Fantasy Football Strategy: Resist urge to handcuff

Handcuffing in fantasy football is not a strategy I'm willing to employ when building my fantasy football portfolio.
Photo credit: CBS Interactive Inc.

The practice of handcuffing remains a strategy I stand firmly against. When building my fantasy football portfolio, I want to collect as much value as I possibly can. Handcuffing prevents that.

Draft picks and roster spots are finite opportunities to obtain or maintain juice. And with most leagues requiring a quarterback, defense and kicker, the remaining roster spots become that much more precious.

Premium handcuffs often require the investment of a top 100 draft pick — a prohibitive price considering the potential for standalone production present throughout this stage of a draft. Each owner navigates his/her drafts differently. For me though, rounds 3-10 are where I’m making a living. They’re not for buying the fantasy football version of an extended warranty.

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Someone like Darrell Henderson may not need Todd Gurley to get hurt to provide tangible weekly production. But there are plenty of handcuffs who will not see the necessary volume to be a viable fantasy starter.

And I’m simply not on board with investing in an asset that only holds value in the event of my starter’s injury. Locking up this roster spot prevents me from claiming any of the inevitable waiver wire finds that breakout seemingly out of nowhere. 

“I like to handcuff, but I’m open to alternatives.”

I’m certainly not a gunslinger when it comes to assuming risk, but I’m willing to operate without the “security” of a handcuff. Instead, I’ll do one of two things:

1. Avoid the initial player altogether. If the need to handcuff him is so pronounced, chances are the risk isn’t worth the investment.

2. Roll the dice and focus on acquiring as much standalone value and flexibility with my draft picks as possible. It’s up to me to do my job well enough to acquire the bench talent that can step into a starting role if the need presses.

To clarify, handcuffing during the season is a completely different discussion. Once the action begins, I’m constantly juggling certain odds, adding certain protections and generally scratching and clawing for every acre of advantageous real estate within the margins. But draft season is about collecting as many chips as possible, not half-assing the process.

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