Remember a few weeks ago when I recounted my tale of  trading Dak Prescott because I had Deshaun Watson only to lose Deshaun Watson for the season? The QB I added was Tyrod Taylor. The Bills have one of the softest fantasy playoff schedules (Week 13: Patriots, Week 14: Colts, Week 15: Dolphins, Week 16: Patriots.) I like Nathan Peterman as a deep option and you’ll find him in my waiver column on Tuesday. And there will definitely be plenty of J. Peterman references. Teasers!

As always, if you’ve got league-specific questions, I’ve got league-specific answers down below…

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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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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of Webb, it was the age of Sanchez, it was the epoch of Beckham, it was the epoch of Rex…

I can’t remember a more interesting year of QB play in New York. Eli Manning, on the brink of passing his brother on the all-time consecutive regular season game start list and Josh McCown, two years older than Eli at 38 and now on his 8th team since being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2002 — the odds makers would’ve never predicted which one of these two would potentially be threatening for a playoff spot — and the other could be losing his job to a younger QB by mid-season.

But both McCown and Manning have intriguing fantasy match-ups this week and are my ‘start’ options.

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Is Tom Brady the best football player of all time? I need your help to solve an argument.

Anyway, the top two (healthy) scoring fantasy QBs, Alex Smith and Carson Wentz, are out this week. #1 scoring fantasy RB Kareem Hunt is on a bye. Three top 10 WRs are out: two due to a bye (Tyreek Hill and Michael Crabtree) and one possibly due to his own stupidity (Mike Evans.) And the two top TEs, Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz, will be out as well.

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November 1, 2017 @ 1:30 PM: Me: have Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson on my team. Decide to shop Prescott to a rival league member who was struggling with Jameis Winston and Philip Rivers as his QBs.

November 1, 2017 @ 1:52 PM: Trade is accepted to send Prescott to other team member.

November 1, 2017 @ 2:04 PM: Text exchange with another league member:

November 2, 2017 @ 4:12 PM: Reports: Watson was limited in practice due to a sore knee. “lol”

November 2, 2017 @ 4:53 PM: Early reports: Watson might have torn his ACL, season possibly over. “lol”

November 2, 2017 @ 5:27 PM: Reports confirmed. Watson has torn his ACL and is done for the season. “lol”

November 3, 2017 @ 3:00 PM: Trade is processed. “lol…”

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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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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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Hello everyone, and welcome to Razzball’s Fantasy Football 2017 Division Previews. On this piece, we’ll take a look at this year’s AFC East. In past offseasons, we’ve seen many versions of the same headline: “Watch Out Patriots, Dolphins/Bills/Jets Are The New Team To Beat”. And while we haven’t seen that storyline yet, this is a division that moved in the right direction as a whole. It’s good to see that just for football in general. There are a lot of fantasy storylines and scenarios to dive into, so let’s get right to it…

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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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