playoffs

If you are reading this, congratulations. And I don’t say that just because you are fortunate enough to be reading one of my articles. If you are reading a fantasy football article in Week 14, it is likely because you are in the playoffs and still have a reason to care about your team and your lineup. So, congratulations. I mean it. To those of you who didn’t make the playoffs: see you in hell, candy boys! This is, unfortunately, the last Handcuff Report of the year. It has been a great ride, but we are wrapping things up as the fantasy playoffs begin!

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markingram

It’s Week 13, which means we are heading into the fantasy playoffs soon. I know that because my readership has dwindled the last two weeks, as many fantasy owners have been eliminated from the playoffs and are throwing in the towel. But that’s OKAY. That just means we can be more serious and a bit more intimate now. It’s just me and you, playoff hopefuls.

Heading into this week, Tim Hightower was a name to watch because Mark Ingram was still in the concussion protocol and was questionable to play. If Ingram couldn’t go, Hightower was going to be a high-end flex/RB2 to throw into lineups before they locked on Sunday. But word came out on Sunday morning that Ingram was going to play, so many likely left Hightower on the bench or on the waiver wire.

But something funny happened. It didn’t matter that Ingram played. Ingram and Hightower combined for three touchdowns and almost 300 yards, with Hightower accounting for 51 rushing yards, 54 receiving yards, and one of the touchdowns. Although, Hightower’s final stat line would look a bit different if not for the late 50-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Willie Snead. If Hightower can keep producing even with a healthy Ingram, he can help out some of the needier fantasy owners come playoff time.

To the report…

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rawls

If you are like me and drafted Thomas Rawls in August but managed to stay patient and hang onto him until now, take a bow. I’ll bow with you. September and October were some dark times, my friends, but here we are. Rawls is the top dog in Seattle, and it looks like it will stay that way for the rest of the season now that Christine Michael got shipped out of town and C.J. Prosise is hurt. We did it, guys.

Prosise ran for a 72-yard touchdown in the first quarter on Sunday, but he left the game in the second quarter. It was pretty much all Rawls for the rest of the game, with a little bit of Troymaine Pope (who also got hurt). The Seahawks getting rid of Christine Michael meant they were ready to roll with Prosise and Rawls as their top guys and that they were confident Rawls would be healthy and effective. Now that Prosise is out of the picture, it’s all Rawls, baby.

Rawls rushed 14 times for 57 yards (4.1 YPC) and added three catches for 31 yards, giving him 88 total yards on the day. Heading into the fantasy playoffs, getting an every down back like Rawls into your lineup could be just what your team needs to get that extra edge (I know my team, where I went zero RB and took Rawls as my RB1 LATE, is sitting pretty now that I have him back). The best part about the Prosise injury* is that it means Rawls will see more action on passing downs. They will find a way to spell him here and there, but Rawls should be an every down back going forward and should catch his fair share of passes.

Things change quickly in the NFL, and it seems like just last week we were excited about the idea of a Prosise-Rawls backfield combination. But this week was about much more than Thomas Rawls and how happy we all are to have him back.

To the report. . .

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C.J. Prosise rushes against the New England Patriots

If you played your cards right, 2016 may have been one of the best seasons ever to roll with a zero RB strategy in your draft. Not only have there been a litany of running back committees utilized across the league, but legitimate RB1s and RB2s have been emerging all year. Take a look at this list: Jordan Howard, Devontae Booker, Spencer Ware, C.J. Prosise, Robert Kelley. Those guys were all either not drafted at all or were taken later in drafts as a handcuff or dice roll option (I actually drafted Booker in one league but dropped him after a few weeks because I need the roster spot. D’oh!).

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Chicago Bears wide receiver Cameron Meredith (81) is tackled by Miami Dolphins linebacker Spencer Paysinger (42) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Chicago, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The Bears have been trash this season. Now they have a possible Jordan Howard injury and an Alshon Jeffery suspension which creates a FAAB spending opportunity. I can’t say for certain whether we should pick up Bears running backs Jeremy Langford or Ka’deem Carey because I can’t say whether Howard is injured. My take on whether John Fox is truthful is “Nah, he ain’t ever been”. I’m with Howard on this one and that means the Jeffery suspension is our primary interest. It puts at least two players in the spotlight, Cameron Meredith and Eddie Royal. Marquess Wilson is also interesting if he’s going to play. Time to look at the waiver wire and spend some FAAB.

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Nov 6, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) is stopped short of the end zone by Denver Broncos safety Darian Stewart (26) in the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back, everyone. I apologize for missing last week, but I had a bunch of running around to do and was never able to settle down and hammer out the Week 9 Handcuff Report. Let’s just assume that I gave you great advice last week and that you’re back this week for more. Ok? Ok. Good. Great. Now, about those running backs.

The Oakland Raiders have been really fun to watch this year unless you have been trying to predict running back touches all year. While Latavius Murray was frustrating earlier in the year and then got hurt, but one thing he has done all year is find his way into the end zone. And in a week when a ton of people probably benched him because he was going up against the defense of the Denver Broncos, he decided to get into the end zone three times. Hopefully, you rolled the dice or were forced to start him because of bye weeks and injuries, but I know that many of you didn’t start him. I probably wouldn’t have.

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spencer-ware-tackled

Hey guys! I’m glad to be back after a week off in which I took the ACT, but now I cannot wait to jump into Week 8 of the NFL season. Big thanks to the main man MB for taking over this column last week, he absolutely nailed it with some of the selections, most notably Jameis Winston and his dominating performance against the 49ers. But I’m still better-looking.

Anyway, I had to miss last week due to my taking of the ACT test, which reminded me of Fantasy Football. We prepare as long and as hard as we can, even maybe spending money to prep for the test, yet we still do not know what will be on it: so we need to not only be prepared for it, and we need some luck on our side. It helps if we also can pull off at least one lopsided. But I don’t know how that last statement refers to the ACT, but at least we got it out of the way.

This week kinda marks the halfway point of the year. Leave a comment down below of what your record is, and if I and this column, or even Razzball in general has contributed to your success. Or declines. Accentuate the positive.

Of first matchup of Week 8 comes between two styles of football in the AFC. One marked by a solid defensive unit, and on offense, marked by a traditional conservatism offensive attack, and in turned, marked by strength at the HB position. Then we have the Colts…

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Welcome everybody to this week’s edition of Deep Impact! With a busy week of sports underway (World Series, NBA season opener, Joel Embiid gracing the Sixers court for real), it’s almost easy to forget that hey, they’re going to play NFL games this week! It’s even easier to forget that professional football is happening this week when writing this while watching the Jaguars. As usual for our series, we’ll take a look at players less than 10% owned for those of you who play in deep formats to think about Week 8 options. Also as usual for our series, I will arbitrarily break that threshold because dammit, sometimes there just isn’t a name under it that I would consider starting at a position. Don’t judge me!

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If you were to define the 2016 fantasy football season in one sentence, I challenge you to do better than this: Jay Ajayi has more rushing yards in the last two weeks than Todd Gurley has all season. It has been that bad, and that sentence describes both how surprisingly good Ajayi has been the last two weeks and how disappointing Todd Gurley has been all year. It’s tough to say if those two backs will continue going in different directions, but they are currently following the same paths as their respective offenses. The Rams aren’t giving Gurley any space, while the Dolphins, with their front five finally healthy and playing together, are dropping bodies for Ajayi. Ajayi’s stock has never been higher, now that he is officially the top man in Miami. Which brings us to…

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Loyal Razzballers and deep leaguers, we’re changing the format of the Deep Impact series from here on out. Rather than plug some under-owned options to consider for Week 7, instead, we will talk about all the ins and outs of wedding planning. Who says that planning a wedding should only be handled by the bride-to-be? Men, close your fantasy football apps and be an active part of the process… *answers call from Jay* I’ve been informed that the format of the article is actually staying the same, and also to beg all of you to never, ever stop paying attention to fantasy football for any reason. Don’t go anywhere! Please? You still there? Great! As we’ve been doing every week, let’s take a look at some guys below 10% owned in Yahoo that are worth using for Week 7. If you haven’t been reading every week, well, congrats! You’re probably doing pretty well so far this season.

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