Of course, it comes at the absolute worst time. Bad news, inclement weather, sickness – none of it comes at a time of convenience. It’s up to you to persevere. The world doesn’t stop for you and no one is going to press pause while things clear up. The running back position here at fantasy playoff time is no different. The injuries are really starting to pile up and, as such, backfields are shifting at a rather alarming rate. The Running Back Handcuff Grid needed a few changes, so here’s what’s going on:

Atlanta Falcons

 Tevin Coleman is still the lead dog here, but after Ito Smith suffered meniscus damage in his left knee, the Falcons were forced to place him on IR and patch up the backfield with the tandem of Brian Hill and Jeremy Langford . You can probably expect Hill to work as the primary complement with Langford, fresh off the practice squad, serving as a potential change-of-pace back if the team needs him. Many of you will remember Langford from when he was supposed to be the heir apparent in Chicago a few years back. If you do, you may also remember our own Colby Conway’s commentary where he warned everyone that Langford had the mobility of a vending machine.

Buffalo Bills

Things just continue to go from bad to worse for this backfield. LeSean McCoy remains questionable with his hamstring issue, Chris Ivory is questionable with a shoulder injury and Marcus Murphy landed on IR with a dislocated elbow. The hope is that McCoy will be able to return to practice this week and return to the field on Sunday, but if neither he nor Ivory can play, the load will fall on Keith Ford , an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M. He carried the ball 14 times for 46 yards on Sunday against the Lions and could get his first taste of the AFC East rivalry with the Patriots this week.

Detroit Lions

The Lions finally placed Kerryon Johnson on IR with his sprained knee and will turn their backfield over to the three-headed monster of Theo Riddick , LeGarrette Blount and Zach Zenner . Judging by the snap counts in recent weeks, it looks like it’s more of the Zenner/Riddick show, but just when you start counting Blount out, he always manages to make an appearance in the end zone. If it’s a PPR league, Riddick is probably the lean with Zenner as the lean in standard. But in truth, neither guys is someone you want in your seasonal lineups.

Green Bay Packers

The team didn’t waste any time placing Aaron Jones on IR with his sprained MCL. They’ll finish off the final two games of the season with Jamaal Williams as the lead back and then they brought in Kapri Bibbs to serve as a back-up. Williams actually has an interesting match-up this week against the Jets, so while you would hate to put your championship eggs into his basket, he could prove to be a fantasy savior, strange as it seems.

Kansas City Chiefs

We discussed the changes in the Chiefs backfield last week, but felt the need to do a quick update. Spencer Ware is still dealing with his hamstring problem so you’ll have to continue checking the practice and injury reports over the next few days. In the meantime, if last week was any indication, it’s that Damien Williams is fully prepared to take over lead duties, if needed. Darrel Williams will be used as a complementary, change-of-pace back, but has very limited upside considering the way Damien was used last week against the Chargers.  

Los Angeles Chargers

Speaking of the Chargers, it looks like Melvin Gordon is going to return to the field this week. He was a full participant at Tuesday’s practice and the reports were all very encouraging. Justin Jackson will work as the handcuff and possible change-of-pace back this week, depending on how Austin Ekeler is doing. The latest reports have Ekeler still sidelined by the neck stinger he suffered, so we wouldn’t expect much out of him this week.

Los Angeles Rams

You hate seeing any sort of talk about the Rams in this article because it means troubled waters for Todd Gurley owners. He was in and out of the game Sunday and the latest reports have him questionable for this week with knee inflammation. Had coach Sean McVay said that Gurley will play if he receives medical clearance, but the recent signing of C.J. Anderson hurts the ability to be too optimistic. John Kelly will serve as the lead running back if Gurley is unable to play, while Anderson will simply provide depth.

Miami Dolphins

Discussed plenty in this week’s Hot Takes article, Kenyan Drake is on the outs here in Miami. When Frank Gore left Sunday’s game with a foot injury, Adam Gase turned to Kalen Ballage over Drake and watched as the rookie back ran for 123 yards and a touchdown in relief. Drake barely touched the ball and considering Ballage is supposed to be the future of this team’s backfield, it makes perfect sense for the Fins to run him heavy over the final two weeks and really see what they’ve got. If he impresses, then maybe they don’t look for yet another running back in the draft.

New York Jets

And suddenly that pick-up of Elijah McGuire doesn’t look so bad after all, does it? The Jets placed Isaiah Crowell on IR with his foot injury and that leaves McGuire as the No. 1 back on the team. Trenton Cannon will serve in a complementary role over the next two weeks, but McGuire will likely see every-down touches for the most part. It’s a favorable match-up with the Packers this week who have struggled with the run, so even if you don’t use him in your championship lineup, you can at least get a piece of him in DFS.

Philadelphia Eagles

We’re just updating the Eagles here as they placed Corey Clement on IR with an unspecified knee injury. It sounds severe – something in the torn ACL/torn patella tendon range. The Eagles will continue to roll out their committee led by Josh Adams and then followed by Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles . While you’d like to see more well-defined roles, it really seems like anything goes after Adams led the way only to be usurped at the goal line by Smallwood.

TeamPrimary RBChange of Pace3rd Down BackHandcuffIR/PUP/Susp.
Arizona CardinalsDavid Johnson   Chase Edmonds  
Atlanta FalconsTevin Coleman Jeremy Langford  Brian Hill Devonta Freeman /Ito Smith
Baltimore RavensGus Edwards Ty Montgomery Kenneth Dixon Kenneth Dixon Alex Collins
Buffalo BillsLeSean McCoy Keith Ford  Chris Ivory Taiwan Jones /Marcus Murphy
Carolina PanthersChristian McCaffrey   Cameron Artis-Payne  
Chicago BearsJordan Howard  Tarik Cohen Benny Cunningham  
Cincinnati BengalsJoe Mixon Giovani Bernard  Giovani Bernard  
Cleveland BrownsNick Chubb   Duke Johnson  
Dallas CowboysEzekiel Elliott   Rod Smith  
Denver BroncosPhillip Lindsay Devontae Booker  Royce Freeman  
Detroit LionsZach Zenner LeGarrette Blount Theo Riddick Theo Riddick Kerryon Johnson
Green Bay PackersJamaal Williams   Kapri Bibbs Aaron Jones
Houston TexansLamar Miller D'Onta Foreman  Alfred Blue  
Indianapolis ColtsMarlon Mack Jordan Wilkins Nyheim Hines Jordan Wilkins  
Jacksonville JaguarsLeonard Fournette Carlos Hyde  T.J. Yeldon  
Kansas City ChiefsSpencer Ware Darrel Williams  Damien Williams  
Los Angeles ChargersMelvin Gordon  Austin Ekeler Justin Jackson  
Los Angeles RamsTodd Gurley C.J. Anderson  John Kelly Malcolm Brown
Miami DolphinsKenyan Drake Frank Gore  Kalen Ballage  
Minnesota VikingsDalvin Cook   Latavius Murray  
New England PatriotsSony Michel Rex Burkhead James White James White Jeremy Hill
New Orleans SaintsAlvin Kamara Mark Ingram  Mark Ingram  
New York GiantsSaquon Barkley   Wayne Gallman Jonathan Stewart
New York JetsElijah McGuire De'Angelo Henderson  Trenton Cannon Bilal Powell /Isaiah Crowell
Oakland RaidersDoug Martin  Jalen Richard DeAndre Washington Marshawn Lynch
Philadelphia EaglesJosh Adams Darren Sproles  Wendell Smallwood Jay Ajayi /Corey Clement
Pittsburgh SteelersJames Conner Stevan Ridley  Jaylen Samuels Le'Veon Bell
San Francisco 49ersMatt Breida   Jeff Wilson Jerick McKinnon /Raheem Mostert
Seattle SeahawksChris Carson Rashaad Penny C.J. Prosise Mike Davis J.D. McKissic
Tampa Bay BuccaneersPeyton Barber  Jacquizz Rodgers Ronald Jones II 
Tennessee TitansDerrick Henry Dion Lewis  Dion Lewis  
Washington RedskinsAdrian Peterson  Chris Thompson Samaje Perine Derrius Guice