A popular draft strategy employed by many fantasy owners during the fantasy draft season is to handcuff stud running backs with their heir apparents.
Not one of those owners?
Join the club.
While some owners made a point to pair the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles or Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy during fantasy drafts this summer, others decided it best to utilize a different drafting technique altogether. There are pros and cons to each approach but it really comes down to the personal preferences of fantasy owners.
This story is not going to go in depth on which draft strategy is better/worse. That is a discussion for the offseason.
But for those in the not-reaching-for-a-stud’s-backup camp, the avoidance of such players during drafts is not a season-long committment. In fact, a savvy Tomlinson, Westbrook or other stud owner would try and target the appropriate handcuffs at some point during the regular season.
Especially if said owner is in the midst of a playoff push.
With midseason in fantasy football leagues right around the corner, now is a good time for owners without a stud’s backup to start targeting some of these players. If you own the stud starter for any of these handcuffs, start toying with the idea of acquiring the appropriate handcuff for the fantasy football playoff push.
If for no other reason, the security of owning these players could continue a strong playoff push by a fantasy owner. Injuries suffered to fantasy starters after midseason could be critical blows to fantasy owners without the depth to cope with such a loss.
Chester Taylor, RB, Vikings
For all of the Adrian Peterson owners out there.
Adrian Peterson is human. The sooner fantasy owners realize this, the better prepared they will be if something were to happen to him. Sure, the ankle injury he sustained last weekend does not appear to be serious. But at some point, with all the touches this guy gets on a weekly basis, something could happen to him. And it could be serious.
Leon Washington, RB, Jets
For all of the Thomas Jones owners out there.
Although Thomas Jones fails to relinquish his starting job to Washington, sooner or later it is going to happen. The Jets are going to get Washington more and more involved in the offense and see if he is capable of carrying the load. It has to happen sometime and it could be by the end of this season if things keep going south for the Jets.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
For all of the Brandon Jacobs owners out there.
Bradshaw may be the better running back in the Giants backfield right now. At some point, Jacobs has to bounce back this season — He is just too talented not to get better. But the more Bradshaw steals away from Jacobs now, the more the Giants will continue to give him down the line. Besides, Jacobs has not always been a beacon of health.
Mike Bell, RB, Saints
For all of the Pierre Thomas owners out there.
Pierre Thomas is not technically a stud yet, especially on an offense that loves to spread the wealth. However, the starting running back in New Orleans has proven to be a very lucrative position. Thomas owners need to own Bell, who has proven to be a capable player in this offense and a preferred option near the goal line.
Glen Coffee, RB, 49ers
For all of the Frank Gore owners out there.
OK, the numbers Coffee put up filling in for Gore the last few weeks were not great. But San Francisco kept giving him the ball, almost regardless of the end result. So if Gore goes down again, who do you think is going to get the call?
Darren Sproles, RB, Chargers
For all of the LaDainian Tomlinson owners out there.
The Chargers took Tomlinson out of the game on third-and-goal against Denver in a crucial situation on Monday night. Darren Sproles replaced him and proceeded to get stuffed at the line of scrimmage. Why Norv Turner thinks Sproles is better suited to punch in a tough touchdown in crunch time may never be known, but the fact that the coaching staff has apparently lost some confidence in LT should say it all to Tomlinson’s owners.
Ricky Williams, RB, Dolphins
For all of the Ronnie Brown owners out there.
Brown is playing to well to be replaced by Williams straight up. The only way Williams has significant value to a Brown owner is if something injury-related were to befall Brown. Better to get that insurance now than later when the cost would be much higher.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
For all of the Brian Westbrook owners out there.
In Westbrook’s absence earlier this season, McCoy showed that he is capable of handling the lead role in the Eagles’ offense. One thing fantasy owners fear about Westy every year is the potential for missed action. This time of year, it is more important than ever to have the proper insurance in case of an ill-timed injury.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
For all of the DeAngelo Williams owners out there.
Trading for Stewart may be fairly unlikely for Williams’ owners because Stewart carries so much of his own value with or without the presence of Williams. So if a Williams owners really wants to get his/her hands on JStew, prepare to pony up a pretty penny.