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Next Year's Sleepers - Running Backs

I hope everybody is having a food-fueled Happy Thanksgiving.  Between the turkey and the stuffing and three - count 'em three! - games today, there's no reason to get off the couch.

I'll be away on a Thanksgiving trip for the rest of the weekend as my company miraculously gives us tomorrow off.  I'll be back with more on Monday.

Running backs are the most coveted position in fantasy football, so it's nearly impossible to find a running back that isn't on somebody's radar already.  These guys aren't going to be unknowns next season, but if you can grab them now and stash them on your roster, you'll be ahead of everybody next July.

Kolby Smith, Kansas City - With Priest Holmes going back to the museum, it's now just Larry Johnson and Smith in the Chiefs' backfield.  The pessimistic scenario for next season is that Smith sits on the bench while LJ takes all the carries.  More likely is that Smith and Johnson share carries next season.  The optimisitic scenario (for Smith owners) is that LJ wears down and Smith gets the job.  He gets his first audition at the starting job this week, so his "sleeper" tag may further disappear.

Maurice Morris, Seattle - Here's another sleeper that's starting this week, but come next year everybody will be talking about how Shaun Alexander is "back" and "healthy" and "looks great".  Bah, that's what they said this year.  There's a big difference between going into the draft thinking Morris is a nice handcuff and expecting Morris to start a portion (maybe a large portion) of the season.

Adrian Peterson, Chicago - While there's always room in fantasy football for another Adrian Peterson, he's serving as a placeholder for "the guy(s) replacing Cedric Benson".  Benson is off to yet another disappointing season and it's likely the Bears will end up splitting carries next year, assuming they don't outright replace Benson.  Peterson has had little impact this season, though his 144 rushing yards are better than more-hyped RBs like Brandon Jackson and Leon Washington.  It could be Peterson that takes control in Chicago, it could be somebody else.  It probably won't be Benson.