I’m pinching myself right now, because I’m pretty sure we went an entire week without a running back of note getting injured, arrested, or abducted by Martians. BTW, always remember to capitalize Martians, because they are a specific type of being. Don’t be rude, show our brothers and sisters in universal existence the respect they deserve. Anywho, here we are in week 5 and things are starting to make more sense. Well everything except this coon skin cap I’m wearing. That makes no sense. As Jay mentioned in his rest of season rankings on Wednesday, we have enough of a sample size to make educated decisions as to what players have gained or lost value compared to their preseason expectations. For example, after another inactive status last week, I can say with some confidence that Bernard Pierce is droppable. Unfortunately, due to the flux and general injury risk of running backs, it’s tough to gauge who’ll be useful for more than a week or two at a time. This is why handcuffing has become an increasingly effective strategy for savvy players out there looking to keep the points coming from their running back position. With this in mind, today’s focus will be less on handcuffs with immediate value and more on handcuffs with great potential for rest of season and dynasty leagues.

Jerick McKinnon – For some reason I always seem to find myself infatuated with running backs playing in the Thursday night games. It’s because I’m a glutton for punishment and like having to revise everything 25 times. As of writing this McKinnon has seen 4 carries for 13 yards, and two targets for 1 reception and 6 yards, all coming on a drive in the mid second quarter. The drive shockingly ended with Christian Ponder being all Ponderish and throwing a TD pass to Julius Peppers. But that’s all besides the point, he’s seeing time in the second quarter, and getting targeted in the passing game, that’s a good thing. Regardless of what happens in the remaining TNF action, McKinnon deserves your attention. As I mentioned a few weeks ago in this post, I needed to see something from McKinnon before I was ready to jump on board the bandwagon. But here I am driving the bus and, well, 18 carries and 135 yards gets my attention. Even though Matt Asiata is still the clear cut starter, and had scored twice by the time McKinnon even touched the ball in week 4. I have no issue telling you he should be added. After seeing him in back to back weeks, I can say that the hype is real. McKinnon is in fact the most talented, and explosive back actively on the Vikings roster. His 55 yard run in week 4 was a thing of beauty as he beat a half dozen or so Falcons, and made a handful of nice cuts. He’s explosive in the open field and has true big play ability. I’d like to see him get more involved in the passing game moving forward, but that’s mostly because he’s so dangerous when given a little space. With the way things are trending in Minny and the Teddy Bridgewater era underway (sorta), I don’t see why Norv Turner wouldn’t give McKinnon an extended look. As I said I have no idea how he’ll be used in the coming weeks but he’s worth a stash in all leagues for now.

Bishop Sankey – I covered Sankey in last week’s Handcuff Report and again in my DraftKings post on Wednesday so it’s obvious I’m a believer. Then again after the last two weeks how could you not be? He’s made the most of his 16 touches over that time putting up a total of 95 yards and a TD. The best part is dance instructor Ken Whisenhunt has ended his jihad on Sankey’s footwork, and admitted this week that we’re going to see a lot more of Sankey against the Browns. To which I say FINALLY KEN! I’m assuming this will be the last time we talk about him in this space because more than likely he’s the starter rest of season.

Isaiah Crowell – I’m very interested in how Crowell is used this week with Ben Tate returning and all. The word is Tate will play and he will start. Where this leaves Crowell and Terrance West I don’t know. What I see happening is, Crowell gets 10 or so carries and West gets some where in the 5-7 range. I can’t see these guys being eliminated entirely for Ben Tate. They’ve been too good. Going forward I wouldn’t be shocked if Crowell gets the goalline work. After all he was the guy on the goalline in week one. When I’m asked about whether West or Crowell is the better keeper option, I’m unsure how to answer. Honestly I’m still on the fence about which back I like better long term. I do like to watch Crowell, (Not from outside his apartment or anything, I meant in football games.) and I typically always gravitate toward the power back in these convoluted committees. Sure Crowell has looked like the better of the two, but it’s 3 games.

Denard Robinson – He’s not even listed as a running back on Yahoo but he is. He actually played more snaps than Toby Gerhart last week, and by a significant margin.   He also out touched and out targeted Gerhart. I’m not condoning you picking him up yet, but if he continues to see more and more run. I don’t see why he couldn’t have the starters job by the fantasy playoffs. Apparently this is the post where I cover converted college QB’s. I guess I should just shout out Julian Edelman right?

Alfred Blue – He’s still worth holding and is a must have handcuff if you have Arian Foster. Blue did split the carries with Foster last week 8/9 in Blue’s favor. Foster looks hurt and it affected the way he played. At this point Foster could be out for a week or two at a moments notice, so it’s better to keep Blue around just in case. He’s at best, even without Foster, a RB 4.

 

Fuzzy Handcuffs 

These guys are fun, fun, fun! Not for everyday use but good to own, and a blast when they’re in the mix.  We may wish for a bit more run but haven’t to accept that their splitting time and getting the most of their opportunities. Most of these handsome devils could probably be studs if given the chance.

 

Team Starter (carries/targets/rec) Handcuff(s) (carries/targets/rec) Depth Backs
Buffalo Bills C.J. Spiller (15/3/3) Fred Jackson (7/7/6) Bryce Brown, Anthony Dixon
Cincinnati Bengals Giovani Bernard (Bye) Jeremy Hill (Bye) Cedric Peerman
Cleveland Browns Ben Tate (Bye) Isaiah Crowell (Bye) Terrance West (Bye)
Detroit Lions Joique Bell (8/4/2) (Injury) Reggie Bush (12/6/4) Theo Riddick
Indianapolis Colts Trent Richardson (20/5/4) Ahmad Bradshaw (9/2/2) Dan Herron
Kansas City Cheifs Jamaal Charles (18/3/3) Knile Davis (16/2/1) De’Anthony Thomas, Cyrus Gray, Joe McKnight
New England Patriots Shane Vereen (8/5/5) Stevan Ridley (5/1/0) Brandon Bolden, James White
New Orleans Saints Mark Ingram (Injury) Khiry Robinson (8/3/2), Pierre Thomas (2/2/2) Travaris Cadet (1/6/6)
New York Jets Chris Ivory (17/6/2) Chris Johnson (6/2/2) Bilal Powell
Philadelphia Eagles LeSean McCoy (10/0/0) Darren Sproles (1/2/4) Chris Polk

 

Standard Issue Police

Whether you’re in the back of a squad car or sitting on the corner while the Po-Po search your whip, you’re going nowhere. Do you know why? Because those things are locked on your wrists with a death grip. Much like those cuffs, these running backs are firmly locked into their positions. Not for a lack of ability but because the starters are firmly entrenched in their roles. These backs could have value on any given week but more than likely you’ll need an injury to make these guys startable.

Team Starter (carries/targets/rec) Handcuff(s) (carries/targets/rec) Depth Backs
Atlanta Falcons Steven Jackson (13/2/2) Antone Smith (4/0/0), Jazquizz Rodgers (1/4/4), Davonte Freeman (2/2/2)
Baltimore Ravens Justin Forsett (14/4/3) Lorenzo Taliaferro (15/0/0) Bernard Pierce (Injury)
Carolina Panthers Jonathan Stewart (Injury) DeAngelo Williams(Injury), Darrin Reaves (12/5/3) Fozzy Whitiker (Questionable), Chris Ogbonnaya
Houston Texans Arian Foster (8/10/7) Alfred Blue (9/3/2) Jonathan Grimes
Miami Dolphins Knowshon Moreno (injury), Lamar Miller (12/2/2) Daniel Thomas (5/2/1) Damien Williams (6/0/0), Mike Gillislee
Minnesota Vikings Matt Asiata (20/4/3) Jerick McKinnon (18/3/1) Jerome Felton
Oakland Raiders Darren McFadden (11/4/4) Maurice Jones-Drew (2/2/2) Latavius Murray, Marcel Reese, Jamize Olawale
Pittsburgh Steelers Le’Veon Bell (19/7/6) LeGarrette Blount (4/0/0) Dri Archer
San Diego Chargers Ryan Matthews (injury) Donald Brown (10/6/4) Branden Oliver (9/4/4), Shaun Draughn
San Francisco 49ers Frank Gore (24/2/1) Carlos Hyde (10/1/0)
St. Louis Rams Zac Stacy (Bye) Benny Cunningham (Bye) Tre Mason
Tampa Bay Bucs Doug Martin (14/2/2) Bobby Rainey (4/2/1) Mike James
Tennessee Titans Bishop Sankey (6/2/2) Shonn Greene (3/0/0) Dexter McCluster (1/2/2), Leon Washington
Washington Football Team Alfred Morris (12/3/3) Roy Helu (2/5/5) Silas Reed

 

Duct Tape Cuffs

These are of the homemade variety you’ll use them in a pinch (i.e the starting stud goes down) but they’re always in your drawer (wavier wire) ready to step in and do their job. It may be to the bare minimum degree but they can buy you sometime.

Team Starter (carries/targets/rec) Handcuff(s) (carries/targets/rec) Depth Backs
Arizona Cardinals Andre Ellington (Bye) Stepfan Taylor (Bye) Robert Hughes
Chicago Bears Matt Forte (17/6/5) Ka’Deem Carey (14/0/0) Senorise Perry, Tony Fiametta
Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray (24/1/1) Joseph Randle (4/0/0) Lance Dunbar (0/3/2)
Denver Broncos Montee Ball (Bye) Ronnie Hillman (Bye) C.J. Anderson, Juwan Thompson
Green Bay Packers Eddie Lacy (17/2/1) James Starks (0/0/0) John Kuhn, DuJuan Harris
Jacksonville Jaguars Toby Gerhart (10/1/1) Denard Robinson (9/3/3) Jordan Todman , Storm Johnson
New York Giants Rashad Jennings (13/2/1) Andre Williams (15/1/1) Peyton Hillis
Seattle Seahawks Marshawn Lynch (Bye) Robert Turbin (Bye) Christine Michael

Thanks for reading and Happy Handcuffing!

 

Don’t forget to send me all your Running Back Questions on twitter @ralphlifshitzbb.

  1. Jet says:
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    Maclin or Montee Ball for a flex position ROS? Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jet: I suppose I have to say Maclin. I’d love for Monte to show me something but he’s done zilch. Too bad to because he has a great opportunity.

  2. Brian says:
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    Should I start giants d over Denver d this week since Atlanta is missing most of there o line ?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Brian: I’d still go Denver D

  3. Wacha Wacha says:
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    J Stewart and D Williams are both free agents in my standard 14 team league… who is the better add going forward ros? Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Wacha Wacha: Ugh! Whoever returns first. It’s probably going to be Stewart. Williams is in a hard cast. That’s a really bad sign. I’d try and find anything else. You could grab Darrin Reaves, but I wouldn’t put too much faith in him.

      • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: this explains why you placed daily show over d.will, it’s simply d.will is more injured.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @A Wesley Snipes Life: Yeah D-Will is probably out for a while.

  4. flex says:
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    you go d. hopkins over spiller at flex in a 1 point ppr league?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @flex: Hopkins

  5. T Carter says:
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    Doug Martin or Fred Jackon this week?

    Please pick 2, Quick, Sankey, Sproles, Hill this week?

    Would you trade Wilson for Fred Jackon and Kelce? My other TE is Cameron, and Big Ben is my starting QB with Bridgetwater on the bench.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @T Carter: Doug Martin, he wasn’t great last week, but got a ton of usage. The Saints D is also terrible.

      Sproles and Sankey. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hill has a very good game against the Pats, but it’s risky.

      I like that trade

      • T Carter says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        Which side of the trade do you like? I give up Kelce and Fred for his Wilson. You’re good with that?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @T Carter: I thought you asked if I would trade Wilson for Kelce and Jackson. If you’re getting Wilson and have Big Ben then don’t do it.

  6. Nimrod says:
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    RB Hill or WR Wright in a 12 team PPR flex position? Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Nimrod: Hill

  7. tone DEAF says:
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    So Randle moved up the depth chart past Dunbar in Dallas? Who gets the lion’s share should Murray go down?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @tone DEAF: I think Randle would get the carries and Dunbar the passing down work. After looking at the trends the last few weeks I’ve come around to Randle being the handcuff.

  8. Cheese says:
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    Nice! Sproles had more receptions than targets!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Cheese: Haha yikes missed that one. Obviously the target and reception number should be reversed. Sorry about that.

  9. dumbledor says:
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    lesean mccoy/ matt ryan for drew brees/le’veon bell

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @dumbledor: I think it’s good for both sides.

  10. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    ROS, d.robinson or rainey or blue? this is for RB 6 in a league where we can only start 2 RB. i already have ingram/mathews/miller/s-jax/vereen/rainey in PPR.
    2. why are you so low on a.williams as handcuff? he’s looked great and i’m reading around here that roughshod is already halfway to his most ball carries he’s ever had in a year.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: I’d probably go Blue. That could go either way depending what happens to the starters in each situation.

      Not that low on Williams, I just think his usage is pretty low. Last week was such a blowout that he got a ton of touches. Prior to that it was all Jennings. Each tier is in alphabetical order. He’s probably the best handcuff in the duct tapped tier. There is a solid chance he moves up to the Standard issue tier with Miami moving down, now that Moreno is out for another 4 weeks.

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: didn’t know about the alph order thing. that makes more sense then.

  11. Frank White says:
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    Wutup Ralph… I know you have him ranked higher but I have Cam starting but I’m always worried about him cause he still may not be running and he hasn’t broke over 20 points yet this year. He’s projected 25 but what about Glennon vs NO?? He’s been killing it and proj 23 points. I’m a little scared though but help me on this one. Or Fitz vs DET.

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