We are now more than two-thirds and less than three-quarters of the way through the NFL season (#math), which means your league should be right at its trading deadline as you try to shore up those running back slots for a playoff run. Making matters more interesting the last couple weeks were a bunch of injuries that should clear up some playing time for running backs who were either riding the bench or snoozing on the waiver wire. Like Samaje Perine, for example.

I liked Perine coming into the season for a number of reasons. The biggest was that I think Rob Kelley stinks, so I figured Perine would take over that job and keep it at some point. Kelley has been injured off an on for most of the season, and Perine has gotten some chances and not done much with them. But those were week-to-week situations, with Kelley lingering in the background as he got healthy, so you knew that Perine would have to get hot in order to keep the job. And even if he did, Kelley would probably still be there to vulture and eat into the share of touches.

But Kelley is gone now and was placed on injured reserve. Making matters more interesting, Chris Thompson, who was averaging roughly a gazillion fantasy points per game earlier this season by taking swing passes to the house, joined him on injured reserve on Tuesday. That leaves Samaje Perine all by his lonesome with all those touches. His backup, Byron Marshall, was on the Eagles practice squad last week and is nothing more than a third-down running back/wide receiver hybrid and return man.

The time has come for you to consider a Perine implant. In his first game as the dude, Perine put up 126 total yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he got 24 touches (23 carries and one reception) on Sunday, while Thompson seeing five before leaving with a fractured fibula. If you need a running back and can find that kind of volume on the waiver wire or in a trade that shouldn’t be very expensive (don’t overpay, but check in on his price), you have to pull the trigger.

If you have a solid team but are maybe one running back short of a real run, Perine could be your guy. Maybe you’re like me and have been alternating one spot between Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, Marlon Mack, and someone from the Seahawks all year. Perine can be our savior, guys.

Now, to the charts!

Mike Maher’s Week Twelve NFL Handcuff 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 Reserve
Patriots Dion Lewis Mike Gillislee James White Rex Burkhead
Jets Matt Forte Bilal Powell Bilal Powell Elijah McGuire
Dolphins Kenyan Drake Damien Williams Damien Williams Senorise Perry
Bills LeSean McCoy Mike Tolbert+ LeSean McCoy Joe Banyard
AFC North Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Reserve
Bengals Joe Mixon Giovani Bernard Giovani Bernard Brian Hill
Ravens Alex Collins Javorius Allen Danny Woodhead Terrance West
Steelers Le’Veon Bell James Conner Le’Veon Bell Terrell Watson
Browns Isaiah Crowell Duke Johnson+ Duke Johnson+ Matt Dayes
AFC South Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Reserve
Texans Lamar Miller Andre Ellington Lamar Miller Alfred Blue+
Jaguars Leonard Fournette+ Chris Ivory Leonard Fournette T.J. Yeldon
Colts Frank Gore Marlon Mack Marlon Mack Matt Jones
Titans DeMarco Murray Derrick Henry DeMarco Murray David Fluellen
AFC West Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Reserve
Chiefs Kareem Hunt Charcandrick West+ Kareem Hunt Akeem Hunt
Broncos C.J. Anderson Jamaal Charles Devontae Booker De’Angelo Henderson
Raiders Marshawn Lynch Jalen Richard DeAndre Washington DeAndre Washington
Chargers Melvin Gordon Austin Ekeler Melvin Gordon Branden Oliver+


  • Not that you should ever stare at the running back situation in Baltimore for too long, but Danny Woodhead returned for the Ravens over the weekend. That turned Terrance West into a healthy scratch and Javorius Allen into a guy who sat on the bench watching Woodhead play. Alex Collins is still the lead back, though he averaged less than 2 1/2 yards per carry on Sunday, while Woodhead slots back in as the pass catcher. It is probably too early to start Woodhead anywhere, but if you are desperate in a PPR league he is worth a gamble.
  • The good news is that Joe Mixon, like Perine above, is the dude in Cincinnati these days. The bad news is, well, have a look:

  • It was a tough week for injuries, and D’Onta Foreman could not escape unscathed after rushing for two touchdowns on Sunday. He is headed to injured reserve, leaving Lamar Miller ahead of the newly-acquired Andre Ellington on the depth chart. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but do not start Ellington.


National Football Conference
NFC East Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Reserve
Giants Orleans Darkwa+ Paul Perkins Shane Vereen Wayne Gallman
Eagles LeGarrette Blount Jay Ajayi Corey Clement Wendell Smallwood
Cowboys Alfred Morris Rod Smith Rod Smith Darren McFadden
Washington Samaje Perine Byron Marshall Byron Marshall LeShun Daniels
NFC North Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Reserve
Vikings Jerick McKinnon Latavius Murray Jerick McKinnon Bishop Sankey
Packers Aaron Jones+ Ty Montgomery+ Ty Montgomery+ Jamaal Williams
Lions Ameer Abdullah Dwayne Washington Theo Riddick Zach Zenner
Bears Jordan Howard Tarik Cohen Howard/Cohen Benny Cunningham+
NFC South Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Reserve
Buccaneers Doug Martin Charlies Sims Jacquizz Rodgers Peyton Barber
Saints Mark Ingram Alvin Kamara Alvin Kamara Trey Edmunds
Panthers Christian McCaffrey Jonathan Stewart Christian McCaffrey Fozzy Whittaker
Falcons Devonta Freeman+ Tevin Coleman Tevin Coleman Terron Ward
NFC West Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Reserve
49ers Carlos Hyde Matt Breida Carlos Hyde Raheem Mostert
Seahawks J.D. McKissic Eddie Lacy+ J.D. McKissic Rawls/Davis
Cardinals Adrian Peterson Kerwynn Williams Kerwynn Williams D.J. Foster
Rams Todd Gurley Malcolm Brown+ Todd Gurley Justin Davis


  • The running back situation in Philadelphia is starting to get a very Patriots-y feel to it. LeGarrette Blount is still getting the main share of the touches, but he is sharing with Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Kenjon Barner. Everyone assumes Ajayi will be the guy and has had success immediately, but it was Clement and Barner who scored touchdowns this week. Barner actually played just two offensive snaps, but he turned them into a 22-yard catch and a touchdown run.
  • Over in Minnesota, it is only a two-headed monster but is nearly as difficult to predict. This week, it was Latavius Murray scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 95 yards on 15 carries. Next week, maybe McKinnon catches 13 passes and scores a touchdown of his own. Who knows! The difference here is that both McKinnon and Murray are ownable, whereas the situation in Philly is not very reliable.
  • Orleans Darkwa has a hamstring injury, but early indications are that he will be OK. I’m not sure why, but I watched this entire game on Sunday. While Darkwa was impressive, or at least more impressive than Paul Perkins has ever been in his life (I will never understand him starting), that was one of the ugliest games of football I have ever seen. Sheesh. Anyway, Darkwa scored a touchdown and should, I think, be OK to start this 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!