To Cuff or Not To Cuff

alfredFantasy Football is equal parts examination of numbers and patterns and following your gut. Both can get you in trouble, and both can result in the ultimate reward. When faced with a question of drafting an aging or injury prone running back, the question of handcuffs will inevitably come up. Is it worth it to use a draft pick on a player who may never see the field? Like any question, it’s important to know the players.

There are two very different scenarios at play here. Scenario one is best represented with a player like Arian Foster. At 29 years old, Foster is an old man in football terms who has a ton of mileage on his wheels. When he’s healthy, he’s a consensus top 5 fantasy back who in only 13 games managed 260 touches on the ground and 300 total including the passing game. The real question is what do you do in the 3 games he’s not healthy?

By handcuffing Alfred Blue, you’re ensuring you have a starter for those weeks when he inevitably breaks down and at an ADP of 193 in standard scoring leagues you’re not spending a high impact pick on the player. It’s a solid strategy to have if you’re concerned about Fosters health, but it is hardly the only scenario worth looking at.

My personal preference is to eschew the “handcuff” strategy and put an extra starting RB or two on the bench and watch the waivers to snag another backup who snags starting duties ala Isaiah Cromwell to mitigate injuries. A scenario that isn’t so far-fetched would be to select LeGarrett Blount (ADP of 75) in the 7th or 8th round to cover byes and unforseen injuries and take a late round flier on a player like Maxx Williams (ADP 191) or Eddie Royal (ADP 207). There’s plenty of reason to be excited about both of those players, and the odds that you’ll get season long production increases when you have players who aren’t sitting behind their incumbent starters just waiting for an injury.

If Foster goes down in week 4 would you rather have Alfred Blue ( 528 yards, 3.1 YPC with 2 TDs) or LeGarrett Blount (547 yards, 4.4 YPC with 5 TDs)? Both players had limited exposure last year, but Blount is in a position to carry the ball as the #1 in a high-powered New England offense and I’d argue is the better “backup” when Foster isn’t playing.

Of course, there is no right or wrong way to look at this. If you’re lucky enough to handcuff CJ Anderson to Montee Ball last year, you likely laughed deep into the playoffs and disagree whole heartedly. If you wasted a pick on Christine Michael… well there’s two sides to every coin.


Posted on June 30, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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