Four more games left until most fantasy football playoffs begin. How are you looking? Playoff spot locked up or do you need to go on a run down the stretch?

Another quiet week, we avoided major injuries to our starting backs. Today, I’ll touch on a few handcuffs that are worth monitoring heading in to your playoffs.

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As we mark the halfway point of the NFL season, many fantasy football outlets are performing mid-year reviews. While reflecting on early season analysis can be beneficial, I know you are more concerned about who to start this week for your starter that is on bye and what is going on with the multiple backfield injuries. This is what I am here to give you…

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Is your fantasy team so bad you’re already thinking of blowing it up with some crazy trades? Do you tune in to Monday Night Football just in the hopes that your kicker will get you 23 points for the win? Are you tired of your fantasy football team being first thing to screw you each week? If that describes you, or you’re just a really hot chick, I’m here to help with week 4’s edition of Beyond the Numbers! This week, I’ll give you a few names you can pick up on the waiver wire and some to target in trades before they blow up. Let me start off slow first, with a player who’s one of the smallest in the NFL, but is big enough to satisfy where it’s counts… on the stat sheet.

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Was it just me, or were running backs pretty disappointing during the first week? It could just be me. My weekend consisted of a bachelor party and watching the games at a bar in New Jersey on Sunday sandwiched between two three-hour flights.  Sure, there were good performances, but overall it left me feeling validated that I targeted wide receivers in the early rounds over running backs whenever possible. Anyway, here we are with the week two handcuff, which I guess is technically the first full handcuff report. If you didn’t already know, I will be writing the handcuff report this year, and it should be available every Wednesday morning. With this being the first week of games, we will have to try and determine which performances we can expect to see repeated and which ones we are less likely to see repeated on a regular basis.

Those of who you took David Johnson early are feeling pretty good right now. Those of you who took Todd Gurley are probably feeling slightly less good. If you grabbed a bunch of talent in the first few rounds and then snatched up C.J. Anderson and Ameer Abdullah, you probably won your matchup this week. But those guys are all RB1s, and we hate them here because we are more worried about the scrubs who can steal some points in the coming weeks.

Okay, here we go…

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Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone injury impacts everyone in fantasy football. Rodgers is one of the most consistent and healthiest quarterbacks in the league. He’s going to be out up to six weeks with a fractured collarbone.

At least that’s an injury fantasy owners can cope with. It’s serious enough to miss a few games but not enough to put him on the shelf for the season. The other nice thing about it is that Rodgers should be healthy when it comes to fantasy playoff time. So should Randall Cobb.

This kind of an injury (even in the non-throwing shoulder) is one that the Packers will have to be careful on how to treat him and let him heal. Rodgers probably won’t even run for the next three weeks because you want the rehab of this to not be bumpy and jarring. He’s going to spend a lot of time on the bike to keep in shape while he waits for his collarbone to heal up. Even something like a speed bump, if taken too fast, will send waves of pain into his collarbone. It’s going to take time and a lot of softness to get Rodgers healed.

That said, the Packers are accepting donations of bubble wrap to protect their quarterback in for the next four to six weeks.

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Welcome back to the infirmary as good old Sawbones is back for another season of bringing all of the injury news to you.
Hopefully, you’re not suffering from a case of getting Peyton Manning rammed down your throat from last night. That was an insane game with seven touchdown passes and 46 points in most standard formats.

Just remember, it’s only one week and a lot could happen before you play the team with Peyton…again.

This week’s injury list is a little shorter than usual since there aren’t a whole pile of players who are hurt. Let’s grab the charts and see who’s already visiting the infirmary.

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The Running Back; a player that gets a large majority of Fantasy Football enthusiasts excited. We all understand the basic logic of drafting talented “stud” Running Backs to our Fantasy teams but I believe there is something more to it. When we draft players like Jamaal Charles, CJ Spiller, Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden we do it knowing there is inherent injury risk but we continue to keep drafting these players. Why? I can’t speak for everyone but for me it’s one of the most exciting things to watch in football when that player breaks an electrifying 90 yard run and your team goes from hopeless to winner in a matter of seconds. Not saying that other positions aren’t important but your fantasy Running Backs can be true game changers. So why get so excited about this draft class? The position of Running Back in the NFL is not that much different than the position played in college for these players, it’s not like Wide Receiver where there are multiple routes to learn and timing to establish with the Quarterback. The proof of this was seen last year in NFL rookies early on like Trent Richardson, Doug Martin and Alfred Morris. Then with the frequent injuries at the position, David Wilson and Bryce Brown were given opportunities late in the season and did not disappoint. The game is changing so get ready for these young talented athletes to make a huge impact on the NFL and on your Fantasy Teams. Many are saying that the talent pool of Running Backs in this year’s draft lies mostly with the Underclassman but lets take a look at some of the under appreciated upperclassman that were asked to display their skills in this year’s Senior Bowl and how they might affect 2013 fantasy football after the 2013 NFL Draft.

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