Virtually everyone leaves the fantasy draft loving their team.

This is before the unpredictable mayhem ensues that none of us can control. Players get hurt, suspended or lose their starting job weekly.

Ezekiel Elliot/Photo: Twitter @ezekielelliot

Usually, the running back position is affected the most as they endure more physical beating every game from touching the ball so much and getting tackled on 99.9% of the plays they are involved in.

The best way to avoid your team being in turmoil from an injury [see: David Johnson] is to draft players that are in solid situations based on skill, team concept, and for running backs, a good offensive line. You aren’t just drafting a player. You’re drafting a situation. The best thing we can do to control your own destiny is to handcuff your main running backs.

Here is an example of one of my teams where I made sure to draft situations I was confident in, and gave myself some security as well. (I modified a bit to illustrate the most common form of a fantasy lineup, as my league starts two flexes and no kicker)

Starters

QB Andy Dalton

RB Ezekiel Elliott

RB Carlos Hyde

WR Julio Jones

WR Michael Crabtree

Flex Pierre Garcon

TE Julius Thomas

Def Atlanta Falcons

K Brandon McManus

Bench

RB3 Rob Kelley

RB5 Matt Breida

RB6 D’onta Foreman

WR4 Tyler Lockett

WR5 Zay Jones

My two main running backs are Elliot and Hyde, both guaranteed to get 15-20 touches per week in run first offenses. I backed Hyde up with his handcuff Matt Breida. It’s not always going to go the way you want at the draft.

I took Jacquizz Rodgers with a mid-round pick knowing he’s guaranteed to start for Tampa Bay for at least the first few weeks.

Rob Kelley as an RB3 is perfect as I can slide him into my flex if the matchup dictates it, or use him as a bye week filler. I’m not worried about handcuffing Kelley as he’s not an every week starter in a standard lineup.

I also took D’onta Foreman as a late upside pick who is a Lamar Miller injury away from taking the starting job, and I believe he will see his share of touches regardless.

Owning 6 running backs and 5 wide receivers provides solid depth, where an injury won’t derail my season. It’s important to monitor the depth charts as the season goes on to know who your handcuff target should be.

About Don Daniels

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