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Michael Bush is large.
An Internet search for fantasy football's top handcuff options will turn up a trillion and a half results telling you who to draft as protection for your precious first-round running back investment.
Drafting a raft of handcuffs—running backs who would resume the starting gig if your starter goes down—are mostly a waste of roster space. OK, so you have peace of mind knowing that if your fantasy stud tweaks a hamstring or breaks an ankle, you have his backup: a simple plug and play. Don't do it.
Here are a couple notable exceptions: The Bears' Michael Bush, who is widely expected to share some carries with Matt Forte, is a worthy handcuff. If Forte misses time in 2012, Bush will get a heavy workload, just as he did in 2011 for Oakland when Darren McFadden missed the season's final nine weeks. Same goes for Texans running back Ben Tate, who would instantly be an RB1 if Arian Foster misses a game or three.
Sure, every NFL team has a depth chart, so technically, every starting running back has a presumed handcuff. But far too many backfields would devolve into a muddled mess, making it impossible to know who would receive the biggest workload.
Look to the Chargers for an example: When Ryan Mathews broke his clavicle in the first quarter of the first preseason game, fantasy sites projected old man Ronnie Brown as the worthwhile handcuff.
A day later, Chargers head coach Norv Turner told reporters that the team would roll with a running back rotation. If you drafted Brown as Mathews' handcuff, you're wasting valuable roster space.
I made this mistake last year. I stacked my roster with what I believed were insurance policies against cataclysmic fantasy football disaster: Ricky Williams as a handcuff for Ray Rice, Thomas Jones as a handcuff for Jamaal Charles and Jason Snelling as a handcuff for Michael Turner. I could've used those roster spots to shore up my stable of receivers or get a high-upside tight end. Handcuffing made for a shallow team that could not survive the inevitable injuries that hit every fake football team at some point.
Learn from my mistakes. Put away the handcuffs.
Follow C.D. Carter on Twitter at @CDCarter13.