Welcome! Welcome! To an elite club, an exclusive group, of individuals whose fantasy football skills reign supreme over their peers. Now is the time to showcase your prowess and claim your seat on the pigskin throne. Let us put fear in the eyes of our enemies as we encounter our first foe in our championship quest.

Today I cover my take on the multiple running back handcuffs that will see starting duties this weekend. Unfortunately, as we enter the first round of the playoffs, we are down a few heavy hitters, that have carried us to this point. James Conner, Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, and Matt Breida are a few of the studs that will be missed. If you have followed along all season then you have built your bench depth adequately to compete for a championship. Hopefully, some of these players below can come to our rescue.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, the NFL is cancelling the season after Monday Night Football in tribute to Aaron Rodgers, right? His injury is clearly worse than 9-11, if you are to believe the outpouring of melancholy media ejaculate yesterday. Not that they don’t have a reason. Losing one of the NFL’s most marketable players for selling insurance not only leaves us just with Peyton Manning and J.J. Watt (who died last week) to hawk stupid sh*t, but also allows the Packers to show how terrible Brett Hundley is at quarterbacking. Football sure knows how to expand it’s market share! And I realize there’s already a lot of hype building for signing Colin Kaepernick, which if we’re writing seriously (rare, I know) makes some sense, but I feel like a sports organization has to do triage for these situations with a bit more vigor. So I’ve come up with a strategy, a “plan of attack” if you will, that I believe the Packers are considering right this very moment:

  • Plan A – Send feelers out about signing Colin Kaepernick to gauge the reactions from fans and media. Invest in the TIKI torch brand if signing takes place. If not, move to Plan “B”.
  • Plan B – Beg Tony Romo to leave the booth. If Romo says yes, move to “Plan XXIV” when he gets injured in his first game back. If Romo says no, move to “Plan XXIV”.
  • Plan XXIV – WHERE IS MATT FLYNN? If found, give him more free money. If not, give him more free money and move to the next plan.
  • Plan LOL – Trade for Jay Cutler, since he has the most experience throwing to Packers receivers. If Miami says no, move to the last plan.
  • Plan OMFG – Tim Tebow time! Because at this point, why the ef not?

The NFC North is gonna otherwise be ceded to a team that got blown out by the Saints yesterday. But yeah, darn shame about Rodgers… now that I’ve confirmed the Chargers don’t play Green Bay later this season…

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?

Last night in the NFL Preseason was quite a doozy. After just a few series on offense for the New England Patriots, WR Julian Edelman came up limping and grabbing the back of his knee after a play. Just a few minutes later in the Kansas City game, RB Spencer Ware had to be carted off the field. In New England, the fear is that Edelman has a torn ACL, with a timetable uncertain at this point. In Kansas City, the fears aren’t quite as scary, as the idea is that Spencer Ware has avoided an ACL injury, with only a sprained knee or a PCL injury, with clarity coming in the coming days…

Take me on in the Razzball Commenter Leagues for a chance at prizes! Free to join, leagues still open!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I first came to Razzball years ago searching for help with my baseball teams.  It was actually a recommendation Peter King had made via Twitter.  I had just entered a new, incredibly competitive league, and was looking for an edge.  That is when I was introduced to Grey.  For those of you who don’t know, Grey Albright is the alpha and omega, the be-all, end-all of baseball knowledge.  I was introduced to a slogan, SAGNOF.  Again, for the uninitiated, the term means “Saves/Steals ain’t got no face”.  Boiled down, it means you never pay full price for saves and steals, because more often than not a no-name, know-nothing player will come out of nowhere, and do the same at a reduced price.

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?

rawls

If you are like me and drafted Thomas Rawls in August but managed to stay patient and hang onto him until now, take a bow. I’ll bow with you. September and October were some dark times, my friends, but here we are. Rawls is the top dog in Seattle, and it looks like it will stay that way for the rest of the season now that Christine Michael got shipped out of town and C.J. Prosise is hurt. We did it, guys.

Prosise ran for a 72-yard touchdown in the first quarter on Sunday, but he left the game in the second quarter. It was pretty much all Rawls for the rest of the game, with a little bit of Troymaine Pope (who also got hurt). The Seahawks getting rid of Christine Michael meant they were ready to roll with Prosise and Rawls as their top guys and that they were confident Rawls would be healthy and effective. Now that Prosise is out of the picture, it’s all Rawls, baby.

Rawls rushed 14 times for 57 yards (4.1 YPC) and added three catches for 31 yards, giving him 88 total yards on the day. Heading into the fantasy playoffs, getting an every down back like Rawls into your lineup could be just what your team needs to get that extra edge (I know my team, where I went zero RB and took Rawls as my RB1 LATE, is sitting pretty now that I have him back). The best part about the Prosise injury* is that it means Rawls will see more action on passing downs. They will find a way to spell him here and there, but Rawls should be an every down back going forward and should catch his fair share of passes.

Things change quickly in the NFL, and it seems like just last week we were excited about the idea of a Prosise-Rawls backfield combination. But this week was about much more than Thomas Rawls and how happy we all are to have him back.

To the report. . .

Please, blog, may I have some more?

C.J. Prosise rushes against the New England Patriots

If you played your cards right, 2016 may have been one of the best seasons ever to roll with a zero RB strategy in your draft. Not only have there been a litany of running back committees utilized across the league, but legitimate RB1s and RB2s have been emerging all year. Take a look at this list: Jordan Howard, Devontae Booker, Spencer Ware, C.J. Prosise, Robert Kelley. Those guys were all either not drafted at all or were taken later in drafts as a handcuff or dice roll option (I actually drafted Booker in one league but dropped him after a few weeks because I need the roster spot. D’oh!).

Please, blog, may I have some more?