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FFL: The Lockdown

Updated: August 23, 2006, 3:02 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN Fantasy Games
Few things are as painful in fantasy football as building your team around one or two star players, having one of them get hurt and then watching as another owner reaps the benefits of having had his backup. That's why it's important to back up your most important players, ensuring that if the worst should happen, at least you won't have the double whammy of losing a player and missing out on the benefactor of his injury.

In fantasy football, such backup types often earn the catchy nickname "handcuffs," for the way they help you lock together two players who comprise a certain position on an NFL team, or as I've come to call them over the years, "insurance," for obvious reasons. Whichever term you prefer, knowing which players most need insuring, which players make worthy insurance picks and when to draft handcuffs is a key part of your draft-day strategy.

To help you on your way, I've ranked below my eight most important handcuff players. Now, keep in mind that while I do take into account the players' overall talent, the primary basis for these rankings are for insurance purposes for your starters. It doesn't necessarily mean that the backup player is guaranteed any starts all year, but rather simply indicates the level of importance in getting him if you own the starter ahead of him.

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