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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:

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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:

RKPLAYERTEAMATTYDS
1Curtis Martin, RBNYJ3711,697
2Shaun Alexander, RBSEA3531,696
3Corey Dillon, RBNE3451,635
4Edgerrin James, RBIND3341,548
5Tiki Barber, RBNYG3221,518
6Rudi Johnson, RBCIN3611,454
7LaDainian Tomlinson, RBSD3391,335
8Clinton Portis, RBWSH3431,315
9Reuben Droughns, RBDEN2751,240
10Fred Taylor, RBJAX2601,224
11Domanick Williams, RBHOU3021,188
12Ahman Green, RBGB2591,163
13Kevin Jones, RBDET2411,133
14Willis McGahee, RBBUF2841,128
15Warrick Dunn, RBATL2651,106
16Deuce McAllister, RBNO2691,074
17Chris Brown, RBTEN2201,067
18Jamal Lewis, RBBAL2351,006

 

In 2015, there were seven:

RKPLAYERTEAMATTYDS
1Adrian Peterson, RBMIN3271,485
2Doug Martin, RBTB2881,402
3Todd Gurley, RBLA2291,106
4Darren McFadden, RBDAL2391,089
5Chris Ivory, RBNYJ2471,070
6Latavius Murray, RBOAK2661,066
7Devonta Freeman, RBATL2641,061

 

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!

  1. dom says:
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    is it worth using a roster spot on D Washington cuffing L Murray in a 10 team PPR with 3 starting RB and 3 starting WR? Michael Thomas was just dropped and even though I like my WR depth, I feel Thomas is too good to leave out there. I could drop DeAndre Washington or James White

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @dom:

      I like Washington more than White as a handcuff. Patriots RBs are always hard to predict, and it sounds like Dion Lewis will be back around week 6ish, further watering down his value.

      • William Hung says:
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        @mikeMaher: Dion Lewis was upgraded to week 6ish???? I almost popped a boner!

        I drafted him last night as my last position player with the knowledge it was week 10. Where did you find this news? *Note 99% of my player news comes from rotoworld

        • mikeMaher

          mikeMaher says:
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          @William Hung:

          I misspoke. He is eligible to come off PUP after week 6, but the earliest projections I have seen have him back around week 8 at the earliest. Most likely, though, given that timetable and their bye week 9, week 10 is probably the best bet.

          • William Hung says:
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            @mikeMaher: Oh ok :( :( :( :( :( :(

            now my boner is gone… thanks…

  2. Big W says:
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    Hi there Mike,

    So where exactly is the handcuff report here? In the past we have seen a list of all starting running backs, followed by a list of next in line should the starter get injured or under perform. Will you or anyone on Razzball be doing this?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Big W:

      I will be doing that ever week. This was really just an introductory primer for the season. In future editions there will be lists of players.

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