The days of handcuffing your top running back is a thing of the past, for the most part. There are a few scenarios where there are true fantasy handcuffs, so it's a wise strategy in order to protect yourself from potential disaster.
Fantasy expert Mike Clay recently released his RB handcuff rankings for the upcoming NFL season, helping to give us some idea as to where this potential fantasy value can be found.
Heading into his first season with the New Orleans Saints, Latavius Murray tops Clay's rankings. Murray figures to take over much of the Mark Ingram role from previous seasons. Obviously, Alvin Kamara is the stud in New Orleans, but if he gets banged up, Murray would likely take over the majority of the carries, while Buck Allen would assume more third-down duties.
Clay's No. 2 fantasy RB handcuff is Kareem Hunt, who presents a unique availability situation. This pick would take discipline from fantasy owners, since Hunt is suspended for the first eight games of the season, but if starter Nick Chubb gets hurt, Hunt would certainly be the bell cow on a solid offense for the second half of the season.
Los Angeles Chargers' RB Austin Ekeler comes in at No. 3, which is likely supplemented by the current Melvin Gordon holdout situation. Ekeler has fantasy value regardless, but if Gordon continues to hold out, gets traded, or suffers an injury, Ekeler would likely gain immediate RB1 fantasy value. He has already proven successful in this Chargers' offense, especially when Gordon missed time last season.
Fantasy handcuffing has become a more challenging art over the past few seasons, with the game changing quickly, but Clay's rankings help give some clarity to a tricky situation.
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