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NFC West Key Running Back Handcuffs To Consider

Bryce previews the best handcuff candidate for each NFC West team.

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 25: Kyren Williams #23 of the Los Angeles Rams runs with the ball during the first half of the game against the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium on December 25, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Running back by committee is the new normal so not only do you need to know everything about 32 starting running backs, but you also need to know about 32 backup running backs because more than likely that backup sees meaningful snaps for their team. For the NFC West, all four starting running backs have seen their issues of injuries in the past which could make their backups more relevant than they actually are on any other team. Let’s take a look at the key handcuffs for this division.

Zach Charbonnet, Seattle Seahawks

Charbonnet was drafted in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft as a guy that could spell Kenneth Walker III. The former UCLA Bruin is a strong, downhill runner that improved his pass catching during his senior year. Head coach Pete Carroll even praised Charbonnet for his physicality he displayed during Seattle’s first preseason. With Walker III already dealing with an injury in training camp, the rookie could see an extended amount of snaps to make sure Walker III and Charbonnet are healthy when it comes to playoff time. Charbonnet is fantasy relevant and should be worth a look late in your drafts.

Keaontay Ingram, Arizona Cardinals

Ingram is entering his second year in the league, but barely saw action last season. Ingram carried the ball 27 times in 12 games in 2022, but he did not leave much of an impression. Granted, he lost many carries behind James Conner, Eno Benjamin and Kyler Murray. Now, Ingram finds himself second behind Conner and with Murray set to miss a majority if not all of the upcoming season, Ingram could get more touches this season. However, veteran back Corey Clement and impressive young Ty’Son Williams could find themselves on the field as well. As of right now, Ingram should not be at the top of your deep sleeper list.

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Kyren Williams, Los Angeles Rams

Williams created some buzz last training camp as a rookie, and he appeared in 10 games last season before suffering a season-ending injury. In what was a weird season at the running back position for the Rams in 2022, they hope to have more stability at the position in 2023. Cam Akers seems set to own the Rams backfield, however, Williams has been creating buzz in training camp once again this season currently sitting behind Akers on the depth chart. Williams did not appear in the Rams’ first preseason game which is good news. He could see a good amount of passing down snaps and third down snaps this season. Williams could be an option in many drafts in deeper leagues in later rounds, but keep an eye on him as the season goes on.

Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers

Since Mitchell burst onto the scene during his rookie year in 2021, he has been in and out of the Niners running back rotation due to multiple injuries. Now here we are again with Mitchell missing time in camp due to an abductor injury he has yet to return from. San Francisco acquired perhaps the best running back in the league, Christian McCaffrey midway through the season last year to help with the instability they had at the position. Mitchell is a productive back when he is on the field, but getting him on the field is the biggest “what if.” If Mitchell stays healthy, he definitely belongs on a fantasy roster, however, Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price have made impressions on the coaching staff that could earn them some snaps.

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