STARTED week one, got benched in week four, and now—as if watching Terrance West go off for 100+ yards on Sunday wasn’t hard enough—just got released on Tuesday. His release has been described as a mutual parting, with Forsett hoping to get an opportunity with another team, but this is still a tough run for a running back who turns 31 in less than two weeks.

Now that we have that out of the way, has everyone finished cursing the name of John Kuhn? While Mark Ingram owners received a solid day and a touchdown from him, they had to watch John Kuhn vulture not one, not two, not three—OK, it was three—touchdowns on the day (I’ll never forgive myself for linking to that clip). I’ll pause here while you break things around your house, as I probably brought this back up just as you were starting to forget about it. Kuhn was easily the biggest surprise on Sunday.

And now, to the report…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday we had a little bit of everything, didn’t we? After voluntarily waking up early for a Colts-Jaguars game in London, I wondered: What happened to my life that would make me do such a thing? I mean, you’d think after all we’ve done for the United Kingdom over the years, they’d have the courtesy to be on the same time zone. And we had plenty of expected outcomes like my Chargers once again clutching a loss from the jaws of victory, the Browns being their usually Brownsy selves, a boring Sunday night primetime game, Cam Newton concussing (a word?) himself again, and, of course, DeAndre Hopkins showing us where all hope goes to die. And then something… majestic happened, something rare. (Some say it only happens once a decade…) But we, as a nation, for the first time this season, witnessed the first Patriots loss of the year. And it was to the hapless Bills. What a time to be alive. In fact, both (or one, or none, who knows?) of the Ryans coached a defense that shut out the Patriots for the first time since 2006, and the first time in New England since 1993. Seems good. But as someone once said, you don’t know the sweet unless you’ve tasted sour. The sour? The Rams and Raiders, the current and former Los Angeles football teams, are currently in playoff contention. One team is coached by Jeff Fisher, and the other by Jack Del Rio. Soak that wierd sh*t in for a second…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

If you have been following our weekly Handcuff Reports and reading them carefully (as I am sure you have been), you may have noticed this little gem that I wrote last week:

“After pass-catcher Ka’Deem Carey went down with a hamstring injury, Jordan Howard entered the game and actually looked pretty good. If Langford continues to struggle, look for Howard to get some more chances. If you are in a deep league, add Howard to your watch list.”

Well, I hope you skipped the watch list and went right to adding him on waivers. And if you did, if you were the person in your league who pulled the early trigger on Jordan Howard thanks to reading this article, then you had a really good Monday. You probably woke up on Monday morning, checked your league news and your team (I am assuming here that no one bothered to watch most of that beatdown), and saw the Jeremy Langford injury news. Then you probably took a sip of your coffee, sat back, smiled, looked at the rest of the teams in your league and said:

I’ma be all right. I’m straight… Sergio gonna be fine! F*ck a recession… I own 21 Cookaroos. Ya’ll don’t own one Cookaroo. Not one… Ya’ll are f*cked. Ya’ll are f*******cked!

Okay, now that we got the world’s longest Get Him to the Greek reference out of the way, let’s get back to business. Jeremy Langford left this week’s game against the Cowboys early and did not return, and it has since been reported that he has a severe high ankle sprain and could miss up to six weeks. After Langford left the game, Jordan Howard rushed for 45 yards on nine carries (5 YPC) and added four catches for 47 yards. With the aforementioned Ka’Deem Carey also nursing an injury of his own, Jordan Howard could be in for a full workload for the next six weeks. And if he has success in Langford’s absence, he could very well take the starting job or turn this situation into a timeshare. Even if Carey comes back quickly, he will be the receiving back on passing downs, while Howard should get the start and the majority of the touches. Jordan Howard is going to be one of the most-added players on waivers this week, so get your claims in before Thursday morning. But, alas, this is the Handcuff Report and not just the Jordan Howard report, so let’s get to the rest of the league!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Do you remember how amazing Bo Jackson was? He was dominant, the next big thing, and then… his knee exploded and he never recovered. Career over before it truly ever got off the ground. That’s sort of what this fantasy season is starting to feel like.

Two weeks into the year and it’s already survival of the fittest. Most everyone is dealing with the same stuff: at least a dozen running backs are hurt (highlighted this week by Adrian Peterson’s knee injury), Julio Jones and Brandon Marshall are banged up, and names like Rodgers, Gurley, and Beckham are performing woefully below expectations. So, to lighten the mood from this misery, we bring you the latest episode of The Dream League…

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Well, that got ugly fast. And I’m not just talking about this week’s Jaguars – Chargers game. That was an entirely different level of ugly. This week is why so many people have been adopting the zero RB strategy when drafting. They don’t want to risk taking a running back early because of the chance of injury, and they know they will be able to watch the waiver wire and read my handcuff report in order to get a running back or two during the season. If you play fantasy football, there is a good chance one of your running backs got hurt this week. If you drafted Adrian Peterson around the 2nd round or Danny Woodhead or Ameer Abdullah a few rounds later, this was not your week. If you went zero RB or waited a bit too long for running backs like I did in a few of my leagues, this is the week you were waiting for. As far as we know right now, though, Woodhead is the only back to go down who is definitely out for the year. The other two question marks are AP and Abdullah. Neither has a timetable for their return right now. Everyone else should be back in a couple weeks.

Anyway, let’s get to it… 

Please, blog, may I have some more?