One of the biggest keys to fantasy football success in 2013 will be finding the right running back handcuffs to make your team indestructible.
With potential fantasy studs like Knile Davis, Giovani Bernard and Bryce Brown backing up fantasy stars, if you select the starting running backs playing in front of these players, you must handcuff them by selecting their backups later in the draft.
All of the following players must be selected by fantasy owners as the insurance policies for their early investments, with a few highlighted players in particular below who should be on everyone's radar.
Top 10 Fantasy Handcuffs
|1||Bengals||BenJarvus Green-Ellis||Giovani Bernard||12|
|2||Ravens||Ray Rice||Bernard Pierce||8|
|3||Texans||Arian Foster||Ben Tate||8|
|4||Chiefs||Jamaal Charles||Knile Davis||10|
|5||Eagles||LeSean McCoy||Bryce Brown||12|
|6||Bills||C.J. Spiller||Fred Jackson||12|
|7||49ers||Frank Gore||Kendall Hunter||9|
|8||Titans||Chris Johnson||Shonn Green||8|
|9||Patriots||Stevan Ridley||Shane Vereen||10|
|10||Packers||Eddie Lacy||Johnathan Franklin||4|
Knile Davis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs will lean heavily on dual-threat running back Jamaal Charles this season under new head coach Andy Reid. However, with a history of injuries, including going down at practice on Monday according to Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star, he must be handcuffed by fantasy owners.
This is where selecting rookie Knile Davis makes perfect sense. If the injury to the veteran running back is serious enough to warrant him missing time, Davis becomes a legitimate starter for Kansas City.
There are some concerns about how well Davis is picking up the Chiefs’ offensive sets and game plans—Teicher reports that he has been a major disappointment during training camp—and he will have to prove he deserves a spot on the depth chart as the preseason progresses.
Still, if Charles is out for any extended period of time, Davis will have an ample opportunity to shine in new head coach Andy Reid's offense.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has blossomed into a serious fantasy contributor, but those who draft the veteran running back early must pair him with rookie Giovani Bernard.
Bernard's stock is rising—his average draft position is 60th, via Fantasy Football Calculator—and there is a good chance fantasy owners may even have to select the backup before the No. 1 RB in Cincinnati.
With the incumbent starter Green-Ellis sitting at 83rd overall ADP, fantasy owners are facing the decision to take Bernard around the sixth round knowing that he will likely be splitting carries to start the season. Bernard owners would then select the Law Firm around the eighth round.
This is what I call the inverted handcuff.
Bryce Brown, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Unlike muddled backfield situation in Cincinnati, the Philadelphia Eagles have a much clearer pecking order at running back.
LeSean McCoy is the unquestioned No. 1 ball-carrier on the roster. Shady McCoy is a valuable player in fantasy due to his elusiveness, speed and pass-catching abilities. Expect new head coach Chip Kelly to feature his star weapon.
But with fantasy owners likely spending a first-round pick on McCoy, selecting his talented backup Bryce Brown in the latter rounds is a wise move.
Brown proved last year when McCoy went down with a concussion that he could carry the workload—amassing 347 yards and three touchdowns in his two games as the starter—and fantasy owners must handcuff the talented second-year back if they select McCoy early on draft day.