When you purchase an expensive item in real life - let's define expensive as anything with at least three digits to the left of the decimal -, there is a good chance somebody on the other end of that sale mentions the idea of purchasing insurance. When it comes to a home or car, this is a no-brainer. The need for such a backup plan becomes less necessary when we starting dropping into the smartphone or television for the guest bedroom range, but still possible.
In the world of fantasy football, running backs are the expensive sports cars, meaning they're flashy and temperamental. But unlike their real world equivalent, some owners get caught without insurance when the car needs repairs or wrecks. Avoid being one of those owners by handcuffing the primary backup to your starting running back.
Now, this doesn't apply in every situation. In some cases, such plans are not reasonable or cost-effective. Owners aren't viewing Shane Vereen as Rashard Jennings mere backup with the Giants. It would be great for Jeremy Hill owners if they also added Giovani Bernard, but the ample usage for both means each of the Bengals runners goes off the board in the top-6 rounds. Depending on the minute or injury report update, either Joique Bell or rookie Ameer Abdullah may be considered the starter in Detroit. Either way, the explosive Abdullah has gained a cult following and might go ahead off Bell regardless of the depth chart.
There are other scenarios where uncertainty reigns. Some teams like the Ravens have multiple players in the mix for the No. 2 RB job and therefore could turn into the unwanted running back by committee. In other cases, the coach has a history of mixing and matching seemingly just to annoy the gamers. I'm looking at you, Bill Belichick. But there are plenty of other instances where the handcuff is clear and a smart investment.
Some fantasy analysts shy away from taking the handcuff for one of their lead runners, preferring instead to play the lottery and hope they land a future starter elsewhere. This can be part of the overall investment plan, but if you want to sleep well at night, add the primary backup for 1-2 of your main running backs when possible.
Right now, only Eddie Lacy owners are thinking about James Starks, Should Green Bay's top back go down, every owner in your league will smell blood and attack the waiver wire like J.J. Watt going after quarterbacks. Make the appropriate investment on draft day and you won't get blindsided should your Porsche blow a tire.