Nov 6, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) is stopped short of the end zone by Denver Broncos safety Darian Stewart (26) in the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back, everyone. I apologize for missing last week, but I had a bunch of running around to do and was never able to settle down and hammer out the Week 9 Handcuff Report. Let’s just assume that I gave you great advice last week and that you’re back this week for more. Ok? Ok. Good. Great. Now, about those running backs.

The Oakland Raiders have been really fun to watch this year unless you have been trying to predict running back touches all year. While Latavius Murray was frustrating earlier in the year and then got hurt, but one thing he has done all year is find his way into the end zone. And in a week when a ton of people probably benched him because he was going up against the defense of the Denver Broncos, he decided to get into the end zone three times. Hopefully, you rolled the dice or were forced to start him because of bye weeks and injuries, but I know that many of you didn’t start him. I probably wouldn’t have.

Staying in the AFC West, Melvin Gordon refuses to go away and may very well end up being the most valuable player for many owners this year. He has put up monster numbers and has already played the Broncos and their defense twice (though that obviously didn’t stop Latavius Murray).

Both Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower had solid weeks for fantasy owners, but don’t expect that volume to continue in the coming weeks. They are not going to combine for 40+ touches in that Saints offense (or any offense) every week. Now that Ingram appears to be out of the doghouse, I would look for him to take back his regular role.

And now, to the report…

NOTE: In the tables below, I’ve removed running backs who have been placed on Injured Reserve. If the running back is injured but is not on IR, then he has a + next to his name.

American Football Conference
AFC East Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Patriots LeGarrette Blount Brandon Bolden / Dion Lewis James White D.J. Foster
Jets Matt Forte Bilal Powell Bilal Powell Troymaine Pope
Dolphins Jay Ajayi Damien Williams Damien Williams Kenyan Drake
Bills LeSean McCoy + Mike Gillislee LeSean McCoy Reggie Bush
AFC North Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Bengals Giovani Bernard Jeremy Hill + Giovani Bernard Rex Burkhead
Ravens Terrance West Kenneth Dixon Terrance West Javorius Allen
Steelers Le’Veon Bell DeAngelo Williams + Le’Veon Bell Fitzgerald Toussaint
Browns Isaiah Crowell Duke Johnson Duke Johnson George Atkinson
AFC South Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Texans Lamar Miller + Alfred Blue Lamar Miller + Jonathan Grimes +
Jaguars Chris Ivory T.J. Yeldon T.J. Yeldon Denard Robinson
Colts Frank Gore Robert Turbin Frank Gore Josh Ferguson
Titans DeMarco Murray Derrick Henry + DeMarco Murray Antonio Andrews
AFC West Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Chiefs Spencer Ware Charcandrick West Charcandrick West Knile Davis
Broncos Devontae Booker Kapri Bibbs Devontae Booker Juwan Thompson
Raiders Latavius Murray DeAndre Washington everyone / no one Jalen Richard
Chargers Melvin Gordon Kenneth Farrow Melvin Gordon Andre Williams?

The good news for Kenneth Dixon handcuffers is that he was more involved for the Baltimore Ravens for this week. The bad news is that he didn’t have much success and then left with an injury. It sounds, at least initially, like he is going to be OK, and Terrance West did not have much success either. Both running backs only averaged 1.4 yards per carry, so neither proved that they deserved the lead back job going forward. It seemed like the Ravens wanted to get Dixon more involved coming into this game, but it is not clear if they will continue to try to do that. You can continue to hold onto Dixon has a handcuff for now, but I wouldn’t roll the dice on starting him just yet.

The Miami Dolphins continued to hand the ball to Jay Ajayi, and he continued to straight pound it for them. Their offensive line is playing as good as any line in football right now, and Ajayi has emerged as an RB1 for fantasy owners. While he came into the year as a backup and didn’t even travel for their first game of the season, Ajayi is now one of those rare workhorse running backs who get the ball 25+ times a game. He continues to have success, and he should be in every lineup going forward. He does have a bit of an injury history that makes people nervous, but he has not shown any hitches yet.

Charcandrick West started for a concussed Spencer Ware on Sunday, but he did not do much that would jeopardize many of Ware’s touches going forward. West is a nice backup and change of pace back, and he is basically Ware’s handcuff-by-default right now, but that is all that he is. West produced 74 yards on 16 touches, but he only averaged three yards on his 13 carries.

You also have to like this from Ajayi’s head coach:

 

National Football Conference
NFC East Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Giants Rashad Jennings Paul Perkins Bobby Rainey Orleans Darkwa
Eagles Darren Sproles Ryan Mathews Darren Sproles Wendell Smallwood
Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott Alfred Morris Ezekiel Elliott Lance Dunbar +
Washington Robert Kelley Matt Jones Chris Thompson Chris Thompson
NFC North Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Vikings Jerick McKinnon + Matt Asiata Jerick McKinnon + Ronnie Hillman
Packers Ty Montgomery James Starks + Ty Montgomery Don Jackson +
Lions Theo Riddick Dwayne Washington Theo Riddick Zach Zenner / Justin Forsett
Bears Jordan Howard Jeremy Langford Ka’Deem Carey Ka’Deem Carey
NFC South Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Buccaneers Doug Martin + Jacquizz Rodgers + Jacquizz Rodgers + Peyton Barber
Saints Mark Ingram Tim Hightower Travaris Cadet Tim Hightower
Panthers Jonathan Stewart Cameron Artis-Payne Fozzy Whittaker Cameron Artis-Payne
Falcons Devonta Freeman Tevin Coleman + Tevin Coleman + Terron Ward
NFC West Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
49ers Carlos Hyde + DuJuan Harris Shaun Draughn Mike Davis
Seahawks Christine Michael Thomas Rawls + C.J. Prosise C.J. Prosise
Cardinals David Johnson Andre Ellington David Johnson Stepfan Taylor
Rams Todd Gurley Benny Cunningham Todd Gurley Malcolm Brown

It appears that our days of plugging in Christine Michael as an RB1 or RB2 are over. Not only has his production vanished (he rushed for exactly one yard on just five carries on Monday Night, though he did punch in a touchdown), but he is now losing snaps to a now-healthy C.J. Prosise and may start losing snaps to a soon-to-be-healthy Thomas Rawls. He was only on the field for 18 snaps on Monday, while Prosise saw 26. C-Mike is trending down.

The 49ers surprised most of us on Sunday. With Carlos Hyde out again, they turned to DuJuan Harris and not Mike Davis or Shaun Draughn. Not only did Harris start:

But he dominated the snaps and touches:

It’s not yet clear if Carlos Hyde will suit up for Week 10, but DuJuan Harris is worth adding for right now. Even if Hyde plays, it is doubtful he will see a full workload right away.

In the NFC East, there has been a changing of the guard in Philadelphia. Ryan Mathews has officially fallen out of favor and has lost nearly all of his playing time to Darren Sproles. While Mathews did manage to get in the end zone on Sunday, he only played eight snaps. Sproles, on the other hand, played 59. 59 to eight indicates that Sproles is now the starter, and Doug Pederson admitted as much during his Monday press conference. Personally, I think they are going to run Sproles into the ground and that towards the end of the season we are going to see more Mathews and Smallwood, but Sproles is the clear number one option for the Eagles as of right now.

Player Team Started Snaps Snap Pct
24-D.Freeman ATL YES 46 63%
28-T.Ward ATL NO 23 32%
33-S.Ridley ATL NO 3 4%
35-J.Pressley ATL NO 0 0%
26-T.Coleman ATL NO 0 0%
28-T.West BAL YES 29 41%
34-L.Taliaferro BAL NO 0 0%
30-K.Dixon BAL NO 20 29%
37-J.Allen BAL NO 0 0%
25-L.McCoy BUF YES 64 74%
35-M.Gillislee BUF NO 24 28%
22-R.Bush BUF NO 8 9%
31-J.Williams BUF NO 1 1%
28-J.Stewart CAR YES 44 69%
43-F.Whittaker CAR NO 15 23%
38-J.Simmons CAR NO 0 0%
34-C.Artis-Payne CAR NO 0 0%
29-D.Johnson CLE NO 22 50%
34-I.Crowell CLE YES 22 50%
25-G.Atkinson CLE NO 0 0%
38-T.Magee CLE NO 0 0%
43-R.Neal CLE NO 0 0%
21-E.Elliott DAL YES 44 60%
46-A.Morris DAL NO 24 33%
25-L.Dunbar DAL NO 6 8%
34-D.Jackson DAL NO 0 0%
20-D.McFadden DAL NO 0 0%
23-D.Booker DEN YES 46 82%
35-K.Bibbs DEN NO 9 16%
40-J.Thompson DEN NO 0 0%
25-T.Riddick DET YES 46 70%
36-D.Washington DET NO 21 32%
34-Z.Zenner DET NO 0 0%
30-J.Forsett DET NO 0 0%
34-D.Jackson GB NO 13 19%
38-J.Crockett GB NO 0 0%
44-J.Starks GB NO 0 0%
27-E.Lacy GB NO 0 0%
23-F.Gore IND YES 47 69%
33-R.Turbin IND NO 16 24%
34-J.Ferguson IND NO 5 7%
28-J.Todman IND NO 0 0%
24-T.Yeldon JAC YES 43 56%
33-C.Ivory JAC NO 34 44%
16-D.Robinson JAC NO 0 0%
34-B.Hill JAC NO 0 0%
30-C.Grant JAC NO 0 0%
35-C.West KC YES 45 78%
34-K.Davis KC NO 10 17%
32-S.Ware KC NO 0 0%
30-B.Sankey KC NO 0 0%
31-D.Reaves KC NO 0 0%
30-T.Gurley LARM YES 43 63%
23-B.Cunningham LARM NO 25 37%
34-C.Reynolds LARM NO 0 0%
39-M.Brown LARM NO 2 3%
27-T.Mason LARM NO 0 0%
36-A.Green LARM NO 0 0%
23-J.Ajayi MIA YES 46 73%
26-D.Williams MIA NO 14 22%
32-K.Drake MIA NO 3 5%
34-S.Perry MIA NO 0 0%
44-M.Asiata MIN YES 28 40%
21-J.McKinnon MIN NO 26 37%
33-R.Hillman MIN NO 16 23%
28-A.Peterson MIN NO 0 0%
30-C.Ham MIN NO 0 0%
34-T.Hightower NO YES 37 43%
22-M.Ingram NO NO 33 38%
38-T.Cadet NO NO 13 15%
36-D.Lasco NO NO 0 0%
23-M.Murphy NO NO 0 0%
23-R.Jennings NYG YES 37 58%
28-P.Perkins NYG NO 22 34%
26-O.Darkwa NYG NO 0 0%
43-B.Rainey NYG NO 5 8%
28-P.Perkins NYG NO 0 0%
34-S.Vereen NYG NO 0 0%
23-R.Jennings NYG NO 0 0%
34-S.Vereen NYG NO 0 0%
26-O.Darkwa NYG NO 0 0%
43-B.Rainey NYG NO 0 0%
22-M.Forte NYJ YES 32 55%
29-B.Powell NYJ NO 26 45%
26-C.Spiller NYJ NO 3 5%
34-B.Wilds NYJ NO 0 0%
33-R.Morris NYJ NO 0 0%
28-L.Murray OAK YES 43 49%
49-J.Olawale OAK NO 16 18%
30-J.Richard OAK NO 21 24%
33-D.Washington OAK NO 18 20%
22-T.Jones OAK NO 0 0%
43-D.Sproles PHI YES 60 80%
28-W.Smallwood PHI NO 4 5%
34-K.Barner PHI NO 3 4%
24-R.Mathews PHI NO 8 11%
34-K.Barner PHI NO 0 0%
28-W.Smallwood PHI NO 0 0%
26-L.Bell PIT YES 65 94%
33-F.Toussaint PIT NO 0 0%
34-D.Williams PIT NO 4 6%
38-D.Richardson PIT NO 0 0%
30-K.Williams PIT NO 0 0%
28-M.Gordon SD YES 65 81%
27-K.Farrow SD NO 15 19%
43-B.Oliver SD NO 0 0%
39-D.Woodhead SD NO 0 0%
44-A.Williams SD NO 0 0%
33-D.McCluster SD NO 0 0%
22-C.Prosise SEA NO 26 55%
32-C.Michael SEA YES 18 38%
36-A.Collins SEA NO 1 2%
38-T.Madden SEA NO 0 0%
34-T.Rawls SEA NO 0 0%
32-D.Harris SF YES 53 88%
24-S.Draughn SF NO 0 0%
22-M.Davis SF NO 8 13%
31-K.Taylor SF NO 0 0%
28-C.Hyde SF NO 0 0%
25-M.James TB NO 20 25%
43-P.Barber TB YES 36 45%
36-A.Smith TB NO 24 30%
32-J.Rodgers TB NO 0 0%
22-D.Martin TB NO 0 0%
29-D.Murray TEN YES 62 95%
26-A.Andrews TEN NO 6 9%
22-D.Henry TEN NO 0 0%
32-D.Fluellen TEN NO 0 0%

Additional Thoughts, Observations, and Injuries. . .

  • Talk about bad luck. I am in seven fantasy leagues, and I lead the league in points AGAINST in four of them.
  • Will Dion Lewis return this week? Possibly. Will it matter? Probably not. Do we ever really know what to expect from the Patriots in fantasy football? No. Should you start Dion Lewis this week if he is active? No. Are you getting tired of me asking and answering my own questions here? Yes. Ok.
  • Dexter McCluster broke his arm while looking for his phone.
  • Knile Davis returned to the Kansas City Chiefs last week after he was traded to the Packers, released by the Packers, signed by the Jets, and then released by the Jets a day later. He is not fantasy-relevant, but I just wanted to mention that.
  • I would avoid the Washington backfield right now. Robert Kelley was just named the starter, but it sounds like Matt Jones will be back soon, possibly as soon as this week. This has the makings of a three-headed monster of Robert Kelley, Matt Jones, and Chris Thompson.
  • It sounds like Jacquizz Rodgers and Doug Martin might be long shots to play in Week 10, so Peyton Barber is a bit of a sneaky play if you need a running back for a week.

 

If you want to talk fantasy football or have players you want Mike to feature, hit him up on Twitter at @mikeMaher or post a comment below!

  1. Jon U says:
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    Kniles Davis is not even on a team any longer.

    It has been a while for you! lol

  2. Scott says:
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    So you’re telling me I shouldn’t have burned my waiver wire claim on Rob Kelley? Gah!

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Scott:

      Good still turn out to be a good move. It sounds like he will be the first man up, at least for now. If he does well, Jones may continue to sit on the bench.

  3. John says:
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    I own Booker in Denver. Do you think I should pick up Bibbs? Will there be a RB switch there?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @John:

      I would pick up Bibbs only if you can do so without dropping anyone else valuable. I think they will use Bibbs a bit more doing forward, but I think it is still Booker’s job to lose. As long as Booker is healthy, I think he keeps the starting job and sees more touches.

  4. morgan says:
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    Just got offered Jimmy Graham and Cooks for my Jordy. 12 team standard, would you accept?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @morgan:

      Yup.

  5. omar says:
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    12 team 1pt PPR.

    Currently rostering Gronk and Eifert. Thinking about making the following offer:

    Give:
    Gronk
    Nuk Hopkins

    Get:
    AJ Green
    Delanie Walker

    Current Roster:
    QB – Big Ben
    WR – A-Rob
    WR – Nuk
    RB – Lamar Miller
    RB – Ajayi
    TE – Gronk
    Flx – Diggs
    Bn – Eifert
    Bn – Dion Lewis
    Bn – Tyrell Williams
    Bn – R Kelley
    Bn – Deangelo Williams
    Bn – Prosise

    Rationale: Got a feeling Eifert will go off ROS, and I don’t trust Hopkins or A-Rob (well, their QB’s at least). Love Gronk, but I feel like I could maximize my potential by moving one of my TE’s. Walker would give me some security and be a solid contributor should Eifert go down.

    Thoughts? Should I switch A-Rob for Nuk in the deal? I trust A-Rob a little more based on volume alone and the hope that Bortles can show some of that 2015 productivity.

    Thanks

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @omar:

      I like the trade as-is. Can’t turn down the opportunity to get a WR like Green, and you would still have two solid TE options.

  6. John says:
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    In Green Bay what will Starks’ return do to Ty Montgomery’s role? Will Starks become the lead back or will Montgomery keep that role? Thanks.

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @John:

      Hard to say, but it probably isn’t good news for him. I think he keeps the lead role but loses touches to Starks.

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