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Top Five Dynasty Handcuff Running Backs

Bobby Bishop (@imbobbybish) examines the top five handcuff running backs to own for dynasty fantasy football. Now may be the time to invest in these value players, before dreaded injuries begin to creep up in the preseason.

The first step in this exercise is to define a handcuff running back. This concept is a running back who would drastically benefit from an injury to the starting running back. Someone whose value and snap count will drastically increase if the starter goes down. Handcuff running backs are on the decline, mainly because bell cow running backs are on the decline.

With running back by committee situations, the “handcuff” running backs are truly the third-string running backs, and the whole process gets very murky. Does the backup now become a bell cow, or does the third string now eat all of the starter’s snaps? Committees where one running back gets the exclusive goal line work or the targets also complicate things. For this reason, I value backups to bell cow running backs the highest.

1. Trey Benson

Trey Benson tops this list because not only is he a handcuff running back in 2024, but he has long-term dynasty value. James Conner will be the bell cow to begin the year; however, he is 29, in a contract year, and has yet to play a full season. Even if he stays healthy all year, Trey Benson is a good investment because the starting job will be his in 2025. He’s the RB2 in the 2024 class and has consistently been an early second-round rookie draft pick. I’m even fine trading a 2025 first-round pick (projected late) for him. I think Benson is well worth the investment.

2. Tyler Allgeier

Based on my no-committee-RB rule, Tyler Allgeier would not have made this list last year; however, things have changed in Atlanta. I feel very comfortable saying that Bijan Robinson will be a workhorse in 2024, receiving more than 67% of the running back touches. This would push Allgeier back from a committee back to a handcuff. The downside is that dynasty owners have seen some success from Allgeier. He is definitely gettable, but it might be slightly more expensive than you may want to pay for a handcuff. A late second-round pick should get the deal done. If you roster Bijan Robinson, I would definitely invest in his handcuff.

3. Blake Corum

The handcuff to established stud Kyren Williams, Blake Corum will need a Kyren Williams injury to be fantasy relevant. Corum showed enough at Michigan that he has the juice and burst to be the guy when called upon. Kyren Williams has had some injury issues in the past, so Corum’s name may be called as early as this season. Draft Blake Corum with confidence in the mid to late second round of rookie drafts.

4. Elijah Mitchell

Elijah Mitchell is the direct backup to Christian McCaffrey. While McCaffrey has shown to be very durable during his time in the Bay Area, CMC was not healthy in Carolina. If McCaffrey goes down, Elijah Mitchell’s value will boom for the rest of the season. All McCaffrey owners should invest a late third-round pick in Elijah Mitchell and view it as an insurance policy in case their fantasy MVP gets hurt.

5. Evan Hull

Potentially the first surprising name on this list, I view Evan Hull as a must-own dynasty handcuff. Jonathan Taylor may earn himself 90% of the Colts’ snap count. Hull appears to be the first man up to eat those snaps if anything happens to Taylor. I think Hull has three-down potential, as he showcased solid receiving ability at Northwestern. Furthermore, Hull is cheap in dynasty right now. You can snag Evan Hull in many leagues for a future fourth-round pick. If Jonathan Taylor gets hurt, you want Evan Hull on your squad.

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