After watching Bryce Brown sparkle against the Panthers on Monday night, Fantasy players should be reminded that it’s very important to have the handcuffs for their top running backs on their rosters. Yet Brown’s performance also raises the question of who could follow him into prominence should they get an opportunity. Here are some of the best backup NFL running backs to have on your Fantasy roster at this time for potential upside. If you don’t have them handcuffed to the current guy ahead of them, you better get them now, because you never know when injuries may force a player into action at RB. And if you have any room to stash them for the stretch run, do it even if you don’t have the RB ahead of them on the current NFL depth chart. I’m only listing guys who have a good shot of being available on your free agent list, not the Michael Bush or Jacquizz Rodgers types. These are RBs who are basically out of Fantasy thought processes in many cases right now, but you should keep them in mind for sure. RBs are listed in order of potential Fantasy impact if needed to start on their teams.
Daryl Richardson: He has fallen off the Fantasy radar in most leagues, but keep him stashed if you can. Steven Jackson has endured injury problems in the past, and Richardson could have huge big-play potential if he ever gets a chance to carry more regularly and gets into a rhythm.
Bernard Pierce, Ravens: He can average better than the 4.2 yards per carry he displays now if Ray Rice went down. Pierce is tenacious and has good vision, and he would be a fine goal-line runner if given the opportunity.
Robert Turbin: Marshawn Lynch’s physical running style could lead to an injury at any time. Turbin is big, fluid and versatile and has started to pick up the Seattle offense more over time. He could be a very good Fantasy starter if he is pressed into action at any point.
Bilal Powell: He is already vulturing goal-line carries from Shonn Greene, but he’s still a free agent in some leagues. If he gets the chance to play more at any point, he’ll show off more juke and spark than Greene and could actually pump some life into a struggling offense.
Ronnie Hillman: Don’t write him off just yet. Knowshon Moreno could easily fizzle quickly, and Hillman may still get an opportunity to flash his considerable promise. The Broncos may not have a choice but to use him more soon. If someone cuts him in your league, pounce and stash.
LeGarrette Blount: Don’t let Doug Martin make you completely forget about Blount. Should the sensational rookie suffer an unfortunate injury, Blount will try to make the most of an audition and a chance to show he can still be effective when called on. He likely wants another opportunity badly and could be a quality flex player if he gets it.
Evan Royster: Mike Shanahan RBs historically take big hits in the open field, and Alfred Morris can be a risk to get injured at any time. Royster has served Shanny well before and could pop into the offense instantly again and post respectable totals.
Cedric Peerman: He is a solid backup for BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and would get a lot more important work than Brian Leonard if BGE went down. Peerman is a strong, determined runner and would at least be an adequate Fantasy option.
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