The time-honored tradition of picking up backup running backs will once again be a regular occurrence in the 2018 fantasy football draft.
It's easy to pick those running backs. It's more difficult to hold on to them during the season, when bye weeks start to infiltrate the patient strategy needed to fully execute the plan for handcuff running backs.
Targeting the right handcuff running back can be boon to your team, especially if you're banking on a running back star with an injury history. Here's three handcuff running backs to keep in mind when drafting this year in fantasy football.
C.J. Anderson, Carolina Panthers, ADP: 108
Let's take a minute to realize how far Anderson's rising star has fallen. Once considered a RB1 in Denver, Anderson is now relegated as an afterthought in fantasy football and Christian McCaffrey's backup.
Despite his setbacks, there is still some potential. We still don't know how much McCaffrey's volume will be for the Panthers, and the offensive approach in Carolina has long favored a two running back system.
New offensive coordinator Norv Turner throws a wrinkle in those past plans, but it's still worth an investment in Anderson based on past workload, and his ability to actually move the needle in fantasy football.
Anderson rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season behind an offensive line in Denver that nobody would consider above-average. Cam Newton complicates some things in terms of touchdowns for running backs in Carolina, but Anderson will likely get a decent amount of work this year, even if McCaffrey stays healthy.
And that should be the biggest reason to look into Anderson. We don't know how well McCaffrey can hold up in the NFL with increased volume. If McCaffrey goes down with injury, Anderson will be in line for much more work in an offense that focuses on the running game.
Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings, ADP: 148
If you draft Dalvin Cook, you better invest in Murray for 2018.
Cook was dynamic in his four games last year for Minnesota, but it's impossible to ignore that he only played four games as a rookie. And we don't know how well he can hold up for an entire NFL season.
With Murray, you're getting a player that isn't going to be a consistent RB1, but he can contribute RB2 numbers on a regular basis.
He's coming off a year where he rushed for more than 800 yards and scored eight touchdowns. In the last two seasons, he has 20 touchdowns, despite playing second-fiddle last year with Jerick McKinnon shouldering much of the load, especially in the passing game.
Murray is a proven backup running back who can easily start on fantasy football rosters if he's the starter. If you have Cook, you better have Murray.
Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals, ADP: 262
I always like to look at an extreme deep sleeper to finish out my draft and Edmonds makes plenty of sense as a last-pick flier.
Personally, I'm hoping he doesn't get much playing time because I'm favoring the clear-cut starter David Johnson as my No. 1 fantasy football draft pick. However, if Johnson was to go down with injury, Edmonds is showing that he can fill the gap. He won't be the producer Johnson can be, but if he can deliver RB2 numbers on a consistent basis, he'll be a better option than waiver wire running backs.
Reports out of camp are suggesting Edmonds has a firm grasp on the second running back spot in Arizona and he looked good in his preseason debut. At Fordham, he was a high-volume guy, so he's used to putting up a major amount of carries.
Edmonds will be a late-round flier, but he's worth a roster spot if you have Johnson.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. His Against The Chalk blog has earned him back-to-back Iowa Newspaper Association awards for Best Blog. Check out more fantasy football draft coverage at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH