Well folks, after four games, the Adrian Peterson experiment in New Orleans has come to a close. After an offseason deal worth $7M for two years, the Saints have traded away AP to the Cardinals for a conventional draft pick. Simply put, the Saints wanted to get rid of him, and this was the fastest way, and easiest way possible. This now leaves New Orleans with three running backs: Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and youngster Trey Edmunds. Meanwhile in Arizona, Adrian Peterson now jumps into the wasteland that was the RBBC with David Johnson’s injury, now competing for touches against Chris Johnson, Kerwynn Williams, and Andre Ellington.

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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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Well the top guys of a week ago did not live up to their hype, did they?  Here are their stats from Week 2:

Javorius Allen – 5 Rec, 35 yards, 66 rush yards, 1 TD.

Kerwynn Williams – 22 rush yards.

Kenny Golladay – 1 Rec, 8 yards.

Tarik Cohen – 8 Rec, 55 yds, 13 rush yards, 1 fumble lost.

Nelson Agholor – 1 Rec, 9 yards, 1 TD.

Williams was quiet this week as the Cardinals looked bad against Indy and Chris Johnson definitely took carries. The whole Cardinals offense still doesn’t look right; let’s hope they get back on track Week 3 but Johnson & Ellington were on the field in overtime and that worries me. On the bright side: Williams is also their return man to add to his value. Don’t cut bait after one week…

Allen looked good on his TD run and is settling in as Woodhead light, which is a hoppy sardines-infused dark chocolate almond butter IPA with less calories. Flacco likes to throw so Allen should remain a flex play, although West is still the bellcow there.

Cohen could have looked better, but Howard was also terrible and the Bears simply got owned, so that Cohen salvaged some fantasy value is good to see. Cohen clearly benefits from being on the field for all the passing the Bears will do. So hold him if you added him last week because better days are coming.

Agholor salvaged some value catching a garbage time TD (though based on that score the Eagles actually had a chance to win (on a Hail Mary), so was it really in garbage time?)

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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The first couple weeks are where you should spend at least fifty percent of your Free Agent Auction Budget. Yeah, I said Half. At least. Spend that money. These early weeks are mas importante. Don’t worry about dropping the money on the top guys because isn’t it better to have them and drop them than not have a possible lottery ticket? But it does seem a bit weird. We’re not taught to spend all our money right away. We’re supposed to save some for a rainy day. You can, but experience has shown me that the most valuable guys come after the first couple weeks and very often after week one. You don’t need money once the season is over (and if you don’t get one of these guys your seasons may be over a lot sooner than you think), so don’t worry about spending it now.

If you want an FAAB lesson check out the preseason column is here. Now let’s get to the good stuff.  You know these guys because everyone can’t stop talking about them. Here are the top waiver adds and what should you pay (assuming $100 FAAB Budget):

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After a disaster of a suggestion last week in Marion Grice, I’m looking to a couple of familiar names and faces this week. Both Andre Williams and Latavius Murray have been featured here before and will be again today. When it comes to handcuffs you sort of hit a point where there are only so many usable options left. Though I suppose Kerwynn Williams’ breakout does fly in the face of that previous statement. The point is we know the players now, and if you’re digging through handcuffs it’s because you need to use them for playoff match ups. So good luck with that! To wrap this up it’s been a great year, and the constant game of musical chairs amongst the starters at the running back position have kept me mighty busy. Hopefully my advice led you to a few victories this season, good luck in the playoffs!

Note: Don’t forget to come visit me on the new Razzball Fantasy Soccer home everyday of the week. Smokey and I have leagues registering now. If you’re not familiar with the format, NBD, relax, you got us. Smokey and I are giving you the best Fantasy Premier League coverage out there. If you haven’t tried fantasy EPL, you’re missing out. So sign up and use us as your guide.

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So, that was an interesting game. If you don’t like touchdowns that is. To be fair, we weren’t promised anything, and with Thursday Night Football hosting at least 485 blow-outs thus far, I guess last night’s game could be considered a welcome change of pace. Sort of like going from watching a giant monster truck crash into a mobile home to watching paint dry. Yeah, a lot like that. But hey, it’s not the Cardinals or Rams fault. They actaully seem to be quite similar; good defenses, less-than-stellar offenses, and, of course, there’s the injury bug. Sam Bradford is old news at this point, and Carson Palmer is, just, well, old I guess. Andre Ellington is a recent casualty. And, of course, Drew Stanton had his ankle implode in the third quarter, ushering in the age of Lindley. Ryan Lindley. Just think of it this way: we are living in a world where Lindley might possibly end up leading the number one seeded team through the playoffs. Yeah, note to Cardinals players… you can go ahead and schedule all those free weekends in January now…

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