All things must come to an end as is the case with this series. We went through the first round, rounds two and three, rounds four and five, and the middle rounds. Now, it is time to close out with with late round values. We will define late rounds as anything in the 9th round or later. Depending on roster size, this will be for your flex spot or later. There are many different kinds of scoring and preferences so I’m just going to go by the names that I like and have already been targeting.
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Welcome back for another strategy session, where you and I sit down, group our intellect together, and prepare to discuss Fantasy Football ad nauseum… and then promptly get distracted by RedTube. So pretty much every other Tuesday. (Well, for me at least.) We already have a Beginners Guide to Fantasy Football, for those of you who had no idea fantasy football existed… I’m sure there are dozens of you. DOZENS! But now that we have the “101” content coming out on a consistent basis, we arrive at the “Do’s and Don’ts” of a draft. As what should be pretty self explanatory, there are things that you should do and things that you should not do. Crazy stuff! I know. Granted, these are based on my own experiences within the Fantasy Football landscape, so take them for what you will. Which frankly, should be lots. Because it’s free. Free stuff is always good! Unless it’s crayfish in your pants. That’s something that’s free, mysterious, titillating, and scary all at the same time. Much like my lovemaking…
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!
At some point, we’re going to get old. Technically, some of us are already there (children of the 80’s unite!). Okay, we’re not that old, but age is probably subjective anyways. And before I give myself an existential crisis, the point I’m trying to make is that Fantasy Sports might be one of those things that don’t have a shelf life. But this season has made me question that conclusion more than usual. I mean, sure, there are things we can do to spice up the experience. Like Craigslist and sex, maybe we’d pay attention more if money is involved, thus, the evolution of money leagues. DFS is, of course, an offshoot. But with NFL’s noticeable ratings drop this year, talk of rearranging when commercials are shown (haha, dream on), the retiring of Thursday Night Football (naw, Jags vs. Titans is always a good idea!) have been some of the things discussed internally. But time is a flat circle, maaaaaaan, so I wouldn’t expect much of anything the NFL does to change. The officiating has been garbage, the penalties for celebrations is an infringement on my right to not eye-roll infinitely. And really, whatever that was on Sunday Night Football last night, which was flexed!… It’s almost as if they aren’t even trying. (Can’t quite tell if I’m talking about the NFL or the Panthers.) The Chargers lost, but I think you already knew that based on this lede, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be mopey. What’s that? Westworld won’t be back on until 2018? Okay. Time to burn this motherf*cker down!
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.
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.
It was finally nice to see some great prime time football for once last week! Seahawks versus the Patriots was an absolutely fitting battle where the Seahawks flipped the script of their Super Bowl XLIX defeat, and Bengals vs. Giants was a tight game until the end. It would’ve been nice to see a bit more flash on Monday Night Football with stars like Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green, and Tyler Eifert on the field, but viewers and fantasy owners can’t be too disappointed with how things turned out. Even though we didn’t see much in the way of explosive, flashy plays, wasn’t Beckham’s rendition of Thriller beautiful to watch at least? Last week I wrote about the good ole’ days of football where touchdown celebrations used to make the games better, so the fact that he didn’t get flagged made it all the better. After briefly speaking about the celebration in his post game interview, Beckham got me thinking when he mentioned he was inspired by Conor McGregor’s UFC 205 victory. How ironic is it that Beckham, one of the feeblest minds in the NFL, can be inspired by Conor McGregor, one of our generation’s most prolific trash talkers? I mean, just imagine if Conor was a cornerback slotted to go against Beckham. How many plays do you think it takes for it to escalate to the Josh Norman level of 2015? Two? Three? Either way, I’m sure his fantasy owners don’t care who inspires him as long as he keeps producing. Now it’s time to look at this week, where I take you through all the guys that should be inspiring you to start them.
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!).
Welcome back, everyone. I apologize for missing last week, but I had a bunch of running around to do and was never able to settle down and hammer out the Week 9 Handcuff Report. Let’s just assume that I gave you great advice last week and that you’re back this week for more. Ok? Ok. Good. Great. Now, about those running backs.
The Oakland Raiders have been really fun to watch this year unless you have been trying to predict running back touches all year. While Latavius Murray was frustrating earlier in the year and then got hurt, but one thing he has done all year is find his way into the end zone. And in a week when a ton of people probably benched him because he was going up against the defense of the Denver Broncos, he decided to get into the end zone three times. Hopefully, you rolled the dice or were forced to start him because of bye weeks and injuries, but I know that many of you didn’t start him. I probably wouldn’t have.
Look, it was either that or “Lockett the Vote”… The world could end later today, and then who’s going to ever know we watched a Monday Night Football game where stuff actually happened? I mean, there were first downs and touchdowns and remarkable levels of referee derp, it felt as if we watched “football” on a weekday for the very first time. You know, like the Madonna song. And while the broadcast served as a strong example of needing a national day of reflection on banning all political ads, both the Seahawks and Bills stepped up, showing everyone that two competing entities can come together and agree on something. In this case, it was agreeing not to play any defense. But if two teams can do that, maybe there is hope for us all… (so no matter what you believe and where you want us to go, you should #vote!)