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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

November 1, 2017 @ 1:30 PM: Me: have Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson on my team. Decide to shop Prescott to a rival league member who was struggling with Jameis Winston and Philip Rivers as his QBs.

November 1, 2017 @ 1:52 PM: Trade is accepted to send Prescott to other team member.

November 1, 2017 @ 2:04 PM: Text exchange with another league member:

November 2, 2017 @ 4:12 PM: Reports: Watson was limited in practice due to a sore knee. “lol”

November 2, 2017 @ 4:53 PM: Early reports: Watson might have torn his ACL, season possibly over. “lol”

November 2, 2017 @ 5:27 PM: Reports confirmed. Watson has torn his ACL and is done for the season. “lol”

November 3, 2017 @ 3:00 PM: Trade is processed. “lol…”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Note to self: don’t get cute with your picks. Not only will the readers let you hear it, but it’ll blow up in your face. I threw one too many hail marys in my article last week and I’m not sure if any of them were caught. Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks and Russell Wilson are just a few of the guys who this idiot recommended. Don’t worry, I’ll do better fam! Leave them comments below if you’ve got league specific questions… 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to another edition of Jay’s (hey, that’s me!) Review of all things Week 2. Except for Monday Night Football, just as bad as Thursday Night Football, but now without Chris Berman. So slightly better. Maybe. Who knows actually? I’m just waiting for when the NFL figures out how to have a game on every night and additionally draw out the NFL Draft for entire offseason. You think it might not happen, but Roger Goodell is already telling Robert Kraft to hold his beer (usually it’s his penis). So yeah, that was basically me saying that MNF is too late for this existential journey, maaaan. And sure, what I just typed may have come off as sassy, but that’s only because MB RSVP’d (so many acronyms, so little time!) probably the best GIF from Week 2 with the Lynch Safety Dance. You probably only understood that reference if you’re a member of AARP, but hey, on the bright side, more acronym dropping. So instead, I have chosen Todd Gurley to shine my light upon with the utmost care and love. Which is what I also refer to as a boner. And behold above, if that GIF doesn’t turn you on, I don’t want to be off. I feel like this could be the new Dyson’s vacuum cleaner slogan. Or the first last line I’ll ever say to a first last date. The possibilities are endless, just like a world with a functioning Todd Gurley. Is he back? (Maybe?) Was he ever gone? (Yeah.) (Vague) Answers to these questions and your usual daily allotment of hot takes, yokes (jokes in egg form, or I guess I could have just corrected the typo instead of typing this long sentence out… wait, am I still typing?), and your Week 2 Top Plays in GIF form are all after the jump!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Does anyone else get the old Sherwin Williams jingle stuck in their head when they see Kerwynn Williams’s name? No? Just me?

Anyway, welcome to the 2017 Handcuff Report. For those who followed this post last season, welcome back. For those who are new, where were you last year? Too good for us? I have researched other available handcuff reports and tell give you my completely unbiased opinion that none of them are half as good as this one. Shame on you, and welcome.

So, first things first: what exactly is a handcuff? For the fantasy football n00bs out there, or perhaps for those who have taken the last few years off, a handcuff is a backup who will likely take over as the starter in the event of an injury, extreme ineffectiveness, off-the-field trouble, or coach’s decision. There are probably other reasons that I am forgetting here, but those are the most common one.

Most NFL teams now run a running back by committee of some sort. While not every team is as unpredictably maddening as the Patriots, most teams share the load in an effort to keep guys fresh and give defenses different looks. With fantasy leagues more competitive than ever, thanks to sites like Razzball offering great advice, it is important to recognize trends and identify value quickly. If you drafted a stud running back early, you might want to grab his handcuff in case of injury. Or if you went zero RB or went really light on RB early, you might want to squat on a couple handcuffs or, especially in PPR leagues, grab a change-of-pace/pass catching back. With the influx of young running backs and each team having two or three options this season, I tended to do the latter in drafts this year. For every Melvin Gordon, I have like two Shane Vereens or Theo Riddicks this year. Speaking of young running backs:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The first couple weeks are where you should spend at least fifty percent of your Free Agent Auction Budget. Yeah, I said Half. At least. Spend that money. These early weeks are mas importante. Don’t worry about dropping the money on the top guys because isn’t it better to have them and drop them than not have a possible lottery ticket? But it does seem a bit weird. We’re not taught to spend all our money right away. We’re supposed to save some for a rainy day. You can, but experience has shown me that the most valuable guys come after the first couple weeks and very often after week one. You don’t need money once the season is over (and if you don’t get one of these guys your seasons may be over a lot sooner than you think), so don’t worry about spending it now.

If you want an FAAB lesson check out the preseason column is here. Now let’s get to the good stuff.  You know these guys because everyone can’t stop talking about them. Here are the top waiver adds and what should you pay (assuming $100 FAAB Budget):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

playoffs

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

markingram

It’s Week 13, which means we are heading into the fantasy playoffs soon. I know that because my readership has dwindled the last two weeks, as many fantasy owners have been eliminated from the playoffs and are throwing in the towel. But that’s OKAY. That just means we can be more serious and a bit more intimate now. It’s just me and you, playoff hopefuls.

Heading into this week, Tim Hightower was a name to watch because Mark Ingram was still in the concussion protocol and was questionable to play. If Ingram couldn’t go, Hightower was going to be a high-end flex/RB2 to throw into lineups before they locked on Sunday. But word came out on Sunday morning that Ingram was going to play, so many likely left Hightower on the bench or on the waiver wire.

But something funny happened. It didn’t matter that Ingram played. Ingram and Hightower combined for three touchdowns and almost 300 yards, with Hightower accounting for 51 rushing yards, 54 receiving yards, and one of the touchdowns. Although, Hightower’s final stat line would look a bit different if not for the late 50-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Willie Snead. If Hightower can keep producing even with a healthy Ingram, he can help out some of the needier fantasy owners come playoff time.

To the report…

Please, blog, may I have some more?