What’s cool about Fantasy Football is as the NFL changes their game so does Fantasy Football strategies. For instance, last season was “the year of the Quarterback” and now the QB position is the highest it’s ever been touted for upcoming Fantasy Football drafts. On the same note, gone are the days where you see a lot of lead Running Backs controlling the running game and now are the days of “Running Back by committee’s,” a theory that has also changed the way we draft in our Fantasy Football leagues.
Most NFL franchises have a duo or as Fantasy Football owners like to call “tandems” that create us to draft differently and prepare for our drafts in a whole other way. Most Fantasy Football owners refer to this theory/draft strategy as “handcuff tandems.” But what exactly does a “handcuff tandem” mean?
A “handcuff tandem” is basically drafting the top two Running Backs from one specific team. For instance say you draft Adrian Peterson this season despite coming off of his ACL injury. If there is cause for concern that he may not play right away or get a majority of the rushing attempts then I would suggest that you also take backup Running Back Toby Gerhart with a later pick. What you are doing is “handcuffing” your team and having a tandem that will still be able to give you comfort and flexibility with your Fantasy Football roster, especially if someone goes down with injury at any point in the season.
What’s cool about this season more then any other Fantasy Football season is that these handcuff tandems look to be a pretty big deal this upcoming NFL season. I feel like many Running Backs are getting older so teams are starting to implement the younger backup into the rushing game and to also keep the older RB’s healthy for the long haul rather then no longer being durable after they hit 30 years old. With that being said I’ve narrowed down a list of certain “handcuff tandems” I’ll be keeping an eye on this upcoming Fantasy Football season:
This maybe my favorite tandem to draft this upcoming Fantasy Football draft season. I believe Michael Turner could very well be in the “twilight” of his career and the word out of Falcons training camp is that Jacquizz Rodgers will have a pretty decent role in the offense this season. If you are in a keeper league this is a tandem that you should take right away because I believe Rodgers will be a good selection to have in the long-term.
Buffalo’s tandem was a no-brainer to me and another must-have handcuffing tandem to own on your Fantasy Football roster this season. Fred Jackson will have a really decent season and I believe C.J. Spiller will continue to break out whether he is lined up as a WR or used as a “change of pace” Running Back for the Buffalo offense. Some people really like this team to be a sleeper in the NFL playoffs this season and if that is going to be the case Jackson & Spiller will have a lot to do with it.
Kansas City’s Running Back tandem is a very interesting selection this season because you don’t know how the offense is going to play out right away because it’s a new scheme. For the last couple of seasons it was Charles and only Jamaal Charles but when you bring in a Running Back built like a Fullback you have to include him on the offense, especially at goal line & 3rd down chances. If you draft Jamaal Charles you must draft Peyton Hillis based off of potential injury issues.
Just like the Chiefs handcuffing tandem you don’t know how the running game will be played in Chicago right away. I believe we may have to wait and see how this plays out in the first couple weeks of the regular season but it will eventually flow very well as the new running dynamic plays with one another. If Chicago can make this running game work just like it did for Michael Bush in Oakland then this will be another must-own handcuffing tandem to have on your roster.
How could you leave this Running Back tandem off the list? This was the best running back duo in the NFL last season and they are both considered Top 100 Fantasy Football players to own this season. Both players can explode for 100 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving when they are in the game and can both work as starters on your team for any Fantasy Football week. This is without a doubt another must-own tandem you need to draft.
If Adrian Peterson wasn’t coming off of an injury I would not typically draft this tandem. But being that Peterson is coming off of a serious ACL injury you need to draft Toby Gerhart as well. There is no telling how long Peterson could be out from the injury (if at all) and therefore you need to draft Gerhart simply for insurance reasons. On the positive note, Gerhart appears to be a good 3rd down/change of pace/goal line option for Minnesota this season but nothing of true fantasy value in my eyes.
Those are some “handcuffing tandems” I believe you should be considering for your team come draft day this season. The key to these tandems is if you make a selection for any of the following starting Running Backs above then you should draft these backups in the later round right away. It gives your team flexibility and more importantly insurance if an injury should occur.
LIKE 97.9 ESPN on Facebook: www.facebook.com/979espn