With the first game of NFL season just 6 days away, the window for drafting in fantasy football is quickly closing.
One of easiest things you can do to separate yourself from other fantasy owners is making sure you lock in a running back “handcuff.”
A “handcuff,” in fantasy terms, is the backup running back for your fantasy team’s starter. You draft a handcuff at some point after you draft your starting running back. This is done to provide a safety net if your starter goes down with an injury or anything of the sort.
Whenever a starting running back goes down, there’s a universal waiver wire scramble for that player’s backup. If you have that backup in place, you are safe from the league predators who are ready to swoop in and stop your fantasy season in its tracks.
In many cases, the benefits of owning a handcuff can be your saving grace. For example, when Arian Foster missed 3 games in 2011, his backup Ben Tate filled the void very well. During those three games, Tate racked up 327 yards from scrimmage (an average of 109 yards per game), including 2 rushing touchdowns.
Smart fantasy owners with the handcuff were able to survive those critical three weeks while Foster was sidelined, while other owners watched in horror as Tate racked up those numbers for another team.
Stud running backs like these often play for teams that give them a high volume of carries. If the starter goes down with an injury, another (fresher) player gets a shot at their workload and can very well succeed at it. Even average players can rack up decent numbers with a high volume of carries.
For your team’s starting running backs, it’s essential to draft the next guy in line who will get every down carries. Don’t let this pass you by, you don’t want someone else reaping the benefits of your devastating loss.