If you hadn’t noticed from the alerts that you are getting on your phone that are annoying your wife or girlfriend, the trade deadline is upon us and we had a busy Monday night. We have two trades that have big impacts on three offenses so far. Since the trade deadline isn’t officially over until 4:00 P.M. Est on Tuesday, you may be hearing from me twice.

There are reportedly two teams that are showing interest in Frank Gore. As if that is not a big enough clue that the Colts are tanking for the season, Indianapolis is also reportedly fielding calls for T.Y. Hilton as well. It would be surprising to me, but maybe Martavis Bryant gets moved to a contender who needs some burst in their receiving corps. Earlier today, it was reported that the Eagles are kicking the tires on the possibility of the Detroit Lions trading them the rights to Calvin Johnson. But this morning, we are focusing So, let’s get this started before you make your waiver wire claims this evening.

[BREAKING: Ezekiel Elliott has been denied his Preliminary Injunction, which essentially means his suspension has been upheld. Note that the suspension will begin after a 24 hour period and the NFLPA will certainly appeal. So he can’t play for the next six games. MAYBE. We’ll know more tomorrow. Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden remain must-owns in all formats.]

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Adrian Peterson is free! On Tuesday, AP was traded from the New Orleans Saints (who seemingly never wanted him?) to the running back-desperate Arizona Cardinals. He is here to save the day for all fantasy owners who stashed him through the first few weeks or were able to submit a successful waiver claim for him after the trade. Our prayers are answered. All is right in the world. Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

Right?

Well, kind of. There is no doubt that getting traded from the pass-happy Saints, where Peterson was an odd fit from the second they signed him, to the Cardinal who lost David Johnson in Week 1 and have gotten zilch from the running back position in the weeks since, significantly improves Peterson’s fantasy value. The questions we have to answer now are: just how much has it improved? And what exactly can we expect going forward?

In the last few weeks, AP was not seeing regular touches, and his value was pretty much nonexistent. When he signed with the Saints in the offseason, you could hear a collective “huh?” from football fans and writers everywhere. We gave the Saints the benefit of the doubt and figured they knew what they were doing, but it turned out exactly how we all thought it would. Peterson was an odd fit for a Saints team that likes to pass the ball and likes to operate out of the shotgun, two things that don’t mess with Peterson’s style. Add to that the presence of Mark Ingram and youngster Alvin Kamara, and it is no surprise the team moved on from AP.

With the Cardinals, Peterson should get plenty of opportunities. Chris Johnson has not looked good in a couple years now, and he was a free agent until David Johnson got hurt. With Peterson entering the fold, the Cardinals did not even wait a week or two before cutting CJ. He got cut to make room for AP.

There are, however, a few reasons to roll our Peterson optimism back to “cautious optimism.” For starters, he is moving to a new team with a new playbook in the middle of a season. The complexity of NFL playbooks and schemes is why we don’t see a ton of in-season trading in the NFL. It is very difficult to fully learn everything while also preparing to play every week. To start out, they are going to have to feed him plays in bunches and get him acclimated a little bit more every week. Early playing time/snaps are question marks for Peterson right now.

Next, there is the issue of the Arizona offensive line. They’re bad. They’re really bad. They are particularly bad at run blocking, which is the primary reason the Cardinals have struggled so much on the ground this season. If they can’t open up some room for Peterson, he might have a fairly low ceiling in Arizona.

Lastly, the Cardinals are another team that likes to throw the ball. Carson Palmer currently leads the NFL in passing attempts. Part of that is likely because they have struggled to run the ball so much that they have been forced to pass, but they are not going to flip the script and decide to run the ball 60% of the time just because Adrian Peterson has arrived. Peterson is not much of a pass-catching back, so will he get enough touches to be valuable on a weekly basis for fantasy owners?

These are all valid questions that cause concern. Of course, the upside with Peterson is definitely worth taking the chance on him, even if just to stash him for a couple weeks while you see how he looks in that offense. Just don’t get your hopes up too high until we actually see him getting the ball with some space to work with.

Now, to the charts!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Crowd chants: “WE WANT JEN! WE WANT JEN!” I know, I know, sometimes real life gets in the way. You probably woke up this morning expecting your usual Hit it or Quit it article and were disappointed to see the picture of Diddy at the top of the football blog but I promise you that we will get through this together. Jen will be back next week and if you would like to check out my regularly scheduled Monday programming, you can find it here.

And now, are you going to Hit it… or Quit it?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to another edition of Jay’s (hey, that’s me!) Review of all things Week 2. Except for Monday Night Football, just as bad as Thursday Night Football, but now without Chris Berman. So slightly better. Maybe. Who knows actually? I’m just waiting for when the NFL figures out how to have a game on every night and additionally draw out the NFL Draft for entire offseason. You think it might not happen, but Roger Goodell is already telling Robert Kraft to hold his beer (usually it’s his penis). So yeah, that was basically me saying that MNF is too late for this existential journey, maaaan. And sure, what I just typed may have come off as sassy, but that’s only because MB RSVP’d (so many acronyms, so little time!) probably the best GIF from Week 2 with the Lynch Safety Dance. You probably only understood that reference if you’re a member of AARP, but hey, on the bright side, more acronym dropping. So instead, I have chosen Todd Gurley to shine my light upon with the utmost care and love. Which is what I also refer to as a boner. And behold above, if that GIF doesn’t turn you on, I don’t want to be off. I feel like this could be the new Dyson’s vacuum cleaner slogan. Or the first last line I’ll ever say to a first last date. The possibilities are endless, just like a world with a functioning Todd Gurley. Is he back? (Maybe?) Was he ever gone? (Yeah.) (Vague) Answers to these questions and your usual daily allotment of hot takes, yokes (jokes in egg form, or I guess I could have just corrected the typo instead of typing this long sentence out… wait, am I still typing?), and your Week 2 Top Plays in GIF form are all after the jump!

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?

Well, that was… something.  Not a really exciting day, right? We waited months and months for three players to go over 100 yards receiving today and only two rushers to go over 100 yards as well.  We had a game in Green Bay where there should have been 800 points scored but neither team could get to 20.

Welcome to my weekly recap of the action we saw on Sunday.  So, I physically can’t watch every play of all 12 or 13 games that go on during the afternoon, but I do watch about 6.5 hours of Redzone every Sunday, so you could say that me and Andrew Siciliano are kind of a thing.  I’ll let you know how I interpret things that I see watching live and what I see in the box score.  I’m not going to bore you with paragraphs upon paragraphs on each game but, I assure you that you will know the trends that you need to know to make decisions for your lineup the next coming week.  Let’s start with the most exciting game from a fantasy stand point…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If we were all born geniuses we wouldn’t be drafting until this weekend for leagues that we pay into. Most of us are terribly impatient fantasy football players and for whatever reason need an extra week or two to stare at rosters that we can’t do anything with while top end wide receivers and running backs tear their ACLs making awkward cuts.  Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware, and Cameron Meredith are all players going anywhere from the early to middle rounds that have had their seasons ended before they even started and thousands of people have these players on their rosters because WE MUST DRAFT IN AUGUST BECAUSE AUGUST IS DRAFT MONTH.  MY FANTASY BASEBALL TEAM SUCKS AND I NEED A ROSTER TO LOOK FORWARD TO. Yeah, I’m the exact same way.  Whether it is due to an injury on the roster, a good preseason, or a player is just being overlooked, here are some players that are worth your picks and also some that aren’t worth your time based on recent changes in August.

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

Also, check out Rudy’s exclusive DFS and season-long tools that are sure to help you be profitable this fantasy football season!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome back to the RazzBlitz Podcast.  Zach and I were joined by Mike (Mayer) Maher and Justin Mason of Friends With Fantasy Benefits (and pretty much everywhere else).  Along with the who I mentioned above, this league features heavy hitters such as Chris Towers (CBS), Tim Heaney (ESPN, RotoWire), Mo Brewington (Eagleswire on USAToday), Andy Singleton (Fantrax), the boys from The Point After Show, among a few other real experts. This league is 16 teams and the roster features: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 flex, 1 D/ST, and 1 kicker. Before the Podcast, check out how the boys at Razzball fared…

Join my RCL League today! Eight spots left!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to Razzball’s Fantasy Football Preview series, where yours truly will guide you, caress you, perhaps even coddle you through your draft preparations and processes. Mmm, processes. And while none of this may be legal and I’ll end up with multiple restraining orders, rest assured that we’ll all be the better for it. Maybe. We’ll go in depth (that’s what she said) at every position… well, the positions that actually count (I’m looking at you Kickers and DSTs…), going over some analysis, the tiers, and any illuminating observations I might have. Because light bulbs are just the coolest thing. Said everyone from the 1800s. Before you get settled down, please refer to Razzball’s 2017 Fantasy Football Draft Rankings, and specifically for this post, refer to our Running Back Rankings

Please, blog, may I have some more?