Remember a few weeks ago when I recounted my tale of  trading Dak Prescott because I had Deshaun Watson only to lose Deshaun Watson for the season? The QB I added was Tyrod Taylor. The Bills have one of the softest fantasy playoff schedules (Week 13: Patriots, Week 14: Colts, Week 15: Dolphins, Week 16: Patriots.) I like Nathan Peterman as a deep option and you’ll find him in my waiver column on Tuesday. And there will definitely be plenty of J. Peterman references. Teasers!

As always, if you’ve got league-specific questions, I’ve got league-specific answers down below…

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What is more surprising, that Corey Clement scored three touchdowns or that Corey Clement scored three touchdowns and wasn’t even the top scoring running back in Week 9? Yeah, I guess the first one, but the second part is pretty interesting too. Alvin Kamara scored two touchdowns of his own and added six catches and over 150 yards from scrimmage to eek out the top running back spot for the week.

Kamara is finally helping Saints fans forget about Darren Sproles and appears to be the perfect compliment to Mark Ingram in New Orleans. Despite the handcuff label, as I have discussed with a few readers in the past few weeks, Kamara is still valuable in fantasy, especially in PPR formats. The Saints have made it pretty clear since their bye week that they want to get the ball into the talented young running back’s hands and are carving about 15+ touches for him each week. And it is working, so don’t expect them to go away from it anytime soon.

In Philadelphia, Clement scored three touchdowns in a week where many wondered if he would even be active on gameday with the addition of Jay Ajayi. With Zach Ertz a late scratch, all of Philly’s running backs were active, even Wendell Smallwood. However, don’t get used to Clement finding so much success and that many touches going forward. The Eagles are on a bye this week and will have had two more weeks to get Jay Ajayi up to speed. While Clement will probably be active over the forgotten Wendell Smallwood, most of the touches are going to go to Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount. This tweet would say otherwise, but remember this was a blowout in Philly:

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What’s going on everyone, and welcome to Week 9! This past few days have been absolutely crazy in the NFL, and have definitely shaken up a few things, so if you want to know how all of these moves could impact your fantasy team, be sure to check out MB’s fantastic article breaking everything down for you.

Let’s get to Week 9!

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All over the box score and all up in the backfield in Green Bay is the answer, as Aaron Jones has officially taken the job from Ty Montgomery with his solid performances. The offense overall in Green Bay is going to take a hit with the other A-Aron out for what looks like the rest of the season, but they are more likely to want to run the ball, which is good for Jones owners.

Montgomery is still a solid all-around running back and, really, is a solid all-around player in general, as he is a wide receiver who really became a running back out of necessity for the Packers. He didn’t do anything to lose his job other than get hurt and give Jones a chance.

Jones is the better and more explosive running back, and rolling with him as the hot hand is the right decision for now. Montgomery is not going to disappear, though, and he is going to rotate into the backfield and as a wide receiver going forward as the Packers figure out ways to get him involved and use him as a matchup problem for opposing defenses.

For fantasy purposes, Montgomery’s value is probably going to fluctuate on a week-to-week basis depending on the matchups and the gameplan. He is probably going to light it up some weeks and be a non-factor others, so it is going to be hard to rely on him other than as the occasional flex or RB2 when the bye weeks call for it.

Jones, on the other hand, is going to be the more reliable running back and is coming off his best game as a pro last week. Unfortunately, this is a ROS play and not a Week 8 play because the Packers are on a bye this week.

If you are looking for a Week 8 play, may I interest you in a Jalen Richard now that Marshawn Lynch has lost his appeal and will miss this week? (eyes emoji)

Now, to the charts!

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The Giants finally got off the schneid this past week when they upset the Denver Broncos. More importantly, they started giving the ball to Orleans Darkwa, something a certain Razzball writer has been asking for for what seems like two years now. Paul Perkins, your reign of terrible tip-toeing to the line of scrimmage is over!

Darkwa took 21 carries for 117 yards with a long of 47 yards and added a catch for 13 yards. OD seemed to always produce when given limited touches, and he did the unthinkable when given a full supply of touches: continued to produce! Who would have thought such a thing was possible! Oh, right, everyone who, like me, have been clamoring for Darkwa for two years.

After turning eight carries into 69 yards for a nice little average of 8.625 yards per carry, OD rushed for more than 5.5 yards per carry on nearly three times as many carries. The logical assumption would be the keep feeding him the ball. However, with this year’s New York Giants, who knows what to expect, but a few things are working in OD’s favor.

For starters, the Giants lost roughly 14 wide receivers to injuries over the last two weeks. And in better news for Darkwa, Ben McAdoo handed over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Now, I don’t know a ton about Sullivan, but he does have one very important quality: he isn’t Ben McAdoo. Oh, and he seemed to enjoy employing a more balanced offense that featured a running back who has been having success.

The Broncos had boasted one of the league’s better rushing defenses heading into last week’s game, but they barely slowed Darkwa down for most of the day. Granted, his yards per carry average is boosted by that one long run, but he was still hitting holes fast and running hard and should have earned himself a steady taste of touches at least in the short term. I have been stashing OD in a deep roster dynasty league for two years now, and it looks like I might finally get to play him. Hooray for me.

Now, to the charts!

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Sometimes you’re the dog — sometimes you’re the hydrant. Ben Roethlisberger was one of my QB sit recommendations last week and this week he is my first QB start recommendation. Last week I recommended you start 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin and this week I want nothing to do with anyone on offense for San Francisco. What a difference a week makes!

I’ve got your cure for the bye week blues right here:

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Adrian Peterson is free! On Tuesday, AP was traded from the New Orleans Saints (who seemingly never wanted him?) to the running back-desperate Arizona Cardinals. He is here to save the day for all fantasy owners who stashed him through the first few weeks or were able to submit a successful waiver claim for him after the trade. Our prayers are answered. All is right in the world. Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

Right?

Well, kind of. There is no doubt that getting traded from the pass-happy Saints, where Peterson was an odd fit from the second they signed him, to the Cardinal who lost David Johnson in Week 1 and have gotten zilch from the running back position in the weeks since, significantly improves Peterson’s fantasy value. The questions we have to answer now are: just how much has it improved? And what exactly can we expect going forward?

In the last few weeks, AP was not seeing regular touches, and his value was pretty much nonexistent. When he signed with the Saints in the offseason, you could hear a collective “huh?” from football fans and writers everywhere. We gave the Saints the benefit of the doubt and figured they knew what they were doing, but it turned out exactly how we all thought it would. Peterson was an odd fit for a Saints team that likes to pass the ball and likes to operate out of the shotgun, two things that don’t mess with Peterson’s style. Add to that the presence of Mark Ingram and youngster Alvin Kamara, and it is no surprise the team moved on from AP.

With the Cardinals, Peterson should get plenty of opportunities. Chris Johnson has not looked good in a couple years now, and he was a free agent until David Johnson got hurt. With Peterson entering the fold, the Cardinals did not even wait a week or two before cutting CJ. He got cut to make room for AP.

There are, however, a few reasons to roll our Peterson optimism back to “cautious optimism.” For starters, he is moving to a new team with a new playbook in the middle of a season. The complexity of NFL playbooks and schemes is why we don’t see a ton of in-season trading in the NFL. It is very difficult to fully learn everything while also preparing to play every week. To start out, they are going to have to feed him plays in bunches and get him acclimated a little bit more every week. Early playing time/snaps are question marks for Peterson right now.

Next, there is the issue of the Arizona offensive line. They’re bad. They’re really bad. They are particularly bad at run blocking, which is the primary reason the Cardinals have struggled so much on the ground this season. If they can’t open up some room for Peterson, he might have a fairly low ceiling in Arizona.

Lastly, the Cardinals are another team that likes to throw the ball. Carson Palmer currently leads the NFL in passing attempts. Part of that is likely because they have struggled to run the ball so much that they have been forced to pass, but they are not going to flip the script and decide to run the ball 60% of the time just because Adrian Peterson has arrived. Peterson is not much of a pass-catching back, so will he get enough touches to be valuable on a weekly basis for fantasy owners?

These are all valid questions that cause concern. Of course, the upside with Peterson is definitely worth taking the chance on him, even if just to stash him for a couple weeks while you see how he looks in that offense. Just don’t get your hopes up too high until we actually see him getting the ball with some space to work with.

Now, to the charts!

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Well folks, after four games, the Adrian Peterson experiment in New Orleans has come to a close. After an offseason deal worth $7M for two years, the Saints have traded away AP to the Cardinals for a conventional draft pick. Simply put, the Saints wanted to get rid of him, and this was the fastest way, and easiest way possible. This now leaves New Orleans with three running backs: Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and youngster Trey Edmunds. Meanwhile in Arizona, Adrian Peterson now jumps into the wasteland that was the RBBC with David Johnson’s injury, now competing for touches against Chris Johnson, Kerwynn Williams, and Andre Ellington.

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Last week I tried something new by analyzing another expert’s weekly picks. Some of you did not take very kindly to my approach. If I’m being honest, while you are entitled to your opinion, your comments did not phase me as I’m right back at it again. If you’ve read my posts, both here and on the baseball side of business, you will know that I like to mix it up with respect to post topics. Some weeks you will get an advice column while others will be more of a recap rant. Sometimes I’ll use my math and computer science background to try and analyze the numbers, and once in a while I like to go off the rails and hit you with a wild card. That is exactly what I did last week. If you didn’t like it, I’m not sorry. If you’d prefer to ignore what I have to say, then I’m pretty sure you know how to to not click the link when you see my name announced as the author. If you don’t, then I suggest you pick up the following book.

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The talk of this week at the running back situation has been Wendell Smallwood. If you don’t believe me, take a scroll through the last dozen or so Razzball articles to see the takes and advice. With Darren Sproles somehow breaking his arm and tearing his ACL on the same play, there are touches available in Philadelphia. LeGarrette Blount is still around and actually looked productive on Sunday, and Corey Clement scored his first career touchdown and could rotate into games going forward, but Smallwood is the guy who stands to benefit the most from the Sproles injury. If you don’t believe me, the Eagles offensive coordinator said as much in his press conference on Tuesday. I have the transcript if you want it.

For me, though, there is a more exciting running back to target. Heading into Week 3, we knew two things: 1. There would be a new offensive coordinator. 2. Marvin Lewis has been coaching the Bengals for 15 years without winning a single playoff game. Number 1 is relevant for fantasy owners, while number 2 is simply fascinating.

The position to watch in Week 3 was running back, as it was expected that we could see more Joe Mixon and less Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. And that is exactly what happened. Mixon looked like the complete running back he was projected to be coming out of college, gaining more than 100 yards from scrimmage on 21 total touches. Expect that trend to continue going forward, as Mixon should only get better and the Bengals should continue to ride him.

I talked up Mixon last week as a great buy-low option prior to the change at offensive coordinator. Hopefully, you either drafted and stashed him or grabbed him on waivers last week because he is less likely to be available this week. But if he is, grab him and go. On the flip side, I would also try to hold onto Jeremy Hill and/or Giovani Bernard if you have the kind of league that provides you with the roster/bench space to do so. It looks like Mixon will be the guy, but we have seen before that one week doesn’t mean everything and that injuries happen all the time. If you have to pick one, I would probably lean Bernard in PPR.

To the charts!

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