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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We had some weather on Sunday as the East Coast got slammed with rain and it made for a dreary day of football. It was certainly not the best thing for the kickers as rookie sensation missed a rare two extra points and one of the best kickers in football missed a couple of gimmes in New England. Football is played rain or shine whether or not it throws off our projections. We will start with the game in London, where it always seems to be dreary.

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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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Image result for home dogs

Week 3 was a crazy, crazy week. Thanks Trump! I kidd. Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Eli Manning all threw for at least three touchdowns, with Bortles throwing four! The Jets dominated. It gets crazier, though. Eight of the games on Sunday had the road teams as favorites. The Jaguars, Colts, Bears, Jets, Bills, and Redskins all took care of business at home. Bow wow wow yipee yo yipee ya! Home dogs! The Lions should have won and the Chargers…well, just scroll down to the recap of that game and all will become clear.

The 2017-2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues for Basketball are now open. Get more info and join here!

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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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We are here today to point out the differences between the Razzball Rankings (which finished Top-3 in 2016) and those that ESPN has released to the masses. Haha, just kidding. You know, it used to be that Matthew Berry, Tristan Cockraft (lovely human being, totally serious. Met him at the LABR party down in Arizona Spring Training, probably one of the nicest guys in the industry along with Eno Sarris), and Eric Karabell submitted their rankings for the Accuracy Challenge that our friends over at FantasyPros host… After both Berry finishing in the lower 80’s back in 2015 and then Karabell finishing in the same area-ish (“ish” because I can’t remember exactly ) last season, they have yet to be seen this season putting their rankings to the test. So while I used to be able to compare our rankings to what the “industry” had made “standard” (parenthesis for sarcasm I suppose), the first thing you’ll notice with our yearly “Rankings Versus” series is that there won’t be any Matthew Berry. Whether that’s ultimately a good or bad thing, I’ll let you decide. Because, hey, I’m just that kind of guy. But don’t worry! Instead, we’ll be taking a look at how our “industry” leading rankings stack against the ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings), and last season’s top “Accuracy Expert” (no sarcasm), Dalton Del Don from Yahoo! (do I have to yell it every time? Geez, that gets old real fast…) Sports, not to be confused with “Yoohoo! Sports”, which I do all the time. Then again, I usually confuse most things with chocolate drinks. Totally normal.

So be sure to check out our 2017 Fantasy Football Rankings, Auction Values, and our very own Cheat Sheet for any context you may need. I’d say that context needs more chocolate drink to be honest…

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The best thing about still being involved in fantasy baseball is that it means I am in the playoffs. While I am in many leagues, there are three which I consider the important leagues. I define “important” to mean there is a reasonable buy-in accompanied with it and an even more reasonable first place prize. Unsurprisingly, if you read my baseball posts, all three of these leagues are points leagues. Currently I am in the World Series in two of them, and the semi-finals of the third. Pulling off a three league win would be pretty sweet, but I’ve still got a long way to go.

The worst thing about still being involved in fantasy baseball is that it means my fantasy football research has been severely hindered and delayed. While I refuse to play in a pay league where the draft occurs more than a week before the regular season starts, this still gives me little time to prepare. And perhaps even worse, it reduces that amount of pre-draft advice I can attempt to sling your way. Not that many of you give a sh*t what I have to say, but I do have a handful of readers that have at least some interest in my posts.

Take me on in the Razzball Commenter Leagues for a chance at prizes! Free to join, leagues still open!

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The Draft podcast that was recorded live during our draft can be listened to after the jump, which was again hosted by former ESPN Producer PodVader. Come to think of it, he not only hosts this league year-after-year, but he also special hosts for the actual podcast! Two birds! One stone! You know how the saying goes… (Hint: if you’re a bird, you’re f*cked.) And with this expert draft in the books a season after I took the championship (blind squirrel, nuts, I like your nuts joke, etc.), it’s time to write about said draft in a self-deprecating manner that will captivate all of my first dates (and not so coincidentally, my last dates) to no end. So first, let’s introduce the players… (and if you’d like to check out the team that pulled it off in 2016, you can grab your context here. But grab lightly! Think juggling with jazz hands…)

ESPN’s former Producer PodVader, (Jay Soderberg) from Next Fan Up and BlogTalkRadioDFSR‘s Doug Norrie, Mat Harrison from LeagueSafe (use promo code: RAZZBALL for $10.00 League credit!), “d-Rx®” (yes, that’s his name, no, he’s not a T-Rex with a silent ‘T’, unfortunately) from Pyromaniac, Matt Freedman from FantasyLabs and RotoViz RadioPro Football Weekly‘s Kyle Nabors, Joel Henard from Fantasy Insiders, Chris Schubert from FanRag SportsBrandon Marianne Lee from Her Fantasy FootballDale from Eat-Sleep-FantasyMatt Chatham from Football by Football, Kevin from The Fantasy Football Guys, Todd from The Fantasy Sharks, and Jay from Razzball (hey, that’s me!) And now? The recap!

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Welcome to Razzball’s Fantasy Football Preview series, where yours truly will guide you, caress you, perhaps even coddle you through your draft preparations and processes. Mmm, processes. And while none of this may be legal and I’ll end up with multiple restraining orders, rest assured that we’ll all be the better for it. Maybe. We’ll go in depth (that’s what she said) at every position… well, the positions that actually count (I’m looking at you Kickers and DSTs…), going over some analysis, the tiers, and any illuminating observations I might have. Because light bulbs are just the coolest thing. Said everyone from the 1800s. Before you get settled down, please refer to Razzball’s 2017 Fantasy Football Draft Rankings, and specifically for this post, refer to our Running Back Rankings

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After two straight Superbowl appearances, the NFC South is coming up faster than that lady from The Leftovers and this past season of Fargo.  Yes, I know her name is Carrie Coon, I didn’t have to google it, and she’s become my favorite actress.  Some of you already know that I think that the Leftovers is the best show ever made, but I’m also impressed that Fargo was able to pull off another good season for the third straight year.  Fargo has a built-in setting, but coming up with a different cast, story line, and ending every year and doing it well blows my mind.  To put it in perspective it only took a second season for True Detective to suck at the same format.  Well, I guess it didn’t “suck”, the acting was awesome.  I’m one of the few who bought into Vince Vaughn in his role.  The story was a snoozer, I can’t defend that part.

Before we get into our second division preview, be sure to check out Zach’s preview of the AFC East.  Zach will be covering the AFC while I cover the NFC.  Also, we must rejoice that Jay has returned to give you his rankings and predictions for the 2017 season.  Zach and I are going to try and record a podcast every week to get you ready for the football season.  We plan on having a few surprise guests, but most of it will just be us two talking shop.

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