Around this time of year, NFL fans are hard at work trying to find handcuffs for their fantasy football teams. A handcuff is a current backup that you draft as insurance should the starter in front of him get hurt. There are several worthy handcuff candidates to consider this year, whether it be Bishop Sankey, Carlos Hyde or someone else. There is one player in particular that you should be targeting as a handcuff though. That player is Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West.
At first glance, you may not be in love with having a Browns RB on your fantasy team. That concern is warranted too. However, West has immense upside regardless of the team he happens to play for. He has the size at 5-foot-11, 223 pounds, speed (4.54 40-yard dash time) and receiving ability to be a potential feature back in the league. Right now though, he will open the season as the No. 2 back behind Ben Tate.
Speaking of Tate, he is perhaps the biggest reason that West is the perfect handcuff. Although Tate is a solid back, he just never seems to stay healthy. In fact, through three seasons, he has yet to play a full 16-game season. It is not a matter of if, but a matter of when Tate gets hurt again this year. When that time comes, it will open the door for West to take over as the lead back, at least temporarily.
Another very good thing about West’s fantasy prospects is the lack of quality running backs behind him. In Cleveland, once you get past West and Tate on the depth chart, you are left with mediocre options in Isaiah Crowell and Winston Glenn. Let’s face it, none of those players are even close to a threat to supplant West as the No. 2 option. His job will be safe for the entire season as a No. 2 right out of the gate.
Even if Tate were to somehow stay healthy, West would be splitting carries with him. For fantasy owners, a timeshare would be the worst case scenario. The best case would be to have Tate get hurt, allowing West to steal the No. 1 spot. The rookie is worth drafting as a late-round flier in all leagues, especially for Tate owners. He could earn RB2 status at some point this year in standard leagues, while in PPR formats he could approach low-end RB1 value if Tate misses time.