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Handcuffs


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The idea of having a handcuff is that you are investing in a backfield. Every year running backs get hurt and go down. It will mostly likely happen to you. That is why you invest in backfields by taking multiple running backs in the same backfield. Ask anyone who drafted Michael Bush as a handcuff for Darren McFadden. Having a handcuff allows your team to absorb an injury and have your team not be totally devastated. Here is a list of players that are handcuffs that you should look into drafting.

Michael Bush, RB, Chicago

Same handcuff different team. Michael Bush is a must draft for those who take Matt Forte. Matt Forte was a Top 5 running back before being shelved with MCL sprain, and injures also held him back in 2009. Forte is also a holdout risk with him upset that the Bears have not given him a long-term deal while they were willing to accommodate Bush with a four-year deal. Bush is an expensive handcuff though because he most likely will be drafted in the sixth or seventh rounds of your draft.

Peyton Hillis, RB, Kansas City

Jamal Charles was amazing in 2010, averaging more than six yards a carry. He followed that year up with an ACL tear in Week 2 of 2011. While Charles is expected to be healthy for the start of the season, we have yet to see him take the majority of the carries in a season. Now there is Peyton Hillis, who followed up his 1,000-yard season in 2010 with a disappointing season in 2011 where he could not get over injuries and contract issues. Both backs could easily have good seasons coexisting in the Kansas City backfield this year. Hillis is a good handcuff for Charles because of his bruising downhill style of running makes him a touchdown vulture to Charles.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota

Adrian Peterson is coming off his ACL Tear in Week 15, and even though he has said the common cliché that his rehab is ahead of schedule, there is a very good chance that he is not ready by Week 1. Gerhart is not going to be a Top 10 running back, but he will get 20 carries a game if Peterson is still hurt, which is rare is this new passing age in the NFL. Therefore, Gerhart is worth a mid-round draft pick in case Peterson is not ready early in the season.

David Wilson, RB, New York Giants

Ahmad Bradshaw has yet to prove he could handle the load in the Giants backfield by himself. Bradshaw has yet to prove he can stay healthy for an entire season. The Giants drafted Wilson in the first round for when Bradshaw cannot carry the load or stay on the field. If you draft Bradshaw and he fails, David Wilson will have tremendous value as Bradshaw’s handcuff.

Taiwan Jones/ Mike Goodson, RB, Oakland

If there is one player that should have a handcuff, it is Darren McFadden. McFadden has not been able to stay on the field in his four years in the league. The question, though, is who will get the carries if McFadden goes down again? Taiwan Jones showed brief glimpses of potential before getting injured himself while Goodson is going to compete for the backup job in Oakland. We will have to wait and see, but it doesn’t matter whichever one wins the backup job they are a must draft for McFadden owners.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo

Fred Jackson is coming off a broken leg, and Spiller looked serviceable in his absence last year. Spiller showed the quickness that made him the No. 9 pick in the draft. Spiller played a role in the passing game even when Jackson was healthy. Spiller is posed for a good year if Fred Jackson cannot repeat what he did last year. Spiller is too good not to grab for Jackson owners.

Ben Tate, RB, Houston

If Arian Foster goes down, the only thing that is going to ease your pain is owning Ben Tate. Tate looked good the first three games last year while Foster was overcoming his hamstring issues. After Foster’s return he still received a handful of carries and played pretty well. Tate is a nice security blanket for one of the elite running backs in fantasy football.

Felix Jones, RB, Dallas

I am not quite sold on DeMarco Murray and if his health will hold up. Murray looked brilliant before he went down with an injury, a problem he had in college as well. Murray’s health is no guarantee, so his owners should take Felix Jones (the former first-round pick) who still has yet to show his full potential.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami

No one is sure yet if Reggie Bush’s stellar play last year is fluke or not. There is the question if his health will hold up for the entire season. That’s why you should handcuff Thomas to Bush. Thomas was drafted last year to share the backfield with Bush, and if Bush struggles or gets hurt Thomas could easily be a 20-carry-per-game player.

Ryan Williams, RB, Arizona

Beanie Wells is a perennial injured player. He could be a game-time decision all 16 games. That is all you need to know to draft Ryan Williams, so when Wells goes down you have the guy getting his carries.

Tim Tebow, QB, New York Jets

This is a joke, but seriously if for some reason you are unfortunate enough to have Mark Sanchez as your quarterback prepare for Tebow to boot him to the bench.