In a perfect world: there would be no need for handcuff and injury reports, starting backs never lose their job, nor get injured. If there ever was a week that emulated this world, we lived it in week 5. Instead of implosions and injuries, week 5 was filled with fantasy explosions. The first couple of weeks have turned into preseason-esque football: poor performances and athletes getting in “game shape” are the new norm to start the NFL season. October is here and the football that was expected has arrived.

The week 5 fantasy gods were kind to us, avoiding any major injuries to starting running backs. Just because there were no injuries or any major handcuff to report on, it does not mean we get to take our foot off the gas. Now is the time for owners to secure their handcuff and prepare for the end of the fantasy season, as owners give up on under performing handcuffs that were over-drafted. Look for players like Rashaad Penny, Ito Smith, Tony Pollard, Malcolm Brown, Alexander Mattison, Latavius Murray, and Jaylen Samuels to be dropped this week. If you own any of their respective starting backs, you want to make sure you secure your insurance policy before it’s too late and before the price increases.

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QB10 in fantasy scoring and QB2 in NFL passing yards through 4 weeks, Matt Ryan visits the Lone Star State in matchup carrying the tied-for-2nd highest point total in week 5. The 13th toughest fantasy defense against quarterbacks, the Houston D/ST unit look a lot tougher on paper than what I believe will be on display this Sunday. Two of Houston’s best defensive outings were against quarterbacks that entered the season as backups on their respective depth chart. Including 6th round rookie QB Gardner Minshew (JAC) in his first NFL start and 2nd year backup Kyle Allen (CAR) getting the 2nd start of his career. In Houston’s two matchups against top 10 NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, the defense surrendered an average of 327.5 passing yards per game, QB12 (Brees) and QB13 (Rivers) fantasy finishes, and 4 total passing touchdowns. After nearly topping 400 yards passing (397) last week, Matt Ryan failed to pass for a TD against TEN. This is a prime bounce back spot for Matt Ryan to find the endzone through the air in a game where ATL are -4.5 underdogs and an implied score that includes 3 TDs for the Falcons. Rudy projects Ryan as the QB8 this weekend. 

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This figured to be a favorable matchup for the Chicago Bears on Monday night. Still, Washington had shown some fight through the first couple games of the season. As fantasy football enthusiasts, we can only hope for offensive production, even if the game on the field is less than ideal. The Bears can end up being playoff contenders in a fierce division, but who had the idea to give Washington a home game on Monday night when we already have to endure Booger McFarlane?

The Bears scored their first touchdown on a pick six. For one night at least, this defense was starting to look like the Bears defense from 2018 that had an insanely favorable turnover ratio. The defense spent the evening, or at least the first half, giving Mitch Trubisky the short fields that he had grown accustomed to last season. So how did the fantasy stats shake out? And were the Redskins able to salvage anything Monday night?

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While it still is early into the 2019 NFL season, we are getting more clarity with which teams are actually good or bad on either side of the ball. With more and more clarity, we can make better and better fantasy decisions with how we should manage or rosters. Who we should start, and who we should sit.

So let’s talk about that very subject.

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So can the Chiefs cut child arm-breaker Tyreek Hill now? The irony of seeing Tyreek in a sling on the sidelines should not have been lost on any of us. Though I’m not as all in on DeMarcus Robinson as I was last week on Marquise Brown and Terry McLaughlin. Kelce is still the #1 receiver in KC, and with Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins also splitting targets I feel like this is a situation where week to week some WR is going to get big numbers, but it’s near impossible to decide who, and that only gets murkier when Tyreek returns (and if you have an impatient Hill owner in your league who needs help now, see if you can pry Hill from them). Feels like the Rams; must be nice for those two teams, must be nice.

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Week 2 is almost in the books with only a Monday Night Football tilt between the Browns and Jets remaining. A couple of star running backs had scares over the weekend, and few week 1 handcuffs produced. Don’t get caught with your pants down and avoid the risk of a league-mate snagging up a starting backup. Let’s jump right in to this week’s handcuff report.

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Lamar Jackson threw for five touchdowns en route to a 36.6/33.6 point performance on DraftKings/Fanduel, respectively. Mark Ingram rumbled for a pair of touchdowns and registered 25.7/22.7 fantasy points. DeSean Jackson went off in his Philadelphia debut, scorching the Redskins defense for 38.4/31.4 fantasy points. Mark Andrews and Delanie Walker each recorded 20+ point performances at the depleted tight end position. The 49ers defense picked off Jameis Winston for a touchdown not once but twice to lead all fantasy defenses.

You know what all of these players had in common other than their strong outings? They were all a part of my Week 1 DFS guide (sure, Jameis Winston and Adam Humphries were too, but you can’t win them all, right?), and as you can see, I’m humbly enjoying my overall accuracy. It won me some money, and I hope it did the same for you. Let’s do it again!

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The sun rises over the majestic mountain range, illuminating the frost into countless diamonds. The air is crisp and clean and there is motion all around your tent. The energy is palpable and you take a deep breath, stepping into the cold morning. The warm scent of freshly brewed coffee drifts into your nostrils as I jam a loaded backpack in your gut and tell you you’re the last one up. “Breakfast is over, make sure you wear double socks” I say, strapping a ladder to a sleeping bag.

Don’t worry, this is how week 1 feels for most of us. All the anticipation, planning, and training doesn’t mean a thing once you head out on the trail. Week 1 was full of rookie WRs making a statement despite limited preseason buzz. Conversely, exciting rookie running backs flopped and split time, leaving managers rattled as we look forward to week 2. There was expected carnage, although congrats to the half of you that walked away 1-0.

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The pronounced offseason ‘champs’ lose 43-13, the quarterback that ‘can’t pass’ tosses 5 touchdowns for over 300yds passing, the defending NFC champs win 30-27 without a starting skill player scoring a touchdown, and former 1st round ‘bust’ WR goes for 158 yds and 2 TDs. Can we get an Allelujah? The NFL is back.

Unfortunately, along with all of the excitement that was brought in week 1, plenty of angst was brought upon starting fantasy rosters. Each week, the handcuff report will highlight key running back waiver acquisitions or necessary watch list candidates. Bench spots are fluid and managing who to add each week is critical in any quest to fantasy football glory. Let’s get started with the bad boyz of week 1….

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Each week I will preview a couple of games that are ripe with fantasy juice for us to squeeze. Highlighting which players have a path to eat, DFS plays, and studs that should be faded.

Bonus content – The 50/50 Club: Seeking streaming options, managing through roster injuries, filling bye weeks, or looking for bargain DFS plays? This year I will select, what I’ve coined as, the 50/50 club. A weekly fantasy roster (QB, RB/RB, WR/WR, TE, DST) comprised of players that have ownership numbers less than 50% across major fantasy platforms. The following week we’ll review how we performed. At the end of the year, we will see how we stack up cumulatively at each position. Can we field a top 12 QB or TE, or top 24 RB/WR over the course of the season?

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