The Eagles were on their bye week, so I took Sunday off from football this week. And by took Sunday off I mean I got up early to set my lineups and monitor the actives and inactives for FantasyPros, went to the movies with my wife around noon, and was back home by 3pm for the afternoon and evening games. That counts as taking the week off from football, right?

Two of the top four scoring running backs this week play for the Saints because it is that kind of year. Another one of them was Dion Lewis, one of the 14 running backs on the Patriots (depending on your scoring settings), who rushed for a touchdown and returned a kick for a touchdown. DeMarco Murray was the fourth guy on the list. Since I mentioned the other three, figured I might as well tell you who the other guy was.

Two other running backs making appearances in the upper tier of scorers in Week 10? Austin Ekeler and Corey Grant? Wut. Yup. Ekeler, who is the running back on the Chargers not named Melvin Gordon, rushed 10 times for 42 yards and added five catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Congrats to Ekeler’s mom, who finally cashed in on that FanDuel lineup that featured Austin Ekeler for like $1,800.

According to Google, Corey Grant is 25 years old, has the same birthday as my dog Young Money (different year), played college football at Auburn, and currently plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also did this on Sunday:

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What is more surprising, that Corey Clement scored three touchdowns or that Corey Clement scored three touchdowns and wasn’t even the top scoring running back in Week 9? Yeah, I guess the first one, but the second part is pretty interesting too. Alvin Kamara scored two touchdowns of his own and added six catches and over 150 yards from scrimmage to eek out the top running back spot for the week.

Kamara is finally helping Saints fans forget about Darren Sproles and appears to be the perfect compliment to Mark Ingram in New Orleans. Despite the handcuff label, as I have discussed with a few readers in the past few weeks, Kamara is still valuable in fantasy, especially in PPR formats. The Saints have made it pretty clear since their bye week that they want to get the ball into the talented young running back’s hands and are carving about 15+ touches for him each week. And it is working, so don’t expect them to go away from it anytime soon.

In Philadelphia, Clement scored three touchdowns in a week where many wondered if he would even be active on gameday with the addition of Jay Ajayi. With Zach Ertz a late scratch, all of Philly’s running backs were active, even Wendell Smallwood. However, don’t get used to Clement finding so much success and that many touches going forward. The Eagles are on a bye this week and will have had two more weeks to get Jay Ajayi up to speed. While Clement will probably be active over the forgotten Wendell Smallwood, most of the touches are going to go to Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount. This tweet would say otherwise, but remember this was a blowout in Philly:

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So yeah, I get it, the title is a bit overused in today’s parlance with the bizarre yet hypnotizing Adult Swim “horror-comedy-90’s sitcom” experience bringing the idiom back into style. Combined with the fact that I’d faint if you told me that this headline hadn’t been used by any other football writer before today when referring to Brandin Cooks (seen above with the 11-yard touchdown)… yeah, that saying’s been here before. But how apt! How meta I say! Because that’s exactly how I felt about last night’s prime time rematch of last year’s Super Bowl (did you know? You’d think they would mention that at least once last night!) that 95% of the Northeast tuned out of in the third quarter. There was some horror, some comedy, and of course Bill Belichek carries the whole 90’s sitcom vibe all by himself… but ultimately, it seemed to be a game that’d we’d all seen before and we were all the worse for it. And sure, while it might have been the Falcon’s gameplan all along, to give the Patriots a 23-point lead only to start a miraculous comeback of their own… problem was, the comeback never came and the Falcons looked about as good in the first three quarters yesterday as they did in the last quarter in the aforementioned Super Bowl. But there was fog! And lots of it! (I can’t find confirmation if it was coming out of Cris Collinsworth’s or Bob Costas’ mouth.) So instead of calling this a Super Bowl rematch, maybe we should call it the “Trent Green Bowl”? Kind of an “NFL’s concept” of what it’s like travelling through Trent Green’s head. You know, minus the purple bears and robot unicorns…

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Hello my loves! Welcome back to another rendition of Hit it or Quit it. How was your week? Did you manage to avoid arrest for indecent exposure? Yes? What is wrong with you? You need to step your game up then, otherwise we can’t be lovers anymore. I had a fairly decent week until I got bent over and did raw in one of my leagues when I wasn’t notified that Michael Crabtree was out and ended up starting him. It handed me my first loss in that league and yeah, I am still salty about getting a case of the CRABtrees. Alas, such is my life. I am still sitting ontop of all of the men in that league, so the view is pretty sweet. Wait, that sounded dirty…heh, heh, heh… Now, I am sure you are all here because, like the song of the Siren, you couldn’t pull yourself away. Again, it is understandable, I am pretty awesome after all. In a week where the Black Widow Curse was pretty quiet (probably from all that man flesh she feasted on in Week 3), it is not guaranteed how long her satiety will last. So, with that, let’s get down to business and stop all this pillow talk. Ladies and gentlemen, convicts and degenerates, ask and ye shall receive. I give you, Hit it or quit it, Week 5…

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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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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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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:

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We are here today to point out the differences between the Razzball Rankings (which finished Top-3 in 2016) and those that ESPN has released to the masses. Haha, just kidding. You know, it used to be that Matthew Berry, Tristan Cockraft (lovely human being, totally serious. Met him at the LABR party down in Arizona Spring Training, probably one of the nicest guys in the industry along with Eno Sarris), and Eric Karabell submitted their rankings for the Accuracy Challenge that our friends over at FantasyPros host… After both Berry finishing in the lower 80’s back in 2015 and then Karabell finishing in the same area-ish (“ish” because I can’t remember exactly ) last season, they have yet to be seen this season putting their rankings to the test. So while I used to be able to compare our rankings to what the “industry” had made “standard” (parenthesis for sarcasm I suppose), the first thing you’ll notice with our yearly “Rankings Versus” series is that there won’t be any Matthew Berry. Whether that’s ultimately a good or bad thing, I’ll let you decide. Because, hey, I’m just that kind of guy. But don’t worry! Instead, we’ll be taking a look at how our “industry” leading rankings stack against the ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings), and last season’s top “Accuracy Expert” (no sarcasm), Dalton Del Don from Yahoo! (do I have to yell it every time? Geez, that gets old real fast…) Sports, not to be confused with “Yoohoo! Sports”, which I do all the time. Then again, I usually confuse most things with chocolate drinks. Totally normal.

So be sure to check out our 2017 Fantasy Football Rankings, Auction Values, and our very own Cheat Sheet for any context you may need. I’d say that context needs more chocolate drink to be honest…

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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

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Green Bay Packers starting running back Ty Montgomery, a converted slot-receiver selected in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft, certainly doesn’t have the body-type, resume, and hype of a NFL workhorse running back. However, Montgomery’s rare blend of elite rushing vision and smooth receiving abilities make him the perfect running back in Green Bay’s offense, a scheme centered around short, high-percentage passes that serve as a proxy running game. Montgomery punctuated his breakout campaign with 121 combined touches for 805 yards and 3 touchdowns after he took the reigns as the starting running back for injured Eddie Lacy in Week 6 of 2016.

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