That’s a perfect Bernie right there, folks. He hit it once, hesitated, then went to the next level before celebrating with his teammates in the end zone. Ok, wait…are we talking about Le’Veon Bell doing the Bernie or actually running a football? This dude’s more elusive in the backfield, slipping through the line and blowing past the second level than anyone else in the NFL. Sure, you can take the injury he suffered a year and a half ago (he was totally fine once coming back), and the fact that he parties like he’s trying to be in ‘Weekend at Bernie’s,’ into account. Me? Nah…I’ll just take the best player in the fantasy game when he’s running full steam.

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Welcome to my way too earlier top 100 fantasy football rankings. Doing this in March is not only fun for Zach and me, but it also builds a base for our rankings going forward as things, both large and small, inevitably happen throughout the offseason. I picked five players after the rankings list that I wanted to highlight further. Feel free to hop in the comment section and tell me how you feel.

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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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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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While the Chargers fan in me wanted this Sunday Night Football game to be a lazy Father’s Day gift (a tie!), the football fan in me just wanted to do a bit of scouting on Tony Romo’s new team next season. But it was hard to do either with the most boring first half of a football game in the history of the NFL, since last Thursday. Though drinking games usually help, instead, to match the theme of this weekend, I went with an eating game. If a first down happened, I ate turkey, and if not, ham. Worked out pretty well, I have to say. And don’t get me wrong, there were some positives last night. Al Michaels’ continued sabbatical is one. (Kinda like February in Palm West, because it’s all about an old man drying out.) There was… okay, so there was one positive. Which really wasn’t a positive at all with Cris Collinsworth trying to speak with Roger Goodell’s balls in his mouth. Just remember, the NFL flexed this game because they honestly thought that it would be more entertaining than the Jets and Patriots. Which would have been futile anyways, unless they happened to flex Westworld instead…

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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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National Football League, we’ve got a lot of problems with you, and now you’re going to hear about it. In no particular order, when did the NFC North become the new AFC South? With the NFC East being a pretty good division again, does that mean I have to start wearing my 90’s flannel shirts? And should we all get concussions? Afterall, according to you, it’s not just a concussion, it’s a cancussion. Why is it, that amidst your “Salute to Service” Sunday, that you don’t mention that the taxpayers fund all the lavish patriotism we see every Sunday? What is a catch? It’s like the only thing that’s ever stayed a controversy in football since I was a kid. That, and John Elway probably being a secret horse in disguise. In fact, here was the first official NFL rules committee meeting to define what exactly a catch was. But most of all (just in the context of yesterday, because why trap yourself, ya know?), I’m so confused on how the Seahawks actually won. (Note: It’s weird to watch a game where you end up screaming in agony when anything good happens for either team.) Admittedly, I’m not so much confused on how they actually won, that’s pretty straightforward; it was some combination of an overrated New England defense getting exposed, mixed with big nights from Russell Wilson (25/37, 348 YDS, 9.4 AVG, 3 TD, 124.6 RTG and 3 CAR, 6 YDS) and C.J. Prosise (17 CAR, 66 YDS, 3.9 AVG, 10 LONG and 7 REC, 87 YDS, 12.4 AVG, 38 LONG, 7 TGTS). But how the Seahawks could win in such a karmaic (word?) fashion… I mean, talk about sh*tty calls for the last four plays of the game, almost seems familiar. Almost like it’s happened before… And I’m sure the Boston media will have a field day talking about how the “non-call” on Gronk was a crime against humanity, a genocide they’ll say! Well, if he didn’t do such a great job blocking into the endzone on a run play to Blount that should have been the call, they might have had a case. In the mean time, I wouldn’t worry to much about Patriots “nation” forming a protest to go against the result, mainly because they probably think “genocide” has something to do with the Jets…

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My apologies for the quick and short and sudden intro, but I have hit a “creative writer’s block” when it comes to the intro for the week. Alas, I do not have any stories to tell and rapidly tie back to fantasy football. Hopefully it works for next week.

So let’s just jump right into it, cool? Alright.

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