2015 Fantasy Football: Top RB Handcuffs
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Darren McFadden, Cowboys – Should probably be higher on this list, but I am high on Joe Randle’s potential and still bitter after being burned multiple times by DMC over the years. Randle has yet to prove he can hold up with a starter’s workload and McFadden could find himself running behind the best O-line in football if Randle gets banged up or struggles. I still don’t trust him.
Fred Jackson, Bills – Old reliable should take over the short yardage duties for newly acquired LeSean McCoy. He won’t get as many touches as he got the last two years now that he’s a backup to McCoy instead of being part of an RBBC. Jackson’s best shot at fantasy value is an injury to McCoy which isn’t impossible, but not enough to draft someone on.
DeAngelo Williams, Steelers – He’ll have two games as the starting RB in the Steeler’s high-octane offense, but after that he’s relegated to back-up duty behind Le’Veon Bell for the rest of the year. Williams wouldn’t make a bad end-of-the-roster pick as he could put up a solid fantasy lines in the first two weeks of the season, but he is waiver material once Bell comes back from his suspension. He is the only guy on this list guaranteed to get two starts though which is something I guess.
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Alfred Blue, Texans – The Texans led the league in total rushes last season and should be among the leaders again this year. Arian Foster is still the lead back in Houston, but Blue should be his primary backup and with Foster’s unreliable health I’d be surprised if Blue doesn’t get a few starts in 2015. His rookie numbers weren’t impressive last year (3.1 YPC) but he showed some flashes of speed and power and could be a useful fantasy player when Foster gets banged up.
James Starks, Packers – Got consistent playing time but only averaged 6.5 touches per game which isn’t enough to play him on a weekly basis, but if Lacy were to get hurt then all of a sudden Starks is the starting RB on one of the best offenses in football. Whoever lines up in the Packers backfield is a decent RB2 at worst, but Starks is a talented runner who has a 4.3 career YPC and reliable hands as a receiver. Eddie Lacy has only missed 1 game as a pro, but has been hampered with nagging injuries often and I wouldn’t be shocked if he misses a game or two in 2015. There is also the playoff team factor, if the Packers have a big cushion in the division they may rest their starters late in the season (i.e. fantasy playoffs) which would give Starks a huge boost in late season value.
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Lorenzo Taliaferro, Ravens – I’ve already explained why I dropped Forsett down to #20 in my rankings and I think either Taliaferro or rookie Buck Allen is going to have a significant role in the Ravens offense this season. Taliaferro has a year’s edge in experience on Allen and the best size (6’2 | 229) of the three backs which I think gives him the best chance to earn red zone carries in 2015. If Taliaferro is the goal-line back he’s got enough value to earn a spot at the end of your fantasy bench with the upside to take over the starting gig for the Ravens if Forsett turns back into a pumpkin.
Daniel Herron, Colts – Frank Gore has the starting gig, but Herron should be the primary backup and may get a decent amount of touches to keep Gore fresh in blowouts and meaningless late season games. Herron’s skills are mediocre, but with the Colts high-octane offense there should be should plenty of running lanes. He had a few useful fantasy lines as a starter last year and could be a solid handcuff who can get enough weekly touches to start in a bye week pinch.
Montee Ball, Broncos – Has been a massive disappointment since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft and is stuck behind C.J. Anderson who secured the job last season. Reports on Ball during the off-season have been positive, but he will probably need an Anderson injury to have any fantasy value in Denver.
Next: Who are the RB Sleepers in Fantasy 2015?