The Handcuff

Here we go with Week 2 of the NFL TFL season, that’s the fantasy football league I manage and continue to be baffled by questions posed by many subscribers to the forums at Fantasy Football Starters. Now, by no means do I eat, sleep and breath fantasy football 12 months of the year. I don’t consider myself an expert, but 27 years of experience I know the ropes quite well.

It’s still very early in the season and many fantasy owners seem to be insecure about their teams or not confident in their starters. I am still amazed at the number of owners (in many different leagues) who are already hitting the waiver wire, trading or sitting a star. Why? Week 1 won’t make or break you season (I think I said this before).

I need to see players settle in, get their timing down and start playing like we know they have in the past before I pull the trigger and make a move I could regret 10 weeks later.

I have some questions marks on my team after Week 1, for example Shonn Greene (my #2 RB drafted, Round 3) is now splitting time in the backfield with LT. I don’t think LT will get enough touches to be a sleeper…yet, but Greene won’t get enough time to be valuable as a #2 RB. Now I would not drop him or bench him. We know he can play, based on his statistics last year, but his Week 1 performance was bad, I am willing to give him 2 more weeks.

In the case of Ryan Grant, he was lost for the season to an injury. Immediately Brandon Jackson has become the next HOF inductee because of this injury. Many owners swear by the handcuff, of which I am not one, as Jackson (if undrafted) has become the hottest commodity after just a week.

When it comes to “the handcuff” I still hold true to my old school value of drafting a starter over a handcuff. I attempted to make the point if you are in the middle to late rounds and looking to add depth at a position it might be to your advantage to draft a starter.

For example let’s say we are in the 12th round of the draft you have drafted Ryan Grant as your #1 RB and are looking to add some depth for a bye week cover. Jerome Harrison, Fred Taylor, Fred Jackson and Brandon Jackson are the RBs you are considered. Who do you take? Who gives you the best value? And who is most likely to have the best fantasy season?

I will contend that Brandon Jackson is not the best move at this point in the draft. Some will disagree and use this as a strategic move in order to back up that #1 RB, in Grant and not worry about that potential injury. He would step into a very good position, as the starter with a very good GB team, surrounded by talent at QB and WR.

He could also go through the year not seeing a single fantasy point, while any other the aforementioned RBs could put up decent fantasy numbers as a 3rd or 4th starter. In the end the decision is solely yours to make. I have my strategy, other owners travel a different path.

Maybe some of my thought process is ingrained in my because of HOW we used to operate the league without the use of a waiver wire, as well as having only 6 teams (year later increased to 8 teams and then to 10 teams) and a plethora of good, undrafted talent available.