Monday, June 18, 2012

Handcuffs and Hookups: Kinky Stuff? Maybe, but not as Bad as you Might Think!


Part 1 of 2.  Handcuffs by: Rick Briggs Asylum Fantasy Football 

     I never have been a huge proponent of using a lot of draft picks for handcuffs.  Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t.  As with everything in fantasy football, there is the uncertainty that befalls every draft pick.  A few years ago, I drafted Ronnie Brown and subsequently drafted Ricky Williams about 3 picks later. After all, they were running the Wildcat and Brown’s injury record preceded him. The first few games, I was starting Brown as a RB and Williams as a flex. It was working great until as predicted, Brown went out for the year. I didn’t worry, because Ricky was there.  Last year, I took MJD and subsequently took Rashad Jennings in a handcuff move that left me with a butt sitting on the bench all year.  MJD took the rushing title, but I had a wasted pick with no value.  Ah, such is the life of picking up a handcuff.

  The pitfall to a handcuff is the latter example. In value based drafting, Jennings had no value. How does an owner know when to draft a handcuff and not to? He doesn’t really.  In the case of Brown and Williams, it wasn’t that difficult, since both received a lot of playing time.  If you could have gotten Ben Tate at a reasonable round last year in your draft, you struck gold as well. But too many times owners draft a handcuff thinking they will step in and take over for the starter.  That is not always, and dare I say, seldom the case. Take for example, the Kansas City Chiefs’ problems when Jamaal Charles went down last year. No problem if you had Thomas Jones, right? Not a chance. The Chiefs did manage a somewhat respectable team total of 1,893 rushing yards, but it was divided essentially among McCluster, Battle and Jones; not to mention Matt Cassel had 99 of those yards. Not one of those backs would have even been serviceable. The highest rushing total was Battle with 597 yards and 2 TDs. McCluster had 516 yds. and 1 TD, while Jones had 478 and 0 TD.  You won’t win a title with those numbers.

     With all that said and done, I’m cautioning you on handcuffs and their potential downfall. I am going to give you my most logical handcuffs as of June 15, 2012.

Michael Bush – With Forte’s contract in the air, there is no guarantee what will happen in Chicago.  Given  Bush’s success in filling in for Darren McFadden, I feel he is the safest handcuff in the
league.  A signed healthy Forte, however will make Bush only an insurance policy.

C.J. Spiller – Spiller may have finally arrived.  Fred Jackson was having an MVP like season until he went out with a season ending leg injury. If you draft Jackson as a RB2, I think Spiller will be just fine. It may be more of a committee in Buffalo this year since Spiller improved so much in the blocking as well.  Potential pitfall is Buffalo splitting carries evenly, but I doubt it: Jackson is still better.

Ben Tate – With 954 yards rushing last year, Tate could have been a solid RB2 for someone. Here lies the rub with Tate and Bush for that matter. Somebody is going to draft them before you want to. If you drafted Foster in the first, I would not take Tate any sooner than the 6th.  A handcuff is good if you can get him at reasonable value.  Don’t over spend for your handcuffs unless you have a crystal ball out there predicting injuries.

Ryan Williams – Williams should be ready for training camp and hopefully his knee will be 100%. If so, draft him if you have taken Beanie Wells.  Williams could definitely see a more prominent role in the rushing attack. Cards aren’t 100% on Beanie, so Williams could sneak in and become the starter.

Felix Jones – DeMarco Murray exploded on to the scene last year and gave Dallas a fierce rushing attack. He went down with a broken ankle and missed the rest of the season. Jones isn’t as dynamic, but he is a capable back and was having a fair season when he had an injury. He averaged 4.5 YPC and can catch out of the backfield. Pick him up around the 8th to 10th rounds as a handcuff to Murray.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of 2 from Rick Briggs, the always interesting Hookups heading into the 2012 fantasy football season!

By Beasthouse Guest Blogger:
Rick Briggs
Asylum Fantasy Football
twitter: @asylumfootball

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