Brian Hill found himself under surveillance on week 4’s handcuff report and now finds himself atop the offender list for week 11. On Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons placed backup RB Ito Smith on injured reserve. Hill found himself thrusted into the #2 spot on the depth chart heading into Sundays matchup against the Saints, but finished the game as the #1 lead dawg in ATL following Devonta Freemans 3rd quarter exit. Hill finished the game with 40 offensive snaps, with Kenjon Barner recording the only other RB snaps (11) outside of Freeman. Freeman’s foot injury will need to be monitored throughout the week. The Falcons offense showed life returning from their bye and getting QB Matt Ryan back from injury, beating the NFC South leading New Orlean Saints 26 – 9. Fantasy owners, desperate for RB depth, need to place a waiver claim for Brian Hill this week. Qadree Ollison will assume #2 duties if Freeman were to miss an extended period of time.

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Few people know why the Packers are called “Cheeseheads.” It’s tradition: the worst Packer performer from the previous week is bestowed with a chunk of stinky Limburger cheese which is stuffed into the bottom of their helmet for the following game. In week 9, Aaron Jones took 8 carries for 30 yards and hauled in 1 catch for -1 yards. Needless to say, he was Mr. Limburger for their week 10 game against Carolina and their dairy boy tracked down an extra stinky piece of cheese for this contest. This wedge of stank carried such a putrid scent that the Panthers defense gave the Packer running back a little extra space to roam on Sunday afternoon. Aaron Jones took full advantage, rumbling for 93 yards and 3 touchdowns on 13 carries—he now has an impressive 14 touchdowns on the season. Rest of Season Player Rater has him listed as RB#10 and I’d even bump him a couple spots higher. Anyway, here’s what else I saw during yesterday’s late games in fantasy football:    

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As we march towards Week 14 and the start of the fantasy playoffs, this week will be a crucial one for many owners. With 6 NFL teams on bye, there are a bunch of stars that we need to find replacements for. We’ll be giving some extra attention to some players that wouldn’t normally ever sniff our starting lineups.

Let’s get to the rest of this week’s matchups, and talk about some players we should start, and those we should keep on our bench.

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I have been following a simple metric this season for running backs: weighted opportunities (WO) per game. This summer I found that WO/g correlated strongly with fantasy points (FP) per game with an R2 of 0.88 based off 2018 numbers. Granted, this was a small sample size of only 1 year but it’s all the data I had.

In a nutshell, the idea is that players should have a FP/WO ratio of about 1, and if they are above that they are either very efficient or lucky (probably via TDs). If they are below that number, the inverse is assumed. In that piece I identified 4 backs that looked like strong buys this offseason, so let’s see if FP/WO helped.

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You have to love when two guys have career days and the starting percentages are probably pretty low on them. I say pretty low because I’m sure there were people in bad bye week spots or in deeper leagues that had to start Chase Edmonds or Marvin Jones Jr. Marvin Jones is a solid WR3 for fantasy but I don’t think that many were elated about slotting him in against the Vikings. For those that were savvy enough to start Jones Jr., he rewarded them with 10 catches, 93 yards and 4 touchdowns. That is a best ball format wet dream. In the leagues that I own Jones Jr., I can’t see myself leaving him on the bench again against the Giants next week. 

Chase Edmonds was a different type of situation. David Johnson was named active going into the game and he took one carry for 2 yards and didn’t touch the ball again for the rest of the game. I’m guessing that the majority of people that heard Johnson was active took Edmonds out of their lineup. Well, Edmonds carried the ball 27 times for 126 yards and 3 touchdowns. Incredible. Let’s get to some other performances from the early slate on Sunday.

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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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We are now at the quarter-mark of the NFL season, believe it or not! We’re now starting to get a better feel for who we should be starting and sitting on a week-to-week basis, and which matchups are actually ones to target, rather than matchups that look good because of a small sample size.

There are some very interesting matchups on deck for Week 5, so let’s talk about some.

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Another week, another slew of injuries impacting the NFL landscape. We saw two starting QB’s go down last week, continuing the trend of backups getting the start for an extended period of time. For other teams, they saw their backs and receivers exit Week 4 with varying degrees of seriousness.

Let’s talk about some of the players who landed on the injury report this week.

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Marlon Mack was initially thought to have been ruled out due to an ankle injury during Sunday’s game against Oakland. Colts head coach Frank Reich clarified that Mack was not medically ruled out. Mack was forced on the sideline due to a negative game script. Marlon Mack will be dealing with an injury designation throughout the course of this week again. Forcing fantasy owners to play chicken with their lineups, but Macks injury isn’t expected to keep him out of his week-5 matchup. Nyheim Hines was the preferred back and catch-up game script favorite playing from behind early in the 1st quarter. Hines finished the game with 35 snaps to Macks 18, and Jordan Wilkins 16. Recording 6 receptions on 6 targets, Hines’ role was solidified as the receiving play back. Unfortunately neither of the 3 IND backs turned in a serviceable fantasy outing. Mack hasn’t played a full 16 games since joining the Colts and has surfaced on the injury report for two injuries 4 weeks into the season (calf/ankle). Mack owners need to consider rostering either Jordan Wilkins or Nyheim Hines, as insurance. Jordan Wilkins is averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry and will be the early down/goal line back if Mack were to go down for any period of time.

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Apologies, everyone. I missed last week’s article because I was busy with a jury duty summons. This wasn’t your typical case, which is exactly what I expected in my quiet Pennsylvania neighborhood. Instead, the case that I was potentially going to be selected for was national news: a quadruple homicide in a barn in southeast PA that is still being investigated now. Needless to say, I wasn’t selected, but it unfortunately kept me busy and kept me from sharing my strategy with all of you loyal readers… which is a shame, because my FanDuel lineups did pretty well this week (ignore the stakes and let me bask in the glory of my success… I’m just out of college, alright?).

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