The Eagles were on their bye week, so I took Sunday off from football this week. And by took Sunday off I mean I got up early to set my lineups and monitor the actives and inactives for FantasyPros, went to the movies with my wife around noon, and was back home by 3pm for the afternoon and evening games. That counts as taking the week off from football, right?

Two of the top four scoring running backs this week play for the Saints because it is that kind of year. Another one of them was Dion Lewis, one of the 14 running backs on the Patriots (depending on your scoring settings), who rushed for a touchdown and returned a kick for a touchdown. DeMarco Murray was the fourth guy on the list. Since I mentioned the other three, figured I might as well tell you who the other guy was.

Two other running backs making appearances in the upper tier of scorers in Week 10? Austin Ekeler and Corey Grant? Wut. Yup. Ekeler, who is the running back on the Chargers not named Melvin Gordon, rushed 10 times for 42 yards and added five catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Congrats to Ekeler’s mom, who finally cashed in on that FanDuel lineup that featured Austin Ekeler for like $1,800.

According to Google, Corey Grant is 25 years old, has the same birthday as my dog Young Money (different year), played college football at Auburn, and currently plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also did this on Sunday:

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of Webb, it was the age of Sanchez, it was the epoch of Beckham, it was the epoch of Rex…

I can’t remember a more interesting year of QB play in New York. Eli Manning, on the brink of passing his brother on the all-time consecutive regular season game start list and Josh McCown, two years older than Eli at 38 and now on his 8th team since being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2002 — the odds makers would’ve never predicted which one of these two would potentially be threatening for a playoff spot — and the other could be losing his job to a younger QB by mid-season.

But both McCown and Manning have intriguing fantasy match-ups this week and are my ‘start’ options.

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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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Well, that was certainly one of the busier NFL trade deadlines in my lifetime. A number of big names got traded, and for our purposes here the biggest name was Jay Ajayi going from the Miami Dolphins to the Philadelphia Eagles. The initial consensus was that this would boost his value, going from a struggling Miami offense to one of the more productive offenses in the league in Philadelphia. However, I’m not so sure.

While the Dolphins have been hot garbage this season, Ajayi at least had the benefit of being top dog. In Philadelphia, he joins a committee that currently features LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, and Kenjon Barner. The Eagles have announced that Blount is, at least for now, still their starting running back. While Ajayi shouldn’t lose much time to the latter three once he gets assimilated into the offense, he will probably lose some touches to Blount, especially near the goal line.

The Eagles also love to throw the ball pretty often, despite the success they have had running the ball. Don’t expect just because they now have Ajayi that they are going to start running the ball 75% of the time. This is still a West Coast offense that runs the ball for the sake of balance rather than some kind of desire to actually run the ball. They like to pass for the lead and run things down when they can. Between that and Blount still being around, don’t expect Ajayi to get the ball 30 times a game.

He should still be a valuable back going forward, but I would be a little worried about starting him this week. Assuming he is active, the Eagles are probably going to have a package of plays for him and not ask him to do too much. They have a bye week next week and will probably wait until after that to fully unleash him.

On the Miami side of things, Damien Williams and Kenyon Drake are going to compete for touches. My money is on Williams getting first crack, but the Dolphins are probably going to split time and roll with the hot hand until (if?) someone takes the job. With how things have gone in Miami so far this year, I wouldn’t want to rely on either one until we see some kind of production.

Now, to the charts!

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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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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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Hello everyone, and welcome to Razzball’s Fantasy Football 2017 Division Previews. On this piece, we’ll take a look at this year’s AFC East. In past offseasons, we’ve seen many versions of the same headline: “Watch Out Patriots, Dolphins/Bills/Jets Are The New Team To Beat”. And while we haven’t seen that storyline yet, this is a division that moved in the right direction as a whole. It’s good to see that just for football in general. There are a lot of fantasy storylines and scenarios to dive into, so let’s get right to it…

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faab-boyd

I’ve got a running back heavy edition of FAAB waiver claims to consider, along with a pair of wide receivers. In case you don’t know what I’m doing with this week’s title, an 80s band called the Bangles wrote a song called Walk Like An Egyptian. It was a hit, don’t you know! There’s also a relevant Philadelphia Eagles player, so how about a Fly Like An Eagle reference? This Sunday’s games featured some injuries that can be acted on. Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell now need to be owned in 12-team and deeper leagues. Rex Burkhead can be considered in some leagues. Wendell Smallwood received a bunch of carries and should once again receive more than his usual workload.

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Chicago Bears wide receiver Cameron Meredith (81) is tackled by Miami Dolphins linebacker Spencer Paysinger (42) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Chicago, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The Bears have been trash this season. Now they have a possible Jordan Howard injury and an Alshon Jeffery suspension which creates a FAAB spending opportunity. I can’t say for certain whether we should pick up Bears running backs Jeremy Langford or Ka’deem Carey because I can’t say whether Howard is injured. My take on whether John Fox is truthful is “Nah, he ain’t ever been”. I’m with Howard on this one and that means the Jeffery suspension is our primary interest. It puts at least two players in the spotlight, Cameron Meredith and Eddie Royal. Marquess Wilson is also interesting if he’s going to play. Time to look at the waiver wire and spend some FAAB.

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ty-montgomerycat

Positional flexibility is so incredible. It gives you so many options, and shallows out the need for your bench. Targeting players that carry multiple positions is a sneaky tactic to winning your fantasy league. In baseball.

But would ya look at that…here we are in Week 8 of the fantasy football season and it’s the positional flexibility that’s adding value to players, and elevating a certain someone above the rest of the Pack (pun intended) as we look for targets leading into the second half of the season. Having troubles at the RB position due to the overall suck of the position, the quagmire that is timeshares in the backfield, or the myriad of injuries that could have ravaged your squad? No fear, Green Bay’s providing all the assistance you’ll need by getting creative with their own backfield problems. And giving us something we haven’t had in three weeks as we work the wire…

Here are the top targets to, well…target for Week 8!

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