Mattison made the handcuff report back in the pre-season as a premium handcuff, and needs to be rostered by all Dalvin Cook owners heading down the stretch of the fantasy football regular season. Barely on the field for a quarter of the Vikings offensive snaps (26.4%), Mattison’s athletic ability was still on full display. The Vikings are giving Mattison the ball when he is on the field, touching the ball 78.9% percent of his snaps compared to Dalvins 54.9%. In week 8, Alexander took 13 carries for 61 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and now averaging 4.9 ypc on the season. If anything were to happen to Cook, Mattison is fully capable of producing in our fantasy lineups in an offense built around the run. The Vikings rank 3rd in the NFL in rushing attempts per game (32.9). Mattison is averaging 10.8 touches per game over the past 4 weeks, if he is able to find the field for more than 26% of the offensive snaps he’ll start to flirt with weekly flex value.

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I thought in this week’s lede I would further detail my general process for breaking down NFL games. There are a million different approaches, but to be successful everyone needs to find a method and refine it constantly. My process for breaking down games starts with taking the entire slate and checking the injury report prior to moving to line of scrimmage. This is where significant edges are found even in today’s game. I check pressure rates, adjusted line yard data, and articles pertaining to the big guys to find if there is a significant advantage terms of pass rush, or the ability to run the football. If there is an advantage at the line of scrimmage positively, we must ensure we are working in a game environment in which the coach that has the advantage will take the edge. Alternatively, if the edge is a negative, is the quarterback/coach intelligent and talented enough to beat it? The final step is to compare the current secondary using success rates, target rates, yards allowed per target, etc. versus the talent and scheme in the passing game. That information is again tied back to if the coach and quarterback are talented enough to take advantage. Essentially, what I provide to you are the most important notes found in breaking down the individual games and looking at players statistics for the entire seasons. Here are those edges for week 4.

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It is an interesting feeling being on this side of the fantasy football wall. The data domination article had a productive week 2, but the Dede Westbrook “must play” landmine was a tough pill to swallow. It is always the goal to hit 100%, but this is obviously not realistic. Within the constant refinement process hopefully I can avoid such significant misses in the future. WE ARE ON TO WEEK 3.

Last week, we discussed a week 2 approach centered around overreactions. As we move forward in the early half of the season one of my favorite approaches is to compare pre-season beliefs versus the present situation and for any gaps have the opponents up until this point forced those changes in the way the players/team is viewed. Incorporating that difference with an outlook moving forward can often lead us to fantasy championships. This idea will bleed into many of my data points in the next few weeks to great context to how we can use the information.

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It’s finally here, we are less than a week away from my Packers kicking off 2019. I’m convinced that I enjoy the ritual of football Sunday’s more than the games themselves. Waking up to place your bets, set your lineups, and trash talk your league mates is its own event in itself. I’ll be kicking off week 1 with some homemade jalapeño poppers, chicken wings, maybe a cheese board to keep in line with my Wisconsin fandom, and of course plenty of beer. Although some of us have the same game day rituals from year to year, we can’t expect similar results from team to team or player to player from 2018 to 2019. In a league that is built on parity, identifying when a player’s situation has changed drastically can make us better fantasy gamers. Let’s take a look at some of these situations that should make us pause and take a closer look.

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We’ve reached the third installment of my preseason handcuff reports. If you missed them you can check them out here: Baby, I’m more than just a handcuff  +  Why do we Handcuff?

We are in the thick of redraft season and the “dress rehearsal” pre-season games are this week. This means we are only 2 preseason weeks away from regular season football. Can we get a “hell yeah?”

{Editor’s Note: Hell yeah!}

There are already a number of clear handcuff situations that need to be addressed heading into your draft day. Let’s jump right in, starting with the highest priority handcuffs…

ADP numbers in parentheses are from fantasypros.com consensus data, compiled from all of the top fantasy sites. 

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Every fantasy season the age old debate resurfaces, to handcuff or not to handcuff. Injuries are guaranteed, knowing who to draft as an insurance policy or to pick up off waivers is a critical component in your journey to fantasy football glory. Luckily for you, I will be here to guide you throughout the season on which handcuffs you should own or which to keep on your watch list. Unfortunately our leagues bench spots are not infinite, some handcuffs need to be drafted and some left on the waivers.

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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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Would you believe me if I told you during the preseason that James Conner, Javorius Allen, Austin Ekeler, TJ Yeldon, Nyheim Hines, and Latavius Murray would be top 25 running backs in PPR leagues heading in to week 9? No, and I would love to see an expert that had any ranked that high. The overall state of the running back position in fantasy is one for its own article. Unless you went RB heavy during your draft, we should change our expectations for RB 2’s and flex RBs.

With the amount of teams deploying an RBBC (running back by committee) the value for the backup running back exceeds more than just a ‘handcuff.’ You will hear that rostering your handcuff is not worth it but the names above would say otherwise. Even though some of the players below are not sexy acquisitions don’t let that prevent you from insuring your team for the championship run. Keep this in mind as you question if you should roster a Giovani Bernard or Nyheim Hines. There is value in owning your handcuff even if they are the clear #2.

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