Top 5 Running Back Handcuffs for 2022 Fantasy Football
The start of the 2022 NFL season is only weeks away and that means that fantasy football drafts are getting underway. While it's important to nail the first few picks, many championships are won in the later rounds. Finding value when other managers are not paying attention is a perfect key to success.
A ton of that value lies in running back handcuffs. It could come from reaching for a handcuff in order to provide insurance for your own team's starter or leaving an opposing team in a bad spot by stealing theirs. With that being said, let's take a look at the five best RB handcuffs in fantasy football.
Fantasy Football Running Back Handcuffs
1. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
Running back handcuffs have become much more than players simply capable of stepping in when a player gets hurt. A lot of them have FLEX value of their own, especially in PPR-scoring leagues. Tony Pollard finished as the RB28 last season despite not drawing a single start for the Cowboys. That's because he averaged 8.7 rushing attempts and 3.1 targets per game. That kind of volume helped Pollard post 1,056 yards from scrimmage. It's worth noting that Elliott's touches have dropped in each of the last three seasons, coinciding with Pollard's entrance into the NFL. The 25-year-old immediately enters RB1 territory if Elliott were to miss time on a Dallas offense that posted 401.4 yards of offense per game in 2021 (No. 2 in NFL).
2. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
The fact that Kareem Hunt wants out of Cleveland via a trade should have no impact on his touches this season. The coaching staff has made it obvious time and time again that they have high expectations for Hunt in 2022. Last season, Hunt averaged over 17.0 PPR fantasy points per game and scored five touchdowns through the first six weeks before injuries caught up to him. He was also right behind starter Nick Chubb (24) in red zone touches (20). That was with Hunt working as the No. 2 RB. The ceiling that the former Toledo standout has if called upon to take on a full workload is ridiculously high. Hunt lines up to be a steal in the seventh round.
3. A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers
There's an argument to be made that A.J. Dillon shouldn't even be viewed as a RB handcuff in 2022. After all, he led the Green Bay Packers in carries (187), rushing yards (803) and rushing touchdowns (5) last season. Nevertheless, the front office still gave Aaron Jones a fresh new deal this offseason. While Dillon doesn't have full reign of this backfield, an increase in his snap count (43% in 2021) should be expected with wide receiver Davante Adams no longer in the picture. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is going to rely on his running backs more than ever. Dillon has definite weekly FLEX appeal and would jump into the RB1 conversation if Jones would suffer an injury. Not even his high ADP (sixth round) should scare fantasy managers away.
4. Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots
There's a pattern developing here. The best RB handcuffs in fantasy football are the ones that can produce on a weekly basis. Rhamondre Stevenson has the opportunity to do just that in New England. He logged double-digit carries in seven of his 12 games played as a rookie and ranked as the RB28 in PPR leagues from Weeks 10 through 18. He found a rhythm and consistency that earned him trust with head coach Bill Belichick. Of course, Stevenson tallied 114 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns when starter Damien Harris was out in Week 10. The 24-year-old's capability to embrace contact and use his size to his advantage makes him a handcuff worth targeting whether you roster Harris or not.
5. Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings
Unlike the other four options listed, Alexander Mattison presents little value from a fantasy football perspective when the starter above him is healthy. Keep in mind Dalvin Cook has has yet to play an entire season in his career and missed four games due to injury last year, though. In those four games, Mattison averaged 21.5 carries for 89 yards on the ground. He also caught at least three passes in each game and scored a total of three touchdowns. It is clear the the Vikings are not afraid to give Mattison a full workload when necessary and a new head coach shouldn't change that. Mattison's ADP has him slated as a 10th-round pick, but managers rostering Cook should not hesitate to grab him earlier.
Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.