If you missed the first article, I strongly suggest you go ahead and read it HERE, out of context this article will hardly make sense.
As promised, I am going to tier running backs handcuffs with a brief explanation for each player.
Tier 1: Most of these backs are going to be rostered, and if they are not they should be picked up. We are approaching a time in the season when handcuffs are becoming important.
Mike Davis: (32.0 BMI, 96.1 Speed Score, 34th percentile burst, 76th percentile agility)
Davis is obviously in the top tier of handcuffs because he backs up a top tier running back in McCaffery. When McCaffery has been out Davis has seen a snap share of 68.3% and ranked #3 on targets for running backs (per playerprofiler.com), and has shown the capability to not only have RB1 upside but also the durability to handle a large workload. He is what you hope for in a handcuff.
Alexander Mattison: ( 92.6 Speed score, 73rd percentile burst, 47th percentile agility)
Matison being in the top tier should come at no surprise. First, Mattison has minimal stand-alone value while Dalvin Cook is healthy and playing, averaging 7.1 touches a game and 5.19 ppr points a game. However, when Cook was out Mattison saw 20 carries, 6 of those in the red zone, and 3 receptions. He compiled 136 total yards, scoring 16.6 points, ranking as the #16 running back of that week. He may lack the speed and agility desired but when given the opportunity he was more than capable to shoulder the load, even with a 50% snap share.
Jerrick Mckinnon and Jeff Wilson Jr. have had games in which they have been top-24 running backs. Mckinnon has been a top-24 running back six out of ten games while WIlson Jr. has had two games out of seven. Tevin Colemanw has been injured most of the year so it’s difficult to gauge his productivity in a similar role. The fact is, the player doesn’t matter as much as Kyle Shannahan does. The scheme is San Francisco has led to fantasy production week in and week out. The only running back to be mostly unsuccessful was undrafted free agent JaMycal Hasty; his best week he was RB#26.
Wayne Gallman: (29.2 BMI, 96 speed score, 13th percentile burst, 44th percentile agility)
Gallman lacks all of the prerequisite you want for a handcuff but he has the track history that makes him a very valuable player. Since week 7 he has seen a low of 43.9% snap share and a high of 60.9% leading to a low of 11 touches and a high of 20 touches. His worst week he was the RB18 and his best week he was RB#10, twice. Since given the opportunity he has been a solid RB2 with upside. As a handcuff that is all you could ask for of a player with minimal athleticism.
Jamaal Williams: ( 28.7 BMI, 95.3 speed score, 20h percentile burst and 13th agility)
Williams is the first handcuff that offers stand-alone value averaging 9.5 touches and 7.9 ppr points per game. Williams had two opportunities with Jones out; he saw a snap share of 88.5 and 92.3 respectively. Totalling out 23 and 19 touches and scoring 21.4 and 16.2 finishing as the RB#6 and RB#10. Williams is an established handcuff and a player that does not need much justification.
Latavius Murray: (28.6 BMI, 115.8 speed score, 74th percentile burst, 76th percentile agility)
Murray, for a few years now, has been the ideal handcuff. Athletic and durable enough to handle the full workload on a prolific offense, Murray is also a back that can be started even when Kamara is playing. He has yet to sustain a majority workload this year but he is still averaging 7.12 ppr points per game.
Tier 2: This tier has the upside of tier 1 and the opportunity but have minor defects that keep them from being an elite backup asset.
Phillip Lindsay: (28.8 BMI, 94.7 speed score, 70th percentile burst, 47th percentile agility)
Lindsay has been a 1,000 yard rusher both times he was deemed the starter. Now that Melvin Gordon is the new starter for that team, he has been delegated to the backup role. Even as that he is averaging: 37.95% snaps share, 9.83 touches, .83 redzone opportunities and 5.8 points per game. Lindsay was missing in action from weeks 2-5, and his first week back he saw massive opportunity with Gordon out. 60.7% snaps share, 23 touches, three redzone opportunities and 10.1 points. Lindsay has shown he can do it when he is called upon, little has changed.
Chase Edmonds: (30.3 BMI, 95.7 speed score, 50th percentile burst, 97th percentile agility)
Those that have rostered Chase Edmonds have not been disappointed. Chase has stand alone value with a very high upside if ever thrust into lead back duties. As a change of pace back, Edmonds has been averaging 8.25 touches a game, producing an average of 11.81 fantasy points. In games he has had a snap share above 80% he has seen 22 touches a game, averaging 16.7 fantasy points. It is important to note that as a lead back Edmonds has been underwhelming aside from his 2019 week 7 performance, but the upside in Arizona’s offense is undeniable.
We saw a world without Ingram, it was a productive world for Dobbins and Edwards, though they don’t share well. While this offense may be borderline broken this season, the starting role still holds immense value for the lead running back. For what it is worth, I think Dobbins is worth more of a hold than Edwards especially in a PPR.
If you want to hear my thoughts on Akers tune into the upcoming Rookie Fever Forecast. McVay runs a committee though I think he wants to lean on a backup to take most of the role. This bodes well for backups, if one goes down to injury the opportunity created is more than enough to utilize to create productive fantasy outputs. If I were to rank them, I would want Akers over Brown.
This is really just a Hines piece more than a Hines and Wilkins piece. Hines involvement in the passing game is almost enough alone to catapult him into the first tier of backups. Taylor is averaging 42% snap share through ten weeks, which means the opportunity is limited as it won’t substantially add to what you are already seeing from the healthy backs. The upside however, is undeniable as this offense under Reich and Rivers likes to utilize their running back in numerous ways.
Benny Snell: (32.1 BMI, 95.0 speed score, 12th percentile burst, 49th percentile agility)
While Snell lacks the athleticism to be a workhorse back for a team he makes a stellar handcuff since he recomposed his body this season. His first opportunity he saw 19 carries for 11.3 ppr points. This was a game in which Conner went down early. What is concerning with him is that he is also battling Anthony McFarland for touches. On top of that the Steelers have pivoted this year to a more pass heavy offense with the arrival of Chase Claypool.
Justin Jackson: (26.2 BMI, 92.5 speed score, 84th percentile burst, 96th percentile agility)
Joshua Kelley: (29.6 BMI, 104.3 speed score, 23rd percentile burst, 68th percentile agility)
Kalen Ballage: (29.3 BMI, 115.2 speed score, 45th percentile burst, 64th percentile agility)
This position is only valuable once you have clarity added to it. As we well know, the Chargers run a two running back committee, Austin Eckler and whoever Lynn likes. It was previously Jackson prior to injury, then Kelley, who was superseded by Jackson again. Who went on to get hurt and allow Kallen Ballage to take hold of a valuable workload. Josh Keley has been disappointing for the majority of the season and Jackson has not been able to stay healthy. Regardless of who owns that role, they hold a valuable role in the offense and on your fantasy teams.
Devontae Booker: (30.5 BMI, 99.5 speed score, N/A burst, N/A agility)
I have a little PTSD about Booker being a broncos fan. Now he has taken the number 2 role behind Jacobs; he is a valuable asset. He is averaging 4.4 touches prior to week 10, and 4.6 ppr points per game. Week 10 he saw 31.6% snap share, 17 touches, for a total of 21.3 ppr points. That is with Jacobs playing, he has RB1 upside if Jacbos misses time.
Tier 3: This tier has slightly less opportunity but similar upside, The tier break here is that these players do not offer much value unless the starter goes down.
Carlos Hyde: (31.2 BMI, 101 speed score, 34th percentile burst, N/A Agility)
Hyde assumed the backup role this year since Penny went down late in the 2019 season. Hyde does not offer much value outside of being the primary backup. He also carries concerns about durability after missing weeks two due to injury. As a 30 year old handcuff, it is tough to project how long he can sustain a heavy workload; if Carson was to go down for the season. Since Carson has been injured and Hyde has been able to come back, Hyde has filled in as the lead back for one game. He saw 18 touches, 1 red zone carry, 76 yards and a touchdown for 16.6 points. That game he finished RB#11, as long as he can stay healthy he is a worthy stash.
Zack Moss: (32.9 BMI, 95.4 speed score, N/A burst, N/A Agility)
This one is sort of cheating for me here, I feel in the coming weeks Moss will own this backfield. That being said, this handcuff role is highly valued. The opportunity isn’t exactly what you want to see and McDermott seems focused on a committee backfield. As a handcuff Zach Moss has been averaging: 46.42% snap share, 9.7 touches, and 8.88 fantasy points. Moss has had three games of two or more red zone carries, with four games of no red zone carries. Moss is an attractive handcuff to me for numerous reasons, highest of them is he just looks flat out like a NFL running back. If SIngletary got injured Moss projects to be a very capable fill in. However, without a high snap share the opportunities are limited for Moss, thus limiting his handcuff upside.
Boston Scott: (30.5 BMI, 99.5 speed score, 83rd percentile burst, 97th percentile agility)
Scott lacks the allure of most of these handcuffs, mainly due the mass population projecting him as a satellite back. Scott however, has been very serviceable as the lead back in fantasy. In games Miles Sanders has missed; he averaged 14.3 touches, 1.3 redzone carries and 11.8 points. The advantage of Scott is he is utilized in the redzone when he is the lead back making him a valuable handcuff asset, who has shown to be productive before.
Salvon Ahmed: (27.5 BMI, 86.5 speed score, 49th percentile burst, N/A agility)
Ahmed has a small sample size and his profile does not lead me to think he will be a long term handcuff. However, you cannot deny his production on the field. He has served as a lead back for one week seeing: 77.2% snap share, 22 touches, 8 redzone opportunities and 16 points. This really alludes to the bigger picture being that Ahmed may not be the long term option but this role is very valuable as Miami likes to use one guy.
Giovani Bernard: (30.7 BMI, 95.9 speed score, 45th percentile burst, 88th percentile agility)
Bernard is in a similar position as Carlos Hyde. An aging back that has a history of being a productive replacement but is starting to fall off. Bernard has seen more starting opportunities than most of us could have imagined. In the games he sees above a 45% snap share he is averaging: 15 touches, 3.2 redzone opportunities and 14.28 points. Bernard has the ability but how long will he have the juice?
Tony Pollard: (28.5 BMI, 100.6 speed score, 57th percentile burst, 52nd percentile agility)
Pollard has been a high value handcuff for dynasty teams and late in seasonal redraft leagues. In 2019 when he saw a snap share above 33% he averaged: 14.5 touches, 1.75 redzone opportunities and 13.5 points (two games of 20+, 2 games of 8 or less). In 2020 he has seen an average of, 23.38% snap share, 6.66 touches, .77 red zone opportunities and 4.71 points. Pollard has never been asked to be a lead back for the game but he projects to be a productive contributor if he was ever needed.
Jeremy McNichols: (31.6 BMI, 105.3 speed score, 62nd percentile burst, 72nd percentile agility)
McNichols has not been called to handle Henry’s duties but he has the necessary preliminaries to deliver production given the opportunity. It is difficult to dig too deep into McNichols given the extreme amount of opportunities Derrick Henry handles each and every game. This one is a bit of a shot in the dark but due to his profile and the Titans tendencies to lean on the running back position, he is a high upside stash.
Brian Hill: (28.9 BMI, 103.1 speed score, 60th percentile burst, 55th percentile agility)
It takes about one half into watching a falcons game to see that Gurley just doesn’t have the juice he once did. Brian Hill sits atop a golden opportunity if Gurley was to miss any amount of time. In 2020, he has three games above a 30% snap share, in those three games he averaged: 12.6 touches, one redzone opportunity, and an average of 10.26 points. He is showing to be productive off of a small snap share, it stands to reason an increase in a snap share would also correlate to his production.
Seriously do we even need to do this? I respect you as a reader too much to waste any time on this. He is valuable, duh.
Devine Ozigbo: (31 BMI, 91 speed score, 80th percentile burst, 70th percentile agility)
We discussed him in the earlier article about Ozgibo. However, as a true projection it does not seem too far fetched that he can be productive. In his only game played he saw a 33.3% snap share, 9 opportunities, 3 redzone opportunities for 8 points. If given the opportunity he should be a productive replacement,
Tier 4: I am choosing not to fill this out, but all of the backs not listed will fall underneath this category. These players just don’t have the opportunity, upside or ability to be a worthwhile handcuff stash.
These players are ranked in tiers to make it easier to classify which players deserve more priority than others. . Move the players around as you will, add or subtract players how you forecast their opportunity. Ultimately I hope you look at the value a handcuff can add to your roster in a new perspective. Every edge matters and they are often an overlooked asset in fantasy football.