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Running Back Handcuff Report: Week 5 (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Jason Kamlowsky | Featured Writer
Oct 6, 2021
Handcuff Report

The handcuff report is a little later than normal but I’ve been monitoring some news throughout the day. It looks like David Montgomery is out 4-5 weeks, so Damien Williams is the add there. The latest news, however, is that Chris Carson has a “long-term” neck injury that could keep him out against the Rams on Thursday night.

Alex Collins now makes for an intriguing add if he is available in your leagues. I touched on him more in-depth below but he out-gained Carson in Week 4 and scored a touchdown. I wouldn’t view him as a shoo-in week-winner – he doesn’t have enough game-breaking ability to get there – but if he scores a couple of short touchdowns, he’s well worth it. If you recall, DeeJay Dallas had a 20-point game in Week 8 last season by doing that exact thing.

If he starts, I think Collins has roughly a 30-40% of “failing” in this spot. That means he would score 8 or fewer fantasy points in a PPR, which if he gets maybe 14 carries for 72 yards and doesn’t score he could sink you. I still think he’s worth the add if you need any kind of running back help at all but you’d need to do it ASAP.

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Arizona – Starter: Chase Edmonds, Handcuff: James Conner
Edmonds has nudged his way into RB1 territory in PPR leagues. He played 67% of the snaps Sunday and had 139 total yards. Conner continues to get Red Zone work which makes him viable in non-PPR formats but I am much more interested in Edmonds here.

Atlanta – Starter: Mike Davis, Handcuffs: Cordarrelle Patterson
Patterson exploded with three scores Sunday and was a week-winner. I’d move with some caution as he only played on 30% of the snaps and was out-touched by Mike Davis. He could be a sell-high candidate and that’s how I am approaching him this week. There is no chance he finishes as the RB2, which is where he currently sits.

Buffalo – RBBC: Devin Singletary, Zack Moss
Another week where these two split the work almost down the middle. Moss out-snapped Singletary and got in the endzone, which is the trend we’ve seen over the past two weeks. Most signs point to Moss being the back to roster here.

Carolina – Starter: Christian McCaffery, Handcuff: Chuba Hubbard
Hubbard got 15 touches but disappointed in the box score, only accumulating 71 total yards. McCaffery is going to try and play this week but Hubbard is a hold for me and should be rostered everywhere.

Chicago – Starter: David Montgomery, Handcuff: Damien Williams
Montgomery had a monster game Sunday before leaving for injury. He had 121 total yards and two scores so losing him is unfortunate for the Bears’ offense. TJ Hogan wrote an article about how Damien Williams will fill in and I agree with a lot of what he said. Williams has been successful in the past and he’s an obvious pick-up this week. Blow your FAAB here.

Cincinnati – Starter: Joe Mixon, Handcuff: Samaje Perine
Mixon salvaged his night with a touchdown in another disappointing performance. Now he’s also dealing with an ankle sprain that could keep him hobbled for a few weeks. Mixon could end up inactive if he doesn’t respond to treatment this week. If Perine is available, go snag him but I’m betting the Bengals go pass-heavy in that scenario.

Cleveland – Starter: Nick Chubb, Handcuff: Kareem Hunt
This was an ugly game for the Browns offensively. Hunt played on 53% of the snaps while Chubb played on 47%. Chubb ran for 100 yards but Hunt found the endzone on the ground. The way the Browns are using Chubb is frustrating – He could be a monster with the right workload but Hunt is outscoring him across all formats right now. Hunt is my #1 handcuff this week.

Dallas – Starter: Ezekiel Elliott, Handcuff: Tony Pollard
Once again, Zeke had bell-cow usage with 20 carries for 143 yards and a 75% snap share. The Cowboys jumped out to a big lead in the third quarter so they leaned heavily on him down the stretch. Pollard still received 10 carries for 67 yards so he’s getting involved. He’d be an RB1 as a starter.

Denver – RBBC: Melvin Gordon III, Javonte Williams
This was a 50-50 split on Sunday, which seems counterintuitive to what is happening here. Williams had a 31-yard big boy run where he carried defenders and he continues to look great. If Teddy Bridgewater is out this week and Drew Lock starts, it would be best to keep the ball on the ground but this is an RBBC that helps no one week to week.

Detroit – Starter: D’Andre Swift, Handcuff: Jamaal Williams
Swift played 73% of the snaps but was out-touched by Williams 14-12. It was a disappointing day as everything lined up for Swift to go off. I know we want to victory lap but there is fragility with this offense. I’m still in on Swift (and Williams) but know you’ll get some clunkers with this group.

Green Bay – Starter: Aaron Jones, Handcuff: A.J. Dillon
Dillon had a really good day as the Packers leaned on him heavily down the stretch with a big lead and he got 15 carries. Jones was in on 62% of the snaps and had 99 total yards but from a game script perspective, this was not a good day for him. He’s due for a blowup game in the next few weeks.

Houston – Starter: Mark Ingram II, Handcuffs: Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson
Johnson led the Texans with a 57% snap share and touches. Still, this isn’t a backfield you want any part of unless there are a couple of injuries.

Indianapolis – Starter: Jonathan Taylor, Handcuff: Nyheim Hines
This wasn’t a Hines game for obvious reason but we were so close on Sunday. JT got 16 carries and turned in a 100-yard rushing day. That’s good. On the other hand, Marlon Mack got 10 carries for 22 yards. Give those carries to JT and we are cooking with gas.

Jacksonville – Starter: James Robinson, Handcuff: Carlos Hyde? Dare Ogunbowale?
Robinson played 95% of the snaps and score two touchdowns so kudos to those who hung in there. He needs a positive game script to post a monster score but he’s been usable even in a PPR format for two straight weeks.

Kansas City – Starter: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Handcuff: Darrel Williams
Back-to-back 100-yard games for CEH who also got in the endzone again. For his part, Williams saw his highest snap share of the season and I think it would be wise to put in a modest FAAB bid for him this week.

Las Vegas Raiders – Starter: Josh Jacobs, Handcuffs: Kenyan Drake, Peyton Barber
Peyton Barber, we hardly knew ye. Josh Jacobs stepped back into his starter role and received 18 touches and a 63% snap share. I’d hold Barber for another week or two but if you have a roster crunch, he may be on the cut list soon.

Los Angeles Chargers – Starter: Austin Ekeler, Handcuff: Justin Jackson
It’s Ekeler-SZN. 18 touches and 145 yards with two touchdowns is tremendous but the biggest takeaway here: He is in the game in the Red Zone. Hopefully, that continues. Larry Rountree received 11 carries and out-snapped Justin Jackson, so take that for what it’s worth. I’m still on Jackson as the handcuff here.

Los Angeles Rams – Starter: Darrell Henderson, Jr., Handcuff: Sony Michel
A 90% snap share for Henderson was a nice way to come back. It’s pretty obvious if he’s healthy, that he’s going to get 15+ touches a game. Michel is a worthy handcuff but this is Henderson’s backfield.

Miami – Starter: Miles Gaskin, Handcuff: Malcolm Brown
This was a disaster for Miami offensively but know this: Brown had a 63% snap share Sunday and was the lead back. He’s probably cheap and available. I’d be making a modest bid.

Minnesota – Starter: Dalvin Cook, Handcuff: Alexander Mattison
Cook was clearly eased back into action Sunday. He played just 49% of the snaps and had 11 touches. We know what we are getting with the Vikings though: When Cook is 100%, he’s a bell-cow. When he’s out, Mattison will get most of the work.

New England – Starter: Damien Harris, Handcuff: Rhamondre Stevenson
With James White out for the year, Harris saw 61% of the snaps but the Patriots didn’t try to establish the run at all. This should be Harris’s backfield, and I’d bet on him carrying the load, but the backup situation is cloudy. Stevenson was a healthy scratch Sunday and Brandon Bolden played 32% of the snaps in his absence. He’s been a Patriot mainstay for a couple of years now. Belichick has shown a penchant for going with players he has familiarity with. I wouldn’t rush to add Bolden, but in deeper leagues – especially PPR – he should be on the radar.

New Orleans – Starter: Alvin Kamara, Handcuff: Tony Jones, Jr.
Kamara played 87% of the snaps Sunday, so we know what we are getting here. Tony Jones, Jr. went out with an injury and he might be out for a couple of weeks so I supposed Dwayne Washington should be on the radar but I wouldn’t be interested outside of deep, deep leagues.

New York Giants – Starter: Saquon Barkley, Handcuffs: Devontae Booker
Barkley finished with 89% of the snaps so it’s safe to say he’s back. He’s involved in the passing game and should be a shoo-in RB1 the rest of the way. Booker is a good handcuff option but it would take a catastrophe for him to be relevant.

New York Jets – RBBC: Michael Carter, Ty Johnson, Tevin Coleman
Once again, Carter led the way with a 51% snap share and 14 touches. He had a touchdown that salvaged his day but he isn’t efficient enough at this point to matter. He is a hold for me and I still think he will be relevant at some point.

Philadelphia – Starter: Miles Sanders, Handcuff: Kenneth Gainwell
Sanders is still leading the way (61% snap share) but Kenny Gainwell is gaining some steam. He outgained Sanders 89-47 and scored a touchdown on Sunday. Gainwell should not be on your waiver wire.

Pittsburgh – Starter: Najee Harris, Handcuffs: Benny Snell, Jr., Kalen Ballage
Another week, another 20+ carries, and an 80%+ snap share for Harris. The Steelers had some success on the ground so maybe they can build on that but this week they have a tough matchup with Denver. Still, Harris is a volume-driven RB1.

Seattle – Starter: Chris Carson, Handcuff: Alex Collins, Travis Homer, Rashaad Penny
Collins outgained Carson on Sunday and had a big touchdown that solidified the win. I put Collins on your radar last week. I think it might be time to put him on your roster, especially with the new reports that Carson has a recurring neck injury that might keep him out.

San Francisco – RBBC: Elijah Mitchell, Kyle Juszczyk, Trey Sermon
Juszczyk was in on 88% of the snaps but was hardly involved with just four receptions for 41 yards. Sermon handled 19 carries for 89 yards so it’s looking like the 49ers are getting comfortable with him. That would be just in time for Elijah Mitchell’s potential return this week.

Tampa Bay – Starter: Leonard Fournette, Handcuff: Ronald Jones
Fournette got 20 carries Sunday and also caught three passes, totaling 138 yards. He’s got RB1 appeal. Jones is a drop for me and won’t be usable unless Fournette gets injured.

Tennessee – Starter: Derrick Henry, Handcuff: Jeremy McNichols
Henry had 37 touches on Sunday. He’s on pace for 508 touches this year. He’s awesome.

Washington – Starter: Antonio Gibson, Handcuff: J.D. McKissic
In another frustrating turn of events, McKissic got 12 touches on Sunday. I am bumping him up this week. Gibson found paydirt and had a moderately useful PPR day (15.5 Points) but if he approaches 20 touches he’s a stud.

Handcuff Rankings

1. Kareem Hunt (KC) – Hard to ignore what he’s done the past two weeks. I worry a little bit that the hype won’t match the production but he’s an RB1 waiting to happen.
2. Cordarelle Patterson (ATL) – Is he a handcuff? I’m not sure, but in leagues where he has WR-eligibility, he is worth a mint.
3. Jamaal Williams (DET) – Another week of double-digit touches and Swift looks banged up. Could get more work.
4. Tony Pollard (DAL) – Can’t downgrade him too much. I think he has looked more explosive than Zeke.
5. Damien Williams (CHI) – Monty is out for 4-5 weeks. Damien will be PPR gold. Sign me up.
6. Alex Collins (SEA) – 44 yards and a touchdown will get my attention, especially when he outgains Chris Carson. Add him now in case he starts against the Rams.
7. Alexander Mattison (MIN) – Will take a backseat to Dalvin Cook but he’s a hold for me. Could be back as a starter any given week.
8. Kenneth Gainwell (PHI) – Big mover of the week. Not sure he overtakes Miles Sanders anytime soon but could happen towards the end of the year. Don’t miss the boat.
9. Chuba Hubbard (CAR) – Played well enough last week and got the usage we had hoped. CMC might be back this week.
10. A.J. Dillon (GB) – Got a lot of work in the second half as the Packers salted the game away. I would roster him in 12-team leagues or deeper.
11. Malcolm Brown (MIA) – Maybe I should have him higher but this offense is putrid.
12. Darrel Williams (KC) – Snap share is increasing despite CEH’s increased production. He would be worth all the FAAB in the case of an injury.
13. Sony Michel (LAR) – Will need an injury to be relevant but usage was promising with Henderson out.
14. Peyton Barber (LV) – Virtually no role on Monday night. Will need Josh Jacobs to get hurt to get touches.
15. Nyheim Hines (IND) – If Marlon Mack is out, he’s Flex-worthy. If Marlon Mack is in, he’s an afterthought.

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Jason Kamlowsky is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jason, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @JasonKamlowsky.

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