Greetings and welcome to another NFL season and, more importantly, another Fantasy Football season. And even more importantly, welcome to the 2016 Razzball Handcuff Report! And despite the direction of the current NFL, we will not be tracking the players who get arrested every week or the players who Roger Goodell would like to put in handcuffs (hint: all of them). Instead, we will cover the best and worst handcuff options for fantasy football on a weekly basis… For the 2016 season, I, obviously, will be handling the Handcuff Report, which will be posted every Wednesday. For those of you who read my Frankencatcher articles over on the baseball side of things, this will be pretty similar. Also, to everyone who followed my advice and rolled with J.T. Realmuto this year, you’re welcome. I wish you the best of luck in your league’s playoffs.
So, first things first: what exactly is handcuff? For the fantasy football n00bs out there, or perhaps for those who have taken the last few years off, a handcuff is a backup who will likely take over as the starter in the event of an injury, extreme ineffectiveness, off-the-field trouble, or coach’s decision. There are probably other reasons that I am forgetting here, but those are the most common ones…
For a better explanation of this year’s Handcuff Report, here is what Jay wrote in his Welcome to the 2016 Football Season:
Mike Maher, joining us from our baseball site, is here to mark the return of the Handcuff Report, a community favorite. We all have running backs… but do you have their handcuffs? Also, I hope he talks about the handcuffs that I can buy at that one store down the street. You know the store… oh, you don’t? Never mind then…
While I will not be providing reports on the handcuffs Jay is talking about every week, I believe he is referring to these:
For fantasy football, by far the most common position to handcuff is running back. Long gone are the glory days of the gridiron, when it was a run-first league that featured and focused on running backs. Now, each team carries and uses 3-4 running backs, and there aren’t many left who can be relied on as true bell cows. The big money goes to the elite quarterbacks and top tier receivers, and running backs are seen as replaceable. Running backs have relatively short shelf lives and are considered interchangeable cogs in the offense, and that is why we have handcuff reports.
In these respects, the running back position today is similar to the catcher position in baseball: a decade ago, we had reliable studs at the position who would fill the first few rounds of a fantasy draft, and at least two-thirds of the league had a guy you could plug in and rely on. Now, at least when it comes to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th RBs on fantasy rosters, we have to be smart, creative, strategic, and adaptable.
In 2004, there were 18 different 1,000 yard rushers:
|1||Curtis Martin, RB||NYJ||371||1,697|
|2||Shaun Alexander, RB||SEA||353||1,696|
|3||Corey Dillon, RB||NE||345||1,635|
|4||Edgerrin James, RB||IND||334||1,548|
|5||Tiki Barber, RB||NYG||322||1,518|
|6||Rudi Johnson, RB||CIN||361||1,454|
|7||LaDainian Tomlinson, RB||SD||339||1,335|
|8||Clinton Portis, RB||WSH||343||1,315|
|9||Reuben Droughns, RB||DEN||275||1,240|
|10||Fred Taylor, RB||JAX||260||1,224|
|11||Domanick Williams, RB||HOU||302||1,188|
|12||Ahman Green, RB||GB||259||1,163|
|13||Kevin Jones, RB||DET||241||1,133|
|14||Willis McGahee, RB||BUF||284||1,128|
|15||Warrick Dunn, RB||ATL||265||1,106|
|16||Deuce McAllister, RB||NO||269||1,074|
|17||Chris Brown, RB||TEN||220||1,067|
|18||Jamal Lewis, RB||BAL||235||1,006|
In 2015, there were seven:
|1||Adrian Peterson, RB||MIN||327||1,485|
|2||Doug Martin, RB||TB||288||1,402|
|3||Todd Gurley, RB||LA||229||1,106|
|4||Darren McFadden, RB||DAL||239||1,089|
|5||Chris Ivory, RB||NYJ||247||1,070|
|6||Latavius Murray, RB||OAK||266||1,066|
|7||Devonta Freeman, RB||ATL||264||1,061|
As you can see, the game done changed. And that is why we are all here, with handcuff reports. A few of the reliable starters we do have will get hurt, and many of the other less-than-stable running back situations are sure to be fluid throughout the year.
So, I will be here every Wednesday to provide the handcuff report and share the running back matchups I like and don’t like every week. It already looks like those of you who drafted a Jamaal Charles handcuff will have an alternative for the first week.
If you want to talk fantasy football or have players you want Mike to feature, hit him up on Twitter at @mikeMaher or post a comment below!