It’s that time of the year, the majority of fantasy leagues are entering the last week of the regular season. Fantasy owners that have secured a playoff spot need to prepare themselves for a championship victory. One way to protect yourself through the playoffs is by grabbing your stud running back handcuff. Unless you own two top 10 QBs, there is no reason to hold two quarterbacks. There is no point wasting bench spots with players that are never going to hit your starting lineup. Nothing is worse than losing Dalvin Cook while you are in the hunt for fantasy football glory only to find that you have no shot at grabbing Alexander Mattison because of low waiver priority or min FAAB budget. Make sure you grab your insurance policy before the price increases. Chris Carson owners are learning that lesson this week. Don’t get caught with your pants down and good luck as you jockey for playoff positioning.

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With the fantasy playoffs only two weeks away, these next few games are going to be absolutely crucial for almost every team in any league. Even if you have a spot wrapped up, it’s about getting the best possible team out there every week for a hopeful deep playoff run. And for those on the fringes, it’s make-or-break time!

Let’s talk about some players you should start, and those you should keep on the bench.

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Ty Johnson was able to clear concussion protocol and suit up after carrying a questionable tag all week, but it was the Lions practice squad acquisition that led this backfield on Sunday against the Cowboys. Bo Scarbrough found the field for 49% of the Lions offensive snaps, leading both Ty Johnson (29%) and JD McKissic (23%), and looked good while doing it. Bo handled 74% of the Lions running back carries (14), and finished the day with 55 yards, 1TD, and 11.5 fantasy points. If the Lions did not fall behind in the second half, Scarbrough would have padded his stats a little more. The Lions turned to JD McKissic in the passing game, recording 3 receptions on 4 targets, with Bo recording 0 targets while the Lions were playing catch-up. Ty Johnson was an afterthought, taking his 2 carries for a measly 6 yards, making Bo one of the top adds this week. McKissic still offers low-end value in deeper PPR formats, but Ty Johnson can be dropped in most 12-team and small leagues.

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It was an ugly end to an ugly game. The talk of the town this morning is how long Myles Garrett should be suspended by the NFL. Baker even brought up a suspension in the post game interview. Striking Mason Rudolph with his own helmet is one of the most malicious acts that we’ve seen on the field in a very long time. If there is even a little bit of humor in what occurred; trust me there isn’t much, it was Mason Rudolph throwing his hands up to the ref IMMEDIATELY after the helmet hits him.

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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.

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Few people know why the Packers are called “Cheeseheads.” It’s tradition: the worst Packer performer from the previous week is bestowed with a chunk of stinky Limburger cheese which is stuffed into the bottom of their helmet for the following game. In week 9, Aaron Jones took 8 carries for 30 yards and hauled in 1 catch for -1 yards. Needless to say, he was Mr. Limburger for their week 10 game against Carolina and their dairy boy tracked down an extra stinky piece of cheese for this contest. This wedge of stank carried such a putrid scent that the Panthers defense gave the Packer running back a little extra space to roam on Sunday afternoon. Aaron Jones took full advantage, rumbling for 93 yards and 3 touchdowns on 13 carries—he now has an impressive 14 touchdowns on the season. Rest of Season Player Rater has him listed as RB#10 and I’d even bump him a couple spots higher. Anyway, here’s what else I saw during yesterday’s late games in fantasy football:    

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The Russell Wilson-Tyler Lockett combo has won me some major money twice this season. In Week 3, I had those two, Mike Evans, and Christian McCaffrey in my lineup en route to a top three finish. Last week, I had those four in my lineup en route to a top three finish.

But this week, the Seahawks are tasked with playing against the horrifying 49ers defense. Seriously, how happy must Richard Sherman be right now? That was an incredible acquisition that is paying off big time for San Fran, and Sherman has been a terrific presence so far. It makes it a lot harder to trust Russell and Lockett in these circumstances. Who can help you compensate for two of the most reliable DFS picks of the year? Let’s find out.

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James Conner and Benny Snell were ruled out for week 10, paving the way for Jaylen Samuels to lead this backfield. Surprisingly, it was un-drafted RB Trey Edmunds that led the Steelers on the ground- recording the most carries (12), rushing yards (73), and yards per carry (6.1). At the end of the day, Jaylen Samuels ended up with the better fantasy outing (19.3 PPR points to Edmunds 7.3) and recorded more snaps, 40 for Jaylen to Edmunds 17 snaps (63.5% to 27%). Samuels managed an uninspiring 1.2 yards per carry, but salvaged his outing through the air. Jaylen finished with 13 catches on 13 targets for 73 receiving yards. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, James Conner is recovering from an AC joint injury and is expected to miss at least 2 weeks. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that 2019 4th-round rookie, Benny Snell is expected to miss at least 2-3 weeks after undergoing a minor surgery on his meniscus. Trey Edmunds is name to consider adding from waivers this week for fantasy owners desperate for running back depth. Pittsburgh’s next matchups, 4 out of 5, are against the Cleveland Browns (2x), Arizona Cardinals, and Cincinnati Bengals. All are plus matchups for the Steelers running game.

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Every time that we start to wonder about how good the Texans are, they come out and have an impressive performance. The Jaguars historically play really well in London games, but the Watt-less Texans still lived in Minshew’s grill. Minshew followed up a great game against the Jets the previous week with a stinker against a defense that is susceptible to the passing game. The Jaguars will head into the bye and have to decide if Foles is going to take his job back. If I were the Jags, I’d be putting Foles back under center. The last wild card spot in the AFC might only require 9 wins. The division crown is definitely an uphill climb after dropping both games against the division-leading Texans, but getting to 9 wins is definitely in play. 

The early games had some key injuries to the fantasy football world. Jacoby Brissett left the game against the Steelers in the second quarter with an MCL injury. Adam Thielen tried to give it a go with his bum hamstring, but he didn’t make it out of the first quarter. DeSean Jackson’s return in his first game since week 1 was short lived as he left early with an abdomen injury. Here is what else I saw during the early slate of games on Sunday. 

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