If you think that headline is bad, the other one I considered was “Seeing the Forsett for the Trees.” And if you don’t like making a pun out of a phrase that is at least a few centuries old, then I don’t know what to do for you. Oh well, maybe you and I are just not meant to be. It’s not easy coming up with running back puns every week based on fantasy relevance. Sometimes you have to dig deep and get weird with it.

Before we get down to business, everybody, pour a little out for the homie Justin Forsett. This dude has had a rough couple months. Forsett got cut at the end of the preseason, got resigned a week later and STARTED week one, got benched in week four, and now—as if watching Terrance West go off for 100+ yards on Sunday wasn’t hard enough—just got released on Tuesday. His release has been described as a mutual parting, with Forsett hoping to get an opportunity with another team, but this is still a tough run for a running back who turns 31 in less than two weeks.

Now that we have that out of the way, has everyone finished cursing the name of John Kuhn? While Mark Ingram owners received a solid day and a touchdown from him, they had to watch John Kuhn vulture not one, not two, not three—OK, it was three—touchdowns on the day (I’ll never forgive myself for linking to that clip). I’ll pause here while you break things around your house, as I probably brought this back up just as you were starting to forget about it. Kuhn was easily the biggest surprise on Sunday.

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 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 Mike Gillislee LeSean McCoy Reggie Bush
AFC North Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Bengals Jeremy Hill Giovani Bernard Giovani Bernard Rex Burkhead
Ravens Terrance West Kenneth Dixon + Javorius Allen Kenneth Dixon +
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

Not that we ever want to wish bad things on anyone, but Sunday was the kind of injury that handcuffers everywhere were waiting for. With Matt Forte ineffective and a little banged up (he was seen riding a cart after the game, but at this time there is no update on his condition), Bilal Powell had six beautiful catches for 54 yards and added 26 yards on four carries (6.5 YPC).  I wrote a couple weeks ago that Forte was on pace to not only shatter his career-high for touches, but he was on pace to break NFL records. And since he is a running back on the wrong side of 30, we knew something had to give sooner or later. This may be the beginning of our boy Powell getting more touches.

Latavius Murray has officially become a running back that you cannot trust in your starting lineup. Once again, Murray’s touch percentage declined, as he got just 45% of the running back touches this week. He didn’t do much with the touches he got, either, gaining 19 yards on eight carries (2.4 YPC). DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard both had better luck when they got the ball, but they only totaled 11 touches between the two of them.

The Raiders backfield is perhaps the most frustrating, just because many people drafted Latavius Murray with the hope that he could be a RB2 or a flex, but they are not the messiest committee in the AFC. That title belongs to the Miami Dolphins, who split touches almost evenly to four different running backs on Thursday night. None of them had much success, and I don’t even want to write their names because I don’t want to encourage you to know who they are. Don’t look them up.


National Football Conference
NFC East Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Giants Rashad Jennings + Orleans Darkwa Bobby Rainey Paul Perkins
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 (FB)
Packers Eddie Lacy James Starks James Starks Aaron Ripkowski (FB)
Lions Theo Riddick Dwayne Washington Theo Riddick Zach Zenner
Bears Jeremy Langford + Jordan Howard Ka’Deem Carey + Joique Bell
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 + C.J. Spiller C.J. Prosise +
Cardinals David Johnson Andre Ellington David Johnson Stepfan Taylor
Rams Todd Gurley Benny Cunningham Benny Cunningham Malcolm Brown

If you started Cameron Artis-Payne on Sunday, I feel your pain. I started him in at least two of my leagues, too. I think I even had him in a DFS lineup or two (I’m too afraid to look). If you started him over Fozzy Whittaker, then you probably feel worse (and, yes, I feel your pain there, as well. I did that in one league). While Whittaker had nine catches for 86 yards, Artis-Payne had six carries for 12 yards (for exactly one fantasy point, for those of you doing the math at home).

Remember how I told you the last two weeks, right here in this space, to go and grab Jordan Howard? If you did, you’re welcome. With Jeremy Langford out with an injury, Jordan Howard was the hottest waiver claim this week, and he didn’t disappoint. While he didn’t get in the endzone (and, in fairness, not many Bears do), he did rush for over 100 yards and add three catches for 21 yards. He looked pretty good doing it, too. You have to wonder what the rotation will look like, even when Langford gets back.

I could just copy and paste the Artis-Payne section here for Dwayne Washington. I also started him in a couple leagues, and so I got burned by him, as well. The only real difference between Washington and CAP is that Washington also managed to get hurt and leave the game early. Washington is questionable for next week, and he is a risky play at this point anyway. I would still hold onto him for now, as I do think he has the potential to turn things around if he can get healthy. Riddick is a nice PPR flex option, but he isn’t a three-down back. Washington will get another shot to be the guy with Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve.


Additional Thoughts and Observations…

Could anyone tell that Le’Veon Bell (hey, that rhymes) missed the first three weeks of the season? DeAngelo Williams was immediately relegated to the bench, as Bell looked like he was in midseason form. There was no rust to be seen anywhere, as Bell and the Steelers demolished a Chiefs team that did not look to be ready for this matchup on Sunday night. It was hard to believe this was the same Steelers team that got trounced by the Eagles.

Chris Johnson was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday, but that should have little fantasy relevance other than the fact that he is no longer David Johnson’s handcuff. CJ had done very little this  year, and he was likely a free agent in your league. For now, Andre Ellington is the handcuff by default, but he is an injury handcuff only. And if you drafted Andre Ellington in any of your leagues last year, I will now join you in rolling your eyes and groaning. I apologize for bringing his name up.

Kenneth Dixon is an interesting grab-and-stash in deeper leagues if you have the roster space. Jen wrote about him this week in her Hit it or Quit it column, and it looks like he might be active for the first time this week. Terrance West’s week four success probably doesn’t help his case in the short term, but he could start to work his way into the rotation soon. Orleans Darkwa and Paul Perkins both flashed some potential on Monday night, even with the Giants getting outplayed by the Vikings all over the field. Rashad Jennings owners may have to watch out for Darkwa, especially, as he has received the majority of the red zone touches with Jennings out.



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. Runfast says:

    Hello! I really appreciate your post, as I am trying to cypher through RBBC and this bye week. I’m in a 10 team yahoo standard league.
    QB Brees
    RB Demarco/McCoy; ware, Mathews, latavius, Coleman
    WR A Brown, Jeffrey, Maclin, John Brown
    TE Graham/ Eifert

    I need a QB since Brees is on bye. I also need a TE as I don’t think Eifert is going to play this weekend, and I just picked up Graham. In this case do I drop Eifert to snag a QB? I feel as good as eifert was last season (and though I’ve been stashing him since the draft) it might be time to let go especially with graham showing some life and the fact that Eifert didn’t even practice?

    The other issue with this is it leaves me short a TE so I’m considering dropping one of my RBs not named McCoy or Demarco.

    Thank you!

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      Well here is your other problem, Jimmy Graham is on a bye this week too. So even if you make one move for a QB, you are still going to need a TE for this week. It’s tough to tell you to drop one of these guys because this is a solid squad, especially now that John Brown FINALLY woke up and did something last week.

      As for RB, I would hang onto Coleman for now, too. I wonder if you could have some luck around your league by dangling Ware, Mathews, and/or Latavius? If you could turn one or more of them into a QB and/or a TE, even if just short term options, that might be better than dropping someone for nothing. Easier said than done, of course, but there are always people who need running backs.

  2. Velocity_X says:

    I’m in a sore spot this week at RB in a 14 team PPR. Langford is injured and I have Charles and Ingram on bye. My other RB was Derrick Henry and I just picked up Wendell Smallwood on waivers.

    The wire is thin and the only RB worth picking up for the week is Rainey. Should I drop Henry (or Josh Gordon) to get Rainey into my lineup? I’m stacked at WR and was thinking of chancing it as-is but I don’t want to risk losing this week by a few points since Henry may not get many touches.

    • Tony says:

      @Velocity_X: Josh Gordon doesn’t need to be on anybody’s team anymore.

      • mikeMaher

        mikeMaher says:



    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      I think you can drop Josh Gordon at this point.

      It is tough to count on Henry right now, but I would at least try to hold onto him for a few more weeks, just in case. I like him as a handcuff if Murray goes down. But for now, you are right, he isn’t getting any touches.

      The risk with Rainey is that Rashad Jennings is not definitely ruled out yet. If Jennings is back, Rainey’s usage might be limited.

      If there are really no better options, maybe drop Gordon and pick up Rainey, but only play him if Jennings is ruled out.

      • Velocity_X says:


        Thanks for the advice. Options are really very minimal. The only alternatives are guys not getting any touches like James Starks, Andre Ellington, Jacquizz Rodgers, etc… I was basically hoping to plug in an RB to get some targets as a check-down/screen since it’s a PPR.

        • mikeMaher

          mikeMaher says:


          Yeah, that is tough. I would choose Rainey out of all of those options as long as Jennings is out.

  3. Joe Shmoe says:

    Hi there,
    1. I have Matt Ryan off the waiver wire the last three weeks, but I am definitely not starting him at Denver. Looking at Rivers, Prescott or Siemien to start instead. (Or any waiver wire special) got any thoughts?
    2. Would you drop breaded Pitta for meaty Brate, Rudolf Jesse James?
    Thanks for your time

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:

      @Joe Shmoe:

      1. Rivers against the Chargers is a good play. Roll with that if you can.

      2. Really small sample size, but Brate has looked great so far.

      • Zandy says:

        @mikeMaher: I’m sure Jay will appreciate you acknowledging that week in and week out the Chargers are really just out there playing against themselves…. (Too soon?) #WeWantTheWiz

        • mikeMaher

          mikeMaher says:


          D’oh! That should say Raiders, obviously. But yeah, after watching the end of that Chargers-Saints game, that is pretty accurate, too.

          Sorry, Jay. : (

  4. JoeBoo says:

    PPR, 12 team league:

    RBs are Hill, Coleman, Darkwa, and Dixon (picked up on waivers this week- West and Sproles grabbed ahead of me)

    Need a starter this week with Coleman in Denver, should I pick up Powell and drop Darkwa or Dixon?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      Well, for starters, I don’t think you have to abandon starting Coleman just because he is in Denver. It is a tough start against a great defense, but I would still put him ahead of those other guys. Plus, Coleman is a pass catcher, and the Falcons are likely going to have to throw more short passes as opposed to running the ball between the tackles, so he may still put up some points.

      I like Powell this week, but it does sound like Forte is going to at least try to play. Still, Powell should see more work. Whether or not he is a better play than Coleman is still up in the air at this point.

      Darkwa looked good the other night, but Jennings will be the starter when he comes back, so Darkwa will lose his short term value. Keep an eye on Hill as the week goes on too. He should be ok, but he popped up on the injury report yesterday.

      If it’s me, I probably roll with Hill and Coleman and hope for the best. If I had to drop one RB, I would probably drop Darkwa for Powell.

  5. Fizz says:

    12 Team Standard: Need trade advice
    Qb: luck
    WR: Green, sheppard, fuller
    TE: Olsen
    Rb: Martin, foster, jennings, smallwood, Ivory, Washington, booker, ellington

    I got offered Crowell and J. Thomas for Olsen and Ivory

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      I think that is a pretty fair trade, with both sides taking a little bit of a risk. Crowell has looked really good, even on a bad Browns team, so I would be tempted to pull the trigger.

  6. FrankGrimes says:

    Latavius Murray stinks!

    • Jurickson BROfar says:

      @FrankGrimes: Happy Deandre Washington Day!

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      Love the Simpsons avatar and name, btw.

  7. Big league choo says:

    10 team 6 pt passing tds

    My Brady for jimmy graham

    He has gronk and graham…I really think Brady is going to kill it though
    Qb Big Ben, Brady
    Te Rudolph

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:

      @Big league choo:

      Hmmmm. The only thing that makes it tempting is that you also have Big Ben. But Rudolph has been doing really well too, and Bradford seems to like leaning on him.

      It’s not a terrible offer, but I think you can get more for Brady. Any chance you can shop Brady around your league and see if you get something better?

  8. LT Murray IV

    Tehol Beddict says:

    Why is Latavius Murray such a fuckboi

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:

      @Tehol Beddict:


  9. mH says:

    Any hope for Starks to get more involved in GB?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:


      He’s nothing more than an injury handcuff, at this point.

  10. The Harrow says:

    since some do do the math at home (or anywhere else), 12 rushing yards isn’t exactly 1 point, at least in standards.

Comments are closed.