Brian Hill found himself under surveillance on week 4’s handcuff report and now finds himself atop the offender list for week 11. On Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons placed backup RB Ito Smith on injured reserve. Hill found himself thrusted into the #2 spot on the depth chart heading into Sundays matchup against the Saints, but finished the game as the #1 lead dawg in ATL following Devonta Freemans 3rd quarter exit. Hill finished the game with 40 offensive snaps, with Kenjon Barner recording the only other RB snaps (11) outside of Freeman. Freeman’s foot injury will need to be monitored throughout the week. The Falcons offense showed life returning from their bye and getting QB Matt Ryan back from injury, beating the NFC South leading New Orlean Saints 26 – 9. Fantasy owners, desperate for RB depth, need to place a waiver claim for Brian Hill this week. Qadree Ollison will assume #2 duties if Freeman were to miss an extended period of time.

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The 3-5-1 Arizona Cardinals are fresh off extended rest following their near dethroning of the undefeated San Francisco 49ers in week 9 on Thursday Night Football. Kliff Kingsbury if flying the NFL’s 3rd fastest paced offense to the East coast to take on Jameis Winston and the 4th most points per game, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fantasy fireworks will be on full display in the highest projected point total for week 10. 

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James Conner and Benny Snell were ruled out for week 10, paving the way for Jaylen Samuels to lead this backfield. Surprisingly, it was un-drafted RB Trey Edmunds that led the Steelers on the ground- recording the most carries (12), rushing yards (73), and yards per carry (6.1). At the end of the day, Jaylen Samuels ended up with the better fantasy outing (19.3 PPR points to Edmunds 7.3) and recorded more snaps, 40 for Jaylen to Edmunds 17 snaps (63.5% to 27%). Samuels managed an uninspiring 1.2 yards per carry, but salvaged his outing through the air. Jaylen finished with 13 catches on 13 targets for 73 receiving yards. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, James Conner is recovering from an AC joint injury and is expected to miss at least 2 weeks. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that 2019 4th-round rookie, Benny Snell is expected to miss at least 2-3 weeks after undergoing a minor surgery on his meniscus. Trey Edmunds is name to consider adding from waivers this week for fantasy owners desperate for running back depth. Pittsburgh’s next matchups, 4 out of 5, are against the Cleveland Browns (2x), Arizona Cardinals, and Cincinnati Bengals. All are plus matchups for the Steelers running game.

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A clash between defenses surrendering the 2nd (TB) and 6th (SEA) most receiving yards per game carries the highest point total for week 9.

Per NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Jameis Winston ranks #1 in average completed air yards and #1 in average intended air yards. Winston and Head Coach Bruce Arians offense likes to push the ball down field. Tied for 3rd in the NFL in completed passes over 40 yards, Jameis gets his shot against a Seahawks defense that ranks tied-for-10th in most completed passes allowed over 20+ yards. Despite his league leading 12 interceptions, Jameis Winston is a viable starter in all formats. Jameis is Rudy’s projected QB6 in week 10.

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Mattison made the handcuff report back in the pre-season as a premium handcuff, and needs to be rostered by all Dalvin Cook owners heading down the stretch of the fantasy football regular season. Barely on the field for a quarter of the Vikings offensive snaps (26.4%), Mattison’s athletic ability was still on full display. The Vikings are giving Mattison the ball when he is on the field, touching the ball 78.9% percent of his snaps compared to Dalvins 54.9%. In week 8, Alexander took 13 carries for 61 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and now averaging 4.9 ypc on the season. If anything were to happen to Cook, Mattison is fully capable of producing in our fantasy lineups in an offense built around the run. The Vikings rank 3rd in the NFL in rushing attempts per game (32.9). Mattison is averaging 10.8 touches per game over the past 4 weeks, if he is able to find the field for more than 26% of the offensive snaps he’ll start to flirt with weekly flex value.

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A clash between two AFC teams that enter week 8 with highest projected point total, thanks to the reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes sidelined while he recovers from a knee injury.

Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Derek Carr has the 11th highest passer rating and NFL best completion percentage (74.1). On paper, this is an interesting matchup for Carr who is: facing a defense that has allowed the 4th most receiving yards per game, just placed DB Phillip Gaines on IR, are without DB Bradley Roby until after their bye week, have DB Tashaun Gibson questionable, and are 6.5 point road dogs. BUT Carr ranks 9th in fewest pass attempts per game, has the 8th fewest passes over 20 yards, lacks elite receiving weapons outside of his TE and has a head coach who is enamored with running the ball. Carr is best viewed as a 2-QB league starter and desperation spot fill in 1-qb leagues. Rudy projects Carr as QB21 in week 8.

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Kerryon Johnson was ruled out during Sunday’s bout against the Minnesota Vikings with a reported knee injury. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Monday that Kerryon is expected to miss a couple of weeks. Ty Johnson led the backfield in snaps on Sunday and will be this weeks top RB waiver add. JD McKissic, who was slightly more efficient with his touches than Ty, is a speculative add in deeper formats and for RB needy owners in PPR leagues. If Kerryon’s injury is longer than 1-2 weeks, don’t be surprised to see the Lions make an acquisition at the running back position. Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount are names to watch, unless the Lions make a trade with another NFL team. Both Ajayi and Blount have had workouts for other NFL teams in recent weeks. Either would be worth a bench stash if acquired. Kerryon and the Lions running game has underwhelmed this season, tied for the 11th worst in the league in yards per rush attempts (3.8) and 14th worst in yards per game. Unless you own Kerryon or have huge holes at the RB position, I would not waste top waiver priority position OR blow my FAAB money. We know Ty Johnson is expected to take over the #1 spot, but there is too much uncertainty. The Lions could make an acquisition or decide to treat the backfield like a true RBBC with McKissic, until Kerryon returns.

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A clash of the top two NFL quarterbacks in total pass attempts and two offenses that rank in the top 10 of receiving yards per game. We are set for a treat in the early slate this Sunday, when the Los Angeles Rams make the cross country trip to the A-T-L to face the dirty birds- the Atlanta Falcons. Matt Ryan leads the NFL in pass attempts with 258, followed by the visiting team QB Jared Goff with 246. Let the fantasy fireworks commence….

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As weekly fantasy standings continue to shift up and down; some owners are sitting atop their standings feeling good about a playoff run, some are in the thick of it where every week is one win away from a healthy spot in the standings or one loss away from the bottom, and lastly some owners are fighting to avoid their fantasy punishment. Regardless of position, preparing yourself for future matchups and protecting your assets down the stretch are vital to your chances of a deep playoff run OR avoiding punishment. Nearing the halfway mark of the NFL season, waivers are thin with starting caliber talent but are rich with valuable handcuffs that need to be owned. Let’s take a look at this weeks handcuff report…

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