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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…
Week 6 Offenders
Malcolm Brown / Darrell Henderson
Los Angeles Rams
Todd Gurley was ruled out over the weekend with a quad injury, but is expected to have a “chance” to return for week 7, per NFL Networks Ian Rapoport. Either way Malcolm Brown and Darrel Henderson need to be owned for Gurley owners, and looked at for non-Gurley owners, considering Gurley’s injury history with his knee. The Rams have been ambiguous with Gurley’s knee issues dating back to last year, and it’ll be tough to trust anything coming out of LA moving forward. Malcolm Brown served as the the early down back on Sunday against the 49ers, but Jared Goff and the Rams were unable to get anything going against a tough 49ers defense. The Niners have surrendered the least amount of fantasy points to opposing running backs. 3rd round draft pick Darrel Henderson was given an opportunity with Gurley out, receiving all of the RB targets and taking 6 carries for 39 yards. Henderson was more efficient with his carries than Brown, averaging 6.5 yards per carry to Malcoms 3.6. When Gurley returns, Malcolm is relegated back to his traditional handcuff role but Henderson might be able to carve himself a role as the change of pace/passing down back that everyone drafted him to be. Malcolm and Henderson are low-end flex plays for owners stuck in a desperate situation or covering bye weeks, both are bench stash material until this backfield stabilizes.
Scoring for the second week in a row, Chase Edmonds continues to display his athletic ability while coming in for David Johnson. Last week Edmonds scored on a 37-yard run in the 4th quarter and this week scoring on a 2 yard pass from Kyler Murray early in the 2nd quarter. Edmonds is not receiving enough usage to receive flex or roster consideration unless you own David Johnson. If you have a deep enough league or large enough bench then playing defense and preventing DJ owners from picking him up is a playable tactic. David Johnson was on the injury report all week while nursing through a back injury, but was able to suit up for the whole game against Atlanta avoiding any setbacks. If you own DJ, now is the window for you acquire Edmonds. Chase has displayed agility and explosiveness that instills confidence in his ability to be productive if thrusted into starting duties. Edmonds is average 6.7 yards per carry on the season and 7.6 yards per reception. His snaps would need to increase to warrant flex usage in 12 team or smaller leagues.
Benny Snell Jr.
Mentioned in last weeks handcuff report, Jaylen Samuels is out for a least a month with a knee injury. In a game where the Steelers got out to an early lead and had ‘duck-man’ Devlin Hodge tossing the rock, Mike Tomlin decided to lean on the run game. Conner put up an impressive fantasy outing, scoring 2 TDs. Jumping out to a quick and large lead, 21-0 in the first half, the Steelers were able to utilize and evaluate their 4th round draft pick and now backup RB, Benny Snell Jr. Snell out-carried and outproduced Conner on the ground, taking 17 carries for 75 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. Conner did the majority of his damage through the air, recording 7 reception on 7 targets for 78 yards and a tuddie. With Samuels out at least a month, Snell could find himself in the premium handcuff range as the Steelers continue to lean on the run game with either Mason Rudolph OR Hodge playing quarterback. The Steelers are on a bye this week, which might present an opportunity for Conner owners to secure their insurance with other owners looking for immediate impact off waivers in week 7.
Nearly even with Dalvin Cook in rushing attempts, Alexander Mattison recorder 2-fewer carries, taking 14 rushes for 63 yards. Averaging 4.3 yards per carry compared to Cooks 2.6 against a stout Eagles defensive front. The Vikings continued to utilize Mattison in multiple situations throughout the game and not just “garbage time.” Cook has a missed multiple games each of his first two seasons in the league, and the Vikings have not shied away from using him. Cook is 7th in the NFL in rushing attempts (108) and tied for 5th in total RB touches (131). Cook owners need to make sure to grab Mattison before it’s too late.
New Orleans Saints
Latavius Murray entered the season on our preseason premium handcuff list, but had his value plummet when Drew Brees was sidelined multiple weeks (hand). Alvin Kamara provided a scare for fantasy owners as a late addition to the practice/injury report last Thursday, with an ankle injury. Kamara was able to suit up with no issues, but this is another reminder why owning your handcuff is important, no one likes getting caught with their pants down! Murray averaged a healthily 5.5 yards per carry on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars and was targeted 3 times in the passing game. The Saints continue to lean on the run with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm. Since taking over for Drew Brees, the Saints have ran more times than pass in their previous 4 games. Kamara owners need to protect their investment and roster Murray.
Other Handcuffs worth consideration…
- Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons
- Gus Edwards / Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravnes
- Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
- Ryquell Armstead, Jacksonville Jaguars
Neither of these backs should be considered in our starting lineups barring any injury mid-week, but they should be owned for those that own the respective starter on their team.
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