Roster these wide receiver handcuffs
Last week we delved into running back handcuffs to determine which backup had the best chance of helping you in the second half. Unfortunately, that article became a little too relevant after Week 8 as we lost Le’Veon Bell and Khiry Robinson for the season and Matt Forte for an undetermined amount of time. I encourage you to read the article if you missed it because it’s just so important to have depth at the position.
This week I’d like to look at wide receivers, who have also had their share of calamities. Last week was the end of Keenan Allen’s and Steve Smith’s season and the list of receivers that have missed at least a game thus far is formidable: Dez Bryant, Alshon Jeffrey, Mike Evans, Jeremy Maclin, John Brown, Sammy Watkins, Vincent Jackson, Eric Decker, Desean Jackson, Kendall Wright (out this week), Anquan Boldin, Steve Johnson and Nelson Agholor.
It’s much more difficult to predict the ramifications of an injury to a top wideout than a running back. Teams may choose to lessen their reliance on the pass or simply spread it around more. Some bench receivers are more capable of breaking out while others can just hold the fort.
The Tamme Index reflects this difference. Whereas the running back list has a number of players you could confidently assume to move into RB2 or Flex roles in the event of an injury, the majority of the receivers are listed as bench or speculative adds. While the index shows a handful of third running backs, the receivers list is virtually all third receivers since each team starts two. This gives a pass catcher twice the chance of moving into the starting lineup but it’s still ambiguous as to how much of a role they would play.