As we all know, a fantasy football “Handcuff” is a backup that will take over for a team’s starter in the event of an injury, suspension, or some other event that makes the starter unable to perform starting duties. With this, a common strategy is for an owner to stash these backups to “handcuff'” them to their respective starter so they always have the starting player for that team. For running backs, this is a very important aspect of fantasy football but every year there are some “Handcuffs” worth targeting that stand above the rest as more than likely to take the job earlier than imagined.
RB Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts
It is no surprise that Mack tops this list, as Frank Gore continues to pile on age and at this point we are all just playing the waiting game for when the 34 year old RB goes down and hangs up the cleats. While Gore will start the season, Mack will definitely be in the RB rotation to get snaps and experience and if and when Gore gets injured, I fully expect Mack to go into a timeshare where he would receive 60% of the snaps, before eventually becoming the feature back once his fumbling problem is under control.
RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
Kareem Hunt is an interesting case because of how well Spencer Ware did last season and the confidence that the Chiefs front office has in him by releasing Charles and claiming Ware as their guy. What makes the Hunt Handcuff scenario interesting is that Kansas City traded UP in the draft to grab Hunt, meaning they have big plans for the Toledo RB. While I don’t see him taking the starting job away from Ware, if Ware is to get injured, Hunt will get a decent amount of chances to be that guy till Ware returns.
RB Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers
Williams is the guy to have regardless of anything that happens in Green Bay. Ty Montgomery may sit atop the depth chart due to his success last year, but rest assured Williams will be the starter sooner than later. Williams possesses the bruising and forceful running style that Eddie Lacy showed flashes of that Green Bay wants in a running back. If Montgomery gets injured, Williams will easily beat out Aaron Jones and Devante Mays to become the incumbent and when Montgomery becomes healthy, he may just convert back to a wide receiver.
RB Joe Williams, San Francisco 49ers
From the reports I have read, Coach Kyle Shanahan forced the 49ers Front Office to draft Williams this year, that bodes pretty well for the Utah running back. While he may have some personal issues to deal with, he has a powerful running style that could prove is a sneaky backup play to Carlos Hyde if Hyde gets injured.
RB Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
RB Samaje Perine, Washington Redskins
RB Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
While at the moment they sit behind their starters on the depth charts, they are almost all guaranteed to become the starters by the end of the season without any kind of injury or situation that forces the starters out. These are all players that were drafted to BE starters and can perform better than their veteran counterparts.