Feeling Handcuffed by Your Fantasy Football Handcuffs?

Often you'll come across fantasy football experts that tell you to handcuff your best players.  What the heck does that mean?  Handcuffing simply means grabbing a player's top backup on that same NFL team.  For instance, running back A is a star player; handcuffing would mean grabbing running back B from the same NFL team so he can fill in if running back A goes down with injury.  This strategy can be useful for your top 1-2 running backs.  However, it only is a good move though when:
  1. Your RB is a top RB.
  2. Your top RB's replacement is clearly defined
  3. Your top RB's replacement is talented enough to produce in the role and keep it.
Only situations where all three conditions are met is it worth handcuffing your RB.  Otherwise, you're better off snagging the best RBs you can get, irrespective of team.  A plus of getting players that aren't on the same team is that they likely will not have the same bye weeks, meaning they'll be more useful to you than a true handcuff, who often has worth only when the top dude is out injured.  This in turn means you're getting more value out of that roster spot.

I've seen a few recommendations for handcuffing star QBs.  I think this is a bunk move in most cases.  Just grab the best QB you can to back up your stud.  If your star QB goes down, you'll have more of a selection of decent QBs in the waiver wire than you would RBs, since most leagues only require that a single QB start.  For example, in a 12-team league usually there are 12 starting QBs but there are 24 starting RBs.  RBs are thus more valuable since there is more demand for them.

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