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NFL Fantasy football: These handcuffs might come in handy for you

Texans running back Ben Tate won’t supplant Arian Foster but he’s greflex-play option. | AP

Texans running back Ben Tate won’t supplant Arian Foster, but he’s a great flex-play option. | AP

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WEEK 3 OUTLOOK

GAME OF THE WEEK

Chiefs at Eagles: The Eagles have the second-ranked offense. Their third-worst defense figures to give the Chiefs life.

GAME OF THE MEEK

Bills at Jets: C.J. Spiller is the only must-start. Stevie Johnson is a WR3 and Fred Jackson a flex. Stay away from anyone wearing green.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

RB Frank Gore, 49ers: Expect a bounce-back game for Gore, who figures to stay more involved against the Colts than he did against the Seahawks.

RB Trent Richardson, Browns: His first big game might come against the Vikings, whose run defense has been soft.

WR Torrey Smith, Ravens: Smith finally scores after Marlon Brown hogged the spotlight. The Texans have allowed six touchdown passes.

PLAYERS OF THE MEEK

RB Darren McFadden, Raiders: Sell high if you can. The Broncos have allowed the fewest rushing yards to running backs.

RB James Starks, Packers: If
Eddie Lacy (concussion) is out, don’t turn to Starks. He hasn’t been a good fantasy option before, and the Bengals are stout against the run.

WR Kenny Britt, Titans: He was benched last week, and Kendall Wright has the eye of Jake Locker.

WEEK 2 PICKS

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

WR Pierre Garcon: 8 catches,
143 yards, TD

RB DeMarco Murray: 12-25
rushing; 5-49 receiving

RB DeAngelo Williams: 22 carries, 85 yards

PLAYERS OF THE MEEK

RB Lamar Miller: 14 carries,
69 yards, TD

WR Torrey Smith: 7 catches,
85 yards

Jets running backs: Bilal Powell, 13-48-1; Chris Ivory, 12-52-0

‘Handcuff’’ is a funny fantasy-football term. It doesn’t carry a positive connotation in the real world. Criminals are put in handcuffs. A shortstop might be handcuffed by a bouncing ball. People generally try to avoid anything to do with handcuffs.

But in fantasy football, handcuffs are necessary. If you draft a running back with a history of injuries, you usually make sure to take his backup, too. Hence, the term handcuff.

Sunday showed the importance of handcuffs. A number of starting running backs were injured, and others shared enough carries to make their backups relevant. Here are the most notable handcuffs:

Joique Bell, Lions: Considering Reggie Bush’s litany of injuries, Bell is worthy of starting in deep leagues. If Bush misses time with the knee injury he suffered Sunday, Bell should start in every league. He appears to be the goal-line back, and he’s a reliable receiver.

Bryce Brown, Eagles: Brown is roster-worthy, especially for LeSean McCoy owners. With the number of plays coach Chip Kelly wants, Brown might turn into a flex option. He showed what he can do with 347 rushing yards in a two-week span last season. Stash him for now.

Fred Jackson, Bills: C.J. Spiller is the featured back, but Jackson isn’t going anywhere. He has had double-digit touches and points twice, making him a solid flex play. But consider selling high. The Bills’ next three opponents (Jets, Ravens, Browns) rank among the top seven in run defense.

Bernard Pierce, Ravens: The Ravens were planning to work him into the offense more, so his value as a handcuff to Ray Rice already was high. But if Rice (hip) is out this week, Pierce should be starting. He isn’t the receiver Rice is, but he’ll power his way for tough yardage.

Ben Tate, Texans: He’s the top handcuff in the game, but he’s playing like a starter. Though he isn’t supplanting Arian Foster any time soon, Tate will continue to get at least a third of the carries. If he has more games like the one he had Sunday (nine carries, 93 yards), he’ll be a great flex play.

Email: jagrest@suntimes.com

Twitter: @JeffreyA22



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