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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920x920

Hello everybody and welcome to this week’s Deep Impact! When I first set out on writing this series at the beginning of the season, I had three nagging fears in the back of my head. One, that I would run out of Deep Impact play on words to begin the article (which happened weeks ago), and the second that as the season progressed, it would be more and more difficult to find playable names under 10% owned. Once the season is more than half over, you would expect that the hidden gems have revealed themselves, and that the underperforming players you drafted would be cast aside to make room for them. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that thanks to injuries and late bloomers, along with the general malaise that seems to impact a good chunk of leagues (looking at you, leagues responsible for Jamaal Charles being 27% owned). We don’t always stick to the threshold, but I think we’ve been able to keep the spirit of it alive. What was my third fear? Bees. I guess that doesn’t have anything to do with writing the article but I hate bees. Anyways, check out the rest of the article for some names below (or close to) the 10% owned mark for some Week 11 options…

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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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Hello everyone and welcome to “Please Tell Me When It’s Safe to Go Outside”, Razzball’s new weekly piece where we wonder what the hell is going on, and debate whether or not we should venture into the terrifying outdoors to see what hellscape awaits us. This week, we will discuss fun activities you can do in your home/security bunker, such as knitting, or fashioning ammunition out of various metal objects you may have laying around *answers call from Jay* I’m being told that this will instead be another installment of Deep Impact, and also that things are pretty much the same as they were last week. For now, at least, it is still safe to go outside, but why do that when instead you can distract yourself from the horrifying state of our current political system by playing fantasy football! As we do every week, we’re looking at less than 10% owned players in the Yahoo game to scrounge for starts, and for once I actually held myself to my own threshold. Be proud of me, everyone!

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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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Look people, you try to make a pun out of “Ark”… Regardless, it appears that the top AFC teams coming out of the halfway point in the 2016 season are the usual New England Patriots and the… Oakland Raiders…? I honestly wish I knew why this was happening. I… I think the sun is starting to set on where I live, and I mean that in the most figurative way possible, because, you know, daylight savings time. But this is indeed a strange world we live in. The Oakland Raiders, led by the one Carr brother that’s actually not bad, Amari Cooper, and Latavius “I’ll always be 3/4 of an elite back” Murray, have managed to find themselves in first place in the AFC West with an impressive 5-0 record on the road. Because honestly, the only things that do well in Oakland are bails bondsman, and, you know, gentrification. Progress I guess. But wouldn’t it be great if the Raiders could be added that list? As a totally-not-biased-at-all-trust-me Chargers fan (and I’m throwing up a little in my mouth right now typing this), but it’s a shame that the Raiders have a solid chance to have a pretty great year, and it’s being overshadowed with rumors of the team possibly moving. And we’re talking about a post-Los Angeles not being able to be used as leverage timeline that we’re in, and Mark Davis is still able to do this. Maybe they’ll move to a magical place… called Houston. I don’t think there’s a team there… Listen, my life receives no benefit for suggesting such a radical idea as rooting about a specific aspect for a franchise that, at times, was the black eye (literally too!) of the league, but I did it anyways. A Chargers fan speaking kindly of the Raiders? Truly, the end is nigh.

Here’s what else I saw during yesterday’s Week 9 Sunday games…

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If you were to define the 2016 fantasy football season in one sentence, I challenge you to do better than this: Jay Ajayi has more rushing yards in the last two weeks than Todd Gurley has all season. It has been that bad, and that sentence describes both how surprisingly good Ajayi has been the last two weeks and how disappointing Todd Gurley has been all year. It’s tough to say if those two backs will continue going in different directions, but they are currently following the same paths as their respective offenses. The Rams aren’t giving Gurley any space, while the Dolphins, with their front five finally healthy and playing together, are dropping bodies for Ajayi. Ajayi’s stock has never been higher, now that he is officially the top man in Miami. Which brings us to…

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