I routinely hear that breadcrumbs are added to burgers and meatballs to bind them. For example, see the answers to this question: how to stop meatballs falling apart. On the other hand, I have heard professional chefs say that the bread does not bind the meat. The egg is added to bind, the bread is added as filler.
I have never put bread or breadcrumbs in my meatballs or burgers and I don't have problems with them falling apart. I do however, put an egg yolk in and work them long enough that they don't break when pressure is applied.
So which is it? Filler, binder or both? If it's a binder, by what mechanism does it bind the meat?