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Fantasy football strategy: Do you handcuff your running backs?

Are you one who follows this popular strategy?

NFL: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

I was listening to the most recent RotoWorld fantasy football podcast with Josh Norris, Lord Reebs (know idea what his real name is) and Trevor’s boy Evan Silva on the way to work this morning. They were talking about the practice of handcuffing your running backs in fantasy football. If you aren’t familiar with what that is, it means you draft Le’Veon Bell with the first pick overall and then later in the draft you take his back-up so you have that guy if Bell goes down. Is that a good strategy?

The answer is, as with most things in life, it depends. If you draft DeMarco Murray in the first round of your draft, you should absolutely reach to make sure you have Derrick Henry on your team. Why? Because Henry is a very talented back who will be the clear cut #1 if Murray goes down. It also doesn’t hurt that he is on an #alleged run-first team.

HOWEVA, if you draft Bell it really doesn’t make sense to handcuff him. It did last year when they had DeAngelo Williams, but they don’t have him currently. Their backfield is a mess behind him right now. There is no guarantee who will get the carries if Bell goes down. You are better off drafting a “lottery ticket” guy (A guy who might not do anything but has a huge ceiling. Here is a list of such players.).

So my thoughts on “handcuffing” running backs is that there are times when it makes sense, but it shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule.