Top 10 RB Handcuffs for 2013

Published on August 14th, 2013

1. Ben Tate: He is #1 on my list for two reasons. First, I think Arian Foster is the most likely of the top 10 RBs being drafted this year to miss 1+ games. Secondly, I would have no problem starting Ben Tate as my RB1 if Foster gets injured. If Foster was put on IR tomorrow, Tate would become a Top 25 pick in drafts for me.

2. Bernard Pierce: As a rookie last season, Pierce began taking away carries from Ray Rice. I think that continues to a further extent in 2013. If Rice goes down with an injury, Pierce becomes an every week starter and I would have no problems with him as my RB1.

3. Bryce Brown: Another back that should get some playing time in 2013 is Bryce Brown. He has very high upside after rushing for 564 yards in his rookie season last year and having two 150+ yard games! LeSean McCoy missed time last season and it is possible the same happens this year. If so, Brown becomes an every week starter and RB1 option in a Chip Kelly run-heavy offense.

4. Shane Vereen: Vereen would be #1 on this list if Arian Foster, Ray Rice, and LeSean McCoy were guaranteed to play all 16 games. Vereen will get plenty of playing time this season on a Patriots team that lost Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Lloyd, and possibly Rob Gronkowski (one of my Players I’m Avoiding in 2013). 50+ catches is not out of the question as he will frequently spell Ridley on passing downs. If Ridley were to miss games, I think Vereen is an every week starter and would become borderline RB1.

5. Giovani Bernard: I actually have Bernard ranked much higher than starting tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis because I think Bernard eventually gets the starting job in 2013 and ends up getting more carries. Nonetheless, he is currently viewed as a handcuff for people drafting The Law Firm (another one of my Players I’m Avoiding in 2013). Bernard’s upside is tremendous if BJGE were to get injured and miss some games this year. He was the top back taken in the 2013 NFL Draft and would be the starting RB on a Bengals team that continues to improve on both offense and defense. I view him as an every week starter and borderline RB1 if BJGE is out.

6. Andre Brown: Andre is another back that will get carries even if David Wilson is 100%. He may even share touches with Wilson 50/50 in 2013 and should steal some goal line carries away from Wilson. Brown had 130 yards and 2 TDs in a start last season and that makes him a likely every week starter and RB2 if Wilson gets injured and misses time.

7. Montee Ball: Ball is getting a lot of hype after his phenomenal career at Wisconsin, but let’s not forget he’s currently Ronnie Hillman’s backup. While many speculate that he will earn the starting job at some point in the near future, he’ll still be fighting for touches with Hillman and Moreno in an offense that also has Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker. While he offers the upside of an RB2, I am only drafting him as my RB2 if he A) Locks up the starting job or B) Hillman or Moreno get hurt.

8. Johnathan Franklin: The third rookie to make this list, Franklin was the second rookie RB drafted by the Packers in 2013. That should tell you how much the Packers needed RBs and DuJuan Harris and Alex Green should be  afterthoughts in fantasy leagues in 2013. Franklin should see time as the change of pace back and passing down back for the Packers and offers upside in a pass heavy offense. If Lacy gets hurt, which is a serious thing to consider given his history, Franklin becomes an RB2 if the match-up is favorable and a flex play if the Packers have a tough match-up.

9. Michael Bush: Bush has been known as the goal line vulture to Matt Forte and unless Forte gets injured that’s really all he’s good for. That being said, if Forte does get injured, Bush has high value and I would have no problem starting him as my RB2 given that he would get most of the carries and every goal line carry.

10. Vick Ballard: In 2012, Ballard did not begin the season as the Colts starting RB yet he finished with 814 rushing yards. In 2013, Ballard will once again be the backup after the Colts acquired Ahmad Bradshaw in the offseason. That being said, Ballard becomes an RB2/flex play if Bradshaw misses time.