One need only look at the injury riddled year it was for running backs in 2011 to see how handcuffing a backup could save your season. Just look at the names of some of the backs that suffered an injury which in most cases required surgery:
- Jamaal Charles-Chiefs– Torn left ACL
- Adrian Peterson-Vikings– Torn left ACL; Meniscus Damage
- Rashard Mendenhall-Steelers– Torn right ACL
- Jahvid Best-Lions– Multiple concussions (missed 10 games in 2011)
- Beanie Wells-Cardinals– Right knee surgery
- Knowshon Moreno-Broncos– Torn right ACL
- Mark Ingram-Saints– Turf toe; Knee injury (played in only 10 games in 2011)
Consider this; how many times does a QB get hit or sacked in a game? How many times does a wideout get tackled in a game? And then, how many times does a featured back get tackled in a game? Clearly the RB gets the most hits because he controls the ball longer and gets the most carries of anyone on the team. The QB, of course handles the ball on every play but he has protection from his linemen and does not hold it for any length of time. So with this scenario it’s logical that the RB will suffer the most injuries of any player on the field.
What we’re recommending is that you handcuff a featured back with his backup at some point during the season if you see that they’re available on waivers. Or if your league offers a greater amount of bench players, then you would benefit greatly if you can stash one safely in case your back misses any time. Production lost when you lose a RB to injury can have a tremendous impact on your team.
- We’ve put together eight backups to the top featured backs for you to consider and at least have with you when you draft. (We did not list RB Toby Gerhart, Adrian Peterson’s backup because he is coming off of a knee injury (sprained MCL) suffered in week 17 last season and although he’ll fill in for Peterson should he start the season on the PUP, we’re not that high on him)
Featured Back Backup
- Arian Foster Ben Tate
- LeSean McCoy Dion Lewis
- Maurice Jones-Drew Rashad Jennings
- Chris Johnson Javon Ringer
- Marshawn Lynch Robert Turbin
- Darren McFadden Taiwan Jones*
- Ray Rice Bernard Pierce
- Steven Jackson Isaiah Pead
*There have been some reports that Mike Goodson would be McFadden’s backup but Jones is more likely to get the nod.
Hopefully you won’t have the need to employ the services of these backups, but isn’t it nice to know that they’re there in case you do? Consider them as an insurance policy…