Solid, consistent running backs have been in high demand but limited supply, and have fantasy owners reaching for handcuffs in the pass-first NFL. Many have even taken chances on rookies filling in for proven but injured starters.
In Week 2 New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw left with a neck injury, and his status for the coming week is uncertain. Same could be said for San Diego's Ryan Matthews, who has been injure prone during his short three year career, and has yet to play this season.
Below are several players who could and will fill-in for any top tailback currently injured, or whose production has dipped, and also a reliable handcuff.
Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants
Brown, who has had only 15 carries during his two year career, took over for Bradshaw and scored twice Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, finishing with 71 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, and added two catches for 19 yards. Bradshaw's return is still up in the air, so grab Brown as insurance.
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Jackie Battle, RB, San Diego Chargers
Battle had 69 yards and two touchdowns, both in the red zone. Even if Matthews comes back soon, he could still be a valuable threat for at least one touchdown per game.
Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans
Perhaps the ultimate handcuff, Tate can rack up tons of garbage time yards and has proven he can reach the end zone. On many teams he would be their No. 1 back right now.
His line on Sunday: 12 carries for 74 yards and two touchdowns, 4 catches for 23 yards. Tate hits every category owners need.
Isaac Redman, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall's ACL tear has him on the sidelines, and while the Steelers have spread the ball all over the field, Redman is still the starter and has breakaway speed that some of their other backs, like Jonathan Dwyer, do not have.
Jason Snelling, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Starter Michael Turner was arrested for a DUI after the Falcons win over the Denver Broncos. Depending on how the case works out, Turner could face a suspension from the league. Snelling has been Atlanta's go to when they've limited Turner's carries, and the same should hold true for any Turner owners.