If you are reading this, congratulations. And I don’t say that just because you are fortunate enough to be reading one of my articles. If you are reading a fantasy football article in Week 14, it is likely because you are in the playoffs and still have a reason to care about your team and your lineup. So, congratulations. I mean it. To those of you who didn’t make the playoffs: see you in hell, candy boys! This is, unfortunately, the last Handcuff Report of the year. It has been a great ride, but we are wrapping things up as the fantasy playoffs begin!
But enough being sad. There is much to discuss. Justin Forsett is on an NFL team again:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2016
Kapri Bibbs is heading to injured reserve, and Gary Kubiak brought in his old pal Forsett to take his roster spot and potentially steal touches from Devontae Booker. Just what Booker owners needed as they get ready for the playoffs! Forsett won’t steal significant touches from Booker down the stretch, or will he? With Booker struggling recently and Forsett having success under Kubiak a few years ago, it is not out of the question to see Forsett step in and play a significant role. Never underestimate a scenario when a coach brings in one of “his guys.” I’m not saying you should start Forsett in the playoffs, but I am saying I am now a little worried about starting Booker in the playoffs.
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.
The Jets dropped a total dud on Monday Night Football this week (and, really, they had no business even being on MNF and provided further evidence why these games should be flexed out), and, more importantly, so did their running backs. If it wasn’t infuriating enough to watch the Jets do absolutely nothing on offense, rotate C.J. Spiller into the game and give him the ball on dives up the middle, and REFUSE to give the ball to my man Bilal Powell, the Jets went and waived Spiller on Tuesday:
— Brian Bassett (@Brian_Bassett) December 6, 2016
I needed five points from Powell on Monday night against a bad Colts defense in order to get a first round bye in one of my leagues. I got zero, and now I am afraid to put Powell in my lineup for the playoffs.
The Patriots, despite getting Dion Lewis back, are still finding time to feed the beast that is LeGarrette Blount. Blount rushed 18 times for 88 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, even with a usually pass-happy offense going up against a good defense. They face one of the best rushing defenses in the league next week when they line up against the Ravens on Monday Night Football, which is not ideal for Blount owners heading into the fantasy postseason. However, if you own Blount and have been riding him all year, you have to roll with him again. The playoffs are no time to second-guess yourself and bench a guy with 13 rushing touchdowns.
Spencer Ware’s 2.1 YPC on 14 rushes likely did not inspire fantasy owners this week, but his two touchdowns made everything OK. This is not the kind of momentum owners were hoping for heading into the playoffs, but Ware should produce better against the Raiders on a short week, as they turn around and play on Thursday night. Ware doesn’t have a true handcuff, as his backup is Charcandrick West and the 3rd-stringer is Knile Davis, who was waived by the Chiefs and then passed around half of the NFL this season.
I’ve said this before, but I don’t recommend trying to rely on a running back from the Green Bay Packers going forward. They had four backs split 25 touches on Sunday, with James Starks, Ty Montgomery, Christine Michael, and fullback Aaron Ripkowski all getting the ball. None of them dominated the touches or production, so I would not try to get cute and use any of these guys in the fantasy playoffs.
The same is probably true for any running back for the Philadelphia Eagles. Even with Ryan Mathews out, rookie Wendell Smallwood just can’t get enough work to be productive. The Eagles have been terrible for a couple months now, and they are getting behind in games quickly and immediately abandoning the run. That benefits pass-catcher Darren Sproles, but even he is a risky play at this point.
One guy who is sprinting into the fantasy playoffs, though, is Jordan Howard. Howard scored three touchdowns on 32 carries on Sunday, in true workhorse fashion. I’d like to pause now and pat myself on the back for telling everyone back in Week Three that Howard was not going to give the starting job back to Jeremy Langford when he returned from injury. I don’t know if I was definitely the first person to make that prediction, but we can assume that I was. You’re welcome, everyone. Enjoy starting Howard in the playoffs.
Additional Thoughts, Observations, and Injuries. . .
- Thanks to everyone who read and commented on these Handcuff Report articles this year. You guys are awesome. I’ll be back next year, hopefully writing the Handcuff Report again, as long as I can talk Jay and Grey into letting me. In the meantime, be sure to catch me over on the baseball side of things when we start up or hit me up on Twitter. Good luck in the playoffs, everyone.
- Holy moly was that Colts – Jets Monday Night game a dumpster fire. Not only were the Jets terrible, but none of their fantasy players produced (Matt Forte and Bilal Powell included).
- LeSean McCoy turned 24 touches into 191 yards on Sunday, but it was Mike Gillislee who turned eight touches into two touchdowns. If you have not already handcuffed McCoy and Gillislee is still available, you should probably grab him for your playoff run.
- Remember to take weather into account when setting your lineups for the playoffs. Don’t overdo it and panic, but keep an eye out for the weather and look into how it can affect the matchups. Jordan Howard got 32 carries on Sunday because of snow.
- With Dwayne Washington injured in Detroit and likely to miss Week 14, the Lions signed Joique Bell. Do not look for Bell to be a factor, however. There is no need to add him.
- Lamar Miller and Thomas Rawls both left their games with injuries but later returned. Both should be fine for Week 14.
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!