Week 1 and 2 Handcuff Reports hit on Raheem Mostert, Jamaal Williams, Chris Thompson and Rex Burkhead, so far this season. Handcuff values can fluctuate on a week-to-week basis and injuries are not the only influencers. Efficiency, usage and fumbling issues are additional indicators that can influence the rise of a ‘handcuff.’ The Week 3 Handcuff Report highlights a number of RB situations that need to be monitored heading into week 4 of the NFL season. Enjoy!

Week 3 Offenders

Wayne Gallman

New York Giants

The consensus #1 overall fantasy pick, Saquon Barkley, left Sundays game early and was later seen walking around on crutches in a walking boot. Per ESPN Adam Schefter, the Giants early diagnosis is a high-ankle sprain and Barkley will undergo MRI testing on Monday to further evaluate. 49ers RB Tevin Coleman suffered a high ankle sprain in week 1 and is shelved for 4-6 weeks, unless Barkleys MRI yields a different diagnosis we can expect a similar timetable to return for Saquon. Wayne Gallman will be a popular name on waivers this week as the clear backup to Saquon Barkley, but I warn spending a high waiver priority or blowing FAAB budget on Gallman. Other viable options are available on waivers. The last time Gallman exceed 40 rushing yards in a game was the 2017 season.  He was serviceable in his first season in the NFL (2017) operating in a true RBBC, averaging 4.3 yards per carry for 476 yards on 111 attempts. Hoping Gallman can replace Barkley’s production will leave you with a broken heart. Expect the Giants to lean on rookie QB, Danny Dimes, to lead this team while Saquon is out. Daniel Jones showed his youth, athleticism, and ability to scramble on Sunday leading a comeback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If Barkley’s ankle is more serious, I would not be surprised to see the Giants make a transaction at the running back position.

Before spending your waiver priority or taking a large withdrawal from your FAAB budget (< 5%), look to see if other options are available on your waivers. Frank Gore is still available in more than 50% of leagues on ESPN and over 40% in NFL/Yahoo. Rex Burkhead, who led NE in snap % in week 3, is available in over 70% of ESPN/NFL/Yahoo leagues. Pending tonights MNF matchup, Chris Thompson is averaging 12.5 PPR points per game, and is available in over 48% of ESPN leagues, over 56% of Yahoo leagues, and over 68% of NFL leagues. I would also consider KC Darrell Williams, if Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy continue to be hobbled by injuries. Replacing a fantasy talent like Saquon Barkley from waivers is nearly impossible, fantasy seasons are ruined because of injuries to studs like Barkley. Try leveraging a trade if you have depth elsewhere on our roster or hope that Barkley’s time table to return is quicker than expected. 

Rex Burkhead

New England Patriots

James White was ruled out Sunday because of his wife in the hospital expecting their child (reported by ESPN Adam Schefter). White will cut into Burkhead snaps when James returns. In a game where Sony Michel was expected to dominate touches, Burkhead led this backfield in snap % (74% to Michels 28.6%) and outproduced Michel. Burkhead took 11 attempts for 47 yards, a TD, and 6 catches on 7 targets for 22 yards (18.9 PPR points). Compared to Michels sickening 9 carries for 11 yards, 1 target, and a day-saving goal line TD. Burkhead leads this backfield in snaps through 3 weeks of the NFL season, 106 snaps to Michels 75. Burkhead will fluctuate in New Englands RBBC, but should be consider a top RB add this week for owners lacking depth at the position. Burkhead is available in over 70% of ESPN/Yahoo/NFL leagues. 

Rashaad Penny

Seattle Seahawks

A mid round fantasy draft pick, Rashaad Penny was sidelined this week with a hamstring injury. There is a chance league-mates bailed on Penny and dropped him to waivers after being ruled out this week and putting up a dud in week 1. Chris Carson owners need to aggressively target Penny in a trade while his value remains relatively low, for now. Carson is having a bad case of the fumbles, coughing up the ball an unprecedented 4 times this season (losing 3). Carsons confidence is in a fragile state and Rashaad Penny looked good in week 2. Penny impressively took 10 carries for 62 yards (6.2 YPC), and scored a tuddy all while Carson had to watch on the sideline, in a healhty timeout for his fumbling woes. Available in ~32% of ESPN/NFL and 38% of Yahoo leagues, make sure to double check your waivers for Penny this week. Or look for trade targets, this could turn into a similar situation as Nick Chubb in Cleveland last year. Chubb usurped Carlos Hyde after the first 4-5 weeks of the season. Carson owners beware. 

Under Surveillance

Jordan Wilkins – Indianapolis Colts

After forcing fantasy owners to increase their anxiety meds, Marlon Mack missed practice Wednesday and Thursday of last week before returning in limited fashion on Friday. His questionable designation remained until game time, but Mack rewarded fantasy owners. Posting 74 yards and a TD for 16.8 PPR points. Jordan Wilkins was an after thought, on the field for only 10% of the Colts offensive snaps. Marlon Mack owners are presented with a window of opportunity to grab their handcuff. We have seen calf injuries linger like hamstrings and cause players to be sidelined for multiple weeks. Mack’s future practice reports might mirror week 3 and cause a lot of angst for owners when Mack ends up as a game time inactive. Having Wilkins as your insurance policy in a run efficient offense will pay off if Mack misses time. In deeper leagues, he is a name to consider as a bench stash. In 12-team leagues with 7 or less bench spots, don’t waste the waiver claim unless you own Mack. 

Brian Hill/Qadree Ollison – Atlants Falcons

Watch list candidates for now, but Ito Smith left early and did not return in Sundays bout against the Colts with a concussion. Monitor Smith’s progress this week to see if he is able to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol and return to practice. If not, Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison will be interesting names to watch. Devonta Freeman failed to produce the first two weeks of the season, but was able to redeem himself Sunday taking 16 carrels for 88 yards and score. Freemans job is safe, but an aging veteran coming off a season long injury is at risk of breaking down as the season wears on. 

Keeping Detained

Darrel Williams led the Kansas City backfield in touches and efficiency with Damien Williams sidelined (knee) and veteran LeSean McCoy limited (ankle) in week 3 against the Ravens. McCoy was able to score two touchdowns on Sunday, but was obviously hobbled by his ankle throughout the game. Damiens absence and McCoys ankle paved the way for Darrels 9 carries – 62 yards (6.2 ypc) and 5 receptions on 5 targets for 47 yards. Neither Damien Williams nor McCoy’s injuries are currently long term threats to their availability, but both situations need to be monitored.  Darwin Thompson was an afterthought on Sunday (4 car for 8 yds, 0 targets) and is merely a speculative stash in deeper formats. Darwin is a candidate for release, if Damien and McCoy are able to move on from their current injuries. Keep in mind, Damien has never handled a full starting RB workload and McCoy is an aging veteran with a history of recent injuries. Darrel Williams remains a bench stash, and Darwin is an end of season watch list candidate. 

Jamaal Williams remains a premium handcuff and is on the verge of stand alone flex value in full point PPR leagues if his usage continues in Green Bay. Williams led this backfield in snaps % (61%) over Aaron Jones (39%), and out touched Jones (14 to 11 total touches), surprisingly after Jones’ explosive performance in week 2. Jones still remains the top back to own in Green Bay, but HC Matt LeFleur’s sentiment to “even up” (reported by Packers beat Ryan Wood) touches between these backs should instill some level of fear into Jones owners. Williams should be a top waiver add in most formats heading into week 4.

Raheem Mostert is a weekly flex play in a fantasy running back friendly offense. Even though Mostert was 2nd in RB snaps in week 3, he was more efficient with his touches. Taking 12 carrels for 79 yards, boasting a healthy 6.6 yards per carry. Tevin Coleman’s return from a high ankle sprain looms, and will impact the fantasy value of everyone in this backfield. Mostert and Matt Breida are both sell candidates as Colemans return nears. Jeff Wilson Jr. is a low upside add even though he vultured goal line touches for a 2nd week in a row. Wilson does not see the field enough to instill confidence in starting lineups, unless in super deep leagues where praying for him to fall in the end zone for a 3rd consecutive week is the only hope. 

Justin Jackson remains a handcuff in deeper formats or for RB desperate owners until Melvin Gordon returns. Jackson has been efficient with his touches, averaging a healthy 7.9 yards per carry but is not seeing the field (30% snap rate) or touching the ball enough (6.0 touches per game) to be consider flex worthy. 

Up For Release

Ty Montgomery – New York Jets

I warned about Ty Montgomery being a trap add last week, following Le’Veon Bell ‘s shoulder scare, but more so because of this offenses’ inability to move the ball under 3rd string quarterback Luke Falk –  paired with a brutal rushing schedule. If and when Sam Darnold can return, Ty might become someone to consider for our benches but not any time in the near future. Monty should be released to waivers in most fantasy formats.


Leave your feedback and questions below in the comments. As always @ me on twitter. 



  1. toolshed says:

    I added gb defense since I own balt. GB has been pretty good on defense from a fantasy standppint. They are currently the 3rd highest scoring defense in my league. Patriots are #1 but that includes an outlier of 40+ fantasy points vs mia. Would you keep both defenses if you had the room or should I throw gb back into FA?

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:

      i don’t promote rostering two defenses. if you keep one, look at their matchups over the next couple of weeks and see who has the more favorable schedule. I do agree that Green Bay has become a viable fantasy defense, and i am a big promoter of playing a little “offense” by playing a little “defense” and not allowing your leagues mates to have a chance at rostering players even if you do not need them. IF and only IF the bench size is deep enough to justify it, then im okay with rostering two defenses and playing the matchups each week…but if its a 12 team league with 6-7 bench spots, i would only roster 1 defense.

      after initial glance, i think i like Baltimores schedule over the next couple of weeks versus GB.

  2. patdaddy1985 says:

    Would you take Waller and Godwin for Aaron Jones and Kittle at this point? I also have Phil Lyndsay to fill in for Jones

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:

      no, Kittle is getting the targets, snaps, and the work. I don’t think Waller is an upgrade over Kittle. Kittle willl see better days. Aaron Jones over Lindsay every week. Jones just had a 27 point game the week before, tough matchup against the broncos front line. he’ll bounce back. in both cases Jones and Kittle are on the better offenses, stay put.

  3. Super Terrific Carpal Tunnel Virusy Box vs Mail Robot (who wins?) says:

    PPR with return yards worth the same as scrimmage
    QB (1): goff, allen
    RB (2) carry-on, mack, wilkins, gore
    WR (2) edelman, fitz, samuel, mclaurin, marv jones, green
    TE: olsen, herndon (was going to drop herndon for more RB’s anyway after olsen has been this solid)
    1 util
    IR (1) barkley

    well there goes anybody but a WR in the util for probably the rest of my season now 0-3. lost week one from henry getting hurt. trying to trade one of mclaurin/marv jones/samuel for a RB straight up or maybe gore + one of those for lesser WR + better RB

    1. i have the best waiver here (weekly reset to standings) the other KC d-will or gallman here 1st?

    2. got an offer of edleman for jeffery + freeman (ATL) but not sure this is any good here. jeffery murdered me last year when i drafted him everywhere at what looked like good value then routinely started him more times than was good for me as a #2 WR. meanwhile edleman is set to be quite good this year with AB out.

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:

      I do like getting freeman at a position of need, but agree about Edelman > Jeffery. see if you can get a diff WR in return. i have both d-will and gallman close in waiver priority. KC is obviously the better offense but that backfield, when healthy, is a 2-3 headed monster. at least we know gallman is the lead back in NEW York and the offense is trending up with Danny Jones under center. i think it boils down to Damien and McCoys health. if they are both sidelined then i rather have Darrel Williams over Gallman. Darrell did have the most snaps in this backfield in week 3, with McCoy on the field. if Damien is still sidelined then i rather have Darrell in week 4 over gallman. it does look like Damien injury, at the moment, is a bone bruise which is usually a 2-3 week minimum return. if that is the case then i go Darrel Williams then Gallman.

      • Super Terrific Carpal Tunnel Virusy Box vs Mail Robot (who wins?) says:

        what about one of these for c.thompson (i have a friend who is the opposite of me, WR weak but RB deep) for c.samuel, mclaurin, marv jones (he might do singletary for mclaurin too), plus in about 2 hours i’ll have one of d-will (lesser D-will KC), or gallman dropping herndon

        • Super Terrific Carpal Tunnel Virusy Box vs Mail Robot (who wins?) says:

          we’re in a goofy league where even if a trade goes in by wed but not before it won’t count towards this week. my friend does say he’ll do c.thompson for one of marv jones/mclaurin/c.samuel (think he wants marv jones), or singletary possibly.

          • Nic Romero

            Nic Romero says:

            who did you end up with from the waivers? idk man, im back and forth on it because i’m leaning towards just playing the WR matchups with the solid stable you have. and just only exposing yourself to two RBs. but if you want to add the Rb depth, id only be okay with parting ways with Marvin Jones. i wouldn’t do any of them for Singletary. only Chris Thompson for Jones.

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