In the fantasy football world, there is something known as handcuffing running backs. It is basically capitalizing on a weak run defense with more than one of the key backfield ball handlers for the opposition. At the same time, you would be limiting this player’s likely performance ‘ceiling’ for the day because you already know the carries will be split. Thus, we have the term handcuffing. There is such thing as handcuffing other positions, as well as handcuffing in other fantasy sports. But I can cover that in other blogs. This one is about running backs.
The concept mainly became popular in recent years due to the abundantly growing number in committee RB situations in backfields across the league. Injuries and fatigue are always a concern with running backs. Besides offensive play calling versatility, injuries are the other prominent reason that committee backfields were invented to begin with.
Let me make this real simple here. If you are in a standard 10-12 team league, then handcuffing running backs is much more often a horrible idea, than a good one.
One argument for it would be: If facing the run defense of a team like Arizona, Buffalo, or Denver with the opportunity to handcuff the Carolina backfield, do it. And what do we have for them Johnny??? A week one matchup in Arizona! Johnny (Jonathan) the daily show Stewart and DeAngelo Williams could both come up with serious fantasy numbers in their first regular season game of 2011.
But this is not most matchups of course. Are you really going to handcuff Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas in matchups this year against terrible run defenses like Houston, Cleveland, Denver, or Buffalo? …And be trying to win your league at the same time? I suppose you could try that in your public wasteland league where no one else is paying close attention and there appears to be just one other league member with active brain cells. If you are actually playing with people who are not absent, or wearing styrophome helmets, this would probably not be the ever-so savvy league winning strategy you want to be practicing.
So basically, it is a playing it safe option that one can afford if running away with a league already. It’s taking advantage of one of the truly rare matchups between horrible run defenses and a somewhat equally productive pair of backfield playmakers. I do not see any way that a person can do this even semi-regularly in at least a semi-competitive league.
So if I draft Cedric Benson, do I also worry about drafting James Develin or Jay Finley? No, I do not. Just because I’m a Seahawks fan who believes that Justin Forsett can be more productive if used properly, doesn’t mean I would want to draft him and fellow Cal alum, Marshawn Lynch on the same team. So you know I am talking to you straight right now, I wouldn’t really want to draft either of them in a 10-teamer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got crazy love for how much hate and resentment someone in the New Orleans secondary probably feels towards Lynch. Plus, my lowly division champion Seahawks (7-9 baby!) will have a noticeably improved o-line this year.
But I refuse to get ahead of myself here. They still have yet to stabilize their situation at QB, which is never a good thing when trying to find your running backs open space to run. That is just a FACT. Ironically, FANTASY is mostly about facts, and the pesky injuries too of course. I don’t play fantasy football with hometown favoritism and biased emotions. I play like a stoned-cold robot that makes a ‘gut’ decision on occasion.
Even drafting the likes of both New Orleans backs Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory would be a waste of time in a 10-12 team league where there is not more than four active slots for running back/utility. Darren Sproles anyone? Yeah, that could be good for a laugh even from a Buckingham Palace guard. We would be really only be talking about leagues with vastly stretched rosters, where handcuffing can possibly play a more useful role.
So if you really like your chances of having success going in to a season with a roster that regularly features potential stud rookie Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells together in your backfield, then I hope that you are not playing against me. My friend, that would only result in extreme disappointment for you.
…And I don’t want things to get even more awkward between you and me, or do I? I’ll let you Christians ponder that on your own time. Haha, okay, everyone else can ponder it too of course. Just couldn’t help myself. Cheesy?….of course. Like a nacho cheese fountain baby!
Once again, thank you all so much for joining me here on the blog. The lockout is over and players are now ‘locked-in’ on their runs to this year’s postseason. They are also draftable now on major fantasy sports sites such as; ESPN, Yahoo, and NFL.com. So find a good and competitive football league soon everyone! Most of all, stay fantasy active my friends.