NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

If you have been following our weekly Handcuff Reports and reading them carefully (as I am sure you have been), you may have noticed this little gem that I wrote last week:

“After pass-catcher Ka’Deem Carey went down with a hamstring injury, Jordan Howard entered the game and actually looked pretty good. If Langford continues to struggle, look for Howard to get some more chances. If you are in a deep league, add Howard to your watch list.”

Well, I hope you skipped the watch list and went right to adding him on waivers. And if you did, if you were the person in your league who pulled the early trigger on Jordan Howard thanks to reading this article, then you had a really good Monday. You probably woke up on Monday morning, checked your league news and your team (I am assuming here that no one bothered to watch most of that beatdown), and saw the Jeremy Langford injury news. Then you probably took a sip of your coffee, sat back, smiled, looked at the rest of the teams in your league and said:

I’ma be all right. I’m straight… Sergio gonna be fine! F*ck a recession… I own 21 Cookaroos. Ya’ll don’t own one Cookaroo. Not one… Ya’ll are f*cked. Ya’ll are f*******cked!

Okay, now that we got the world’s longest Get Him to the Greek reference out of the way, let’s get back to business. Jeremy Langford left this week’s game against the Cowboys early and did not return, and it has since been reported that he has a severe high ankle sprain and could miss up to six weeks. After Langford left the game, Jordan Howard rushed for 45 yards on nine carries (5 YPC) and added four catches for 47 yards. With the aforementioned Ka’Deem Carey also nursing an injury of his own, Jordan Howard could be in for a full workload for the next six weeks. And if he has success in Langford’s absence, he could very well take the starting job or turn this situation into a timeshare. Even if Carey comes back quickly, he will be the receiving back on passing downs, while Howard should get the start and the majority of the touches. Jordan Howard is going to be one of the most-added players on waivers this week, so get your claims in before Thursday morning. But, alas, this is the Handcuff Report and not just the Jordan Howard report, so let’s get to the rest of the league!

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.


National Football Conference
NFC East Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Giants Rashad Jennings + Orleans Darkwa Bobby Rainey Bobby Rainey
Eagles Ryan Mathews + Wendell Smallwood Darren Sproles Kenjon Barner
Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott Alfred Morris Lance Dunbar Lance Dunbar
Washington Matt Jones Chris Thompson Chris Thompson Robert Kelley
NFC North Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Vikings Jerick McKinnon Matt Asiata Jerick McKinnon Zach Line
Packers Eddie Lacy James Starks James Starks Aaron Ripkowski
Lions Theo Riddick Dwayne Washington Theo Riddick Dwayne Washington
Bears Jeremy Langford + Jordan Howard Ka’Deem Carey + Jordan Howard
NFC South Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Buccaneers Doug Martin + Charles Sims Charles Sims Jacquizz Rodgers
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 Shaun Draughn Neither? Both? Mike Davis
Seahawks Christine Michael Thomas Rawls + Christine Michael C.J. Prosise +
Cardinals David Johnson Chris Johnson David Johnson Andre Ellington
Rams Todd Gurley Benny Cunningham Benny Cunningham Malcolm Brown

While we already touched on the Bears and their running back situation above, the Eagles saw a rookie running back of their own get a shot and make the most of it on Sunday. Starting running back Ryan Mathews left the game in the first quarter and did not return, and Wendell Smallwood ended up running for 79 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries (4.6 YPC). But there are two causes for caution before you rush to the waiver wire and make Smallwood a priority:

  1. Smallwood was not the only Eagles running back to go ham on Sunday. Kenjon Barner carried the ball eight times for 42 yards (5.3 YPC) and a touchdown, and Darren Sproles hauled in eight touches for 127 total yards and a touchdown (Sproles did all of his damage through the air, with six catches for 128 yards to go with two rushes for -1 yards).
  2. Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson said that when healthy (lol), Ryan Mathews will still be the starter for the Eagles. So go grab and stash Smallwood if you have the roster spots, but don’t expect RB1 or RB2 potential in the immediate future. He will share touches with Sproles and Barner if Mathews is out, and he will share with the whole gang if Mathews is back, as he is expected to be after the bye week.

Staying in the NFC East, the Giants have some running back injuries of their own. While filling in for the injured Rashad Jennings, who missed this week’s game with a thumb injury, Shane Vereen tore his triceps and was placed on injured reserve. Orleans Darkwa saw 11 touches in the game and had some success, but with Jennings expected back possibly as early as this week, Darkwa is not likely to have fantasy relevance going forward. Even though Vereen is out, Bobby Rainey, and not Darkwa, is going to step in as the pass-catching back. The Giants also face a gauntlet of tough run defenses the next several weeks.

One of the bigger questions heading into Sunday was which Panthers running back, Fozzy Whittaker or Cameron Artis-Payne, would be the most productive and get the most touches. They split their touches nearly 50/50, with Artis-Payne getting more rushes and Whittaker getting more catches. Neither had much success against the Vikings defense, though.

See above, only substitute Jerick McKinnon for Fozzy Whittaker and Matt Asiata for Cameron Artis-Payne. Neither had much success, also just like what talked about above, but McKinnon is the better play going forward.


American Football Conference
AFC East Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Patriots LeGarrette Blount Brandon Bolden James White D.J. Foster
Jets Matt Forte Bilal Powell Bilal Powell Troymaine Pope
Dolphins Arian Foster+ Kenyan Drake Arian Foster Jay Ajayi
Bills LeSean McCoy Reggie Bush LeSean McCoy Mike Gillislee
AFC North Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Bengals Jeremy Hill Giovani Bernard Giovani Bernard Rex Burkhead
Ravens Justin Forsett Terrance West Justin Forsett 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 T.J. Yeldon Chris Ivory T.J. Yeldon Denard Robinson
Colts Frank Gore Robert Turbin Josh Ferguson Josh Ferguson
Titans DeMarco Murray Derrick Henry DeMarco Murray Antonio Andrews
AFC West Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Chiefs Jamaal Charles + Spencer Ware Charcandrick West Knile Davis
Broncos C.J. Anderson Devontae Booker Devontae Booker Kapri Bibbs
Raiders Latavius Murray DeAndre Washington Latavius Murray Jalen Richard
Chargers Melvin Gordon Kenneth Farrow Dexter McCluster Dexter McCluster

The good news for Isaiah Crowell owners is that he looked pretty good once again. The bad news is that Duke Johnson looked as good or better and had the exact same number of touches (15). Crowell is still clearly the guy for now, but it is unfortunate for his owners to see the backup playing so well and stealing touches. Crowell is still an RB2 for now, and Johnson is a borderline flex at best (and maybe not even), but we should keep an eye on the touches and production going forward.

Chris Ivory returned to action this week and promptly rushed for 112 times for 14 yards, for a blistering 1.2 YPC. T.J. Yeldon didn’t do much better with his eight touches. The Jaguars are hot garbage right now, and you probably shouldn’t start either of these backs until this team starts to look like they are going to turn things around.

If the Jacksonville Jaguars are hot garbage, then the Miami Dolphins are canned tuna left out in the Florida sun all day. Yes, you’re right, they did hang on to beat the mighty Browns on Sunday. They’re awesome. Anyway, Arian Foster is out with a groin injury, some poor desperate souls grabbed Jay Ajayi off waivers. And if adding Ajayi wasn’t sad enough for fantasy owners, news came out late that the Dolphins were actually going to start Kenyan Drake. From there, it didn’t get any prettier. Drake and Ajayi shared the backfield with Isaiah Pead and Damien Williams. Stay away.

Melvin Gordon got all but two of the 22 touches given to Chargers runnings backs, but he didn’t do much with them. His four catches for 43 yards were fine, but his 35 yards on 16 carries (2.2 YPC) was not promising. Luckily for owners, he did punch in a touchdown to salvage the day. Dexter McCluster caught two passes but was otherwise a non-factor. He does not appear to be any kind of Danny Woodhead-type threat to Gordon in the short term. Gordon also goes up against a Saints defense that got absolutely gashed on Monday night by Devontae Freeman and Tevin Coleman, so he is a solid play.


Additional Notes and Observations…

Week three was also the last week that owners were able to roll DeAngelo Williams out there, as  Le’Veon Bell is set to return in week four. And so maybe it was fitting that he dropped a dud on owners in his last week. At least now they won’t miss him as much.

Unlike week two, week three did not see many significant injuries to prominent running backs. Other than Jeremy Langford and Shane Vereen, the only other injury of note was Thomas Rawls, who is supposed to miss a few weeks with a hairline fracture in his leg. So, the Christine Michael show rolls on in Seattle.

The waiver wire for running backs should not be the feeding frenzy that it was last week, but you will likely need a high waiver position if you want to be able to grab Jordan Howard. If you can’t grab Howard or maybe Duke Johnson, the other options are all mostly grab-and-wait guys like Wendell Smallwood, Orleans Darkwa, or someone like DeAndre Washington or Jalen Richard from the running back pile in Oakland. And at that point…see Get Him to the Greek reference above.




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. Zandy says:

    rather drop Asiata or kDrake?

    my rbs are Gurley Ingram Ware jCharles Jennings Sproles Asiata kDrake

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      Tough one. I guess Drake. There is a chance Asiata starts getting more work in Minnesota or vultures a TD here and there. Drake looks like he is in a crowded backfield even with Foster out right now.

  2. garleezy says:


    Pick 2 Por Favor, PPR:

    Spencer Ware
    Emannuel Sanders
    Tyrell Williams
    Gio Benard
    GOlden tate :/

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      We talking for this week or ROS?

      Sanders finally broke out like we were all expecting, and he has some good matchups going forward, so I think he should be one of the two regardless. For the other one, I would probably go with C-Mike.

      I would probably rank them:

      Emmanuel Sanders
      Tyrell Williams
      Golden Tate
      Gio Bernard
      Spencer Ware

      • garleezy says:

        @mikeMaher: This week, but thank you for the rankings!

  3. Chris says:

    Hello mikemaher

    Would appreciate your thoughts on this trade:

    Give: TJ Yeldon and Fuller
    Received: Jeremy Maclin

    My team is:
    QB: Big Ben
    RB: Elliot, Blount, Latavius Murray, Yeldon
    WR: Cooks, Hilton, Fitzgerald, Sanu, Parket, Fuller
    TE: Rudolph, Ertz
    K: Crosby
    Def: Washington (always streaming)

    Thanks for your comments.

    Also, for my flex this week: Murray @ BAL, or Parker @ Cin


    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      I like the trade. I am a Will Fuller fan, but Maclin is an upgrade and Yeldon is Yeldon.

      I would flex Parker, if it were me. I think that game could turn into a shootout or at least see Miami chasing points.

  4. phil says:

    why no Isaiah Pead ? Don’t you think he will win the job soon?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      I don’t think so. When Foster is back, it is his job to lose. After that, it looks like Kenyan Drake. Jay Ajayi was set to be the starter before the team signed Foster.

      And even though it seems like the coaching staff was upset with Ajayi, he still got 7 touches and scored the game-winning touchdown this week. Pead needed an incredible preseason just to make the team, and he is currently one of 5 running backs on the roster.

      This is his 5th year in the league, so it’s not like he is some unknown rookie. I wouldn’t bank on him taking the job. In fact, if the Dolphins sustain a few injuries, he or Damien Williams might not even be on the team anymore.

  5. MP says:

    Would you rather have:
    A) Luck and McKinnon
    B) Carr and Christine Michael

    Current Team 12-team Half PPR

    QB: Cam
    WR: Odell
    WR: Allen Robinson
    WR: Pryor
    HB: Bell
    HB: Foster
    TE: Rudolph
    K: Gostkowski
    D: ARI

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      Luck is the better QB, while Chrstine Michael looks to be the better running back. But if you are going to start Cam every week, then you need the running back more. I would go with B just because you could use the RB more than the QB, and Carr is a decent backup.

  6. CornDog says:

    I’m stacked at WR, and need to improve my RB’s. Would you take J.Hill for A.Cooper, or would you shoot higher for L.Miller in exchange for Cooper & Ivory? 1/2PPP Thank you!

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      If I’m shopping Cooper then I would prefer to get a clear number 1 back like Miller in return.

      • CornDog says:

        @mikeMaher: Thank you! That’s what I was figuring…

        If that’s a non-starter with the other owner, would Hill for Cooper be something I should do or Iam I selling him too low for a committee back?

        Thanks again!

        • mikeMaher

          mikeMaher says:


          You would be offering more than you are getting in return, but your situation does matter. If you are stacked at WR and really need the RB help, then you can justify it.

  7. TTRA1N says:

    Need help. Offered Mike Evans for my CJA. Idk what to do? Should I ride CJA since RB position is so shallow? Should I be worried about CJAs lack usage against the Bengals? Team below.

    12 Team 2QB PPR 6pt Pass TD 6BN League
    QB R.Wilson
    RB D.Johnson
    RB C.J. Anderson
    WR B.Cooks
    WR D.Parker (RIP)K.Allen
    TE G.Olsen
    FLEX C.Mike
    QB/FLEX M.Mariota
    D/ST Chiefs
    K D.Hopkins
    BENCH I.Crowell, K.White, M.Floyd, C.Wentz, D.Washington, M.Thomas
    IR K.Dixon

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      I think I would make the deal. Mike Evans is better value. I wouldn’t be concerned about CJA’s usage. I think they came out and knew they were going to have to throw the ball (see: Emmanuel Sanders last week). But I think I would still make that deal. Evans is an upgrade,and you still have DJ, CMike, D. Washington, and Crowell at RB, so you can afford to shop CJA.

  8. Dingo the Fleecer says:

    Looking for some trade advice, my team is below. 12 team league, .5 PPR. I already lost Keenan Allen and Woodhead. I have an offer to get Hill and Maclin, for Gordon and Dwayne Washington. Thoughts? Clearly I lack solid RB depth and Gordon has risk, but curious if you think I should wait and see with him? Would you do this trade?

    AJ green
    Marvin Jones
    Panthers D

    Deandre Washington
    Dwayne Washington

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:

      @Dingo the Fleecer:

      I don’t love that trade. You could use Maclin for depth, for sure, but I like Gordon more than Hill, and I think Dwayne Washington might be pretty good the rest of the year. He didn’t have a great first game against the Packers, but the Packers have a pretty good run D AND the Lions were down 100 points in the blink of an eye, so they were passing all game. I think you will see better DWash numbers this week against the Bears.

      Gordon is also the top ranked RB on Razzball’s Pigskinonator this week, since he is going up against the Saints –

      I would wait on making a trade, at least for now. Give it another couple weeks to see what you have in Dwash and what Josh Gordon looks like when he gets back.

      • Dingo the Fleecer says:

        @mikeMaher: Thanks and My bad for not clarifying. I meant JOSH Gordon, not Melvin. So clearly I’m fairly thing at RB. Does that change your assessment?

        • mikeMaher

          mikeMaher says:

          @Dingo the Fleecer:

          Oh, gotcha. Yeah, I read that wrong and thought you had both Gordons. That makes it much different.

          In that case, yeah, I would probably make that move. Washington has some upside, but Hill is more of a sure thing at this point, which is what you need.

  9. Bull in a Chinese Restaurant says:

    isn’t the DET 3rd zenner?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:

      @Bull in a Chinese Restaurant:

      Yup. It looks like when I was removing Abdullah and moving everyone up, I forgot to remove Washington from 3rd RB and put in Zenner. Good catch. Thanks.

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