Handcuff RBs for stretch run
Lots of Devonta Freeman owners probably took it on the chin in their fantasy football leagues in Week 10.
The Falcons running back was walloped in the first quarter Sunday against the Cowboys and left the game with a concussion after just two carries for three yards.
Several reports say Freeman is likely to remain out in Week 11, another hit for owners.
I felt the impact in two different leagues this week. I started Freeman in one league (and got 0.30 points from him) and played against his handcuff, Tevin Coleman, in another league. Luckily, I escaped the mess with two wins, but I’m sure many fantasy owners weren’t as fortunate.
Coleman ran with his opportunity, totaling 88 yards and a touchdown and scored 15 fantasy points.
And he’ll have similar success moving forward if Freeman remains out.
Anyone who owns Freeman is going to be sorry they don’t own Coleman as a handcuff. I do and I’m ready to pop Coleman into my starting lineup as long as Freeman is out. That’s the beauty of handcuffing, which I constantly preach.
If you haven’t already, it’s now as important as ever to handcuff your running backs with their backups. The fantasy playoffs are right around the corner, so it’s time to prepare for a deep playoff run by ensuring you can fill your running back slots with quality options.
As I’ve stated before, backup running backs are able to duplicate their starter’s production better than any other position in fantasy football. You have to view your running back positions as owning a team’s entire running game, not just the starter. And especially for the stretch run.
Plus, this week, Week 11, is the last time we have to deal with bye weeks, so more bench room will be available from here on out.
Here are the most crucial running back handcuffs to own:
If Titans running back DeMarco Murray went down with an injury, Derrick Henry would be a certified RB1. The former Heisman Trophy winner has topped 10 fantasy points three times this season, even with Murray in the fold.
Colts running back Marlon Mack has shown flashes of brilliance behind 34-yearold Frank Gore, scoring 11 or more points three times. Gore has been incredibly durable in his career, so he’s likely to stay healthy.
But if the Colts opt to give Mack a longer look to decide if he can be the future starter, Mack could put up big points. The Colts have remained loyal to Gore, though, so a benching is unlikely. But if you’re a Gore owner, Mack should be added just in case.
When Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch foolishly got himself kicked out of his Week 7 game against the Chiefs for running on the field from the sideline and getting involved in a scuffle, backup DeAndre Washington put up solid points. Washington tallied 12 points against the Chiefs and 17 points the next week against the Bills while Lynch was suspended for the same incident.
Now that Lynch is back, Washington has no real value in fantasy. But if the 31-year-old Lynch got injured or suspended again, Washington could pay huge dividends.
Andre Ellington has some standalone value as the Cardinals’ pass-catching back. His value would skyrocket if starter Adrian Peterson went down with an injury. Ellington has topped 10 fantasy points four times this season.
When Jaguars starting running back Leonard Fournette missed Week 7 with an injury and Week 9 because of a suspension, Chris Ivory put up 9 and 12 points respectively.
And that followed an 18-point game in Week 6 with Fournette in the lineup. Ivory would be an RB2 if Fournette suffered an injury.