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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This season the Eagles thought they had that famous combination, pairing LeGarette Blount and Darren Sproles (only to have Sproles break his arm and tear his ACL, brutal, and get replaced by another Lighting). The nickname for a running back combination, typically a larger, burlier back and a shiftier, quicker back has been passed down through the years. Beginning with the backfield of one Archie Manning, the original Thunder and Lighting were the Saints duo Chuck Muncie and Tony Galbreath, so dubbed by Hank Stram (I don’t remember this, uh, since I wasn’t born yet, so thanks NY Times, though the link is about the tough life of Muncie, worth the read, but come right back!).

In more recent years we’ve had CJ2K (more on him later) and LenDale White (I still remember winning leagues with White scoring 15 TDs back when leagues weren’t rewarding .1 for rushing & receiving yards and TDs were what won leagues) Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott(and later TJ Duckett), Tiki Barber and Ron (the Cocaine Train) Dayne and I’m sure I’m missing a bunch (so feel free to add your favorite).

A google search yields multiple teams are working on their own T&L this season including the Bears (Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen), the Dolphins (Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake), Atlanta (though I’m not really sure which is which), Cincinnati (Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard formed a piss poor T&L, just let Mixon be the number one already) and…wow, this is such a lazy way to refer to running back combinations so let’s all agree to never use the term Thunder and Lighting…except in the title of this post. But after that, no more, ok?

Onto the Values! At this point I’m going to assume you’ve spent at least half of a $100 budget (If you have more, add a few dollars to the bids, what do you have to lose?) So with that remaining Grant this week we’re spending it on:

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Week 3 was a crazy, crazy week. Thanks Trump! I kidd. Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Eli Manning all threw for at least three touchdowns, with Bortles throwing four! The Jets dominated. It gets crazier, though. Eight of the games on Sunday had the road teams as favorites. The Jaguars, Colts, Bears, Jets, Bills, and Redskins all took care of business at home. Bow wow wow yipee yo yipee ya! Home dogs! The Lions should have won and the Chargers…well, just scroll down to the recap of that game and all will become clear.

The 2017-2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues for Basketball are now open. Get more info and join here!

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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:

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I know, I need a bath now too. Here it is, week 17. The final slate of games and it’s actually a full one; no TNF or MNF or TNF on SN where the ‘S’ is for ‘Saturday’ which they can’t use because that’s for ‘Sunday Night Football’. Yup, 16 games ripe with intrigue and I lead off with talking Colin Kaepernick. I guess my new year’s resolution is to lose readers. WELP. I know it’s hard to get with the idea of this. Honestly, it’s hard to feel comfortable making the call for me too but here I am looking back on why I liked Russell Wilson last week and nothing has changed about the why. Both are QBs who can run and Arizona rarely leaves a spy on the backfield to stop that from happening and don’t look now but Kap has now rushed for over 40 yards in back to back games and rushed at least 7 times. Methinks the O-Co finally figured out that a Colin stuck in the pocket is a Colin wasted. Not like crunk wasted, more like ‘not used correctly’ wasted. It’s been a trying time for his seasonal owners. Trust me, I know, I suffered through him in one in a two QB league. Guess what? I picked up Kyle Orton and he never saw the light of day again for my team. But this is probably a Harbaugh swan song and I think he goes out and lets his guys do what they do and what Colin can do is run as showcased last week when he racked up 7/151/1 on the ground on his way to a 31.7 DK fantasy point night. What was the passing line you ask? Ehhhh…let’s not talk about that. The point is, his rushing game was worth 24.1 alone. I can’t say he’ll replicate but for a GPP go, I’m about to pop a Kap in dat and he has a cheap pairing partner that will also go under the radar…what, I ain’t tellin you now. This is the epic last DK post for fantasy football of the year, I’m gonna make you suffer. So strap in – or strap on, we won’t judge you – as we slide through this final go. So with no further ado, here it is: my final hot take on 2014 fantasy football DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 team league of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It lets us know that you care!

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After a disaster of a suggestion last week in Marion Grice, I’m looking to a couple of familiar names and faces this week. Both Andre Williams and Latavius Murray have been featured here before and will be again today. When it comes to handcuffs you sort of hit a point where there are only so many usable options left. Though I suppose Kerwynn Williams’ breakout does fly in the face of that previous statement. The point is we know the players now, and if you’re digging through handcuffs it’s because you need to use them for playoff match ups. So good luck with that! To wrap this up it’s been a great year, and the constant game of musical chairs amongst the starters at the running back position have kept me mighty busy. Hopefully my advice led you to a few victories this season, good luck in the playoffs!

Note: Don’t forget to come visit me on the new Razzball Fantasy Soccer home everyday of the week. Smokey and I have leagues registering now. If you’re not familiar with the format, NBD, relax, you got us. Smokey and I are giving you the best Fantasy Premier League coverage out there. If you haven’t tried fantasy EPL, you’re missing out. So sign up and use us as your guide.

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Hrm…how am I gonna do this…*Goes and reads ‘How To Sell A Bad Idea For Dummies*. I got it! He’s cheap! Yikes, readers and readettes, we’re really digging down into the down and dirty at QB suggesting Jake Locker at $5,400 but there’s some reason for optimism here. One, it’s your money, not mine…JK. The big reason I’m staring down the barrel of Jake’s cannon arm is the matchup. The Jets have been a wreck in the secondary all year. So bad, they’ve allowed a top 15 or better finish to quarterbacks with names like Alex Smith, Teddy Bridgewater and Kyle Orton (twice). If you were looking for a sign that something’s not working, Orton hanging big weeks on you more than once in a season is a pretty good indicator. Now of course, none of this touts Locker as a great play. He’s a risk. A big one, in fact. There’s no sign nor indication that Locker will ever be a good NFL QB at this point but DFS DGAF, y’all! Boy can scramble. Let’s just pretend that he has ‘started’ 4 games this year since he was hurt half way through week 4 and has played back to back 4th quarters the last two weeks when Zach Mettenberger’s shoulder turned into ground beef. In those ‘4 starts’, Locker has averaged about 34 yards on the ground and has a rushing TD to his credit. The great thing about rushing TDs? They’re worth more than passing TDs…seriously, you play this game, why am I telling you? So Locker could net you 9 points with 30 yards rushing and a TD without doing much out of the norm for his style of play. Now let’s take that ‘could’ and tack on the bad passing defense to date by the Jets that has allowed a 29:5 TD to INT ratio and an average of 258 passing yards a game for the year. Now let’s not kid ourselves, this could easily blow up in our faces like we just got a present from Jokey Smurf so I wouldn’t get cute and play him in cash games. That said, if you’re a GPP’in, you’re lookin’ to cut corners on pricing wherever you can and this could be that one time you’ll remember the 2014 Titans fondly. Enjoy. But enough about Denzel Washington, let’s move on. Here’s my red hot takes for the week 14 DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 team league of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It lets us know that you care!

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Well, that was certainly a Sunday worth remembering. Especially if you’re like me and reset the ole’ memory banks with copious amounts of bourbon throughout the day. You could say these Sunday notes aren’t just for you, but also myself… So here we are, together in this. And together, we saw some interesting things… the Bucs, the 1-8 Bucs (in case you were confused) destroyed Washington. For context, the Falcons destroyed the Bucs. And the Panthers almost beat the Falcons. So according to that, the Panthers would probably beat Washington by 200 points. In fact, with the Raiders only mustering 200 yards of total offense, I’m pretty sure if they faced off against Washington, both teams would find a way to lose. And let’s not forget the Lions having a throwback game to the Matt Millen Era. Peyton Manning thinking it’s the month of January (to be fair, the weather has me convinced of this.) Mark Sanchez returning to form. And then there’s this… the Cardinals are now 9-1. They are now three games ahead of Seattle and San Francisco, and one has to naturally wonder, how is this possible? My answer? Two quick touchdowns and leaning on your defense for three hours… this has been done before many times. So I’m just going to go ahead and write the Cardinals in as a playoff team. In permanent marker. And then prepare myself for the end of the world.

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of you have never heard of nor seen an episode of the television sitcom My Favorite Martian from the mid 1960s. Who am I kidding, I was born in 1977 and barely know much about the show. I watched a random episode or two when I was much younger, and probably again about 10 years ago during a late night online poker tournament on PokerStars. Remember when it was legal to play online poker in the good old U.S of A.? Dem some good times. My Favorite Martian starred Ray Walston as Uncle Martin who was a human looking extraterrestrial from Mars that piloted a one-man spaceship that crashed near Los Angeles.  Tim O’Hara, played by Bill Bixby, discovered Martin and took him in as his roommate. The show centered around the two and their adventures as they kept Martin’s martian origin a secret. The first two seasons were filmed in black and white, while the third and final was in color.

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