One the the biggest dilemmas fantasy owners face is whether or not to draft a handcuff or even worse, what round to scoop them up before they get stolen by another owner. Although, it is difficult to determine exactly when, to select the primary handcuff to your high equity running back, it is certainly imperative to ensure you protect your investment by cuffing him if possible. This Buys & Sells segment will focus on which handcuffs are highly recommended adds which should be targeted, either as protection or as possible flex production plays, for your fantasy team.
Current Starter Recommended Handcuff
LeSean McCoy *Karlos Williams (Buy in all formats)
*Williams has already demonstrated an ability to shoulder the load when needed and was drafted by the new regime in Buffalo. He is a must own for McCoy owners.
Lamar Miller *Jay Ajayi (Buy in all formats)
*Miller’s status in South Beach could be teetering and Ajayi has shown, albeit in brief appearances, that he can certainly be a productive running back at the NFL level. Ajayi is a must own for Miller owners.
Justin Forsett *Buck Allen (Buy in all formats)
*Although Buck Allen is not representative of a grinding, every down running back, he is an exceptional fit in the Marc Trestman system, where he can put on display his passing catching ability. Allen could very well be the front-runner for lead duties in 2016 unless, Baltimore selects a running back in next seasons Rookie Draft. Honorable Mention: Raheem Mostert (Buy in only deeper formats)
Isaiah Crowell *Duke Johnson (Buy in all formats)
*Another running back not fully designed to be a feature back, at least not yet, Duke Johnson has already carved out enough of a role to be a viable FLEX play, when needed and should an injury force missed time for Crowell, Johnson could step in and be more than serviceable. It will be telling whether or not Crowell returns in 2016. The Duke is definitely a value add, especially in PPR formats.
Jamaal Charles *Charcandrick West (Buy in all formats)
*West charged on the scene as a bit of an unknown for the uninitiated and has put on display the exceptional fit he can have in Andy Reids running back friendly system. West is the primary handcuff in KC and should be owned by all Charles owners.Honorable Mention: Spencer Ware (Buy in only deeper formats)
Alfred Morris *Matt Jones (Buy in all formats)
*I am of the strong opinion that Matt Jones will be the starting running back in Washington beginning in 2016. Whether or not Morris is re-signed, Jones will lead the Washington backfield in carries and be a solid weekly play as a RB2, with upside, especially in PPR leagues.
Matt Forte *Jeremy Langford (Buy in all formats)
*Matt Forte has been the epitome of a workhorse running back in the Windy city, for the duration of his career and has been unquestionably successful. However, times they are a changin’ and although I previously did not view Langford as the heir apparent, he has certainly made a solid case for himself this season, becoming a highly recommended handcuff with future starter potential.
Adrian Peterson *Jerrick McKinnon (Buy in all formats)
*Although McKinnon was vulture at every turn by Matt Asiata, during AP’s 2014 sabbatical, I believe his time on the pine, coupled with his freakish athletic ability can be something special if given the chance. The current coveted cuff to AP needs to be stashed if possible.
Devonta Freeman *Tevin Coleman (Buy in all formats)
*If you have chosen to partake in the Devonta Freeman kool-aid, then I would strongly recommend you not hesitate in protecting your investment and cuff him with Tevin Coleman now. I am not and have never been a Freeman believer, this is not too say that Coleman is the “answer” in Atlanta, it simply means I think Coleman can perform more than admirably if called upon. He is a good fit in the Atlanta offense and if it weren’t for an early season injury, paired with Freemans uncanny performances, I believe Coleman would be the early down/goal line back in Hot-lanta.
Jonathan Stewart *Cameron Artis-Payne (Buy in most formats)
*Jonathan Stewart has enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in his career in 2015. This is due, in large part, to his ability to stay relatively healthy. Signed to a contract that takes him through 2018 Stewart likely isn’t going anywhere next season. Nevertheless, injuries will always be a concern. This is where you protect yourself with the “Next Man Up” philosophy. Payne isn’t spectacular but can be more than serviceable, as an RB2, in an offense that starts and ends with Cam Newton.
Doug Martin *Charles Sims (Buy in all formats)
*Martin has performed more than admirably this season but there is a sense that he may not be long for Tampa Bay. Conversely, Sims already demonstrates stand alone FLEX appeal. In the event Martin should miss significant time, Sims would possess RB1 potential, especially in PPR formats.
Chris Johnson *David Johnson (Buy in all formats)
*Age is no friend to anyone, especially, at the running back position. David Johnson possesses a similar skill set to both CJ?K and Andre Ellington and has already shown he can be a productive asset at the NFL level. Whether or not the rumors are true and Arians brings CJ?K back in 2016, David Johnson has earned himself a spot in the rotation. As always, should injuries occur in the pecking order, he could become a viable RB2, with upside, while being a prime PPR asset.
Marshawn Lynch *Thomas Rawls (Buy in all formats)
*Another case of injuries meets Father Time. Rawls has cemented himself as the heir apparent in Seattle. Once Lynch has ridden off in the sunset, look for Rawls to take the reigns and be the workhorse back that this system so devotedly highlights. The best example of being a perfect system fit.
Todd Gurley *Tre Mason (Buy in all formats)
*It is truly a crime that Tre Mason is not a starting running back in the NFL. He overcame his own obstacles in 2014 to prove doubters wrong and earned the right to lead the Rams backfield in 2015. However, it was made clear that Jeff Fischer had other plans. With Gurley’s aggressive running style and injury history Mason represents RB1 potential should Gurley miss time. Undoubtedly Mason gets a bump in PPR formats.
There you have it. The dreaded injury bug is a real thing and it just so happens to find its way to the running back position at the most inopportune times. Therefore, get your high equity running backs protected while you can, because insulation is the key to success, especially, at the running back position.
Note: Dynasty owners, who typically play with expanded rosters, need to make sure they are utilizing one of those end-of-the-bench roster spots to cuff their starting running backs. Not every handcuff will have been listed above. Keep in mind that the players identified in this segment represent more than just short but primarily long term Dynasty appeal. Certainly there are solid veterans you can add that will be more than serviceable to cuff your high equity running back.
Thanks for reading. You can find me on Twitter @DynastyFFactory.