DOMINICK PETRILLO @ENVISIONFF
Tunnel Vision 2019: Week 6
We are nearing the mid-point of fantasy football seasons. This means for those of you in good playoff positions, and it is time to start thinking about those rosters — especially the construction and how you will use it in playoff games.
While it is true, you should never draft a handcuff. It is also true when playoff time comes; those handcuffs can make or break you. This is where this article will come into play.
Which handcuffs are worth owning? Whether you own the primary back, or you are keeping them from an opponent, knowing which players to grab is essential.
So, let us take a look at the top handcuffs you should be getting for your roster.
Some teams like the Chargers, Chiefs, and even the Eagles have true committees. Therefor their backs will not be mentioned here. But there are still some players worth talking about. And of course, since these are handcuffs, we are talking about running backs.
Matt Breida| San Francisco 49ers
I know I said no committee backs. But this is a horse of a different color.
Not only is Matt Breida a good running back. But we have seen if Tevin Coleman goes down, how valuable he can be.
With 65 rushes and 376 yards so far this season, Breida has shown himself to be a good running back. With his 83-yard touchdown run past defenders at 22 mph being the fastest run recorded this season, he is also fast. Not a bad combination on a team who has shown they want to run the ball. And, more importantly, the ability to run the ball.
If Coleman were to go down again, Breida would be a top 15 back for the rest of the season. With Coleman healthy and on the field, He should still find himself in the top 25 to 30.
Malcolm Brown| Los Angeles Rams
We had already seen Todd Gurley miss one game. There is a genuine possibility there are many more to come. This means the backup in Los Angeles is an important piece to own.
Before the start of the season, the common sentiment was that it would be Darrell Henderson. Much like those John Kelly truthers last season, they would be wrong. Yes, we did finally see Henderson get some run last week against the 49ers. But he did not come into the game until well into the second quarter. Well, after Malcolm Brown had established himself as the backup. This means he is the one to handcuff Gurley with.
Before this season, we would have thought the handcuff for the Rams was a great have. So far this season, the Rams have been disappointing on offense. Sure, they had good games against Seattle and Tampa Bay. But those were both on the back of stellar pass performances by Jared Goff. Not due to the run game.
So, While Malcolm Brown is the man to own as the backup, he is not as high reward as we may have thought.
Chase Edmonds| Arizona Cardinals
David Johnson is dealing with a sore back. If he misses time, Chase Edmonds could have a breakout second half of the season. Even with David Johnson on the field, Edmonds is getting good run this season. And luckily for Johnson owners, unlike last season, it is not at his expense.
Through six games this season, Edmonds is averaging five touches per game. He has one rushing touchdown while averaging 6.7 yards per rush. He also has one receiving touchdown on eight catches.
The Cardinals are improving. We know the air raid offense relies heavily on a pass-catching running back. Much like David Johnson, Edmonds is just that. If Johnson were to come off the field, the offense would not have to adjust or lessen in any way. This is an essential factor in both the continuity as well as the function of the team.
Johnson is more talented. All of the starters are. This is why they are the starters and not backups. But Edmonds is no slouch. If the top five ranked David Johnson were to go down, Chase Edmonds would fill in very well. Top five? No. But, he could very well finish top 15 in his games started.
Alexander Mattison| Minnesota Vikings
We have seen the number of injuries Dalvin Cook has had in his short career.
Luckily, Cook is healthy this season. Maybe it is because he is past the injuries. Or perhaps it is due to the amount of work they are also giving to Alexander Mattison to not overdo it with Cook.
Even in a tough matchup last week against the Eagles, Mattison Was given 14 carries to Cook’s 11. He was able to garner 63 yards on those rushes as well. Solid against an elite run defense like Philadelphia. Much of this was due to the Eagles not being able to stack the box as they were being gashed by the passing game, but it still shows the trust the team has in him. Even in the toughest of matchups.
Through six weeks, Mattison has averaged eight rushes per game. If the Vikings continue to run the ball as much as they are, this number should continue to rise into the double-digit area. Keeping Cook on the field is the key to Minnesota’s success this season. If they are going to make a playoff run, it will be on the legs of Dalvin Cook. This means it will be key for Mattison to continue to be used and successful. This makes him a great handcuff to pick up before playoff time for your fantasy team.
Tony Pollard| Dallas Cowboys
While we saw in the preseason, he has the talent, the decimation of the offensive line makes this one harder to judge.
Sure, He will be a good handcuff should something happen to Ezekiel Elliott. But this is a big if. Elliott does not miss time. At least for injury reasons. So, it is unlikely he will this season either. But just in case he does, Pollard needs to be listed here. There was talk before the season, serious or not; the Cowboys did not need Elliott. They had Pollard, and he was awesome. Of course, this was posturing. And of course, this did not work in the least to get Elliott back in camp. But it was still funny to hear, right? And it does show there is some talent there for the other running back at Memphis last season.
So far this season, it is Pollard and not Henderson who looks like the better Memphis running back. If Elliott goes down, Unlike in Los Angeles, Pollard will be the main back in Dallas. Before the offensive line injuries, this would be a great position to be in. With the injuries to both tackles, the enthusiasm should be a lot less enthusiastic. But he could still be a top 24 back if he was called upon to go in and perform.
There are not many running backs who are as talented or as durable as Ezekiel Elliott. So, this play would be a huge long shot. But nothing is won without a bit of luck. So Pollard may be the piece of luck that takes you over the top. But he is also the highest risk of the players listed as he will have no value at all if an injury does not occur.