NFL: 5 Fantasy Football handcuffs you need this season

Dan O'Shea

It’s about that time boys and girls. That time of year where every single water cooler conversation has to do with your latest fantasy matchup, you spend hours  buried in articles to find the right waiver wire pickup, and where your significant other can’t stand spending any time with you because they truly don’t care about how your star player was pulled on the goal line. What a time of year it is! A question for everyone: what’s better, Christmas season or fantasy football season? If you answered the former, bring your Christmas carols somewhere else. It’s fantasy season, baby!

You may already be happy with your team, but we all know there’s likely a spot at the end of your bench that could be open for the right player. There is no better way to fill it than with a handcuff who could end up being a top player if the right thing bounces his way. Look at Kareem Hunt for example. Now that Spencer Ware is out for the season, all signs point to him having a huge year as the Chiefs’ primary back. If you’re looking for the perfect insurance policy for your star or if you want to benefit from a possible injury or benching later this season, look no further. Here are the top five handcuff options for this season.

 

5 James Conner- Pittsburgh Steelers, RB

James Conner is a perfect example of what a handcuff is. Does he have any fantasy relevance right now? Not even in the deepest and longest keeper league known to man. The minute Bell hits the sidelines does he matter? Absolutely. Conner dominated in college when he was healthy, rushing for over 1,000 yards with 16 touchdowns. He’s listed behind Fitzgerald Toussaint and others right now, but if Bell does go down, he’s the perfect fill in. The Steelers are going to want to still rely on the rushing attack, and they simply can’t do that without an explosive running back that can at least attempt to fill in the giant shoes left behind. If you have Bell, picking up Conner is a must. Or, you can just print out your fantasy roster and light it on fire if he gets hurt.

4. Josh Doctson- Washington Redskins, WR

Image source – Twitter

Normally handcuffs are reserved for running backs, but Josh Doctson is one wide receiver who could be primed for a breakout year if targets come his way. The 2016 first round pick was limited to just two games before an injury took his rookie campaign from him. He sits behind both Jamison Crowder and Terrelle Pryor on the depth chart, but he still may be the most talented wideout on the Redskins. Let’s not forget, this is the same receiver who put up 78 catches for 1,326 yards and 14 touchdowns his senior season. All it takes is one big game for Cousins to realize he has a new favorite target.

3. Darren McFadden- Dallas Cowboys, RB

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McFadden is easily the most interesting choice on this entire list. If you’re bold enough to draft Elliott, you grab him no question and move on. If you’re looking for another few points, this is the guy that could help you- if Elliott’s suspension is upheld. The Cowboys running back could take the case to federal court which would extend for quite some time. If he does end up sitting for over a third of the season, then you have McFadden sitting behind the best offensive line in football. Pencil him in for the first few weeks, and then hold on to him in case Elliott gets injured.

 

2. Jalen Richard- Oakland Raiders, RB

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Everybody may be going nuts about the forecast of skittles raining down from the Coliseum, but at this point, the best part about Marshawn Lynch may be his big name. The last time he played football he was limited to just seven games, and that was back in 2015. If Lynch can’t deal with the wear and tear of the game or simply doesn’t have the same truck stick built into his utility belt that he used to, the Raiders have a stud waiting behind him in the form of Jalen Richard.

When used in limited situations last season, Richard averaged an absurd 5.9 yards per carry and is a dual threat coming out of the backfield. He’s a home run threat every single time he touches the ball and would be yet another huge option for this offense. Lynch may have been great in his prime, but the real fireworks in the backfield are waiting to go off.

1. Derrick Henry- Tennesse Titans, RB 

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Saying Henry is looking for his “big break” sounds a little messed up when you consider the fact that DeMarco Murray probably has to break something for him to get a shot, but that’s the life of fantasy football. Henry’s resume speaks for itself as a former Heisman winner that hasn’t gotten a chance to lead a backfield. In limited time last season, the second-year pro still managed to punch in five touchdowns while averaging 4.45 yards per carry. He would not only have a slew of goal line opportunities come his way, but he would be able to ground and pound behind one of the most underrated offensive lines in football. Hold on to Henry and reap the benefits if something happens to Murray.

For the five stars to pick to win your league, click here.