Fantasy Football draft prep: A.J. Dillon tops the list of handcuff running backs you should target

In relation to handicapping backup working backs (aka “handcuffs”) for the aim of discovering middle- and late-round gems, we is likely to be losing our time.

Assume again to final 12 months. Folks raced to draft guys like Alexander Mattison and Latavius Murray with lottery-ticket goals of their heads. However it was Mike Davis (2020 ADP of filth) and Wayne Gallman (2020 ADP of stomach button lint) who have been most useful — not as a result of they have been proficient, however as a result of they got critical alternatives of their offenses because of accidents to the stud backs in entrance of them.

The purpose is, each backup working again has a golden alternative if the lead man misses taking part in time.

So once you search for backups to place in your Fantasy bench, it is extra about finding the fellas who’ve some semblance of a job even when the lead man is taking part in. That means there’s some gentle potential to assist your Fantasy staff in determined instances (you may by no means know once you may want it), in addition to carry lottery-ticket upside if/once they’re pressed into motion.

However these backups are actually backups and never what you may contemplate a “1B” working again. These are dudes who share with the “1A” starter on a weekly foundation. Guys like Kareem Hunt who see roughly 10 touches per week. For the sake of posterity, listed here are the “1B” runners (sorted by staff) who will not get ranked among the many handcuffs.

So with the “1B” backs in their very own group, here is the rank record strictly for {the handcuffs}. Keep in mind, just about each single one among these guys would turn out to be Fantasy starters if the star again in entrance of them misses some motion. All of those handcuff working backs have an early-August ADP of 90 or later.

A.J. Dillon, Packers

2020 alternatives because the lead man: With Jamaal Williams sidelined, Dillon outshined Aaron Jones in a Week 16 romp over the Titans in snowy situations with 21 carries for 124 yards and two scores.

2020 alternatives because the backup: Nearly nothing, however to be truthful, he was third on the depth chart. For reference: Williams averaged 9.1 touches per sport within the 14 he shared with Jones (playoffs included).

2021 outlook: Dillon has an opportunity to earn some worthwhile touches (doubtlessly on the aim line) even with Jones as the principle stud. Perhaps Dillon inherits the touches Williams had in 2020. Perhaps he turns into a “1B” again! 

I might draft him: Spherical 9 or 10

Tony Pollard, Cowboys

2020 alternatives because the lead man: With Ezekiel Elliott out, he had 18 touches (six catches) for 132 whole yards and two touchdowns in Week 15 vs. the 49ers.

2020 alternatives because the backup: Averaged 5.9 carries and a couple of.1 targets in 15 video games Elliott performed in.

2021 outlook: Pollard might be caught within the seven-touch weekly vortex with out a devoted function within the Cowboys offense so long as Elliott is wholesome and never fumbling.

I might draft him: Spherical 10

Gus Edwards, Ravens

2020 alternatives because the lead man: There was just one sport the place Edwards did not should cope with Mark Ingram and JK Dobbins: It was Week 12 towards the Steelers and he had 9 carries for 10 yards with a rating. Not precisely the most effective displaying. 

2020 alternatives because the backup: His 15-game common for all the things however that Steelers sport got here out to 9.0 carries and 0.8 targets per sport.

2021 outlook: Edwards’ effectivity has been superb, however all the things out of Baltimore suggests a bigger function for Dobbins this season. Plus, Lamar Jackson’s speeding expertise aren’t evaporating anytime quickly. Each of these issues make it arduous to see Edwards escape of the nine-touch vary until Dobbins will get harm. 

I might draft him: Spherical 10

Latavius Murray, Saints

2020 alternatives because the lead man: Murray did not play in any video games with out Alvin Kamara, so he was by no means actually the lead man, save for a Week 12 blowout win towards the Broncos (19-124-2).

2020 alternatives because the backup: That is just about each sport however that bizarre one in Denver: 8.2 carries and 1.8 targets per outing, together with the playoffs.

2021 outlook: Murray ought to float proper round his 2020 averages once more, even when the Saints determine to attempt working the ball extra. However he had simply three carries from three yards or nearer (Kamara had 10), so it isn’t like he has any worthwhile function within the offense until Kamara misses time.

I might draft him: Spherical 10 or 11

Alexander Mattison, Vikings

2020 alternatives because the lead man: In two video games with out Prepare dinner, Mattison struggled (10 carries, 26 yards; two targets, a 4-yard catch towards Atlanta) and thrived (95 yards on 21 carries with a landing and 50 yards on three targets caught towards the Lions in Week 17). Mattison additionally had 112 speeding yards on 20 carries in a sport Prepare dinner began towards Seattle.

2020 alternatives because the backup: Exterior of these video games towards Atlanta, Seattle and at Detroit, Mattison averaged 4.5 carries and 0.7 targets in 10 matchups.

2021 outlook: Mattison is a real backup who solely turns into helpful in Fantasy if Prepare dinner misses time — and even then, there is no assure he’ll be nice.

I might draft him: Spherical 11 or 12

Xavier Jones, Rams

2020 alternatives because the lead man: None.

2020 alternatives because the backup: None.

2021 outlook: Jones is competing to be the Rams’ No. 2 again behind Darrell Henderson, whose week-to-week availability stays a priority. That is why we’re fascinated by Jones, who’s the bodily kind with good imaginative and prescient and arms, however he is removed from a burner. Nonetheless, if he changed Henderson someway, he’d have good Fantasy worth primarily based on the chance. 

I might draft him: Spherical 12

Rashaad Penny, Seahawks

2020 alternatives because the lead man: None. In reality, he is by no means seen 50% or extra of the snaps in a sport and has one profession sport with 15 carries.

2020 alternatives because the backup: Barely taking part in in 2020 following a late 2019 ACL damage, Penny averaged 3.7 carries per sport.

2021 outlook: Penny claims he is misplaced weight and feels extra explosive. If it helps him keep accessible, the Seahawks shall be happy. The one means he’ll see significant touches is that if Chris Carson misses time. 

I might draft him: Spherical 12 or 13

Damien Williams, Bears

Williams sat out the 2020 season.

2019 alternatives because the lead man: Successfully the Chiefs‘ prime again in 11 video games together with three playoff matchups, he averaged 13.0 carries and 4.7 targets. Trying strictly on the playoffs, he averaged 15.3 carries and 6.7 targets. He additionally scored not less than as soon as in his ultimate 4 video games.

2019 alternatives because the backup: He performed behind LeSean McCoy for 3 video games, averaging 5.7 carries and 1.3 targets.

2021 outlook: Even when Tarik Cohen have been wholesome, Williams would determine to be the backup to David Montgomery as a running-downs again anyway. However with Cohen out, Williams is serviceable to be a substitute for Montgomery in any down or distance. There may be some faint “1B” potential for Williams, making him price a late-round look. 

I might draft him: Spherical 13

Malcolm Brown, Dolphins

2020 alternatives because the lead man: Brown not often led the Rams backfield in touches, although he did in Week 1, posting 53 yards on 11 carries with two scores. It did not earn him any begins, or much more touches.

2020 alternatives because the backup: Within the 17 video games he performed in after Week 1, playoffs included, Brown averaged 5.4 carries and 1.8 targets. In some way that is higher than his 2019 per-game averages.

2021 outlook: Brown performed the second-most third-down snaps of any working again final 12 months, however graded poorly in cross safety and noticed simply 33 targets. He fared higher as a short-yardage goal-line again, changing 4 of 6 carries from three yards or nearer for touchdowns. Perhaps one among these roles shall be his, even when Gaskin performs, however with Salvon Ahmed on the roster, he is unlikely to be a full-timer if Gaskin will get harm. 

I might draft him: final-round choose

Devontae Booker, Giants

2020 alternatives because the lead man: With the Raiders, Booker turned his one sport because the starter right into a 51-total-yard scoreless disaster towards the Jets. At the least he had 17 touches.

2020 alternatives because the backup: In Booker’s different 15 video games he averaged 5.1 carries and 1.3 targets per sport. 

2021 outlook: The one cause Booker is right here is as a result of Saquon Barkley’s rehab from main knee surgical procedure is taking longer than anticipated. He isn’t going to assist anybody until compelled onto the sphere in case of one other Barkley damage. As soon as it is clear Barkley is again, Booker will routinely go undrafted.

I might draft him: final-round choose

Further names for deep-league drafters

Darrel Williams, Chiefs: He will not assist very a lot so long as Edwards-Helaire is wholesome, and the addition of a spry Jerick McKinnon additional clouds Williams’ attainable roles. 

Qadree Ollison, Falcons: He could give the Falcons some physicality, and he could also be a superb match for his or her speeding scheme, however his worth shall be tied to their 28-year-old starter, Mike Davis.

Chuba Hubbard, Panthers: If one thing occurs to McCaffrey once more, Hubbard figures to be the subsequent man up for the Panthers. If he regains his pre-ankle damage type (he ran for over 2,000 yards in 13 video games in 2019) and proves he is nonetheless an honest pass-catcher, he’d be tremendous for Carolina and for Fantasy.

Phillip Lindsay, Texans: Maybe if David Johnson misses time, Lindsay would fall into a job the place he’d see double-digit carries incessantly. It is arduous to get enthusiastic about any Texans participant however not less than Lindsay is younger and has proven explosiveness. | Fantasy Soccer draft prep: A.J. Dillon tops the record of handcuff working backs it is best to goal


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