Handcuffs. Who needs em?In all truthfulness, no fantasy owner.Thats why I found it so stunning to hear, in a recent mock draft, that oh-so-common comment bandied about this preseason: Oh, as a LeVeon Bell owner, I absolutely have to also take DeAngelo Williams, probably by the fifth round.Those who press such an owner for an explanation often get a similar response: Williams (179 fantasy points) outscored Bell (83) last season, made more starts (10 to Bells six) and, as the Pittsburgh Steelers starter for Weeks 1 through 3 of 2016 while Bell is suspended, guarantees said owner 16 games of production. Said owner wants to protect his or her investment in the Steelers backfield, because the role of Steelers running back is sure to contend for fantasy footballs leading score at the position.Theyre all fair comments, but there is unfortunately no such thing as a guarantee with an NFL running back. And to use one seasons successful outcome as justification for the following years strategy is dangerous. Dangerous enough, in fact, to be one of the quickest ways to waste draft-day resources, if youre using it as a way of inflating said players draft price tag.What you might not have known: Williams was one of only nine handcuff picks from the past five seasons who, among the five most popular such handcuffs by year (a grand total of 25, from 2011-15), outscored the player to whom he was being handcuffed. In fact, he is one of only two -- Willis McGahee in 2011 was the other -- to outscore the player to whom he was handcuffed by more than 75 fantasy points in the given year.Worse yet is the fantasy owner who tries to extend the Bell-Williams justification to players from other backfields, as if any starting running back selected also demands the selection of his primary backup. Unfortunately, the 2015 season provided a cruel statement on that: In two of the five backfields that were most commonly handcuffed, the teams leader in fantasy points among running backs was neither the selected starter nor the presumed handcuff. From the Baltimore Ravens, Javorius Allen (87) outscored both Justin Forsett (83) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (12); and from the Kansas City Chiefs, Charcandrick West (102) outscored both Jamaal Charles (75) and Knile Davis (11), and Spencer Ware (72) also outscored presumed handcuff Davis. Meanwhile, from the San Francisco 49ers, Shaun Draughn (44) outscored presumed handcuff Reggie Bush (3).Bear in mind, too, that Knile Davis was fantasy footballs second-most-popular handcuff to Williams in 2015 -- recognizing that Williams also had two known starts to begin last season, as Bell was serving a suspension then, too. This makes him as compelling an argument against handcuffing from within the same campaign as the player most commonly used to bolster said case. The Chiefs indeed provided productive fantasy fill-ins following Charles injury; we merely didnt know at the time that West would be the the benefactor, then Ware after West subsequently got hurt.Crunching the overall numbers during the past five seasons, heres a quick comparison between what a drafted starter and his perceived handcuff provided in those years. These represent only the five most commonly handcuffed backfields, with the starter required to have an ADP within the top 50 picks. Starts come from my Consistency Rating data, and represent top-25 weekly scores at the running back position:For those who consider the handcuffs stat line a productive year, youre not completely off base. The point isnt to entirely devalue Williams; its to not overprice him based upon a connection to Bell. Williams indeed has a healthy draft-day value -- hes my No. 30 running back and No. 73 overall player, after all -- but thats mostly because hes providing his drafting owner three known starts in a productive offense.Frankly, if Williams is going sooner than that, Ill take the player with a clearer path to more than three potential starts for his team. After all, the point of building roster depth is to maximize your number of available weekly fantasy starts. Give me the chance at 10 starts over the three-and-only-three starts every time.Lets look at handcuff production from another angle: Comparable picks available at similar stages in the draft. At least from the past five seasons data, it appears that the breaking point -- the stage at which handcuffing makes the most sense from a value standpoint -- comes around the No. 100 overall pick, and no sooner.Heres a quick comparison of what these 25 handcuffs provided compared to what other running backs selected in those rounds did, separated into top-100 and 101-160 overall picks:The sample sizes arent equal, but the evidence is nevertheless compelling that selecting a clear backup, even behind a risky starter, is a dicey strategy sooner than the final rounds of a standard-league draft. Combining these numbers, incidentally, shows that nonhandcuffs -- these include committee members, passing-down backs and/or less popular handcuffs who graced the final picks of the draft in those years -- were every bit as productive as handcuffs. They averaged 81.1 fantasy points to the handcuffs 83.1, and averaged 4.2 starts to the handcuffs 3.6.In short, maximize your number of available opportunities from all backfields, as opposed to consolidating your resources within two or three backfields. Spread your risk. Pick LeGarrette Blount, not Derrick Henry. Select Arian Foster, not Charles Sims.But if it gets to Round 14 or 15, on your Adrian Peterson-led squad, and Jerick McKinnon remains available, by all means feel free to handcuff.Just dont force it any sooner than that. Cordarrelle Patterson Jersey . Hargreaves began his career in 2008 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and has played with the Edmonton Eskimos and last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Brian Schwenke Jersey . 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