For a second week in a row Raheem Mostert dominated offensive snaps for the 49ers running back room, logging 73.7% (wk13) and 59.7% (wk14) snap share. Tevin Coleman ranked 3rd on the team in RB snap share following Matt Breida’s return from injury. Raheem handled 12 touches, over Breida’s 7 and Coleman’s 3. I’m not sure if Coleman is injured or Mostert and Breida are clearly the better option. Regardless, you can’t trust Coleman starting in any format for week 15 and most likely 16.

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It’s that time of the year, the majority of fantasy leagues are entering the last week of the regular season. Fantasy owners that have secured a playoff spot need to prepare themselves for a championship victory. One way to protect yourself through the playoffs is by grabbing your stud running back handcuff. Unless you own two top 10 QBs, there is no reason to hold two quarterbacks. There is no point wasting bench spots with players that are never going to hit your starting lineup. Nothing is worse than losing Dalvin Cook while you are in the hunt for fantasy football glory only to find that you have no shot at grabbing Alexander Mattison because of low waiver priority or min FAAB budget. Make sure you grab your insurance policy before the price increases. Chris Carson owners are learning that lesson this week. Don’t get caught with your pants down and good luck as you jockey for playoff positioning.

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Ty Johnson was able to clear concussion protocol and suit up after carrying a questionable tag all week, but it was the Lions practice squad acquisition that led this backfield on Sunday against the Cowboys. Bo Scarbrough found the field for 49% of the Lions offensive snaps, leading both Ty Johnson (29%) and JD McKissic (23%), and looked good while doing it. Bo handled 74% of the Lions running back carries (14), and finished the day with 55 yards, 1TD, and 11.5 fantasy points. If the Lions did not fall behind in the second half, Scarbrough would have padded his stats a little more. The Lions turned to JD McKissic in the passing game, recording 3 receptions on 4 targets, with Bo recording 0 targets while the Lions were playing catch-up. Ty Johnson was an afterthought, taking his 2 carries for a measly 6 yards, making Bo one of the top adds this week. McKissic still offers low-end value in deeper PPR formats, but Ty Johnson can be dropped in most 12-team and small leagues.

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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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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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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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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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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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In a perfect world: there would be no need for handcuff and injury reports, starting backs never lose their job, nor get injured. If there ever was a week that emulated this world, we lived it in week 5. Instead of implosions and injuries, week 5 was filled with fantasy explosions. The first couple of weeks have turned into preseason-esque football: poor performances and athletes getting in “game shape” are the new norm to start the NFL season. October is here and the football that was expected has arrived.

The week 5 fantasy gods were kind to us, avoiding any major injuries to starting running backs. Just because there were no injuries or any major handcuff to report on, it does not mean we get to take our foot off the gas. Now is the time for owners to secure their handcuff and prepare for the end of the fantasy season, as owners give up on under performing handcuffs that were over-drafted. Look for players like Rashaad Penny, Ito Smith, Tony Pollard, Malcolm Brown, Alexander Mattison, Latavius Murray, and Jaylen Samuels to be dropped this week. If you own any of their respective starting backs, you want to make sure you secure your insurance policy before it’s too late and before the price increases.

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Marlon Mack was initially thought to have been ruled out due to an ankle injury during Sunday‚Äôs game against Oakland. Colts head coach Frank Reich clarified that Mack was not medically ruled out. Mack was forced on the sideline due to a negative game script. Marlon Mack will be dealing with an injury designation throughout the course of this week again. Forcing fantasy owners to play chicken with their lineups, but Macks injury isn’t expected to keep him out of his week-5 matchup. Nyheim Hines was the preferred back and catch-up game script favorite playing from behind early in the 1st quarter. Hines finished the game with 35 snaps to Macks 18, and Jordan Wilkins 16. Recording 6 receptions on 6 targets, Hines’ role was solidified as the receiving play back. Unfortunately neither of the 3 IND backs turned in a serviceable fantasy outing. Mack hasn’t played a full 16 games since joining the Colts and has surfaced on the injury report for two injuries 4 weeks into the season (calf/ankle). Mack owners need to consider rostering either Jordan Wilkins or Nyheim Hines, as insurance. Jordan Wilkins is averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry and will be the early down/goal line back if Mack were to go down for any period of time.

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