Fantasy RB Handcuffs Part Two: 2013 Strategy and Tips
RB Mikel Leshoure, DET - Bust (overvalued)
There was a time, not recently at least, when Reggie Bush was a considerable injury concern. The eight year veteran has only missed one game over his last two seasons, but obviously no running back is immune in the NFL. Mikel Leshoure feels like the handcuff here, but arguments can also be made for Joique Bell. Leshoure is expected to see goal-line work. If Bell is the go-to change-of-pace runner, then he would effectively negate his own and Leshoure's fantasy value. This is one you might be better off waiting to see how it plays out during training camp and into the preseason.
Recent FFWC Draft: 9.06
RB Joseph Randle, DAL - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
You know in movies when an actor steps on a twig or tree branch and alerts the bad guys that he's coming? That sound effect is the sound of Demarco Murray getting up out of bed. Considering you will have to invest a third-round pick on Murray (and given his injury history), Randle is a popular late-flier this season. The former Oklahoma State runner has apparently already overtaken Phillip Tanner, the Cowboys' 2012 primary backup. Tanner was never able to capitalize on his limited playing time a year ago, which leaves the door wide open for the rookie.
Recent FFWC Draft: 12.03
RB Marcel Reece, OAK - Bye Week Fill-in
So you like Latavius Murray? What about Rashad Jennings? There are a number of options for the Raiders, but when Darren McFadden inevitably was injured in 2012, it was Reece who saw more playing time. Mike Goodson is gone too, which cracks the door open ever so slightly in favor of Reece again. To some, it is a foregone conclusion that McFadden will miss at least one game. If that's the case, Reece can be a stout runner. He's on the heavier side, that's for sure, and listed at 6'1" and 255 pounds. He may not have the conditioning to be the featured back. You might even need a handcuff for the handcuff! Watch Murray on the waiver wire because things can get a little crazy over in Oakland.
Recent FFWC Draft: 15.01
RB Denard Robinson, JAX - Deep-league Only
Fantasy owners aren't that gung ho on Maurice Jones-Drew. A year ago, everyone likes to claim they weren't sold that Adrian Peterson would be able to come back. None of us were that surprised really. It's AP, right? Well MJD isn't being afforded that same level of respect despite putting together a fantastic career and only being 28 years old. It's a big leap of faith, but Jacksonville would be much wiser giving Denard Robinson a shot if Jones-Drew goes down again. Robinson has far more upside, speed and elusiveness than Justin Forsett, the Jags' penciled-in backup. The rookie is probably a better fit for dynasty leagues, but hey, you never know. That's why they call it insurance.
Recent FFWC Draft: 18.01
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL - Quality Backup
For years now, fantasy gurus have been talking about the seemingly inevitable demise of Steven Jackson. The former Oregon State back had year after year with at least 300 touches. In recent seasons, we've all waited with bated breath for him to break down due to his heavy workload and the Rams' reliance on him. It hasn't happened yet, but it might this year. You never can tell with these issues. Jacquizz Rodgers will retain his change-of-pace role and his backup role likely has already been written in ink. Atlanta had one of the best offenses and should SJax go down, Rodgers would instantly become a viable fantasy starter.
Recent FFWC Draft: 12.12
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR - Quality Backup
Everyone has probably been burned by DeAngelo Williams at some point. He's just been oh so tempting. I love reminding my readers that in 2008, he was the No. 1 fantasy back in the land! Crazy, right? Well, here's the catch. Williams can be counted on for one great game every year. Just when you least expect it, the Panthers flip the switch on you and wouldn't you know it, the game after you cut Williams, he rushes for 180 yards and a touchdown. It's not like you would've started him anyway, but you might if Jonathan Stewart is injured again. J-Stew missed seven games in 2012 and missing that kind of action opens the door for the typically underachieving Williams.
Recent FFWC Draft: 11.09