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Warning, I think this post might be short.  Like really, really short.  Like why your girlfriend laughs every time your pants drop and you ask ‘why are you laughing’ and she says ‘you’re just so cute’ kind of short.  It will be short namely because I can’t preach to you about the subject at hand for longer then about 300 words unless I throw a lot of fluff at you and since I don’t want you to think I’m a fluffer, I’m not gonna do it.  I also realize the reasoning behind this is partially personal and partially league setup.  I’m speaking more on behalf of standard type league setup and not for the deeper ones where I would be more inclined to draft or pick up a handcuff and I will delve a bit into that, how I’d do it and why in this little ditty as well.  Overall, this is a sticking point for me when discussing drafting strategies because of the position at hand we’re talking about and I’ll do my best to refute the many reasons that people use to excuse themselves for doing it as we go along.  But without further ado, let’s take a look at why I don’t want any handcuffs as part of my Vandersexxx nor for 2013 Fantasy Football…nope, still interrupting myself.  We need commissioners and we need more leagues for our Razzball Commenter Leagues.  I’d offer you money but since I’m already offering a grand prize to the big time winner I think you’re getting plenty to play this game for free with us.  So go click that link to find out how before reading on…I’m waiting…nope, still waiting I can tell you haven’t gone and done it yet…nope…ok, ok now you can proceed.

Running Backs Are Injury Prone – Yep, that’s always the argument to why you handcuff your running backs right?  I mean, what if LeSean McCoy goes down week 11 – this happened last year – or MJD goes down week 7 (this also happened last year)?  Well I’m glad you asked!  First off, let’s discuss McCoy’s sitch.  By the time week 11 rolls around, do you know how many roster moves you’ll have probably made to make up for bye weeks?  I’ll give you a hint: plenty.  There’s very little likelihood you held onto his handcuff – whom I don’t remember actually being Bryce Brown to start the year but I could be wrong – through those 11 games unless you had one of the nicest bye week setups of all time or you’re like one of my jerk friends who doesn’t pay attention and still goes 9-2 during that time frame even without setting his roster.  I hate you person not really named Brian but whom I’ll call Brian for the sake of anonymity!  But more to the point, it’s very unlikely you could’ve taken advantage of even drafting Shady’s backup in this scenario in a regular league.  We good on that point?  Ok, let’s go to point two or the MJD scenario.  In this case, MJD went down and his backup was Rashad Jennings.  Rashad was highly touted for how he played back in 2010 as the pickup for MJD and a hot buy at the time.  He went on to produce a 2.8 ypc average and zero 100 yard rushing games.  Was he useful in spurts?  Sure, but you could say that about a lot of players.  Was he worth drafting when it was all said and done?  Decidedly not.

I Can Get My Guy’s Handcuff Really Cheap – Well I think I’ve given you an already great basis as to why not to handcuff but let’s explore this scenario with a current RB/RB Handcuff set up with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell.  Powell is currently projected to go in the 12th round of a 12 team yahoo league with his 136 ADP.  Ok, that’s fine and dandy but two questions.  One, do you really want to own two Jets running backs and two, is Bilal Powell someone you actually think is good?  I’m not trying to thumb down Bilal – he’s a solid NFL player – but the reality is he’s not starting and the Jets traded for not one but TWO running backs in the off-season.  That should tell you something.  It’s not that he can’t produce but there are so many deep wide receiver options around that time or good sleeper TEs, I question why you’d want to go after a guy with a career 3.7 ypc average.  At the very least, if I’m drafting a handcuff, he has to be talented enough to be interesting.

My RB’s Handcuff Is Younger And Is Gonna Be A Stud If He Gets A Shot – Yadda to the third degree on this one here people.  I’ve heard this one before.  There’s that highly touted draft prospect ‘x’ team just picked up and I just know once he’s given a shot, he’ll set the world ablaze.  Well, I strongly encourage you to go tell that to Willis McGahee owners from last year.  Think of all those smug owners who drafted Hillman as their backup to McGehee.  I mean, he was the next best thing in Denver.  That’s what they all said.  Then finally in week 11, those who planned their draft well and took Ronnie as his handcuff saw their shot at glory.  They slotted Hillman into their flex for the week against an ok Kansas City Chiefs defense and waited for the fireworks.  Only those fireworks never came.  He got 3 carries for 9 yards as Knowshon Moreno was named the surprise starter for that week and he held that role into the playoffs for the Broncos.  You just spent 2/3rds of your season sitting on a guy that didn’t even crack 10 yards.  How silly do you feel now?

In the end, your league setup will determine whether or not its worth drafting a handcuff for your starting backs.  At best, the only backups that should be drafted in regular sized leagues in my opinion are ones who seem to have established roles such as Andre Brown for the Giants or Giovani Bernard of the Bengals.  In the end, I can’t simply get behind the idea of drafting a guy ‘just in case’ a lead back goes down.  Well, unless you drafted DMC but that’s another story for another time (hint: don’t draft DMC).  Sorry for the false hope of this being a short post.  Guess I had more to say then I expected.  Peace, love, dope and I’ll see you on the flipside.

From Around The Web

  1. Ricky says:
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    In a 12 team ppr, what rb do like the best, Forte, Jones-Drew, or Jackson?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I ranked them SJax/MJD/Forte so that’s who I’d say I like best.

  2. Quentin says:
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    Agreed! What about taking anti-handcuff to the extreme and arguing that a CJ Spiller owner should opt for an Andre Brown or a Shane Vereen instead of F-Jax in order to stick their grubby paws into more backfields? Or should he just go for F-Jax if he thinks he is the most valuable of the “know your role” RB tier (not even thinking of him as a handcuff)?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I’m all about getting pieces of up in the air backfields or flex backs who have defined complimentary roles in an offense.

  3. Goldschmidt On Her Chest says:
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    Yea I had Rashad Jennings last year…. wasted pick. Ha. Got a reach question for you. In our 4 keeper per team no flex 3WR league with 10 teams where 40 players are off the board I’m drafting 9th. After discussing with my league looks like there’s about a 98 percent change I end up with Marshall 9th pick overall. So at that point I would have
    Kaepernick
    Wr-Marshall
    Wr-Cruz
    Wr-
    Rb-A.Morris
    Rb-Ridley
    So at pick 12 the avail Rbs look like c johnson, mjd, gore. Wrs fitz, v. Jackson, bowe. So my question is do I take one of those guys? Or reach for Vernon Davis not knowing if he would make it back to me at 29th pick in 3rd rd? Having Kaep and reading these “Karp to Davis looks seemingly unstoppable” articles gets me stoked for that combo. Any input appreciated. Thatnks!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Without a flex, I’ll take cheaper RB options for my bench after that point, personally and go VJax or Fitz (same tier for me, go with your instincts). I’m willing to live dangerously and not draft a TE until after the 10th. Call it the Pitta factor, I’m just not seeing the value in grabbing a big name one at this point unless Gronk falls to me in the 6th or late 5th of a standard.

      • Goldschmidt On Her Chest says:
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        @Sky: you the man! Thanks dude

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          No prob!

  4. Frank White says:
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    Sup Sky… For my 10 team – 2 keeper PPr league, I did my draft last night. I feel like I could’a did better but maybe I’m wrong. What do you think??
    Cam
    Peterson
    Ridley
    Cruz
    Julio Jones
    Vernon Davis
    Reggie Wayne
    Giants D
    Stephen Gostkowski
    Josh Freeman
    Green Ellis
    Steve Johnson BUF
    Bilal Powell
    Woodhead
    Denarious Moore
    Coby Fleener
    Nate Burleson

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Probably not a team I would draft. As we last discussed, I would’ve kept Wilson and clearly you went the opposite direction. Only back up RB I like from your set is Woodhead but I don’t know what you’re hoping for from Powell unless Ivory is really hurt and I don’t know about it. I probably wouldn’t have taken a DEF or K either. Rather wait until I absolutely have to to do that and draft upside and with Cam, I wouldn’t draft a back up QB since he’ll never leave your bench and you can stream them in a 10 team. I’m sure you’ll do fine, just not a team I would’ve drafted.

      • Frank White says:
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        What do you like about woodhead??

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Could be a PPR stud. They’ve already said they’re going to limit Ryan Mathews and Woodhead should be in there on plenty of 3rd down passing plays. Couple that with a shaky passing O-Line, he could be seeing a lot of dump off passes. And for his price, that’s not bad at all.

  5. mike says:
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    hey i need two keepers from Graham, Dez, Foster and Marshall, .5pt PPR, round drafted prior year has no effect. Please advise.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I’m Foster/Dez there.

  6. Nico

    John Stamos says:
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    You know, I’ve always said:

    “If you’ve read Sky at night, reader’s delight. If you’ve read Sky in the morning, readers take warning.” Facts are fact. So let’s get down to brass tacts.

    Do you/Will Razzball produce projected stats for the upcoming NFL season? If not, is there a site that you use for such a thing (or might suggest)? I’d like to produce a spreadsheet similar to the baseball war room spreadsheet using your updated rankings, tiers, and projected stats if possible.

    Thanks much!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Ha! You make me sound like you need the beer goggles effect to read me!

      I didn’t/couldn’t project for every player but I projected for a lot of them in my rankings if that’s what you’re referring to. I plan on doing a big overall update on rankings for tomorrow – that’s the goal – so where I’d take guys will be a bit clearer then.

      • Nico

        John Stamos says:
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        @Sky: haha… Ah! I see the projections you speak of. I’ve been using that Overall Rankings article you posted as a quick reference and totally forgot about the projected stat lines in your write ups… I should pay better attention to detail. Well, if I have the time, maybe I can throw them into a spreadsheet because ppl who know me know that I love a good spreadsheet!

        Thanks again!

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          I never knew you were such a computer geek, Mr. Stamos! Where do you find the time between your rock band and keeping that hair so fine to become so well-versed in the world of computers?

          • Nico

            John Stamos says:
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            @Sky: It’s hard, honestly, but I couldn’t do all of these things without Oikos :insert tag line here: … :insert money into my bank account here: …

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              Ha!

  7. George says:
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    you didnt mention ben tate here. same situation?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Though I don’t think Foster is really that hurt – I’d be surprised if he missed a game – it’s not exactly the same situation. Knowing there’s an injury/possibility of drafting a lead back that late, I don’t mind it.

      • George says:
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        @Sky: If news come out that foster is totally healthy, is Tate still a roster spot fill you wouldnt partake in?

    • hooverviille says:
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      @George: I was going to bring up Tate, guy could be a top 8 RB if he plays, Foster is already out week one with a back injury- not what you want to hurting if you’re an RB. I’m in an auction draft and if I don’t get Foster, I might put a bid on Tate

  8. Luke says:
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    I disagree with this article. Some backup running backs are better than others. I bet no one was complaining last year when they had Spiller as Jacksons backup. I want Jackson if I draft Spiller this year. The more people inyour league, the more important it is to lock down backfields. I’m in a 14 team league so only 4 teams can roster 3 starting RB’s. So in that league its far more important to roster K. Davis if I have J. Charles. I’m not saying u need to reach to grab a handcuff but having them take up a roster spot as insurance is not that bad (you’ll thank me when you need him). You have 7 bench players so if you roster 3 starters and 2 handcuffs you still have room for 3 WR, 1 TE, and a QB all of which are easier to replace in FA. Trust me you don’t wanna be the guy who drafts Foster #2 only to have him go down in week 2 and have a buddy of yours win the league because in rd. 8 you took C. Givens over B. Tate.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      ‘In the end, your league setup will determine whether or not its worth drafting a handcuff for your starting backs. At best, the only backups that should be drafted in regular sized leagues in my opinion are ones who seem to have established roles such as Andre Brown for the Giants or Giovani Bernard of the Bengals.’

      Think you missed my point since you’re talking to me about a 14 team league with 7 bench spots…and Tate’s situation is not a handcuff situation. It’s gambling that Foster is seriously hurt, i.e. we already have news he’s having health issues and Ben Tate is the assumed lead back in his place. I’d rather just aim for 4 to 5 RBs who have defined roles in their offense and gamble on WR upside late while everyone else is drafting Knile Davis.

  9. btd says:
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    Completely agree with this article. And this quote in particular: “At the very least, if I’m drafting a handcuff, he has to be talented enough to be interesting.”

    No way am I touching a questionable handcuff (ATL back up?) or one with low upside potential (like Bilal is a great example). No way do I handcuff in less than 12 teams even with a flex. No way I handcuff with 12 teams when only starting 2 RB any given week. I start to consider ‘handcuffing’ with 12 teams and a flex. But 14+ teams is a different beast. At that point, it’s prospecting for any type of playing time now or later.

    Sure it’s an insurance policy or a guarantee, but as Tommy Boy said:
    “That’s all it is, isn’t it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will… Ya might wanna think about buying a quality product from (Sky).”

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Ha well done! I swear unless the league is deep enough to warrant takin up that bench spot, I just can’t get behind it. 9/10 it’s just a wasted draft pick

      • Luke says:
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        @Sky: I guess my point is even in a 10 team league there will be on average 45 RB’s drafted. So chances are you’re gonna end up with a backup running back. In a perfect world you won’t need anyone on your bench but if I do I’d rather have a guy I know is starting. If I handcuffed my own guy, I know if I need him, he’s playing.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Of those non-starters, they’ll have specific roles (Woodhead/Vereen) or because news just broke that the lead back is hurt (Le’Veon), or because who the starter is for a particular team is still murky (Denver). Those aren’t handcuffs, those are plays on starters or for flex-type contributors. If you’re drafting Stepfan Taylor hoping Rashard isn’t healthy, you’re just drafting him to draft an RB in a 10 team and he’ll be off your team within 3 weeks.

          • Luke says:
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            @Sky: I get what you’re saying. But anyone with common sense isn’t drafting Taylor or Powell. There are around 10 draftable backups. Jackson, Tate, Randle, B.Brown, A.Brown, Franklin/Harris (Good luck with that), Bernard, K.Davis, Sproles/Vereen (starter material only in PPR), and Hunter.

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              Vereen and Andre Brown…I covered this topic within the post. They have defined roles within their offense and are used on a weekly basis. I don’t see how you can call that a handcuff draft pick when you could actually start them during the regular week without the lead back being injured.

              Tate/Franklin/Harris…just mentioned the Le’Veon Bell situation. Not sure how that doesn’t apply to Tate: current news about lead back maybe missing time. No different then picking up their backup during the regular season if it sounds like they’ll miss a week. Also mentioned ‘Denver’ as a place where we don’t really know the starter. That applies in GB right now as well. Don’t see how we can call these scenarios handcuffs either.

              Sproles? Who is Sproles a handcuff to? He’s a pseudo-slot receiver and is drafted as at worst a flex every year since he moved to NO. I don’t see why he’d even be mentioned as a part of this discussion.

              Randle (think the Dallas backup is turning out to be Dunbar but it’s interchangable), Jackson, Bernard, Davis, Bryce and Hunter won’t be on any of my teams this year because they aren’t going to do enough for me to warrant a draft pick. Bryce has a shot at being fantasy relevant as a flex play in some leagues, maybe, if Chip does go as run-heavy/RB-oriented as he was with his college program but in all, your argument seems to include about 50% of players whom handcuff isn’t a term that actually applies. Taylor is a handcuff. Powell is a handcuff. You say it doesn’t make sense to pick them up but that picking up Jackson or Bernard does and I strongly disagree because they’re the same thing: dreams of the lead back maybe being hurt while hurting your draft taking guys to put on your bench who won’t help you in a regular league setting. I’m more inclined to fill my bench with guys who have the opportunity to become something special that doesn’t require an injury to another player to show it.

              • Luke says:
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                @Sky: A handcuff to me is any “backup” RB, even if they’re a flex option in PPR leagues. Sproles/Vereen being the two backup running backs on my team that I would draft without having the main guy. The main thing I strive to achieve is to guarantee myself at least two starting running backs in every game regardless of injury. So my goal is to go after the Ravens/ Texans/ Giants/ 49ers/ Eagles running games, these teams will have good enough running games without the starter. WR’s are plentiful this year and you can name two dozen break out candidates this year. You’re trying to tilt the odds in your favor and in my opinion locking down good backfields as youre main goal is an excellent strategy. Go ahead and spend that number 4 pick on Jamaal Charles and watch him go down week 1. Then when you go to pick up Knile Davis you’re second on waivers. You look down and you see Aldrick Robinsons 1 pt and Reuben Randles 3 pts. And you waive goodbye to your season.

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  Redefining the topic to fit your statement isn’t the best way to go there, my man. You just listed three startable players and called them handcuffs. Not really the topic. I’d say of the 5 teams you mentioned, Giants/Eagles Brown are the only ones I’d really want a part of. That Texas situation I don’t like the price at this point.

                  You can’t predict who’s going to go down or when. There’s 32 teams and probably 20 of those have clear lead back roles where their handcuff does nothing if they stay healthy. And of those teams, lets say 5 of the starters go down and of those 5, one of them goes down early like Fred Jackson last year. You’re hoping you have the Spiller equivalent when in reality most of those situations come much later in the season or don’t happen at all. So of those ‘2 dozen breakout candidates’ at WR you drafted one or none because you’re sitting on Knile Davis and Kendall Hunter and their 7 touches a game hoping Gore or Charles go down. You’re drafting on luck with those picks rather then taking current contributors who could vastly improve on their draft spot. Just not a strategy I can get behind.

                  • Luke says:
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                    @Sky: My point is that I consider startable backup running backs handcuffs. Vereen is the backup running back in New England but is a flex option in PPR leagues. Hes still a handcuff and if Ridley goes down his value skyrockets. Youre handcuffing the New England running game. I’m not sayimg you have to get Gerhart if you draft Peterson (I’d spend my picks on some of those break out recievers and see which ones look best when the season starts then drop the worst for Gerhart). Running backs get hurt. I bet all the McCoy owners wish they had Brown last year when he missed a couple weeks. Running backs are scarce once the season starts and the last thing you want to do is scramble to fill your rotation. I’d rather have F. Jackson sitting on my bench every week than say a D. Richardson because the price is lower and Jackson will do better than Richardson if I need him. Using a 9-12 draft pick to insure your best running back is a great strategy. No matter who you have on your bench they’re not helping you win. Oh and….
                    http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/eric-karabell-football/post?id=1071

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      If Ridley went down, you’d just see more carries for Bolden and Vereen would keep his current role with maybe a few more touches on the ground so actually he’s NOT a handcuff and using him to justify your stance is inaccurate. Like I said, you can call a honda civic a corvette, it doesn’t make it a corvette. Vereen is the third down RB/slot receiver for New England. Toby Gerhart is a handcuff but don’t draft him. But because you have the hindsight that McCoy was injured last year, you use it as your argument that people should’ve drafted his handcuff? Pick a side and be on it. If you say draft handcuffs, draft handcuffs. Don’t use examples that happened last year to justify your situation this year and then say don’t draft Toby Gerhart.

                      If I have 2 breakout receivers on my bench whom I can rotate into my lineup and you have Rashad Jennings (real handcuff) and Toby Gerhart (real handcuff) on yours, it does help me win because 1) you can’t use your players and I can and 2) you can’t get my useful players on waivers. Again, you’re saying to draft on the hope that someone gets injured and gets a CHANCE to produce. And let’s face facts, how many clear handcuff roles played out correctly last year? Knowshon, few saw coming. Marcel Reece wasn’t the clear cut pick in the draft either. So you’re guessing at depth charts and hoping for an injury to make your bench worth something. That’s a lot of hoping that has very little to do with the actual skills of the players involved. Rashad Jennings was terrible when he finally got a shot. He was MJD’s handcuff. That was a wasted pick because you got zero from it unless you traded him before he sucked. You’d have sat on Tate all year last year/up until his injury and gotten nothing unless you were smart enough to move on. The likelihood an owner kept Bryce all 11 weeks is pretty minimal when bye weeks/talent on waivers is considered. But I covered that in the article already.

                      I don’t care what Eric Karabell has to say on this situation, I’m not talking to him. Linking to his article doesn’t prove a point, it just means he’d draft a handcuff. I wouldn’t. Him using Andre Brown is a cheap ploy that you’re also seemingly trying to push because as I mentioned in the article: Brown has value even without being the backup to Wilson so I’m not talking about situations such as his. His statements have no more or less weight then mine and isn’t a stance to lean on if that’s what you’re using it for.

                    • Luke says:
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                      @Luke: The only reason I linked the article was to show you that a handcuff can be Andre Brown or Shane Vereen. I get those guys have value outside of being backup running backs. Vereen will absolutely be on the field more if Ridley gets hurt (As will Bolden). The fact is you’re going to end up with 1-2 backup running backs on your team. Why not make it a point to lockdown Pierce or Tate if you take Foster or Rice? This point is even more valid with the more teams in your league. You can only start 2-3 RB’s and 2-3 recievers. Say I draft a RB in the first 3 rounds. I draft WR in the 4th and a QB in the 5th. I’m waiting on TE. Ill take WR in the 6th, 7th, and 8th. I should be able to draft two of my handcuffs in rounds 9 through 11. Name one RB you were able to pickup midseason that helped you win a week if one of your main 3 went down. Who are the RB’s you are targeting for your bench? And let me clarify. I will not draft a crap running back even if he is my guys handcuff.

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Then I stand by his article being a cheap ploy. Vereen isn’t a handcuff, he’s a player with a defined role in his offense. His value does not hinge on Ridley’s health. He’s already valuable. Lance Dunbar’s value hinges solely on the health of Murray. That’s a handcuff. But he’s not gonna write about him because no one wants to click on a link that talks about Lance Dunbar. Sounds like he picked 10 players that are draftable based on their own merit and not the health of other players and called them handcuffs. He’s arguing that honda civics are corvettes then and I disagree vehemently.

                      Drafting 5 RBs when two are backups – read: no value unless someone gets hurt – doesn’t make sense. Why not draft 5 running backs with defined roles in their offense whose value doesn’t hinge on the health of others instead? It’s possible, I’ve already done so in my two drafts to date.

                      I’m not saying this to be mean, but I feel like you read the title of my article and then started stance. A lot of what you’re talking about – Andre Brown I specifically note in the final paragraph; I covered league size being a factor in the first paragraph – feels like it hasn’t taken in what I wrote already. Again, not trying to be rude – I have appreciated the conversation, really – but it feels like I’ve covered some of the context you keep trying to bring into the conversation like it hasn’t been discussed or touched on.

                    • Luke says:
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                      @Luke: see that’s where we differ. I would rather pass on the guys with defined roles that go earlier like Vereen. He’s only valuable in PPR leagues and most weeks he’s going to have a hard time beating out WR’s you can get later as a solid flex play. I’d rather load up early on RB’s and wait to grab solid depth. I’m not gonna draft Pierce in the 8th or 9th round as insurance for Rice then drop him in week 3 because he’s not productive. Im not going to get upset because he’s wasting away on my bench. I know he’s there if I need him and my season won’t be shot if Rice goes down. Even guys like Tate and Brown who will get their carries Im not drafting for their small role. I’m drafting them in case Brown wins the job or Wilson gets hurt. But I rest easy during the season because the NYG ground game is solid. I agree with you all the way about avoiding the crappy backups though. Stay away from crap backups lol. I think this whole “argument” hinged from a difference in the definition of a handcuff.

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Yeah, that was kinda my point. I had defined the Andre Browns of the world in the article. I still disagree in a standard size league of sitting on those guys, though. Football is about injuries at every position. When bye weeks hit and you’re dealing with some dings and nicks, you’re going to have a very hard time justifying holding onto those guys. Fantasy Football’s too fast-paced to wait out a week or two like that.

                      I think part of this, too, is you’re disregarding PPR stats. I get your 14 team league is standard but it’s skewing your argument a bit more then it should if we’re talking about the value of players. That said, in terms of value I’d rather go after Woodhead then Vereen at this point. Too much baked into his ADP at this point to see the value in it.

                    • Luke says:
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                      @Luke: Yeah even in PPR I’m staying away from the Vereens, Sproles and Woodheads of the world. And injuries do happen and even more so at the Running back position. I never carry a backup QB, D, or K and I pay a lot of attention to bye weeks during the draft. Like I said my main goal is to assure 3 starting backs every week regardless of injury. Ill have 5 WR’s on my roster and by the time the bye weeks roll around I know which is the safest to drop out of them for the most part.

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Interesting. Sproles is a top 20 RB every year in PPR leagues since joining the Saints. That’s a bit extreme not takin him but I get you strategy wise about the other two. My bench is 2-3 RB that have roles on their team either as full blown starters or at least timeshare/3rd down back. My bench is RB and WR with the occasional TE if there’s a late upside play I want to try out. In all, sounds like we have similar benches but differ on the who when it comes to RB.

                    • Luke says:
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                      @Luke: Yep and another reason we differ is I mainly play no-PPR formats and they’re generally 12-14 team leagues haha. I just can’t trust Sproles to keep it up year to year enough to invest his asking price. More personal preference than anything else. Not saying I wouldn’t want him if the price is right. I’ll take most guys if the price is right.

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Yup, being agnostic is important when drafting. Overall, I think we have a bit more common ground now that we’ve sorted out the main topic. Really just a matter of whether the few guys with talented backups would be handcuffed and for me, I pass on most in standard. Deeper it gets, the more likely I’ll want a piece of the pie.

            • btd says:
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              @Luke: Per Yahoo pre-season rankings, the first duplicated NFL team RB is Shane Vereen (74). He’s being drafted as a Sproles-lite fill-in slot guy (thanks to A-Hern’s bout of crazy). Draftable for legit upside. Alternative selection: Mike Williams

              Next, Andre Brown (82). Coghlin hates fumbles. That’s all David Wilson did at VaTech. Draftable because of job security concerns. Alternative: Golden Tate

              Hillman (84). Ball has pass-pro issues. But personally, I’m not touching Denver RBs this year. Like Sky said, Knowshow, I mean Knowshon Moreno came out of nowhere. Too much other value where Ball or Hillman is being drafted. Draftable because of backfield turmoil. Alternative: Eli Manning, Steve Johnson, Miles Austin, Rudolph, Owen Daniels, Kenny Britt, Vincent Brown.

              BJGE (92). Technically stil the starter. But Yahoo has Bernard ranked higher. But TPTB seem to think Bernard gets the job early in the season. Bernard seems to have passed the eye test. Prolly a time share where Bernard gets the open field and BJGE gets the redzone. Both have some upside. I’m not drafting the Firm. And Bernard is going too high for me. But maybe this turns into a Williams/Stewart RBBC where everyone wins… Both draftable for defined roles. Alternative: Rothlisberger, Boldin, TY Hilton, Lance Moore.

              Bernard Pierce (98) – the first true back up, IMO. The Ravens are saying less Rice and more Pierce. But the Ravens are lacking offensive threats. Pierce is a legit, NFL talent. But he’s not going to get more than 33% of what Rice gets. He’s a “guarantee.” By this rationale, not draftable as it’s a crap shoot on touches.

              Mark Ingram (99) – now I like Ingram better than Sky (I think). But that has to do with me thinking Ingram gets the start while Sky thinks PT gets the start. We agree that Ingram has the better talent, but Sky thinks the NO coaches trust PT more. He’s draftable (IMO) on upside talent. But I think he’s pre-ranked a little high.

              Tate (101) – Sky addressed him.

              Alternatives to those 3: Vick, Gordon, Finley, Givens, Blackmon, Cameron, Hopkins.

              The point: Plenty of starting talent still on the board where you can play match ups or have as weekly contributors. Instead of the hope that you can cash in your insurance policy.

              • Luke says:
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                @btd: These values are off, the only people drafting backup running backs that early are the impatient owners handcuffing. If someone takes your handcuff that’s their problem because his value is nothing for them and I’d try and trade for him in week 2 or so. You have to draft a backup running back or 2 why not have B.Brown backing up McCoy or A. Brown backing up Wilson? I plan on making my top 3 picks running backs, going reciever in the 4th, QB in the 5th, and waiting on TE till the 12th. That leaves 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 14 to nab your #2 WR some breakout WR’s and a couple handcuffs. Using your 9th or 10th pick to give yourself some insurance does not hurt you.

  10. Mark says:
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    I’m in a 3 wr league and ended up with megatron and randall cobb. I decided to wait for my wr3 until the later rounds. I panicked and Jordy Nelson was still there in the 7th after his injury news so I grabbed him. Now I have 2 packers receivers, and my bench receivers are very weak. Should I try to trade Nelson because I already have Cobb? Is Nelson going to be valuable enough to start week in and week out regardless of the opponent?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I don’t see why you should be trying to trade him

      • Mark says:
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        @Sky: okay thanks, can I get your opinion on my team? I’m in a 14 team keeper league so all the top running backs were kept. Later rounds of draft were really shallow because its a deep league.

        QB: Andrew Luck
        RB: Lamar Miller
        RB: David Wilson
        WR: Calvin Johnson
        WR: Randall Cobb
        WR: Jordy Nelson
        TE: Rob Gronkowski
        TE: Fred Davis
        Flex: Shane Vereen

        Bench: Brandon Weeden
        Bench: Andre Brown
        Bench: Stephen Hill
        Bench: Andre Roberts
        Bench: Justin Hunter (Possible rookie keeper)
        Bench: Rob Housler (Fill-in for Gronk if he misses time)

        • Sky

          Sky says:
          (link)

          That’s a fine team for a 14 team keeper. Great TEs and actually good depth at RB considering how many were already kept. Only minor quibble is your WR sitch on the bench but you were already leery of that like you said. Overall, I like it!

  11. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    i agree with you in general, but as a arian foster owner in a keeper league, i’ll be investing in ben tate at some point. but i also think tate has a lot more talent than your average backup RB.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      True though that scenario really isn’t the typical handcuff scenario. We know Foster is hurt and might miss some time. Different when were talking about a guy like say Knile Davis

  12. David says:
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    Sky,
    In a 12-team ppr keaper league. Lineup will be 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1WR/TE, 1WR/RB, K, DST.

    My keeper rules allows 5 keepers for 600 points. The points are based on our draft so the 1st overall pick will have a keeper value of 214 points. Also keepers maintain their values for 3 year contracts.

    My best keeper options to choose on my team for this year with their values are as follows:
    David Wilson (121)
    Randall Cobb (32)
    Demaryius Thomas (40)
    Reuben Randle (68)
    Vincent Brown (27)
    Mendenhall (89)
    Ronnie Hillman (64)

    Also within the rules is an RFA bid period pre-draft that allows teams to bid their points against each other for the FA’s picked up from last season. The following are what I believe are the best RFA’s available for bidding in no particular order:
    Alfred Morris
    Colin Kaepernick
    TY Hilton
    Cecil Shorts
    Chris Ivory
    Andre Roberts
    Daryl Richardson
    Jeremy Kerley

    From my point, I am keeping wilson, cobb, and thomas as definites. I tanked last year for them. Randall is a maybe for me depending on what I can get from the RFA’s. So, with those 3, I would have 407 points to bid on 2 players. Morris and Ivory are the 2 best, in my view, on the list of RFA’s.

    Should I also keep randall, that would leave me with 339 points to bid on the best RFA which should definitely win Morris who is my #1 RFA available.

    RFA bids are placed with as many contingencies as you wish. So with that said, 3 lists please:

    1. What would be your optimal group of 5 from both lists provided assuming you win all your bids. A goal to strive for. Not considering my 3 definites.

    2. What would be your optimal group of 5 from the list of my keeper options only (first list)? In case I lose all my bids.

    3. Please rank the entire list of players without my 3 definite keepers (wilson, cobb, thomas). This way I have a good idea on how far I should go with the bidding until I should settle on Randall.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      1. Like your definite keepers. I’d go Alf/Ivory there too.

      2. I’d include Mendy and Brown

      3. Alf/Ivory/Kaep/Hilton/Shorts/Mendy/Richardson/Brown/Randle/Kerley/Roberts/Hillman

  13. Mike says:
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    I mostly agree with you and have used this strategy in my drafts, noted exception, last year I got Spiller to handcuff F-Jax and paid off hugely, but only because he got the job early. Otherwise you probably end up dropping the ‘cuff. As you say, it depends on league setups and how the draft unfolds.

    Well written sr!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Thanks! Key there is he got the job early. For every success story like that, I’d say there’s 15 that didn’t pan out. As always, it’s a game of percentages and I just don’t like the odds.

  14. Jack Full O' Hate says:
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    I hate the pants drop giggle, if they only understood that it would look bigger if I was skinnier, but no they don’t and I continue always having sexy time with a pair of glassy eyes

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      It sucks having to explain why you cry during sex.

      • Jack Full O' Hate says:
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        @Sky: strangely it comes from the same place where I cry from fantasy

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Ha!

  15. Goose says:
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    General question about draft order etiquette –

    I’m the commish of a long-time league that is adding two new owners this year (going from 10 to 12 owners). We’ve always done reverse order of finish for the draft order. We don’t have any keepers or anything – just a straight-up draft based on last year’s results.

    So, where should the two owners slot into the draft order?

    I’ve heard everything from giving the new owners picks 1 & 2 overall – to putting them in at picks 7 & 8 (which would be behind the six teams who didn’t make the playoffs last year, but ahead of the 4 who were in the playoffs) – to just putting them at picks 11 & 12.

    (side note: I’m just going to coin-flip between the two new teams to determine the order between the two, so that’s no question.)

    So anyway …just wondering what your opinion/thoughts on the proper and most fair order for including them would be. I’m the commish, so “I’m the decider” – but I do want to be as equitable as possible.

    Thanks for any thoughts!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I like the 7&8 pick idea, personally.

      • Goose says:
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        @Sky: Word, that’s where I was leaning, so think I’ll just go that route.

        Thanks!

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Sweet and no problem

  16. Jack Full O' Hate says:
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    Are/Do you guys have a RB report similar to the closer report where we see the starter and the depth of the handcuffs. I think that would be a really helpful quick reference guide and could be done every other week as the season goes?

  17. Jack Full O' Hate says:
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    Seriously, is my idea so good there is no response for it?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      @Jack Full O’ Hate: Missed this one from the backside of the site. I don’t know who’d do it at this point, right now we have a pretty full slate. I can bounce it off some guys, see if someone wants to field it.

      • Jack Full O' Hate says:
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        @Sky: If I had more time and a little more knowledge then I would be down to do it….or maybe I need more confidence

        • Sky

          Sky says:
          (link)

          My only concern with the piece is how much changeup there may or may not be from week to week. Requires injuries for variety. Well, unless someone really wants to know Daniel Thomas has slid behind Gillislee as RB3. That said, I see the potential.

          • Jack Full O' Hate says:
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            @Sky: @Sky: The chageup will be tracking the depth chart and having people ready to add at the sign of any injury to the #1. If you’re hurting and mendenhall goes down you want to know without even thinking who should get the carries.

            It would be mostly about who gets the garbage time, who works with the first unit in certain situations, but like closer report would be a rankings type thing. But realisticly, it would be more for the more novice users, idiot proofing you might say. Maybe I’ll do a ghost one this year and throw some stuff at you along the way and see if I can refine it into something for next season. The reality in the NFL that handcuffs are the new black. The other reality is the user on the site, as it grows are going to vary in skill level and it might be something to consider. There were times last year that some articles went over my head and I fell asleep reading them.

            • Sky

              Sky says:
              (link)

              Interesting. Sounds like you already have a premise and an idea of how to approach it…it’s officially reserved for you if you ever wanna take it on.

              • Jack Full O' Hate says:
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                @Sky: The handcuff report, instead of 12 dollar salad, we will have lock it and throw away the key. I just came up with this on the fly, have put all of 12 minutes of thought into it. But like I said above, there is a large part of the population that needs simplicity. I can’t tell you how many times I have read an article and said to my self, ” but does he get the ball this week and will he catch it”

              • Jack Full O' Hate says:
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                @Sky: Oh and the injury proneness of the starter will factor into the equation

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
                  (link)

                  Sounds pretty awesome…when do you start writing?!?

                  • Jack Full O' Hate says:
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                    @Sky: I’ll start on it and maybe by week 5 or 6 I’ll have something for you. There is nothing for the first couple of weeks to say anyway, “you know who the starters are and hopefully they don’t get hurt….any questions”

                  • Jack Full O' Hate says:
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                    @Sky: time to get me a dry erase board

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
                      (link)

                      Haha. Sounds like you should set up a gmail account and use the google drive function. Really useful and easy to use.

                  • Jack Full O' Hate says:
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                    @Sky: I have a g-mail, time to check into the old technology. Already running ideas through the old noggin.

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
                      (link)

                      Sweet!

  18. the imp says:
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    Thanks for the read on handcuffs. It definitely is on my mind for my draft strategy.

    Given a 1QB/2RB/3WR/1TE/DST/K set up with PPR and only 4 players on the bench (2RB on the bench max) which bench setup would be your default target on draft day?
    A) RB3+ QB2+ WR4 + handcuff RB4 (drafted in last round before DST, K to be dropped for one-week wonders as the bye weeks approach)
    B) RB3 + RB4 (better than handcuffs requiring an 8th or 9th round pick) + 2 revolving spots for other needs (probably a QB2, WR4 to start the year)
    Thanks for the help.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      No prob, thanks for reading.

      B) I’m not big on drafting a QB for my bench.

      • the imp says:
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        Thanks for the advice. Will follow if I go down the road of not keeping Foster. Otherwise, keeping Foster for my 11th overall pick obviously comes with an obligate use of my last RB spot for Tate this year. Hoping for more good news out of HOU soon.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
          (link)

          Yeah, understandable. As I mentioned in a comment earlier, drafting Tate because it’s sounding like Foster’s out at least week 1 is no different then picking him up mid-season for injury purposes. Not really a handcuff draft move, more a starter move. Still sucks having to spend two picks on one backfield, though.

  19. bill says:
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    12 person keeper, 1 pt ppr. rb/rb/wr/wr/flex league… keep 4 (lose rd in which you keep)

    Lesean McCoy – 1st Round
    Run DMC – 2nd
    Marques Colston – 3
    Decker – 4
    Garcon – 7
    Denarious Moore – 8
    Ben Tate – 11
    Cobb – Waiver
    Dalton – Waiver
    Bryce Brown – Waiver

    help por favor!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      Cobb/Garcon/McCoy and…eh, I’ll take Tate there. Maybe trade with the Foster owner.

  20. Bonghuetz says:
    (link)

    More hatred for the DMC! I recently discussed with you my reasoning for why DMC could exceed the ground floor expectations most experts have set for him and you thoroughly (but tenderly) chewed that reasoning up and spit it out. I completely agreed with your analysis and needed the smack in the face to realize I was just trying to put a positive spin on an otherwise bad situation. However, I now have one data point that I think finally makes my case for why DMC will have a season better than most are expecting:

    Both CBS’s Richard and ESPN’s Karabell have the guy on their Do Not Draft Lists

    Don’t you think this makes my point? A double negative leads to a positive result…If Grey has taught me anything, it is to have complete disdain for the CBS and ESPN rankers.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      Ha as you know and I’ve said, I don’t do the do not draft lists. Everyone is draft able at the right price. If DMC gets pushed to a flex, I’ll buy. I just have guys above him I’d prefer and feel more comfortable with is all. If that drives the price down far enough id take advantage.

  21. Jason says:
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    Hey Sky. I finally made it to this side (from the baseball side). I’ve been dragged into a football league this season that’s drafting next week. I’ve tried this game before and it sucked, can you help me from being a pool doner this time?

    12 teams: standard snake (non PPR): I’m pick #10.

    Can I draft according to your tiers based on position scarcity like I do in baseball? I kindof need some FFB 101a.

    Thanks!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      Hey Jason, glad to have you around! First thing that I think will be a big help outside of the tiers/rankings: hover over ‘rankings’ and click on the ‘Draft Strategy’ link. It’ll show all the Draft Strategies I’ve covered up to this point.

      Secondly, here’s some 101 as best as I can do. Some of it will be generic, some specific to this year.

      1) Leave the first 3 rounds with 2 RBs, the first 6 with 3 and the first 10 with 4. It’s a tough position to feel powerless at when the season starts getting going.

      2) Don’t draft a QB too high this year. You can get reasonable production past the 6th round in most leagues. Fill up at the other skill positions (RB/WR)

      3) Don’t draft a backup TE unless you drafted Gronk. If you don’t get Gronk or Graham (and I’m only targeting Gronk at this point), I’d ignore TEs until the late rounds and go after upside. At worst, you stream this position over the course of the year.

      4) Don’t draft a backup QB unless you miss out on a top 12 QB. At that point, you should simply draft upside at the position – think Vick/Bradford – and play matchups while also keeping your eye on the FA QB pool.

      5) Don’t draft a DEF or K at the end. Take players with upside and wait until you absolutely have to pick both up. They are streamable and there are plenty of good ones that come out over the start of the season.

      In the end, you should be able to leave round 6 with a minimum of 3 RB and either 2 top end WRs along with Gronk or all 3 WRs. Hope this helps and happy drafting!

      • Jason says:
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        @Sky: Thank you very much for taking the time to write this for me! This is exactly what I needed.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
          (link)

          No prob, hope it gets you going in the right direction.

  22. Giant Gigantes says:
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    I remember last year, the dude who drafted Spiller as a handcuff dropped him before week 1. I used my waiver on him and reaped all the benefits!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      Nice! Like I mentioned above, for every Spiller success story from last year, there’s plenty of people drafting the Tates of the world and getting nothing out of him all season if they even hold him for that long.

  23. Jumbo43 says:
    (link)

    Hello Sky:
    I am in a 12 team standard league that is TD Heavy & rewards extra points for TD’s based on how long they are. We are required to start 1QB/2 RB/3WR/TE/D/K. I have the 12th pick in a snake format. Based on ADP, I am leaning heavily on going RB/RB w my 1st 2 picks. Do u like this strategy or do u think it is better 2 target Brees(5 pt bonus for 30/35/40 completions) or a stud WR(since we start 3) with an RB with my 1st 2 picks?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      I’d go based on value. I’d want to go RB/RB, but they have to be the guys I want. Might be at that point I see the value in RB/WR depending in who’s available.

  24. Clint (aka Pablo Death) says:
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    I hate handcuffing because unless you have a Foster/Tate situation where the drop off really isn’t that much & the backup’s very serviceable (insert Butthead-like laugh here, “You said ‘serviceable.'”), you can find guys that are usually better than the backups on waiver wires especially in shallow leagues. Last year, if you had the Oak/Jack handcuffs they were total wastes of roster spots most of the year versus the waiver fodder options.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      Yup, that’s completely my argument. Though to be fair, this Foster/Tate situation just makes me not wanna be a part of it at all. Tate’s going in the 7th/8th round right now which is nuts, especially if Foster misses no games.

  25. Steve Stevenson says:
    (link)

    Nice read. I asked about handcuffing the other day in the specific context of my dynasty roster, and I think your argument/advice was sound there and here, but was wondering if you can touch a little more on how the dynasty format affects handcuffing more generally. When deciding between RB fliers in a dynasty, do you bump up the backup to your stud to guarantee continuity, or go with best talent always?

    For example, say you hold Rice, and are deciding between Pierce and Christine Michael. Both young, talented, and at this point look like the heir apparent, but you think Michael is a little better overall. Who do you draft?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      I’m not really a dynasty guy but I’d say go with the best available. Talent tends to win out in the end.

  26. Parker says:
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    Wow! Finally someone who shares my point of view! It’s hard enough holding into a backup QB, let alone handcuffing my RB. I strongly agree with this article. How would u rate my team?

    Vick
    T. Rich
    C. Johnson
    L. Fitz
    H. Nicks
    K. Rudolph
    C. Ivory
    R. Mathews
    P. Thomas
    C. Shorts
    R. Broyles
    K. Thompkins
    Z. Sudfeld
    S. Bradford
    S. Rice

    No D or K yet, waiting for just before week 1.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      Thanks!

      I’m not a huge Nicks but with Shorts/Broyles on your bench, you should be fine if he goes down. Usually try not to take backup TEs or QBs, actually, so those moves – though I see the upside in Sudfeld – aren’t usually ones I’d do. That said, I like your RB depth. Just need Nicks to stay healthy and for Fitz to bounce back and you’ve got a very competitive team.

  27. Ryan says:
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    What do you think oh my team? Standard scoring 12 team league.
    QB: kaep
    WR: V Jackson
    WR: roddy
    RB: ray ray
    RB: forte
    TE: gates
    Flex: ivory
    K: tucker
    D: Arizona

    B: knowshon
    B: j bell
    B: j Cameron
    B: c shorts
    B: l Moore
    B: l bell
    B: a Roberts

    • Sky

      Sky says:
      (link)

      Prefer not drafting a backup TE; would’ve just gone for Cameron there. Like your RBs and your bench depth at that position should be good over the course of the season. It looks like a solid club overall minus the TE situation.

      • Ryan says:
        (link)

        @Sky: thanks sky, I was thinking the same thing with Cameron but didn’t know if the preseason was just a fluke. Got him in the 14th so I figured I would get him when I could.

Comments are closed.