Running backs, running backs, running backs -- everybody knows that fantasy football is centered around running backs. If one of the stud running backs go down, the person that steps in usually becomes an instant fantasy star. So here are the #2 -- and sometimes #3 and #4 - running backs for each team with an assessment of their fantasy value if the number one bites the injury dust.
Buffalo (#1 - Marshawn Lynch) - While everybody is slobbering over Lynch, Anthony Thomas is more than ready to take over. He's rushed for over 1000 yards twice in his career already, and looked good in limited fill-in work for the Bills last year. Thomas is a must-handcuff for anybody who drafts Lynch this season.
Miami (#1 - Ronnie Brown) - The Dolphins have a serious depth problem at running back this season. While Brown is expected to be a fantasy monster this season, his backups are rookie Lorenzo Booker and second-year man Patrick Cobbs. That's a grand total of zero NFL carries between them. That seems like trouble to me, though Booker would likely turn out to be a decent fantasy option because of the great situation in Miami.
New England (#1 - Laurence Maroney) - The Patriots don't have the same problem as the Dolphins. After watching helplessly as Sammy Morris ran for 123 yards against them last year, the Pats grabbed him during the off-season. Morris would be a solid fantasy running back if he took over the #1 slot. In fact, New England may work Morris into the offense even if Maroney is healthy, making Sammy a possible #3 or #4 RB for very large leagues.
New York Jets (#1 - Thomas Jones) - I don't need to tell fantasy players about Leon Washington, one of the best fantasy rookies of 2006. His 650 yard, 4 touchdown season projected out to a very nice 2007 before the Jets traded for Jones. I'm not convinced that Jones will be the sole running back for the Green and White, so drafting Washington as a handcuff to Jones is essential.