So yeah, I get it, the title is a bit overused in today’s parlance with the bizarre yet hypnotizing Adult Swim “horror-comedy-90’s sitcom” experience bringing the idiom back into style. Combined with the fact that I’d faint if you told me that this headline hadn’t been used by any other football writer before today when referring to Brandin Cooks (seen above with the 11-yard touchdown)… yeah, that saying’s been here before. But how apt! How meta I say! Because that’s exactly how I felt about last night’s prime time rematch of last year’s Super Bowl (did you know? You’d think they would mention that at least once last night!) that 95% of the Northeast tuned out of in the third quarter. There was some horror, some comedy, and of course Bill Belichek carries the whole 90’s sitcom vibe all by himself… but ultimately, it seemed to be a game that’d we’d all seen before and we were all the worse for it. And sure, while it might have been the Falcon’s gameplan all along, to give the Patriots a 23-point lead only to start a miraculous comeback of their own… problem was, the comeback never came and the Falcons looked about as good in the first three quarters yesterday as they did in the last quarter in the aforementioned Super Bowl. But there was fog! And lots of it! (I can’t find confirmation if it was coming out of Cris Collinsworth’s or Bob Costas’ mouth.) So instead of calling this a Super Bowl rematch, maybe we should call it the “Trent Green Bowl”? Kind of an “NFL’s concept” of what it’s like travelling through Trent Green’s head. You know, minus the purple bears and robot unicorns…

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After last week’s boring as hell waiver wire we’re back this week with some real options. Not the sexiest of options, mind you, but more (the ol’ quantity over quality). Remember we’re going with $100 FAAB dollars (though most of you probably have much less than that, and I’m working off the loose assumption you have about $50 or so left so adjust accordingly):

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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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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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Welcome back to the RazzBlitz Podcast.  Zach and I were joined by Mike (Mayer) Maher and Justin Mason of Friends With Fantasy Benefits (and pretty much everywhere else).  Along with the who I mentioned above, this league features heavy hitters such as Chris Towers (CBS), Tim Heaney (ESPN, RotoWire), Mo Brewington (Eagleswire on USAToday), Andy Singleton (Fantrax), the boys from The Point After Show, among a few other real experts. This league is 16 teams and the roster features: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 flex, 1 D/ST, and 1 kicker. Before the Podcast, check out how the boys at Razzball fared…

Join my RCL League today! Eight spots left!

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Back by popular demand, it’s baaaaaaaaaack. (Thanks to the two of you who were interested.) After writing the “Predicting the Top 10” series the last few years, it was brought to my attention that a few others wrote similar articles in the past. To those that did, I pay homage to you.

This is an update to last year’s piece. I realize that ADP is fluid during the preseason, but unless an injury happens or someone completely balls out in the exhibition games, the top 10 seems to be pretty entrenched. This article is not deep and groundbreaking, but I enjoy taking nostalgic strolls down memory lane. In addition, there could be some nuggets of information that could be useful. It is often said that history repeats itself and we should learn from the past to prepare for the future.

If you want more analytical predictive tools, I highly recommend reading anything at numberFire, Rotoviz, and 4for4. Since I’m doing recommendations, I have to include the Footballguys, as everyone there is a brilliant fantasy football mind and a few took the time to give me feedback and help me out. And of course, last but not least, Rudy has done an amazing job with the tools and team football pages, Jay was the third-best ranker at FantasyPros last season, and Zach, Matt, and the whole crew are pumping out amazing content. With that said, here you go…

Basketball season is warming up. Check out Razzball Basketball, SON’s new home, for all your Fantasy B-ball needs!

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Ever since Jim Harbaugh left for Michigan to chase Ohio State in the Big Ten, the NFC West has been a tale of two teams.  The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals have traded blows over the past few seasons to represent the West with a home playoff game.  This season is business as usual for the Seahawks.  Seattle continues to reload while getting healthy where they were shorthanded the prior season.  The Cardinals are becoming more of a question mark as Father Time creeps in on offensive weapons that Bruce Arians depends on.

The once left for dead San Francisco 49ers are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel by bringing in John Lynch to be the GM.  Many questioned this tactic until we all witnessed him fleece the Chicago Bears on live television in the most one-sided trade that I can remember.  While we as fantasy team owners know to turn our noses this season, there are a few pieces in place to keep an eye on for the future.  Who knows, maybe there in a 2017 break out star on the 49ers.  We witnessed the magic that Kyle Shanahan can brew up last season with the Falcons.  The Rams changed head coaches but did little else to garner any attention after a disaster-ridden offensive season in 2016.

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Hello everyone, and welcome to the second post my mini-series on talking about each different position before the start of NFL Training Camps in a month and a half or so from now. Again, something to keep in mind, this is by no means a draft plan, or any sort of in-depth analysis about each position, as those articles will come out later in the summer during the camps themselves, but rather, a series of articles that can get the ball rolling towards the 2017 fantasy season.

I’ll be moving away from the structure of the”Players I Like and Players I Don’t Like”, and move towards an open discussion on my feelings about the position as a whole.

So enough chatter, let’s get right to it!

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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!

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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…

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