Sometimes having a handcuff for your IDP fantasy football players is optimal, incase they go down with injury.
A IDP fantasy football handcuff caries little value on his own. If the status quo carries on, this player is not startable, he is not even bye week filler. At the moment this player is utterly without fantasy value.
But on any given Sunday, anything can happen. One shoe that grabs the turf a little too well, one blocked teammate rolling into the starter’s legs, and the handcuff is in the game. He is also at that moment a better fantasy play than a replacement level pick-up from the waiver wire.
Whats the point of a handcuff?
I like having a couple handcuffs on my roster, particularly if the late rounds are uninspiring at a position of need. They are the first player that you cut when injuries hit, you find a free agent you want, or your kicker who is leading the league in scoring has a bye week.
However, if none of those events come and your first round pick ends up on IR, having the player that is put into that spot on the field can get you through the year.
Not every high-level player has a handcuff. Those who succeed by their own merits are not replaceable by the next man up in most cases. It is players that are successful because the scheme they are in is designed to funnel tackles to them that have another man behind them, waiting.
An example from last year is Christian Jones. Jones was not a starting linebacker for the Chicago Bears when training camp opened. He was, however, the primary backup for both inside linebacker positions, and the starters in front of him had histories of injury problems and suspensions.
Jones ended the season with 90 tackles in eleven starts. On a per-projectable-start basis, he was an LB3 in my primary IDP league. He was not drafted, and in fact, was not picked up until week eight. Here are the most likely Christian Jones‘ at each IDP position. There are not a lot of these guys worth having around at some positions. Nobody is stashing great pass rushers on their bench, for example.
- Jalen Reeves-Maybin for Jarrad Davis or Davis in Detroit
- Leighton Vander Esch for Jaylon Smith or Sean Lee in Dallas
- Skai Moore for Anthony Walker, this one may pay dividends week one in Indianapolis
- Jayon Brown for Wesley Woodyard or Reshean Evans
- Josey Jewell for Brandon Marshalll
- Alex Anzalone for Demario Davis in New Orleans
- Austin Calitro for Bobby Wagner in Seattle
- George Iloka for Harrison Smith in Minnesota
- Jimmie Ward for Jaquiski Tartt in San Francisco
- Jordan Richards for Keanu Neal in Atlanta
- Jason McCourty for Devin McCourty in New England
The majority of the time, just drafting a better player is the right play. In these few cases you may want to consider picking up the handcuff.