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?

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?

Welcome to the Handcuff Report, 2014 primer. The Almighty J-FOH has bestowed upon me the honor of keeping you knuckleheads up to date on the latest NFL arrests, felonies, and misdemeanors. If Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen are smoking weed in a Pontiac Firebird, we’ll be there. If  Titus Young finds his way back into the league, we’ll be there. If Golden Tate decides to steal maple bars from a Detroit bakery, we’ll be there. You get the point…. Wait.?!?! That’s not what this post covers?…. It’s about running back committee’s? …Hmmm I don’t think that’s right. Jay, I think we have a problem…..I had 1,300 words about Ray Rice, Josh Gordon, Le’veon Bell, and LeGarrette Blount. It seemed reasonable, there are a lot of arrests, and they do in fact impact our rosters. But okay… I got it now, you meant handcuff in a less literal sense. Oops! Welp, time to refocus. I guess instead I’ll be discussing the ever evolving Running Back committee situations around the league. For today and at least the first few weeks of the season, I’ll be providing a list of depth charts and commenting on the situations I feel need to be covered. In other words I’ll be spending less time on teams like the Vikings, Bears, or Seahawks and more time on teams like the Lions, Falcons, and Dolphins. As the season progresses, I’ll probably switch to more of a “handcuffs to watch format”, where I’ll cover a handful of backs with expanding roles. But who knows, we’ll see, you guys can tell me in the comments if you like the depth chart rankings. I’m cool with that. After today I will be sticking with the tried and true tiered approach (say that three times fast Micro Machine Man) and the tier names that J-FOH had last year, because what else is there outside of Fuzzy, Standard Issue Police, and Duct taped handcuffs? That pretty much covers the handcuff gamut. No??? Are there other varieties besides the ones covered?  Like those weird plastic ones, that cops use, maybe? Did you notice I said “cops use”… do you know why? Because Standard Issue Police That’s Why!!!

Please, blog, may I have some more?