Brian Hill found himself under surveillance on week 4’s handcuff report and now finds himself atop the offender list for week 11. On Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons placed backup RB Ito Smith on injured reserve. Hill found himself thrusted into the #2 spot on the depth chart heading into Sundays matchup against the Saints, but finished the game as the #1 lead dawg in ATL following Devonta Freemans 3rd quarter exit. Hill finished the game with 40 offensive snaps, with Kenjon Barner recording the only other RB snaps (11) outside of Freeman. Freeman’s foot injury will need to be monitored throughout the week. The Falcons offense showed life returning from their bye and getting QB Matt Ryan back from injury, beating the NFC South leading New Orlean Saints 26 – 9. Fantasy owners, desperate for RB depth, need to place a waiver claim for Brian Hill this week. Qadree Ollison will assume #2 duties if Freeman were to miss an extended period of time.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Marlon Mack was initially thought to have been ruled out due to an ankle injury during Sunday’s game against Oakland. Colts head coach Frank Reich clarified that Mack was not medically ruled out. Mack was forced on the sideline due to a negative game script. Marlon Mack will be dealing with an injury designation throughout the course of this week again. Forcing fantasy owners to play chicken with their lineups, but Macks injury isn’t expected to keep him out of his week-5 matchup. Nyheim Hines was the preferred back and catch-up game script favorite playing from behind early in the 1st quarter. Hines finished the game with 35 snaps to Macks 18, and Jordan Wilkins 16. Recording 6 receptions on 6 targets, Hines’ role was solidified as the receiving play back. Unfortunately neither of the 3 IND backs turned in a serviceable fantasy outing. Mack hasn’t played a full 16 games since joining the Colts and has surfaced on the injury report for two injuries 4 weeks into the season (calf/ankle). Mack owners need to consider rostering either Jordan Wilkins or Nyheim Hines, as insurance. Jordan Wilkins is averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry and will be the early down/goal line back if Mack were to go down for any period of time.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The week 2 slate is my favorite of every season. It offers the best chance for sharp minds to jump on bounce backs players and teams. The public often overvalues a single game sample. Using data to attack these angles involves looking back at 2018, evaluating changes to personnel/coaches, and combining those facts with the week 1 data we have available.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Every fantasy season the age old debate resurfaces, to handcuff or not to handcuff. Injuries are guaranteed, knowing who to draft as an insurance policy or to pick up off waivers is a critical component in your journey to fantasy football glory. Luckily for you, I will be here to guide you throughout the season on which handcuffs you should own or which to keep on your watch list. Unfortunately our leagues bench spots are not infinite, some handcuffs need to be drafted and some left on the waivers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Completed Previews: AFC North – NFC North – NFC East Part I – NFC East Part II – AFC East Part I – AFC East Part II – NFC South Part I – NFC South Part II

2019 projections referenced below are based on razzball.com 2019 projections managed and updated by our very own @RudyGamble . ADP, and strength of schedule referenced below are based on fantasypros.com consensus data.

Please, blog, may I have some more?