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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It’s the final Sunday of September and we have some games that should be interesting for both the NFL and fantasy. The kind of undefeated Lions are hosting the actual undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Sure, the Lions haven’t lost, but when you tie the Cardinals, are you really undefeated? The Minnesota Vikings are traveling to Chicago and the winner will share the NFC North lead with the Packers (if the Lions lose). The undefeated New England Patriots will travel to undefeated Bills Mafia country. The winner takes an early leg up in the AFC East. To close out the day, the undefeated Dallas Cowboys will try and take down Teddy Bridgewater and the Saints in a hostile environment. We may also see Melvin Gordon in a limited role in Miami! Let’s get to the injury report and some updated rankings!

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To avoid writing in-depth about the Kansas City Chiefs for a 4th week in a row, this week will focus on the 2nd highest projected point total, TB @ LAR.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Detroit Lions carries the highest point total for week 4 at 54.5. Another episode of Oprah Winfrey giving away TDs to everyone in the audience. Kerryon Johnson is a clear start after KC was torched by Mark Ingram, and the release of CJ Anderson. Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, Kenny Golladay, and Marvin Jones Jr. are all starts this week. TJ Hockensen is a viable TE play, and Mecole Hardman/Demarcus Robinson remain flex plays. If Damien Williams is sidelined again, then Darrel Williams is a RB3/Flex with RB2 upside. Follow KC’s injury/practice reports regarding LeSean McCoy’s health status and Damien’s knee. Darwin Thompson remains only a deeper league bench stash, not worth rostering in most formats until his pathway to usage and opportunity increase.

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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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It wasn’t well reported by the mainstream media, but prior to week one Mike Evans gave a sample of his secret family sausage recipe to Jameis Winston. When Winston inserted the mystery meat into his mouth, the funkiness he tasted was beyond words. Jameis was so offended by the foul tasting wiener, he vowed to look to Chris Godwin before Evans on every pass play for two weeks. Then, earlier this week Mike Evans tweaked the family sausage recipe and placed the new wiener into his quarterbacks’ hands. The fresh Evans man meat was so juicy and flavorful, Jameis was addicted!

Needless to say, Winston adjusted his game plan for week three targeting Mike Evans 15 times against the New York Giants. Evans turned those 15 targets into 8 catches for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns. That must have been some sausage! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in yesterday’s late games for fantasy football:

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Your lungs are burning as you bend over to catch your breath. Snot trickles to your upper lip and the icy wind whips around causing it to freeze almost instantly. We’ve been hiking for 2 weeks but it already feels like an eternity. As the blood rushes to your forehead, you wonder how this seemed like a good idea 6 months ago while surfing the internet in your posh apartment in the city.

Of course, you know it’s too far to turn back, but the end is nowhere in sight. All that can be done is to make the best of the journey and put one foot in front of the other. The crunch of the snow betrays me as I saunter over and remind you “The next checkpoint is getting close where we can add some RBs for the week ahead.” Blinking, you stand up and look over the trail where the ridge meets the sun and feel a glimmer of hope. There’s fight left in you.

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A few years ago, my brother entered a team into a $1 daily fantasy league with around 56,000 people taking part. He entered several other teams into other leagues, some of which required a $20 entry, some $10, and so on.

By Monday night, all but one of his teams were out of the running. But in that $1 league, he wasn’t just in the money. He was in first place. And though he admittedly did his research with all of the lineups, that $1 team was more of a “gut” team, where he just kind of went against the most obvious choices, stacked Russell Wilson (5 TDs) and Doug Baldwin (3 TDs), had a vintage AP performance (158 yards, 2 TDs), got production from role players (29.6 pts from Brandon Marshall, 17 points from CIN DST), and the rest was history. A couple days later, he was $12,000 richer, and he’s been an advocate of going with his gut feeling ever since.

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Each week I will preview a couple of games that are ripe with fantasy juice for us to squeeze. Highlighting which players have a path to eat, DFS plays, and studs that should be faded.

Bonus content – The 50/50 Club: Seeking streaming options, managing through roster injuries, filling bye weeks, or looking for bargain DFS plays? This year I will select, what I’ve coined as, the 50/50 club. A weekly fantasy roster (QB, RB/RB, WR/WR, TE, DST) comprised of players that have ownership numbers less than 50% across major fantasy platforms. The following week we’ll review how we performed. At the end of the year, we will see how we stack up cumulatively at each position. Can we field a top 12 QB or TE, or top 24 RB/WR over the course of the season?

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Do you hear it? The banter between Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson on Fox NFL Sunday, the sound of ESPN alerts notifying last minute active/inactives, and the singing of the Nation Anthem. 7-grueling months have passed since the last meaningful snap of NFL football, and only 3 days separate us from the classic Chris Collinsworth NBC slide-in. Will they hit us with the left or right slide-in this Thursday? 

Over Labor day weekend, NFL teams made critical roster cuts to finalize their 53 man rosters. The NFL did not disappoint with this years’ share of trades, cuts, and acquisitions days before the 2019 kickoff. Let’s take a look at the multiple backfields that were impacted over the weekend…

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