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Fantasy football owners hope that they never have to worry about running back handcuffs. Ideally, your first-round selections of Christian McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook or Saquon Barkley stay healthy all season, but there will always be RB injuries, and in that case, a solid draft strategy is to select the backup to your top running backs. You’ve heard of some of them, like Latavius Murray, Alexander Mattison and Kareem Hunt. Others, like Joshua Kelley and Darrynton Evans, could be new to you (and could be must-have pickups and sleepers later in the year). Regardless, if you’ve invested a lot of your fantasy draft capital into RBs, there’s merit to handcuffing them.

In a season that could also be marred by unexpected absences due to COVID-19, backup running backs could prove more important than ever. Any RB that gets pressed into duty is a waiver-wire priority, so if you have them rostered ahead of time, that can make all the difference between a playoff appearance and the consolation bracket.

This season, we’ve gone two backups deep (and sometimes three) on our handcuff chart, expecting that occasionally there will be more shakeup to depth charts on short notice than there has been in the past. As always, we’ll update this page throughout the season, so it should remain a resource to you from draft day right through your fantasy football championship.

2020 Fantasy RB Handcuffs

Team Starter Handcuff Two-Deep
Arizona Cardinals Kenyan Drake Chase Edmonds Eno Benjamin
Atlanta Falcons Todd Gurley Brian Hill Ito Smith
Baltimore Ravens Mark Ingram JK Dobbins Gus Edwards
Buffalo Bills1 Devin Singletary T.J. Yeldon TBA
Carolina Panthers2 Mike Davis Trenton Cannon Reggie Bonnafon
Chicago Bears David Montgomery Tarik Cohen Cordarrelle Patterson
Cincinnati Bengals Joe Mixon Giovani Bernard T. Williams/S. Perine
Cleveland Browns Nick Chubb Kareem Hunt D’Ernest Johnson
Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott Tony Pollard Rico Dowdle
Denver Broncos3 Melvin Gordon Royce Freeman TBA
Detroit Lions Adrian Peterson Kerryon Johnson D’Andre Swift
Green Bay Packers Aaron Jones Jamaal Williams AJ Dillon
Houston Texans David Johnson Duke Johnson Buddy Howell
Indianapolis Colts Jonathan Taylor Nyheim Hines Jordan Wilkins
Jacksonville Jaguars4

James Robinson

Chris Thompson Dare Ogunbowale
Kansas City Chiefs Clyde Edwards-Helaire Darrel Williams Darwin Thompson
Las Vegas Raiders Josh Jacobs Devontae Booker Jalen Richard
Los Angeles Chargers5 A. Ekeler/J. Kelley TBA TBA
Los Angeles Rams6 Malcolm Brown Darrell Henderson TBA
Miami Dolphins Myles Gaskin Jordan Howard Matt Breida
Minnesota Vikings Dalvin Cook Alexander Mattison Mike Boone
New England Patriots7 Sony Michel Rex Burkhead J.J. Taylor
New Orleans Saints Alvin Kamara Latavius Murray TBA
New York Giants Devonta Freeman Dion Lewis Wayne Gallman
New York Jets8 Frank Gore La’Mical Perine Kalen Ballage
Philadelphia Eagles Miles Sanders Boston Scott Corey Clemnt
Pittsburgh Steelers James Conner Benny Snell Jr. Jaylen Samuels
San Francisco 49ers9 Jerick McKinnon Jeff Wilson Jr. TBA
Seattle Seahawks Chris Carson Carlos Hyde Travis Homer
Tampa Bay Buccaneers R. Jones/L. Fournette LeSean McCoy TBA
Tennessee Titans Derrick Henry Darrynton Evans Jeremy McNichols
Washington Football Team Antonio Gibson Peyton Barber J.D. McKissic

1 = Buffalo’s Zack Moss (toe) is out until at least Week 4. He figures to resume being the co-No. 1 when healthy.

2 = Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey (ankle) is expected to be out until at least Week 7. He will be the starter when healthy.

3 = Denver’s Phillip Lindsay (toe) is out until at least Week 4 and possibly until Week 6. He should return to being the primary handcuff to Melvin Gordon when healthy. 

4 = Jacksonville’s Ryquell Armstead (Covid) and Devine Ozigbo (hamstring) are both expected to be out until at least Week 4. When healthy, both could push for the primary backup role.

5 = The Chargers’ Justin Jackson (quad) is out until at least Week 4. When healthy, he should return to being the No. 3 back.

6 = The Rams Cam Akers (ribs) is out until at least Week 4. When healthy, he’ll return to a three-man committee for “lead back” duties.

7 = New England’s Damien Harris (hand) is out until at least Week 4. Once healthy, he could push for the starter’s job or be the primary handcuff to Sony Michel. James White (personal) is out until at least Week 4.

8 = The Jets’ Le’Veon Bell (hamstring) is expected to be out until at least Week 5. He figures to start when healthy. 

9 = San Francisco’s Raheem Mostert (knee) is out until at least Week 4 and Tevin Coleman (knee) is out until at least Week 6. Mostert will start when healthy.

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September 27, 2020
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