Our buddy Pat Fitzmaurice of FootballGirl.com and the Fitz on Fantasy podcast stops by to reminisce about his strong performance in the inaugural RazzBowl last year. B_Don and Donkey Teeth ask Pat about his strategy for this year’s RazzBowl. Then, we ask him about some of the players from his team last season to see what he thinks about them for 2020.

Whether he’s done with David Johnson and where he would take Dalvin Cook with a pending holdout looming. He weighs in with the ongoing TE feud between podcast hosts, Mark Andrews vs Darren Waller, before we move onto some discussion about his Green Bay Packers.

We ask him about Aaron Jones possible holdout, and the Packers questionable draft day moves. He gives us his thoughts on who he’s looking at to fill in at WR after Davante Adams. B_Don tries to understand the fascination with Jace Sternberger. 

The guys wrap up with some rookie RB talk from Pat’s Wisconsin fellow alum, Jonathan Taylor, to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and his overall ranks of the big 5 rookie RBs. 

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With the start of the fantasy playoffs already underway, we’ve got a bunch of players in prime spots to help us get to next Sunday. Now is not the time to get cute with our lineup decisions, we’ve got to make accurate and educated moves to help us advance.

We’ve got to dance with who brought us here, so let’s bust some moves.

Let’s get into this week’s Starts and Sits.

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Mattison made the handcuff report back in the pre-season as a premium handcuff, and needs to be rostered by all Dalvin Cook owners heading down the stretch of the fantasy football regular season. Barely on the field for a quarter of the Vikings offensive snaps (26.4%), Mattison’s athletic ability was still on full display. The Vikings are giving Mattison the ball when he is on the field, touching the ball 78.9% percent of his snaps compared to Dalvins 54.9%. In week 8, Alexander took 13 carries for 61 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and now averaging 4.9 ypc on the season. If anything were to happen to Cook, Mattison is fully capable of producing in our fantasy lineups in an offense built around the run. The Vikings rank 3rd in the NFL in rushing attempts per game (32.9). Mattison is averaging 10.8 touches per game over the past 4 weeks, if he is able to find the field for more than 26% of the offensive snaps he’ll start to flirt with weekly flex value.

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You see the struggles of the Cleveland Browns. You see the incompetence of Freddie Kitchens. You see the public turning on Baker Mayfield.

I beg of you. Please don’t sell Odell Beckham Jr.

The list of wide receivers in the last 2 years who finished top 10 in targets and top 5 in overall air yards that didn’t finish in the top 10 of fantasy football wide receivers is blank. Beckham is currently tied for 9th in targets per game among wide receivers. He is 5th in overall air yards. He is currently the 22nd rated WR in PPR. It is incredibly unlikely with the usage he is receiving, even factoring in a poor schedule, that OBJ doesn’t end the year as a WR1. Do not bail! In the interest of full disclosure I predicted Beckham as my fantasy MVP in the pre-season so I’m going down with this ship, but I’ve provided a really compelling argument to go along with my bias!

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You may think putting NFL players names next to a number 1-80 in an excel spreadsheet is easy but LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING!!!

It is.

Getting the right names… in the right order… slightly more difficult.

The toughest component I’ve found to establishing the rest of seasons rankings is deciphering current injury situations and how the reintegration of personnel will affect team’s offenses moving forward. With that in mind, this week I thought it would be more beneficial to detail some situations that are questionable, and some players in the top 30 with significant injury news.

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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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I thought in this week’s lede I would further detail my general process for breaking down NFL games. There are a million different approaches, but to be successful everyone needs to find a method and refine it constantly. My process for breaking down games starts with taking the entire slate and checking the injury report prior to moving to line of scrimmage. This is where significant edges are found even in today’s game. I check pressure rates, adjusted line yard data, and articles pertaining to the big guys to find if there is a significant advantage terms of pass rush, or the ability to run the football. If there is an advantage at the line of scrimmage positively, we must ensure we are working in a game environment in which the coach that has the advantage will take the edge. Alternatively, if the edge is a negative, is the quarterback/coach intelligent and talented enough to beat it? The final step is to compare the current secondary using success rates, target rates, yards allowed per target, etc. versus the talent and scheme in the passing game. That information is again tied back to if the coach and quarterback are talented enough to take advantage. Essentially, what I provide to you are the most important notes found in breaking down the individual games and looking at players statistics for the entire seasons. Here are those edges for week 4.

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Week 1 and 2 Handcuff Reports hit on Raheem Mostert, Jamaal Williams, Chris Thompson and Rex Burkhead, so far this season. Handcuff values can fluctuate on a week-to-week basis and injuries are not the only influencers. Efficiency, usage and fumbling issues are additional indicators that can influence the rise of a ‘handcuff.’ The Week 3 Handcuff Report highlights a number of RB situations that need to be monitored heading into week 4 of the NFL season. Enjoy!

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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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