There is a very good chance that at least one, if not several, of the top RBs in the NFL will get hurt next season. Last year, Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffery both basically missed the entire season. Both players very well could have gone one and two in your fantasy league draft last season. If you unfortunately drafted either guy, what did you do when they got hurt? Did you have a plan B, or did you just toss in the towel? Did you have Mike Davis on your bench, if you were someone who drafted Christian McCaffery? Or did you have Wayne Gallman stashed away on your bench, if you were someone that drafted Saquon Barkley? Just so you know, I was someone that drafted Christian McCaffery last year without a plan B. Don’t be like me and have a plan B.
If you’re going to take a RB with your first pick, it is always good damage control to also draft their backup. Here are my top 10 handcuff RBs to draft in 2021.
1. Devontae Booker
Saquon Barkley is working his way back from a torn ACL in his right knee as well as MCL and meniscus damage. And it sounds like Barkley will be on a snap count early on this season. No matter what that snap count ends up being, you’d be smart to also draft Barkley’s handcuff back, Devontae Booker.
2. Darrynton Evans
I’m going to start with the handcuff to the best RB in the NFL. Derrick Henry carried the ball 378 times last year, that’s an awful lot. As a matter of fact, Henry ran the ball more than any other RB in the NFL last season. So, if you draft Henry you better also draft his back up Darrynton Evans.
3. Alexander Mattison
The only other RB with over 300 carries last year was Dalvin Cook. Cook has never played a full season in his career. Even though Cook is a beast when he’s fully healthy, he is injury prone. A RB that gets so many carries and has a history of injuries, you better be safe rather than sorry and also take Alexander Mattison.
4. Tony Pollard
Even though, I think Ezekiel Elliott will have a great season next year, he has also never really had any significant injuries in his career, knock on wood. Tony Pollard is a really good RB and will already take some carries away from Zeke. And if Zeke was ever to be lost for an entire season, Pollard better be on your team.
5. Marlon Mack
Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor were expected to be a two headed monster last season, but then Mack tore his Achilles in week 1. Mack resigned with the team, and if healthy he will share the backfield touches with Taylor. I still believe Taylor is the lead back, but Mack is definitely a great insurance policy to have, if you draft Taylor.
6. Chuba Hubbard
Chuba Hubbard had a breakout season at Oklahoma State in 2019, and it was looking like he was going to be a high draft pick. The Panthers may have gotten a steal in this year’s draft by getting Hubbard in the 4th round. Regardless, the Panthers have a solid backup in the event that Christian McCaffrey gets hurt again. I don’t think McCaffrey will be hurt again this season, but you never know, so take Hubbard too if you draft McCaffrey.
7. AJ Dillon
Jamaal Williams is gone so that makes AJ Dillion the number 2 back in Green Bay. Williams had 741 total yards, 3 TDs, and 31 catches last year as Aaron Jones’ back up. So not only could Dillion just be a good player to draft, he is definitely a good player to have if Jones gets hurt.
8. Latavius Murray
Latavius Murray had 146 carries to Alvin Kamara’s 187, so the two RBs split the backfield pretty evenly. But if Kamara were to ever miss any games, which he has, Murray will take on the bulk of the carries, and when he has in the past he has been just as effective.
9. Ty’Son Williams
With JK Dobbins on the IR it now gives the reigns to Gus “the Bus” Edwards. It is crazy Edwards wasn’t already a starting RB in the NFL. He has been the most underrated RB in the last 3 years. Edwards has achieved at least 700 yards rushing every season and has averaged a crazy 5.2 yards per carry over that same three year span. So who is behind Edwards? Ty’Son Williams that is. So if you draft Edwards, which you should if you can get him, Ty’Son Williams is a nice insurance policy that you can get with your last pick in the draft.
10. Samaje Perine
Can Joe Mixon stay healthy? I really don’t know, also Giovani Bernard signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so that leaves Samaje Perine as the backup. Does anyone remember how good Perine was at Oklahoma? Just look up his college stats, he was incredible. If Mixon goes down, you will be in good hands as long as you have Perine stashed away on your bench.