Week 11 is upon us and another heavy bye week for us to manage with 6 teams on bye. Luckily, week-12 is the last of the byes with just two teams off.

Only one new name to talk about this week, but we’ll touch on a couple of repeat offenders that are worth updating. Since it is a light week, I start you with a few nuggets heading in to your playoffs. Let’s win you a championship or at least some money if your league pays more than first place.

All of you fall in to one of the following buckets: playoff spot locked up, fighting/jockeying for a final spot, or no chance at all. If you are fighting to lock up a playoff spot, you need to win now and dominate your weekly matchups. The focus is on finding every extra fantasy point you can grab. Is there a better defensive matchup for you to stream? What about a kicker? Maybe even a better QB matchup if you are juggling middle tier QBs on your roster. I’ve seen players like Marcus Mariota, Carson Wentz, Russel Wilson and somehow Mitchel Trubisky pop on waivers as league-mates manage byes. Dak Prescott has a couple of nice matchups down the stretch. If you have a bench warmer that has not or will not hit your starting lineup this season then you should not hesitate dropping him. If it means getting better for a one week matchup then make the move. This needs to be your mentality as we head down the stretch. Scratching and crawling for every point to lock up your final playoff spot.

If you are lucky enough to have a playoff spot locked up then you need to take advantage of the luxuries that come along with it. Do not fall asleep at the wheel. You have worked your tail off to get to this point.  My nuggets for you– grab your handcuff now and pick up a defense with a juicy week 14, 15, or 16 matchup. If you know you are getting a bye then only focus on the weeks you will be playing. Even if it is just a nice one week matchup. Don’t worry about having a defense that has a sweet matchup this week. Does it really matter if you finish 3 or 4th seed if you know you are going to make it either way?

Here are a couple of defenses that have plus matchups: Steelers vs Oak (WK14,) Texans vs Jets (WK15), Bills vs NYJ & DET (WK14,15), Titans vs NYJ, JAX, NYG, & WSH (WK13-14-15-16). I really like the Titans D heading down the stretch and they are on waivers this week with a matchup against Andrew Luck and the Colts.

If you fall in the last bucket and have no chance, don’t give up. It is your goal to ruin someones playoff hopes. Is anything more demoralizing than finishing last in your fantasy league? Do you have an embarrassing punishment for finishing last? Don’t let that be you.

I will wrap this up and get to your names. As noted before, reviewing your leagues transaction history is crucial. Look ahead to your playoff schedule and defensive matchups. Can you leverage a trade to bolster a weak spot on your roster come playoff time. This is the last week for trades in most leagues. Drop dead weight and pick up your handcuff.

Boom, let’s go! Here are your week 11 Bad Boyz…

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Four more games left until most fantasy football playoffs begin. How are you looking? Playoff spot locked up or do you need to go on a run down the stretch?

Another quiet week, we avoided major injuries to our starting backs. Today, I’ll touch on a few handcuffs that are worth monitoring heading in to your playoffs.

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Would you believe me if I told you during the preseason that James Conner, Javorius Allen, Austin Ekeler, TJ Yeldon, Nyheim Hines, and Latavius Murray would be top 25 running backs in PPR leagues heading in to week 9? No, and I would love to see an expert that had any ranked that high. The overall state of the running back position in fantasy is one for its own article. Unless you went RB heavy during your draft, we should change our expectations for RB 2’s and flex RBs.

With the amount of teams deploying an RBBC (running back by committee) the value for the backup running back exceeds more than just a ‘handcuff.’ You will hear that rostering your handcuff is not worth it but the names above would say otherwise. Even though some of the players below are not sexy acquisitions don’t let that prevent you from insuring your team for the championship run. Keep this in mind as you question if you should roster a Giovani Bernard or Nyheim Hines. There is value in owning your handcuff even if they are the clear #2.

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As we mark the halfway point of the NFL season, many fantasy football outlets are performing mid-year reviews. While reflecting on early season analysis can be beneficial, I know you are more concerned about who to start this week for your starter that is on bye and what is going on with the multiple backfield injuries. This is what I am here to give you…

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The heart of bye season is upon us. Packers, Raiders, Seahawks and Steelers are all on bye this week. Chargers, Cowboys, Falcons, and Titans next week. Melvin Gordon owners, next week might be your opportunity to pick up your handcuff– Austin Ekeler. Your league-mates are scrambling to plug in holes and valuable assets are hitting the wire. I’ll keep my soap box brief this week since I wrote about this previously, just keep an eye on your leagues transaction report to see if you can find any loot.

I promised you names and we have plenty to give you for week 7. Enjoy!

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My weekly goal is not only to inform you on critical RB pickups and injuries but to help equip you to win your league with my weekly strategy soap box. We are nearing the half way point of the fantasy football regular season and I have another nugget for you. 

Stop gloating about your undefeated or one loss team, no one cares and it does not matter. Regular season win/loss records do not mean anything if you are chasing a championship. If your team is great now it does not gaurantee your team to be great come playoffs. Exhibit A: a league-mate of mine last season went 11-2 and did not win the championship. Mid-season, I suggested he should make a trade to help improve his team for the post season. He felt his team was too good and he did not need to make any changes. He exited the playoffs first round and we all got the last laugh. 

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I rarely write or ‘show my work’ on football research as it is not in my best interest to reveal anything about how I come up with my fantasy projections. But there has been a lot of discussion in the fantasy community of late on “Do Defenses Matter?” and it seemed like an opportunity to contribute to the discussion.

There are a number of ways Defenses COULD matter for projecting offense. I have tested several and incorporated the learnings into the projections. Without divulging anything, here is an overview of hypotheses in which an opposing defense could impact defense:

Would you believe me if I told you that bye weeks are a positive thing in Fantasy Football? Yes, managing our waiver acquisitions and benches while we fill in for our players on bye can be a headache but there is a silver lining here (I’m on a roll with these movie references).

I have no clue who @pahowdy is but he just got a plug in my weekly handcuff report, good for him. The only thing I would add to this tweet is it applies just as much to season long leagues.

While your opposing owners are desperately trying to cover players on bye, valuable fantasy assets are popping on waivers for us savvy owners to scoop up. Let me know if you’ve heard this one before….one man’s trash in another man’s treasure. Well, this is your opportunity to pick up that trash.

Remember when you, Melvin Gordon and Alex Collins owners, missed out on Austin Ekeler and Javorius Allen because they were the hottest waiver add week 1-2. Well, in a number of my leagues I’ve noticed these early season waiver adds are starting to get dumped as owners scramble to fill in their byes. Comb through your leagues transaction history after each waiver period moving forward to see if you can find any treasure. Your goal is to build for your playoff run and ultimately your championship. Savvy moves like this can push you over the top. The probability of starters getting injured only increases as the season wears on and player usage piles up.

Now on to this weeks’ Bad Boyz report…

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Ladies and Gentleman, Happy Friday! The first quarter of the NFL season is coming to a quick close. We are reaching a point in the season where we will start to see teams and players take off. It’s well documented, with how the NFL pre-season is treated, that September is a slow start for teams. The Patriots are a prime example. I see team owners on twitter freaking out and jumping ship on players that they invested a lot of draft capital.

In the wise words of William Wallace,”Hold…Hold…Hold.” I understand, easier said than done if you are staring at a 0-3 start and losing studs to injury. Speaking first hand, I am still holding on to Chris Hogan and Derrick Henry but time is running out. Don’t get me wrong, I have dropped both players in various leagues but not giving up 100% stock. All I’m suggesting is don’t get “too cute” yet and drop players just to pick up a RB4, WR4/5 that had one good week while your team is just warming up. I would not drop Hogan or Henry for, let’s just say, Aldrick Robinson who had two receiving touchdowns in the TNF Vikings @ Rams game. After this week we will get a green light on dropping some of these players.

I’ll get off my soap box and get to the Bad Boyz of week 4 but if you have questions, on guys you are fighting with dropping or keeping on your roster, leave a note in the comments or @ me on twitter.

Alright let us get to it, we have a few new offenders to present to you this week. Also, we have a clearer picture and update on repeat offenders with a couple getting released on good…bad behavior.

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Controversy struck the Ditka, Sausage, and Fantasy Sports podcast this week. If you didn’t know, that’s the podcast that I do with Donkey Teeth here on Razzball (shameless plug). Anyway, we have our season long bets that we refer to as stogie bets. We started with steak and liquor, but that was stolen from another podcast and Donkey Teeth doesn’t eat steak so that reward was pretty tilted toward one side. As Ditka-ites, Ditka followers, Ditkaheads, we both enjoy a nice cigar and decide on stogie bets.

One of those bets was whether Tyrod Taylor would start for the Browns all season or not, barring injury. That was the bet and no more was said about it. Well, Tyrod got hurt in week 3 and we had the first Baker Mayfield sighting. Tyrod was concussed and didn’t return to the game, and Baker has been announced as the starter for week 4 regardless of Tyrod’s health situation and clearing the concussion protocol.

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