We are now more than two-thirds and less than three-quarters of the way through the NFL season (#math), which means your league should be right at its trading deadline as you try to shore up those running back slots for a playoff run. Making matters more interesting the last couple weeks were a bunch of injuries that should clear up some playing time for running backs who were either riding the bench or snoozing on the waiver wire. Like Samaje Perine, for example.

I liked Perine coming into the season for a number of reasons. The biggest was that I think Rob Kelley stinks, so I figured Perine would take over that job and keep it at some point. Kelley has been injured off an on for most of the season, and Perine has gotten some chances and not done much with them. But those were week-to-week situations, with Kelley lingering in the background as he got healthy, so you knew that Perine would have to get hot in order to keep the job. And even if he did, Kelley would probably still be there to vulture and eat into the share of touches.

But Kelley is gone now and was placed on injured reserve. Making matters more interesting, Chris Thompson, who was averaging roughly a gazillion fantasy points per game earlier this season by taking swing passes to the house, joined him on injured reserve on Tuesday. That leaves Samaje Perine all by his lonesome with all those touches. His backup, Byron Marshall, was on the Eagles practice squad last week and is nothing more than a third-down running back/wide receiver hybrid and return man.

The time has come for you to consider a Perine implant. In his first game as the dude, Perine put up 126 total yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he got 24 touches (23 carries and one reception) on Sunday, while Thompson seeing five before leaving with a fractured fibula. If you need a running back and can find that kind of volume on the waiver wire or in a trade that shouldn’t be very expensive (don’t overpay, but check in on his price), you have to pull the trigger.

If you have a solid team but are maybe one running back short of a real run, Perine could be your guy. Maybe you’re like me and have been alternating one spot between Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, Marlon Mack, and someone from the Seahawks all year. Perine can be our savior, guys.

Now, to the charts!

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Well, hello my lovelies! Have you missed me over the past two weeks? I know I missed all of you. Being an international sex symbol and all around catch has been exhausting. My Sugar Daddy decided to fly me all over the world for the past two weeks and hence, no time to pay attention to any of you. Well, not really, but it sounded good in my head as I was writing it. How are we faring? It seems none of us can escape a week without the loss of one of our beloved on our rosters and right now our teams are so ugly you wouldn’t even f**k it with your buddy’s d*ck. It’s understandable. Eventually, the lights have to come on after last call and no matter how much you try to convince yourself that you are looking at a winner, there isn’t enough tequila in the world to make that team look sexy enough to bang. Well, that’s where I come in. Let me be your bartender and slip you a roofie or two as we journey into Week 9 of the 2017 season. Ladies and gentlemen, convicts and perverts, I give you Hit it or Quit it, Week 9!

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All over the box score and all up in the backfield in Green Bay is the answer, as Aaron Jones has officially taken the job from Ty Montgomery with his solid performances. The offense overall in Green Bay is going to take a hit with the other A-Aron out for what looks like the rest of the season, but they are more likely to want to run the ball, which is good for Jones owners.

Montgomery is still a solid all-around running back and, really, is a solid all-around player in general, as he is a wide receiver who really became a running back out of necessity for the Packers. He didn’t do anything to lose his job other than get hurt and give Jones a chance.

Jones is the better and more explosive running back, and rolling with him as the hot hand is the right decision for now. Montgomery is not going to disappear, though, and he is going to rotate into the backfield and as a wide receiver going forward as the Packers figure out ways to get him involved and use him as a matchup problem for opposing defenses.

For fantasy purposes, Montgomery’s value is probably going to fluctuate on a week-to-week basis depending on the matchups and the gameplan. He is probably going to light it up some weeks and be a non-factor others, so it is going to be hard to rely on him other than as the occasional flex or RB2 when the bye weeks call for it.

Jones, on the other hand, is going to be the more reliable running back and is coming off his best game as a pro last week. Unfortunately, this is a ROS play and not a Week 8 play because the Packers are on a bye this week.

If you are looking for a Week 8 play, may I interest you in a Jalen Richard now that Marshawn Lynch has lost his appeal and will miss this week? (eyes emoji)

Now, to the charts!

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The Giants finally got off the schneid this past week when they upset the Denver Broncos. More importantly, they started giving the ball to Orleans Darkwa, something a certain Razzball writer has been asking for for what seems like two years now. Paul Perkins, your reign of terrible tip-toeing to the line of scrimmage is over!

Darkwa took 21 carries for 117 yards with a long of 47 yards and added a catch for 13 yards. OD seemed to always produce when given limited touches, and he did the unthinkable when given a full supply of touches: continued to produce! Who would have thought such a thing was possible! Oh, right, everyone who, like me, have been clamoring for Darkwa for two years.

After turning eight carries into 69 yards for a nice little average of 8.625 yards per carry, OD rushed for more than 5.5 yards per carry on nearly three times as many carries. The logical assumption would be the keep feeding him the ball. However, with this year’s New York Giants, who knows what to expect, but a few things are working in OD’s favor.

For starters, the Giants lost roughly 14 wide receivers to injuries over the last two weeks. And in better news for Darkwa, Ben McAdoo handed over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Now, I don’t know a ton about Sullivan, but he does have one very important quality: he isn’t Ben McAdoo. Oh, and he seemed to enjoy employing a more balanced offense that featured a running back who has been having success.

The Broncos had boasted one of the league’s better rushing defenses heading into last week’s game, but they barely slowed Darkwa down for most of the day. Granted, his yards per carry average is boosted by that one long run, but he was still hitting holes fast and running hard and should have earned himself a steady taste of touches at least in the short term. I have been stashing OD in a deep roster dynasty league for two years now, and it looks like I might finally get to play him. Hooray for me.

Now, to the charts!

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I’ll warn you right now — there aren’t a lot of great QB fill in options this week. Lots of tough match-ups or under performing players. I had to recommend what remains of Teddy Bridgewater for Pete Carroll’s sake! You won’t see him listed in this article, but my prediction from last week of Colin Kaepernick getting a job still remains! Even if he’s now suing the exact people who could possibly offer him a job…

This week will see the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans getting the week off. You’ll need help replacing Matthew Stafford, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Miller, DeAndre Hopkins, Golden Tate and Ameer Abdullah.

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I believe that karma rules fantasy football. I don’t think there’s any other governing force. Example: in my home league I won last week by .42 points and this week, you freaking know it, I lost by .3. Next week am I going to win by .2? I can’t take the aggravation. Though a win’s a win and all we really need is a playoff spot, right? We all want a bye, but 1-4 isn’t season over. I won that league last year by slipping in as the sixth seed (though I had the most overall points which is why I had the creative team name “Most Points”).

Sad truth is if you are 1-4, you can’t be 1-5; so look at the teams in your league and throw out trade offers for guys going this week (I’m not just telling you, I’m doing it too; got unlucky and staring down 1-5 in a big money league). But we believe in fantasy football karma in the land of AbFAAB and the only way to up that is to spend some money! ($100 Free Agent Auction Budget Dollars we’re playing with; at least that’s what we started the season with.)

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Man, keep me away from your favorite football team. I had the opportunity to check out the supposed football game between the Giants and Chargers and I’m convinced that I am bad luck. Injury after injury after injury has the Giants in contention for a top 5 pick in this year’s draft.

The Bills, Cowboys, Bengals and Seahawks will have bye weeks so there are a lot of fantasy points that you will have to make up from RBs: LeSean McCoy and Ezekiel Elliott to WRs Dez Bryant, A.J. Green and Doug Baldwin to dual-threat QBs in Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott and Tyrod Taylor. Leave me a message down below if you need some fill in options from your waiver pool.

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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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