With all my fellow fantasy football junkies prepping for their draft I figured I should take a little break from breaking down the impact that the new coaching changes bring us, and talk a little about who you should consider handcuffing.
Now before I go any further, since I am low budget and don’t have the fancy player photo package, I have to insert photos of my own… And this was the closest I had to address the topic of handcuffing. In case my incredibly supportive mom is reading my posts, I just need to make it clear I was never really arrested, I was pulled over for driving a smoking hot red Ferrari just a little too fast on my way to the Nurburgring track, and the police were super cool to play a joke on my mom. Now back to your fantasy football concerns.
My Co-host Jeff Mans is the king of handcuffing NFL running backs. I used to think it was waist of a roster spot. However, Jeff Mans finally made a believer out of me last year when LeVeon Bell and Jamaal Charles both went down for the season. Jeff was one of the only person I knew who still held onto DeAngelo Williams even after LeVeon Bell’s suspension was over. He was also the only person I knew that was not scrambling to the waiver wire after week 8, blindly biding just about every dollar they had left to pick up Williams.
I will never forget the day I bid 700 bucks to snag DeAngelo Williams off waivers last year. It was honestly the best waiver wire move all season long for my team. Basically it came down to Williams winning me my season, and costing everyone else theirs. Had DeAngelo Williams been handcuffed, my struggling season would have come to quick and bitter end. So guess what my friends? I LOVE HANDCUFFS!
Some people like to go crazy and handcuff pretty much every one with the justification of “Just in case the lead back goes down.”, and they sometimes spend all season with their back up plan never making their starting lineup. So here are my thoughts on who is worth the handcuffs, and who is just for precautionary measures sitting on your bench.
PIT LeVeon Bell/ DeAngelo Williams
Bell suffered a season ending MCL and PCL injury. Bell had surgery to repair his right knee after week 8. Reports said thankfully he did not tear his ACL but, did do damage to his MCL and other areas of his knee. My biggest problem is that while he is hopeful to return in week 1 there is no timetable on his return. We are also waiting to see if the rumors of Bell skipping a drug test which would be ruled as a “failed” test, are true and if he will be looking to serve another suspension. This one is a no-brainer for me. DeAngelo Williams was a fantasy beast last season when the Steelers needed him to step in. If you plan on drafting Bell, Williams is a must for you.
KC: Jamaal Charles/ Charcandrick West
Charles is recovering nicely from an ACL tear last season. My concern with Charles is he is injury prone and he is a first round pick. It’s been a known fact in fantasy football, that your number one pick alone may not necessarily win you your season, but it can sure as heck ruin your season if they do not preform or have a season ending injury. West is sure to fly off the board for that reason and it’s better to have him on your bench as a backup plan than on your opponents’ potential starting roster should Charles suffer another injury.
BUF: LeSean McCoy/Karlos Williams
This is my last must have handcuff duo. And to be really brutally honest, it’s teetering between the fine line of a must have and a precautionary handcuff. Karlos Williams himself missed games because of injuries and that is my main concern of giving up a bench spot for him. He has missed 3 games with a concussion and 2 games with a shoulder injury. However when healthy he can certainly step up and get job done for his fantasy owners, especially in a favorable match-up. LeSean McCoy is starting to age, and while I am pulling for him to always have a successful year, not just for fantasy purposes but so that Eagles can always miss him, he was banged up a lot last year. If McCoy was on my roster I would start to strongly think about making room for Williams on your roster.
The rest of the duos listed are for the people who love to handcuff for precautionary measures. While I am not a big fan of drafting with a precautionary mindset, I do like to pick up and handcuff players in the season I think will have a potential break and one day win the starting job. Just like we saw C.J. Anderson do. People thought I was just mean, wishing something would happen that would give Anderson the potential to carry the workload in Denver. It was so noticeable that when the ball was given to he was just as productive, if not sometimes more, than Ronnie Hillman. But this was a handcuff that was made after I saw Anderson play during the regular season. But for the players that love to handcuff, here are your other targets.
AZ: David Johnson/ Chris Johnson
Two things I am expecting here; I expect the jokes to come flying in on handcuffing both Johnsons, and, I expect big number from David Johnson this season. Arizona runs the ball a lot and should David Johnson find himself on the injury list this season I see Chris Johnson stepping in over Andre Ellington.
PHI: Ryan Matthews/ Darren Sproles
This should become a run heavy team under Doug Pederson, and Ryan Matthews is not a stranger to injury. Sporles has a good chance of having the starting job if Matthews goes down.
DEN: C.J. Anderson/ Devontae Booker
Denver’s pass game is in serious question right now. The only offensive certainty I see in Denver is their run game. So they should lean on it a lot. Anderson is a talented back but should he go down I see more upside in Booker over Ronnie Hillman
GB Eddie Lacey/ James Starks
While it looks like Lacey has gotten his weight under control, Starks proved to be a reliable option for the Packers while Lacey was under preforming last season.
DAL: Ezekiel Elliot/ Alfred Morris
Elliot is a first round draft choice on everyone’s list. I get that while he may be a rookie, he is a talented back with the best line to run behind. Tony Romo is injury prone and Dallas may need to rely on Elliot a lot more should their QB once again get injured. The Cowboys may put a lot of miles on their stud running back’s legs. I think Elliot will be fine all season but if you handcuff a Dallas RB I like Alfred Morris right now over Darren McFadden, who is out for two months after having elbow surgery in June.
TEN DeMarco Murray/ Derrick Henry
Henry crushed fantasy owners hearts when he was drafted this year to the Titans. The Titans already had a star RB when they picked up DeMarco Murray! This was the best news for fantasy owners. We finally had a star back who wouldn’t be splitting carries! This was going to be a fantasy goldmine! And then enters one of the 2016 Drafts best running backs. I can see why people will want to handcuff Henry, should Murray go down he’s a great starting option.
ATL: Devonta Freeman/ Tevin Coleman
I have nothing much to say here except the same line everyone else who believes in heavy handcuffing would say, “If Freeman goes down, Coleman will be the guy.” Matter of fact the same holds true for the following; CLE: Duke Johnson/ Isaiah Crowell; CIN: Jeremy Hill/ Giovani Bernard, and NE: Deon Lewis/LaGarrette Blount
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
SEA: Thomas Rawls/ C.J. Prosise
Rawls’ week one is in question after having surgery to repair what was probably damaged ligaments after fracturing his ankle at the end of last season. Pay close attention to training camp and preseason because this may go from a precautionary measure to a must have.
SD: Melvin Gordon/ Danny Woodhead
In PPR leagues I like Danny Woodhead as a flex option. Woodhead is a player I like a lot more in Daily Fantasy Football, but this is another situation to watch. Melvin Gordon did have surgery to a micro fractured knee in January. Woodhead works well in this offense and if given more carries and passes could be a solid fantasy RB.
Happy handcuffing my friends!
XO – Pilar