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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Is there a better time to be a sports fan? Everyone rooting for the Astros to beat the Dodgers in the World Series, everyone overreacting to every NBA game, fantasy football owners starting to turn their attention to playoff season, the NHL still existing.

Up here in the northeast the leaves are starting to fall just like your fantasy playoff chances if you don’t use Razzball to get you over the hump. If you’ve got league-specific questions — post them below and I will get to them Saturday afternoon/evening.

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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!

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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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Believe it or not I am still going strong in my head-to-head points league in fantasy baseball. It’s the second week of a two-week World Series, but I’ve still got one foot in the fantasy baseball door. Between baseball and my eleven football leagues I haven’t had much time to consider how I’d like to contribute to the football side of things here at Razzball this season. I thought, perhaps, I would give some of you the opportunity to suggest some topics you’d like to see me cover. What subjects could potentially provide you with a weekly post that might help you gain an edge in your league?

In the meantime I’m pretty much going rogue. Just about everyone I know in my personal life that plays fantasy football comes to me with questions. A guy from work, whom I don’t care for very much, swears by the advice of Matthew Berry. He said that his Love/Hate post is his go-to source each week. He even suggested I start reading it if I want to win my league. I responded by asking how many times he has won his league. After a long winded spout of bullsh*t, he said he hadn’t won it yet. I laughed and told him to keep up the good work.

This did give me an idea however. Let’s see what Mr. Berry has to say. What did he say about last week and how would have following his advice helped me. Spoiler alert! His advice blows.

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Another week of the NFL season is in the books, and we have a few more developments at the running back position to keep an eye on. There are a few injuries hitting the wire this week, and out in Seattle, a youngster is outplaying some familiar names. Over in Philadelphia, the guy who is supposed to be the lead back barely saw the field…

Razzball Football’s partner FantasyDraft is starting a new sign-up promotion this week, all new depositing signups receive a free $4 “Everyone Wins” NFL GPP ticket for the upcoming Sunday slate along with offering all players 4% cash back on their initial deposits! 

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It’s hard to believe that it’s already Week 3, but we also need to remember that it is ONLY Week 3. Human instinct tells you to sell off or drop your struggling assets because they haven’t helped you win in the first couple weeks. Mike Lombardi states it best when he says that September is basically an extended preseason. I try not to overreact to bad performances when I’m writing my articles this early in the season. When I tell you I’m cold on Cam Newton or another star, it’s just to have them wait it out on the bench.

There are always certain situations like Adrian Peterson that were head-scratching from the start. Having three backs rotating on the field in a pass heavy offense doesn’t make any sense. I’d drop him, at this point because there are always exceptions to the rule. Obviously, there are always guys who were on the fringe of being roster-worthy in the first place that should be dropped to pick up waiver wire studs like Tarik Cohen. Don’t panic on A.J. Green or Joe Mixon until we see what the new offensive coordinator has in store. Wait to see if Sammy Watkins can develop a rhythm with Jared Goff over the next three or so weeks. Same with Isaiah Crowell, his schedule is going to get a little easier over the next few weeks. This is also the perfect time of year to buy low on the Cincinnati offense or Terrelle Pryor Sr.

Here are my rankings for Week 3…

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What’s going on everybody, and welcome to another edition of my weekly rankings! Well we have another full slate on our hands, now with the 9:30 am EST start time in London between the Jaguars and Ravens, so make sure you wake up a little earlier than usual to tinker with those lineups.

Week 2 was definitely head and shoulders above the first week of the season, so let’s take a look at what Week 3 has to offer, but before we do, let’s recap the week that was!

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

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