I came across an article on BleacherReport.com very similar to this. I read the article, and saw the rankings.
Safe to say I did not agree completely with the rankings or the names.
As you’ve probably come to realize, I make bold predictions and don’t shy away from the controversy.
Of course, the key with handcuffs is well, not particularly HOPING the lead back gets hurt, because nobody wishes harm among anyone (unless they’re in-laws, sometimes), the lead back is demoted and/or struggles.
Another thing, most of the guys, handcuffs/back-ups or not, receive my signature phrase of #HeSucks.
So check this out, see what y’all think!
10. Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts – Sure, we don’t know 100% if newly signed back Ahmad Bradshaw will be the starting back, but it’s safe to say due to his above-average blocking ability, he should receive a bulk of the carries. Let’s get this straight – he had 814 yards and two TDs in over 200 carries last season (211 to be exact). Not terrible, but I’m just not sold on Ballard. I have him at 10th due to if Bradshaw suffers another injury, Ballard will be, without a doubt the lead back, no questions asked. Donald Brown sucks.
9. Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders – OK. Darren McFadden is perhaps the most injury prone running back in the history of the world, former Jacksonville Jaguars back-up Rashad Jennings is terrible and while Latavius Murray is intriguing, I think his Dynasty prospects is what holds his value. What makes Reece intriguing is his receiving ability. He caught 52 balls last season. If you’re a McFadden owner, number one, God bless you, and number two, draft Marcel Reece, McFadden will get hurt, again…. And again… And again.
8. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams – I’m thoroughly convinced this guy should be the starting running back. Pead is suspended and Daryl Richardson just never really convinced me. It’s likely Isaiah Pead will be the starting back after his suspension, but I think Stacy is the most naturally talented. Who knows? Stacy could end the starter, but St. Louis’ backfield is so up in the air that Jeff Fisher is becoming the next Mike Shanahan. Bastard…
Draft Zac Stacy. He’s the man.
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7. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills – If not for his injury history, we might not be looking at CJ Spiller the way we do now. Fred Jackson, when healthy, is a very talented back. Remember, in 2011, before his injury, Fred Jackson averaged 5.49 yards per carry and had 6 100-yard games in 10 games, in which one of those games, at Miami, he suffered his injury, so realistically, 6 100-yard games in 9 games. Wow.
I like Spiller, but if anything were to happen to him, Fred Jackson isn’t the worst back-up in the world.
6. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots – Sure, this is coming directly because of his insane playoff production in which he caught, like, 4,000 touchdowns. Kidding, only two, but he showed some flash against the Texans without a doubt and helped lead my father, who had never played fantasy anything in his whole life to his first ever Playoff Fantasy Football title in 2013.
Vereen has superb pass catching ability and isn’t a bad runner. He might even receive some snaps in the passing game. Lock this guy up, Stevan Ridley owners!
5. Ben Tate, Houston Texans – There’s no doubt in my mind this guy could be a lead back somewhere in the league. He rushed for almost 1,000 yards in 15 games in which he only started TWO of those games. Insanity. He’ll definitely be used in garbage time, but like I said in the introduction, handcuffs are used primarily for if the lead back, in this case, Arian Foster, is hurt, Ben Tate is a pretty damn good handcuff to own.
4. Andre Brown, New York Giants – 8 touchdowns in 10 games. Not too shabby, Mr. Brown. He’ll likely be the lead goal-line back due to his bruiser-like running ability, but if David Wilson’s fumble troubles which haunted him last year, don’t think for a second Tom Coughlin will be afraid to punish him.
3. Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles – This guy won you Weeks 12 and 13 if you owned him. He has a plethora of talent and he showcased it then. With all this hype around the new offense Chip Kelly plans to install, even in limited action Bryce Brown should blossom. If you own Shady McCoy do yourself a favor and draft a top-3 handcuff, you’ll never regret it.
2. Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens – I feel like every time this guy runs, it’s for 10 yards. As a Ravens fan, personally, I might be a bit bias here, but it seems like everyone else is asking the question, “Will Bernard Pierce steal Ray Rice’s carries?!” I definitely think it would be dumb, from a real football standpoint to keep Pierce in the dark, so with that said, Pierce should see his fair share of carries. He’s obviously caught attention in Baltimore. Check this out: Of the 734 yards he produced all year, including the playoffs, 586 of which came from Week 10 and on. He makes defenders miss, he had 37 total missed tackles. 33 as a runner, 4 as a receiver. He will not de-throne Ray Rice, but when given an opportunity he’s going to show up. Draft him.
1. Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals – Not many are as high on him as I, but I think he should even be the starter. He’s flashy, he’s versatile, he’s fast. Everything BenJarvus Green-Ellis is NOT. BenJarvus, sure, he’s a better goal-line back, but Bernard should be many snaps in the receiving game and should see the carries. I’m not convinced Marvin Lewis and Co. will be able to ignore this guy, which, ultimately, will make BenJarvus the “handcuff”. Bernard is just way to talented and I, just like most of the fantasy community expect Andy Dalton to take a step forward and the Bengals offense to just be better overall and Bernard will be the perfect security blanket for a quarterback who’s looking to take the next step forward and could even ultimately help lead them to getting out of the first round of the post-season if they make it. Don’t be fooled by the haters, Bernard is a beast and you’d be doing yourself a disservice to ignore this guy in your upcoming drafts.
Honorable Mentions: Mikel LeShoure (DET), Johnathan Franklin (GB), Joseph Randle (DAL), Michael Bush (CHI), LaMichael James (SF), Kendall Hunter (SF).
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