Should You Handcuff Your Running Backs? Backfield Stacks and Their Effects on Win Rates
Image Credit: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: James Robinson.

Matt Spencer uses the Best Ball Win Rate Explorer to determine whether handcuffing your RBs is a good strategy. Does it improve your floor or ceiling outcomes? Or is it simply a wasted roster spot?

Football is still a week away and we’ve already lost J.K. Dobbins, Cam Akers, and Travis Etienne Jr., along with another 33 running backs listed on the injury report. If you drafted one of these players, it is incredibly disheartening. In the past, I’ve gotten so frustrated that in the following year’s leagues I drafted handcuffs everywhere. I’ve even went as far as to draft entire backfields in more nebulous running back rooms. If you landed James Robinson last year, I’m certain you spent a great deal of time looking for another diamond in the rough as well.

This year I decided to see what discernable impact drafting handcuffs has on your team.

Best Ball Win Rates

The most effective means for testing if drafting handcuffs is a winning strategy is with historical best ball win rates.

RB Win Rate vs. Other Positions at a Given Pick

Using the Bestball Win Rate Explorer I pulled the average win rate associated with drafting a running back at each given pick when compared to the other positions. The RB dead zone was in full effect last year, indicating that if you drafted an RB in the early rounds, there’s a good chance his backup got meaningful touches at some point. You don’t see such a swath of below-average win rates without several injuries.

However, once you get past the Dead Zone in middle of round nine, it becomes clear that drafting RBs can net you a positive expected value. In 2020, it was beneficial to spend the entire 20th round drafting RBs.

It’s clear that targeting the correct RBs late in drafts can greatly improve your chances of winning. Teams that drafted J.D. McKissic or James Robinson had a win rate over 20% last year! Someone’s handcuff is often a worthwhile pick. The question is, whose?

Whose RBs Do I Handcuff?

Please subscribe For Full Access to all RotoViz content and tools!

 

What’s included in your subscription??

  • Exclusive Access to RotoViz Study Hall
    • A treasure trove of our most insightful articles that will teach you the metrics that matter, time-tested winning strategies, the approaches that will give you an edge, and teach you how to be an effective fantasy manager.
  • Revolutionary Tools
    • Including the NFL Stat Explorer, Weekly GLSP Projections, NCAA Prospect Box Score Scout, Combine Explorer, Range of Outcomes App, DFS Lineup Optimizer, Best Ball Suite,and many, many, more.
  • Groundbreaking Articles
    • RotoViz is home of the original Zero-RB article and continues to push fantasy gamers forward as the go-to destination for evidence-based analysis and strategic advantages.
  • Weekly Projections
    • Built using RotoViz’s unique GLSP approach.
  • Expert Rankings
  • And a whole lot more…

Matt Spencer

Machine Learning Approach to Football Analytics with JavaScript

Crush Your Home League with These Simulations and a Simple Pick Prediction Tool

I don’t care if you are in 100 expert leagues, the one you want to absolutely crush is still that first “home” league you joined with your local friends and family.  No one wants to come into the office after a close loss to your raucous coworker. Which type of draft do you care about more? — Troy King ⚔️?? (@TKingMode) August 22, 2021 If…...

Simulating Optimal Roster Construction With The Scott Fish Bowl

Last week I went through the process of transforming your projections to include expected first downs. Now that Dave Caban dropped the official RotoViz projections, we can explore the snake draft simulation tool I created. I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the Scott Fish Bowl Tournament again this year. One of Scott’s goals with this format is to create a really balanced…...

Estimating Expected First Downs for the Scott Fish Bowl

I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the Scott Fish Bowl Tournament again this year. If you are not familiar, it is a massive charity tournament run by the great Scott Fish to raise money for charity. Among its various eccentricities, the unique scoring is always my favorite part of the tournament. This year it is effectively a half-PPR format with additional points…...

Crush Your Home League with These Simulations and a Simple Pick Prediction Tool

I don’t care if you are in 100 expert leagues, the one you want to absolutely crush is still that first “home” league you joined with your local friends and family.  No one wants to come into the office after a close loss to your raucous coworker. Which type of draft do you care about more? — Troy King ⚔️?? (@TKingMode) August 22, 2021 If…...

Simulating Optimal Roster Construction With The Scott Fish Bowl

Last week I went through the process of transforming your projections to include expected first downs. Now that Dave Caban dropped the official RotoViz projections, we can explore the snake draft simulation tool I created. I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the Scott Fish Bowl Tournament again this year. One of Scott’s goals with this format is to create a really balanced…...

Estimating Expected First Downs for the Scott Fish Bowl

I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the Scott Fish Bowl Tournament again this year. If you are not familiar, it is a massive charity tournament run by the great Scott Fish to raise money for charity. Among its various eccentricities, the unique scoring is always my favorite part of the tournament. This year it is effectively a half-PPR format with additional points…...

The Blitz

Connect
Support

rotovizmain@gmail.com

Sign-up today for our free Premium Email subscription!

Data provided by

© 2021 RotoViz. All rights Reserved.

Welcome Back to RotoViz...

– IF YOU HAVE ISSUES LOGGING IN PLEASE CONTACT ROTOVIZMAIN@GMAIL.COM

– PLEASE NOTE THAT ROTOVIZ USES WORDPRESS FOR ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT. IF RESETTING YOUR PASSWORD YOU MAY BE FOWARDED TO A WORDPRESS PAGE.