4 League Winning Handcuff RBs! | Win YOUR League with the PlayerProfiler Staff!

The PlayerProfiler Staff is here to help YOU win your fantasy league in 2023. Here are 4 MUST DRAFT Handcuff RBs for the 2023 Fantasy Football Season!

4 League Winning Handcuff RBs

Jason Allwine – Joshua Kelley

There are a few things I like to look for when picking a handcuff RB. The first being that I like to roster my stud RB’s backup just in case. However, that isn’t always possible. Sometimes you have to roster backup RBs when you don’t own the starter. When that’s the case, the best bets are guys with above average profiles on good offenses behind an injury prone or older starting RB. There’s one guy in particular that checks every one of those boxes- Joshua Kelley.

One of the cheapest ways to attach yourself to the Chargers offense is 4th year RB Joshua Kelley. He sports an above average profile with a 79th percentile speed score, 71st percentile agility score, and 76th percentile bench press. Kelley also has decent size at 5-11 and 212 pounds. He has the profile and skillset to produce in all facets, both as a runner and pass catcher. Last year he averaged 1.1 targets, and 5.3 carries a game. Kelley used that minimal volume and still averaged a decent 4.7 yards per touch. He even had two weeks where he put up double digit fantasy points last season. In both of those games he scored a TD. 


It’s possible that Kelley sees similar, if not more, volume even if Austin Ekeler stays healthy. Kellen Moore utilized both Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott in his time in Dallas, and now he is in Los Angeles with Kelley and Ekeler. Now of course Ekeler will still get a full workload, but there should be some more on the table for Kelley too. Now if Ekeler goes down, Joshua Kelley will easily vault into weekly starter territory. 

Ekeler may have played every game last year. However, he has had an injury history. In 2020, Ekeler missed six games due to a hamstring strain and knee hyperextension. He’s also been concussed, suffered a sprained ankle, and sustained injuries to his hip, hamstring, neck, and quadriceps over the years. Kelley’s now coming off a year where he led the NFL in Weighted Opportunities with 323.4, touching the ball an average of 19 times a game. He’s also going into his 28-year-old season. 

Tons of volume from the year prior as well as age concerns makes Ekeler a likely candidate to get hurt at some point. And with Joshua Kelley‘s FFPC ADP of 223.3, you can’t get much better value on a backup RB. Draft him with or without rostering Austin Ekeler as he will likely see the field consistently with a high ceiling potential if Ekeler does miss time in 2023.

Seth Diewold – Jerome Ford

The Cleveland Browns said goodbye to Kareem Hunt and didn’t add any running back of significance to their roster. Currently, Jerome Ford projects as the direct handcuff to Nick Chubb in an offense that is going to be involved in some AFC North shootouts this season. While Ford doesn’t have much NFL experience under his belt, it’s safe to say that he has the profile we like to see. Ford scored in the 87th percentile in Speed Score and possesses good size to go along with it. Ford stands 5-11 and weighs in at 210 pounds.

Additionally, Ford proved that he could be an effective pass catcher in college at the University of Cincinnati. While his production did come late in his college career, once he broke out, he really broke out. Ford accounted for 21 receptions in his final year at college, rushed for over 1,300 yards, and scored 19 total touchdowns. Now, the only competition for the RB 2 in Cleveland is Demetric Felton, John Kelly Jr., Hassan Hall, and Jordan Wilkins.

A Locked in Role

This means that even if Chubb is healthy for the entire season, Ford is likely going to be on the field around 30-percent of the time. Chubb’s highest snap share percentage came in 2019 when he was on the field for 71-percent of the snaps. A more realistic scenario is Chubb playing around 60-percent of the snaps, Ford playing 25-30 percent, and the other running backs filling in the voids. In the scenario where Chubb misses time, Ford could have a bell cow role in one of the leagues ascending offenses.

Cleveland also did a nice job of adding to their offense. They brought in Elijah Moore to bolster their receiving corps and drafted Cedric Tillman as well. This is in addition to what they already had – Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and David Njoku. Throw in Nick Chubb into the mix, and the Browns should have one of the more dynamic offenses in the league if Deshaun Watson can return to his former self. This means a lot of red zone opportunities for a team that likes to run the ball. Ford should be a big part of that running game even if Chubb stays healthy for the entire season.

Matt Babich – Chuba Hubbard

Chasing handcuffs can be a futile task in fantasy football if you aren’t focusing on the right details. Everyone wants the replacement to the bell cow, but either that particular superstar stays healthy or, if they do get hurt, the backfield turns into a “specialist backfield” where no one truly leads the charge. The ideal handcuff is one who already owns a share of the offense and would dominate the backfield if there were to be an injury.

Chuba Hubbard has maintained his role in the Panthers’ offense since he was drafted. He established himself as a talent early as a rookie, stepping in as the starter for an injured Christian McCaffrey. In McCaffrey’s absence, Hubbard recorded 10.9 fantasy points per game while earning 13.6 carries per game and a 7.7-percent Target Share. While the entrance of D’Onta Foreman temporarily split up his backup work, the rookie compiled a 40-percent Opportunity Share with five games of three or more targets after the trade of Christian McCaffrey.


While he struggled to display efficiency as a rusher behind a horrid offensive line as a rookie, things clicked for him in year two. In 2022, Hubbard rushed for 4.6 (No. 17) True Yards per Carry and ranked No. 5 among backs with at least 90 carries in Rushing Yards over Expected per Carry. He was also highlighted by NFL’s Cynthia Frelund as the most efficient rusher in 2022 in terms of total distance traveled. He may not be the tackle breaker that D’Onta Foreman is, but he is certainly a better pure rusher. 

Hubbard’s new backfield partner, Miles Sanders, has only recorded one season where he earned a minimum 70-percent Opportunity Share. Despite early camp reports of him being viewed as a three-down back, Sanders is not a bell cow. While his annual contract value makes him a top-10 paid back, it’s actually structured such that they can easily walk away from him at the end of the season. 

The Carolina Panthers are a franchise dedicated to the run game, finishing in the top-15 in team rush attempts in 10 of the last 13 seasons. Frank Riech has also been dedicated to the run game in his tenures with Philadelphia and Indianapolis. Further, running backs under coach Duce Staley historically share the backfield. Hubbard will have his 30-percent Opportunity Share to start the season, and will become a workhorse if Sanders were to succumb to injury. Currently, with a 16th-round Underdog ADP, he is absolutely free in drafts.

Matty Kiwoom- Tyler Allgeier

Handcuff running backs are like high value insurance policies for fantasy football. But the cool thing about these insurance policies is that you do not have to have the player that the policy is for.  Let’s say you invested a lot in a particular running back and want to be sure that if he were to miss time, boom you also have the backup. Personally, I don’t like to bet against the good fortune of my guys. However, I do love rostering handcuffs. You just need one insurance policy to cash and fantasy managers are golden. 

There is one insurance policy that I am taking out wherever possible. The Atlanta Falcons invested at the running back position this past NFL Draft. They selected Bijan Robinson with the No. 8 overall pick. Teams do not always insure their prized players. But in Atlanta’s case, they do. Tyler Allgeier is my favorite handcuff heading into the 2023 fantasy season. 

Run That Ball

Fantasy managers can draft Allgeier in the middle of Round 10. If he gets more playing time than expected (I will not say reasons why that could happen), then he will return value plus some. The Falcons led by head coach, Arthur Smith loves to hashtag establish it. Anyone that may be unfamiliar with the term, it just means they run the football a ton. Atlanta finished No. 1 in team run plays per game last season. 

It’s not just the situation that is appealing about Allgeier. The former BYU Cougar put together a strong rookie season. He ran for 1,035 yards, scored four touchdowns, and finished with a 10 fantasy points per game average. Allgeier also finished the fantasy season strong by averaging 18.3 fantasy points over the final three weeks of the fantasy season. He was efficient too. His 28.8-percent Juke Rate, 65 Evaded Tackles, and 13 Breakaway Runs all were top 15 in the NFL. 

Handcuffs typically become fantasy relevant later in the season. If that is the case for Allgeier, then all the teams that roster him will be ready to smash. Atlanta has the No. 2 easiest Week 17 matchup according to 2022 fantasy points surrendered to running backs. He is not just in position to potentially crush in the fantasy championship but the entire fantasy playoffs because the Falcons have the No. 5 softest rushing schedule from Weeks 15 through 17. Tyler Allgeier is the most valuable insurance policy in fantasy for running backs and that is why he is my preferred handcuff for the 2023 season. 

Matt Babich:

Jason Allwine:

Matty Kiwoom:

Seth Diewold: