If you play fantasy football, then you already know all about handcuffs in fantasy. My definition of a handcuff is a player who is one injury away (to another player) from potentially exploding in an increased role, and the best ones are usually found behind high-usage players who leave behind a massive hole in the rotation when they go down. In other words, a handcuff is basically an insurance policy for certain players. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the best handcuffs around and let’s hear some thoughts from the Rotoworld hoops crew. I’ll start things off this week…
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
Terrence Jones- To me, Jones is the best handcuff in all of fantasy basketball. We all know that Anthony Davis isn’t the most durable player and it seems like he’s a shut-down candidate every season when his team is not expected to make the playoffs. Jones’ usage rate rises from 19.1 to 23.8 when Davis is off the court. Jones has posted some monster lines in games that Davis has missed including a 36-point game against the Cavaliers on Jan. 23 with 11 rebounds, three blocks, two steals, one assist and three 3-pointers. Stud.
Willie Reed- Hassan Whiteside finally had a big game on Wednesday with 18 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks, but he hasn’t looked healthy for the most part recently and the Heat’s fluky nine-game winning streak doesn’t change the fact that Whiteside is a shut-down candidate. Reed is averaging 14.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.6 blocks and 0.6 steals as a starter this season and is definitely worth owning if Whiteside is on your roster.
Cole Aldrich- This one is for the owners of Karl-Anthony Towns. Aldrich basically has no standalone value because he’s averaging 4.4 minutes per game over his last five, but let’s not forget what he did last season. He made five starts in place of DeAndre Jordan on the Clippers in 2-15-16, averaging 15.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.4 blocks and 2.4 steals on 63.5 percent shooting. If you’re in very deep league and Towns is the best player on your team, Aldrich could keep you afloat if KAT ever misses time. Just keep in mind that Towns has yet to miss a game in his NBA career.
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Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)
I agree on Terrence Jones being a clear choice for Handcuff #1. Especially since he still has some value even with Davis healthy. Since the start of January, Davis has only missed two games. And Jones, despite some inconsistency, has averaged 13.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 0.8 spg and 1.1 bpg during that time.
There's also of course Brandon Jennings, who backs up a guy named Derrick Rose. Jennings' last three games with Rose out feature plenty of good numbers (15.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 7.7 apg, 3.3 spg and 2.0 3s), as well as one very bad one: 26.2 percent from the field on 14.0 attempts per game. For the season, Jennings is shooting just 37.5 percent, which is the big drawback to an otherwise exciting backup plan.
Another name I'll throw out there is Justin Hamilton. Brook Lopez has been pretty durable this season, but should he get hurt or shut down, Hamilton could step into some nice numbers. Per-36 minutes, he has posted 12.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 0.9 spg, 1.3 bpg and 1.7 3s.
Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)
Willy provides some insurance for two Knicks starters: Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah. KP has been dealing with a nagging Achilles injury for over a month now. Noah, as we know, has been dinged up for the better part of the last two years. Meanwhile, Willy has been balling. Over his last eight games, Hernangomez is averaging 10.0 points (shooting 51.6 percent from the floor and 87.5 percent from the free-throw line) and 10.3 rebounds, despite playing just 19.6 minutes per night. Over the last two weeks, he’s one of only 14 players in the league averaging a double-double. Over the last month, he’s averaging 16.0 points and 16.2 rebounds per-36 minutes. DeAndre Jordan is the only player averaging more rebounds per-36 minutes during that stretch (Andre Drummond ranks third). If either KP or Noah misses time, Hernangomez becomes a valuable fantasy commodity.
Another Knick starter with a history of injury problems is Derrick Rose. Enter Brandon Jennings, who is the only other reliable point guard on the Knicks roster. With Rose sidelined this past week, Jennings has shown the kind of numbers he is capable of producing when handed heavy minutes. On the season, he is averaging 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.0 rebounds over 37.6 minutes in games he has started.
Anthony Davis is a stud, but his owners can’t help but feel anxious every time he steps on the floor. One way to calm those nerves would be to purchase an insurance policy in the form of Terrence Jones. Jones has started nine games this season and is averaging 18.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists in those nine starts.
Jared Johnson (@JaredJ831)
I already view Seth Curry as a must-own guy, but if you own Deron Williams (toe), it becomes even more imperative to also have The Other Curry on your squad. Williams has spent the past four games on the sidelines, and with J.J. Barea (calf) also out that has opened up 35.7 minutes a night for Seth and he's responded with averages of 18.3 points, 4.8 boards, 4.8 dimes, 1.5 steals, 3.0 triples and 2.3 turnovers per game on 46.0 percent shooting, which has been good enough for top-55 value in standard 9-cat leagues. The Mavs have also gone on a three-game winning streak with Williams on the sidelines, which might have Dallas thinking about trading away their former All-Star guard to start building towards the future (Williams' name has popped up in the rumor mill). So whether it's a trade or a nagging injury, I just don't see Williams on the floor for Dallas during the final stretch of the season, and it'll be Curry benefiting most while he's out.
Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)
Terrence Jones- See: Davis, Anthony.