If you drafted Jay Ajayi at the end of the first round in 2017, you probably thought that you got the steal of the draft. After week one, you were convinced. It was all down hill from there and if you were lucky, you swindled a hopeful league mate for a useful player. Ajayi was eventually traded to the Philadelphia Eagles and didn’t see double digit carries until the final three games of the season. It’s also tough to find the end zone when Legarrette Blount is the red zone back. 208 rushes and 1 touchdowns just isn’t going to cut it…

Legarrette Blount and his 40 red zone carries have left for Detroit. In fact, Ajayi didn’t see a single carry inside of the 5-yard-line in all of 2017. The Eagles ran 77% of their offense out of the shotgun and that is exactly the offense that Ajayi can be successful in. According to Warren Sharp, when the Eagles were in the lead, Ajayi averaged 8.6 yards per carry from shotgun and when trailing he averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Obviously, with more of a workload these averages are sure to regress. But, with more volume, comes more overall fantasy production.

Check out my pieces on Undraftable QuarterbacksLeonard FournetteDoug BaldwinUndraftable Running Backs, and Undraftable Wide Receivers.

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I am back from my football blogging sabbatical and ready for the off season. I have no interest in this crumby Super Bowl, so I’m ready to dive right into the offseason. What better way to start than to review the 2017 season? There could have been stuff that you missed, you never know. Maybe something that you read in this will stick in your brain until your draft season in August. Will you remember which article you read it from? Probably not, It’s January.

I’m surprised you even clicked on this, you must be bored. What you will probably remember from my posts when your drafts roll around in August is my grotesque misunderstanding of English grammar. I’ll probably over use some commas, or not use enough commas. Do they teach 6th grade grammar at the local community college? Better yet, maybe you would prefer that I disperse of fantasy football knowledge through the use of emojis. That would be edgy, and no one has done it yet! (Simpsons did it!) Alright stop. I’m going to go through the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends to let you know what stuck out to me this season. Today, let’s start with the quarterbacks and running backs.

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We are now more than two-thirds and less than three-quarters of the way through the NFL season (#math), which means your league should be right at its trading deadline as you try to shore up those running back slots for a playoff run. Making matters more interesting the last couple weeks were a bunch of injuries that should clear up some playing time for running backs who were either riding the bench or snoozing on the waiver wire. Like Samaje Perine, for example.

I liked Perine coming into the season for a number of reasons. The biggest was that I think Rob Kelley stinks, so I figured Perine would take over that job and keep it at some point. Kelley has been injured off an on for most of the season, and Perine has gotten some chances and not done much with them. But those were week-to-week situations, with Kelley lingering in the background as he got healthy, so you knew that Perine would have to get hot in order to keep the job. And even if he did, Kelley would probably still be there to vulture and eat into the share of touches.

But Kelley is gone now and was placed on injured reserve. Making matters more interesting, Chris Thompson, who was averaging roughly a gazillion fantasy points per game earlier this season by taking swing passes to the house, joined him on injured reserve on Tuesday. That leaves Samaje Perine all by his lonesome with all those touches. His backup, Byron Marshall, was on the Eagles practice squad last week and is nothing more than a third-down running back/wide receiver hybrid and return man.

The time has come for you to consider a Perine implant. In his first game as the dude, Perine put up 126 total yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he got 24 touches (23 carries and one reception) on Sunday, while Thompson seeing five before leaving with a fractured fibula. If you need a running back and can find that kind of volume on the waiver wire or in a trade that shouldn’t be very expensive (don’t overpay, but check in on his price), you have to pull the trigger.

If you have a solid team but are maybe one running back short of a real run, Perine could be your guy. Maybe you’re like me and have been alternating one spot between Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, Marlon Mack, and someone from the Seahawks all year. Perine can be our savior, guys.

Now, to the charts!

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What is more surprising, that Corey Clement scored three touchdowns or that Corey Clement scored three touchdowns and wasn’t even the top scoring running back in Week 9? Yeah, I guess the first one, but the second part is pretty interesting too. Alvin Kamara scored two touchdowns of his own and added six catches and over 150 yards from scrimmage to eek out the top running back spot for the week.

Kamara is finally helping Saints fans forget about Darren Sproles and appears to be the perfect compliment to Mark Ingram in New Orleans. Despite the handcuff label, as I have discussed with a few readers in the past few weeks, Kamara is still valuable in fantasy, especially in PPR formats. The Saints have made it pretty clear since their bye week that they want to get the ball into the talented young running back’s hands and are carving about 15+ touches for him each week. And it is working, so don’t expect them to go away from it anytime soon.

In Philadelphia, Clement scored three touchdowns in a week where many wondered if he would even be active on gameday with the addition of Jay Ajayi. With Zach Ertz a late scratch, all of Philly’s running backs were active, even Wendell Smallwood. However, don’t get used to Clement finding so much success and that many touches going forward. The Eagles are on a bye this week and will have had two more weeks to get Jay Ajayi up to speed. While Clement will probably be active over the forgotten Wendell Smallwood, most of the touches are going to go to Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount. This tweet would say otherwise, but remember this was a blowout in Philly:

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Does anyone play in a league where you can trade FAAB dollars? I don’t know if there’s a website set-up for that, but there must be. I could see there being strategy involved with a trading a 4th wide receiver for $10 or using that extra cash to sweeten a deal. Especially over a long season, and if it was a keeper league to boot trading those extra dollars toward the end of the season could really make a difference. Well, I’m sold, if you’re interested check back in about eight months and I’ll have a league ready to go. Now, on to the show.

So this is Free Agent Auction Bidding, and we started the season with one hundred dollars. Ten weeks in, does anyone have any money left? (I have less than $10 in all my leagues) But let’s say you do, let’s say you missed out on all the guys you wanted up until this week, maybe you’ve added and dropped a couple defenses, but that’s it. In that case, spend spend spend!

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Happy Halloween fantasy football team owners! Hopefully this week’s bye week teams won’t haunt you for the rest of the season. The league’s third-highest scoring QB (Tom Brady), best WR (Antonio Brown), two of the league’s best RBs (Le’Veon Bell and Melvin Gordon) and the league’s 2nd best TE (Rob Gronkowski) are all out this week so you’ll need to make smart adds to stay floating down here!

Speaking of Tom Brady — I need your help to solve an argument. I was discussing with some of my friends about who is the best player of all time in each of the four major sports. Hockey is obviously Wayne Gretzky, basketball is Michael Jordan (for now), baseball could be Barry Bonds, but who is the best NFL player of all time? I’m leaning towards Brady, but was told to “chill” on that assessment. What do you all think?

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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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This season the Eagles thought they had that famous combination, pairing LeGarette Blount and Darren Sproles (only to have Sproles break his arm and tear his ACL, brutal, and get replaced by another Lighting). The nickname for a running back combination, typically a larger, burlier back and a shiftier, quicker back has been passed down through the years. Beginning with the backfield of one Archie Manning, the original Thunder and Lighting were the Saints duo Chuck Muncie and Tony Galbreath, so dubbed by Hank Stram (I don’t remember this, uh, since I wasn’t born yet, so thanks NY Times, though the link is about the tough life of Muncie, worth the read, but come right back!).

In more recent years we’ve had CJ2K (more on him later) and LenDale White (I still remember winning leagues with White scoring 15 TDs back when leagues weren’t rewarding .1 for rushing & receiving yards and TDs were what won leagues) Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott(and later TJ Duckett), Tiki Barber and Ron (the Cocaine Train) Dayne and I’m sure I’m missing a bunch (so feel free to add your favorite).

A google search yields multiple teams are working on their own T&L this season including the Bears (Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen), the Dolphins (Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake), Atlanta (though I’m not really sure which is which), Cincinnati (Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard formed a piss poor T&L, just let Mixon be the number one already) and…wow, this is such a lazy way to refer to running back combinations so let’s all agree to never use the term Thunder and Lighting…except in the title of this post. But after that, no more, ok?

Onto the Values! At this point I’m going to assume you’ve spent at least half of a $100 budget (If you have more, add a few dollars to the bids, what do you have to lose?) So with that remaining Grant this week we’re spending it on:

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Image result for home dogs

Week 3 was a crazy, crazy week. Thanks Trump! I kidd. Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Eli Manning all threw for at least three touchdowns, with Bortles throwing four! The Jets dominated. It gets crazier, though. Eight of the games on Sunday had the road teams as favorites. The Jaguars, Colts, Bears, Jets, Bills, and Redskins all took care of business at home. Bow wow wow yipee yo yipee ya! Home dogs! The Lions should have won and the Chargers…well, just scroll down to the recap of that game and all will become clear.

The 2017-2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues for Basketball are now open. Get more info and join here!

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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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