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Fantasy Football Playoff RB Handcuffs: Add Them Now!

The fantasy football postseason has begun, so it’s time to re-evaluate your depth, especially at running back. With only three weeks left on most fantasy scoreboards and each matchup possibly being your last, there is no more time for stashing players for potential contributions later. You also cannot waste roster space on guys who will never see your starting lineup.

It is now essential to roster the direct NFL backups to your top RB starters. If one of your regular RB starters suffers an injury, you don’t want to have to scramble to the waiver wire to contend for his handcuff. That player should already be on your roster in the first place.

Grab the available and apparent NFL backups to your RB starters now if they are available. Of course, there are some situations, such as in New Orleans, where the No. 2 RB may not be available. Or it could be a situation like San Francisco, where the backfield is so muddled there is no obvious player to add. But wherever applicable, let's provide you with recommended RB adds for playoff insurance.

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Running Backs Handcuff Guide for Playoffs

Bilal Powell (Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets): This is already a situation to address, as Bell might miss this week’s game with an illness. Powell would likely be the lead ball carrier against the Dolphins if Bell misses the game. Ty Montgomery could also figure in. Powell has been unpredictable in the past when handed a larger role, but knowing he could see an expanded workload, he is now an obvious add if you are rostering Bell.

Gus Edwards (Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens): It could be a timeshare between Edwards and Justice Hill if Mark Ingram went down. But Edwards might see a slightly larger share of the workload and would definitely be the goal-line guy.

Reggie Bonnafon (Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers): He flashed some big-play ability earlier this season with a 59-yard TD run in Week 5.

Ryan Nall (David Montgomery, Chicago Bears): He would likely at least work in a timeshare with Tarik Cohen and operate as the short-yardage option if needed in case of a Montgomery injury.

Giovani Bernard (Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals): This is a well-established handcuff situation, although Bernard is not durable. You should also be aware Trayveon Williams is the third-stringer who could steal snaps.

Qadree Ollison (Devonta Freeman handcuff, Atlanta Falcons): We have already seen the very physical rookie operate as a goal-line area specialist, and Freeman is certainly injury prone.

Ryquell Armstead (Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars): The rookie was apparently drafted as insurance for Leonard Fournette, who has battled injury issues frequently in previous seasons. Fournette has managed to stay healthy this season, but if he is on your roster don’t forget about Armstead just because Fournette has avoided injuries to this point.

Justin Jackson (Melvin Gordon/Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers): We have seen Jackson pushed back into the mix before. If either of the top two RBs, especially Gordon, were to miss any time, Jackson could see more of a workload as a ball carrier. He’s more of a deeper league add because he would not see a heavy workload unless both Gordon and Ekeler were injured.

Malcolm Brown (Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams): He was dropped in many leagues because the Rams have carefully managed Gurley’s workload and kept him healthy thus far. But should Gurley miss any time in the near future, Brown would likely be the lead RB and goal-line guy in a timeshare with Darrell Henderson.

Wayne Gallman (Saquon Barkley, New York Giants): Gallman already filled in for Barkley earlier this season and we saw that he can be effective. He had 118 yards from scrimmage and a TD in Week 4 vs. Washington, so the potential for respectable production is there.

Jay Ajayi (Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles): For now, as Jordan Howard continues to miss time, Ajayi is the next man up in Philly behind Miles Sanders.

Dion Lewis (Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans): It used to be a timeshare here, but Lewis is now relegated to being one of the better backup RBs in the league. He would be an instant fantasy starter if pressed into service again.


Other Situations to Consider

Deandre Washington and Jalen Richard will likely only be desperation fantasy options if they share time in place of Josh Jacobs this week. He is looking like a game-time decision because of a shoulder injury. … Chase Edmonds could find himself back in a premier role if Kenyan Drake gets injured. … If Devin Singletary were to go down again, T.J. Yeldon could re-enter the Buffalo RB picture. … Ezekiel Elliott has no apparent backup while Tony Pollard deals with an ankle injury. Watch to see if Dallas promotes Mike Weber or Jordan Chunn from the practice squad. ...  Ty Johnson could see more work if Bo Scarbrough went down, but he is not a recommended add. … If Marlon Mack can’t stay healthy, you will likely see an uninspiring combination of Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. … The Chiefs added Spencer Ware in case their injury issues worsen. … Patrick Laird is the next man up in Miami now, but Myles Gaskin is right behind him. … It's hard to read the New England situation, but we could see more of Damien Harris if Sony Michel went down, while Rex Burkhead might spell James White if needed. … Kerrith Whyte may be next in line for some ball carrying work if both James Conner and Benny Snell become unavailable at some point. … Travis Homer is the third-stringer in Seattle. … Dare Ogunbowale is No. 3 in Tampa Bay.

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