Mike Clay

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The Hidden Value of Handcuffs

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Group 2 - Clear handcuffs, but a bit expensive

Small Blow

Adrian PetersonToby Gerhart (ADP: 112.8)
Beanie WellsRyan Williams (ADP: 108.6)

Gerhart was going much higher in drafts earlier on in the summer, but Peterson’s quick recovery from ACL surgery has him available in the 10th round. That’s not bad at all when you consider that he’d see a good 17-to-20 touches if Peterson were out of action. Williams’ ADP is on the rise, but he’s not a bad value in the ninth or 10th round. If Wells is out, the impressive Williams would have only LaRod Stephens-Howling pressuring him for reps.

Moderate Blow

Jonathan StewartDeAngelo Williams (ADP: 95.0)
Matt ForteMichael Bush (ADP: 100.0)
Ahmad BradshawDavid Wilson (ADP: 106.8)

In the event that Stewart would miss extensive action, handcuffing him with Williams would get you a strong RB2 option. Of course, to do so you’d need to surrender an eighth-round pick. Additionally, Williams would share touches, especially on passing downs and inside the five, with Mike Tolbert.

Bush is going in the ninth round, which takes a bit of value away from Forte. Similar to Williams, though, Bush would make for a borderline RB1 most weeks. Bradshaw is an interesting one. Wilson is a relatively clear handcuff, but he’d share a chunk of the touches with D.J. Ware. Additionally, his ADP is on the rise recently, which hurts Bradshaw’s value even more.

Big Blow

Arian FosterBen Tate (ADP: 95.4)
Fred JacksonC.J. Spiller (ADP: 84.5)
Jamaal CharlesPeyton Hillis (ADP: 79.7)
Maurice Jones-DrewRashad Jennings (ADP: 118.5)

The top pick in most fantasy drafts this year, Foster is also dealing with one of the most expensive handcuffs on the market. Tate is a fantasy stud when Foster is out of action, but will cost you an eighth-round pick. If you invested in Foster, you can’t afford not to reach on Tate. Jackson will lead the committee in Buffalo, but Spiller would see a massive uptick in touches if he were to miss time. Of course, to get Spiller, you might need to dump a seventh-round pick.

Many feel that Hillis could end up leading the Kansas City backfield in carries, so owners are grabbing him in the sixth round. That’s a hefty price to pay for Charles owners. Jennings’ ADP of 118.5 doesn’t seem too intimidating, but with news that Jones-Drew’s holdout could extend into the season, that ADP is quickly on the rise. Handcuffing MJD won’t be easy from here on out.

Murky waters

Ray RiceBernard Pierce (ADP: N/A)
Trent RichardsonMontario Hardesty (ADP: 160.2)
Willis McGaheeRonnie Hillman (ADP: 132.1)
Kevin SmithMikel Leshoure (ADP: 121.7)
Cedric BensonAlex Green (ADP: 154.0)
Donald BrownVick Ballard (ADP: N/A)
Shonn GreeneBilal Powell (ADP: N/A)
Darren McFaddenMike Goodson (ADP: 163.1)
Rashard MendenhallIsaac Redman (ADP: 78.8)
Ryan MathewsRonnie Brown (ADP: 153.7)
Evan RoysterAlfred Morris (ADP: N/A)

These “starters” are all in scary situations when it comes to finding a handcuff. These backs will generally lose the most value simply because you won’t have a competent replacement for them if they miss extensive action.

Pierce is the best bet for Rice owners, but Bobby Rainey would help out as well. The good news is that Pierce is going undrafted, so you can throw a dart there. Hardesty would form a committee with Brandon Jackson if Richardson misses time. Hillman is stuck in a rotation with Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball behind McGahee, but provides the most upside of the group. Leshoure may have to eventually deal with Jahvid Best, is suspended two games, and will cost you an 11th-round pick.

If Benson goes down, Green will team up with Brandon Saine, John Kuhn, and potentially James Starks. Ballard is a still a bit unproven and would share the backfield with Delone Carter and Mewelde Moore. Powell would see an uptick in carries and retain passing-down duties, but Joe McKnight would see a good chunk of the snaps. Goodson and Taiwan Jones continue to compete for reps behind McFadden.

Redman is the early-season replacement for Mendenhall, but Jonathan Dwyer has put on a ton of heat. Additionally, Chris Rainey is helping out on passing downs. We may see how the situation in San Diego shakes out in Week 1, if Mathews can’t suit up. Brown figures to lead the way, but Curtis Brinkley, Jackie Battle, and Le’Ron McClain will all be involved. The situation in Washington, as usual, is a mess. Royster and Morris are the healthiest of the group and are expected to handle the early-season reps. It won’t be long before Roy Helu and Tim Hightower are in the mix, however.

Mike Clay is a football writer for Rotoworld.com and the Founder/Managing Editor of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. He can be found on Twitter @MikeClayNFL.
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