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7 Fantasy Football Draft Targets: Underrated Handcuffs (2024)

7 Fantasy Football Draft Targets: Underrated Handcuffs (2024)

This early into the drafting season much can and will change, but as the old best ball saying goes, there’s opportunity in ambiguity and we can look to take advantage. No position is more susceptible to a massive change than the running back position where all it takes is an unfortunate season-ending injury in training camp and all of a sudden Ty’Son Williams is a fifth-round pick. Not every player who jumps up in value will be worthwhile, see Ty’Son Williams once again, but it’s better to be ahead of the ADP change than chasing it. This article will examine a few handcuffs, not just at the RB position, who have value above their current Underdog ADP.

Underrated Handcuffs to Target

Elijah Mitchell (ADP 163.5)

After bursting onto the scene in 2021 with 963 rushing yards, five touchdowns and 19 receptions, Elijah Mitchell has been held in reserve for much of the last two years with Christian McCaffrey being used almost to the point of exhaustion. McCaffrey’s 21.2 touches per game trailed only Kyren Williams‘s 21.7, and it was the most that McCaffrey has had while staying healthy since 2019 when he saw 25.8 per game. McCaffrey will be heading into his age 28 season and while he’s showing no signs of slowing down, people need only look as far as Austin Ekeler to remember how quickly the cliff edge can come for running backs. McCaffrey has stayed remarkably healthy over the last two years, missing just one meaningless game, but we shouldn’t count on that always being the case.

Isaiah Likely (ADP 181.4)

It’s by no means likely that Mark Andrews will miss as much time in 2024 as he did in 2023, but Isaiah Likely is worth drafting regardless. The Ravens are currently set to lose both Nelson Agholor and Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency, and even if either or both of them re-sign in Baltimore, it’s fair to question whether they deserve reps over the mightly impressive Likely. From Week 14 onwards, Likely finished with over 18 PPR points in three of four regular season games before adding a 3/34 and a touchdown against the Texans. Offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, has made use of multiple tight end formations throughout his career and it shouldn’t be surprising to see that become a point of emphasis for the Ravens in the off-season, especially with Likely able to win on the perimeter while Andrews typically works best across the middle of the field.

David Montgomery (76.3)

An ADP of 76.3 is certainly not enough to consider David Montgomery completely disrespected, but it might be fair to say that it’s a little low for a player who just finished as the RB8 in Half PPR total points. Jahmyr Gibbs will most likely see an increased role in his sophomore season, with him impressing down the stretch of 2023, but the Lions have consistently used a two-back backfield for much of Dan Campbell’s tenure as head coach. Montgomery saw the 13th-most touches among running backs, along with the sixth-most red zone attempts. Gibbs will continue to grow into his role, but if anything were to happen to him, Montgomery will go from having standalone value to league-winning upside.

Chase Brown (113.5)

The Bengals may or may not choose to move on from Joe Mixon this offseason, with him having no guaranteed salary left on his contract and with a potential saving of $5.75m if they did elect to move on. However, the Bengals currently have the fourth-most cap space at $59.3m and may choose to push all the chips in on another attempt to win it all. Mixon has looked slower over the last two years and hasn’t necessarily justified his price tag, but there may not be better options available for less. Chase Brown impressed in a limited role from Week 13 on, with 41 total touches for 269 yards, including an RB10 performance in Week 14. If Mixon is released, Brown’s ADP will jump at least three rounds.

Roschon Johnson (121.6)

The Bears look set to embark on a new chapter with a new quarterback under center and that should most likely bring more passing efficiency to an offense desperately needing it. If Caleb Williams is the choice at 1.01, he’ll also be more likely to check the ball down to his running backs than Justin Fields was. Roschon Johnson had a solid rookie campaign with six top-36 performances, seeing nine or more touches in six of the last nine games. The Bears seem set to move on from D’Onta Foreman making this a manageable two-man backfield, and Johnson should have enough opportunity to prove why he was a popular sleeper coming out of college.

Jakobi Meyers (101.6)

Straying away from the running back position momentarily, Jakobi Meyers at his current ADP of 101.6 represents huge handcuff value against Davante Adams who continues to be linked with an offseason trade to the New York Jets. Despite the Jets having far more glaring needs at other positions. Meyers impressed in his first season away from the Patriots, setting career-highs in half PPR points, touchdowns and yards after the catch, finishing as the WR28 in points per game. The Raiders look set to make a move at quarterback, and if Adams should move on as well, Meyers would jump somewhere in the region of 60 or more picks.

Jerome Ford (135.4)

You’d be forgiven for being surprised by the fact that Jerome Ford is going 70 picks later than Nick Chubb, given that Chubb has had multiple surgeries to deal with a torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus that took place in Week 2. Chubb could be back in time for the season, but will he be effective? Will he dominate touches like he once did? Probably not on either account. Meanwhile, Jerome Ford acquitted himself very well rushing for 4.0 yards per carry and giving up no fumbles on 201 rushing attempts. Kareem Hunt is a free agent, paving the way for Jerome Ford to stake an even bigger claim in 2024.

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