Those are just a few of the big-name fantasy running backs who endured injuries that cost them multiple games during the course of last season. If you were one of the poor souls who owned one of those runners and didn't have their immediate backup (or "handcuff"), well, you were likely in a world of backfield hurt. So while the value of the position is on the rise as a whole, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't insure your most valuable fantasy runners.
Here's a look at the backfield situations for all 32 NFL teams and what it means for your fantasy draft.
Projected starter: 1. Rashard Mendenhall
Backups: 2. Ryan Williams, 3. Stepfan Taylor, 4. Andre Ellington
2013 Outlook: Cardinals coach Bruce Arians likes to use a featured back, and he has ties to Mendenhall from their time together in Pittsburgh. If he can avoid the trainer's room, Mendenhall, should return flex-starter totals as a middle-round pick. Williams, who has missed most of the first two years of his NFL career, will compete with Mendenhall for carries in camp but isn't going to warrant more than a late-round flier. Taylor and Ellington are on the radar, but not draftable in most seasonal formats.
Projected starter: 1. Steven Jackson
Backups: 2. Jacquizz Rodgers, 3. Jason Snelling, 4. Antone Smith
2013 Outlook: Jackson, 30, will look to have his fantasy appeal resurrected in Atlanta. The owner of eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, the veteran should have no problem posting his ninth such year while also increasing his touchdown totals. Remember, Michael Turner scored no fewer than 10 rushing touchdowns in five years with the team. Rodgers is too small to be a featured back at the pro level, so he'll be used primarily in the passing game and will have more value in PPR leagues.
Projected starter: 1. Ray Rice
Backups: 2. Bernard Pierce, 3. Anthony Allen, 4. Delone Carter
2013 Outlook: Rice has finished in the top 10 in fantasy points in each of the last four years, and at 26 there's no reason to believe that he'll experience a decline in statistical success. Pierce did see more touches as last season wore on, but it's tough to envision a scenario where he would put a big enough dent into Rice's touches to significantly affect his value. The Rutgers product is a lock to be drafted in the first round across the board, while Pierce will have middle- to late-round value in most drafts.
Projected starter: 1. C.J. Spiller
Backups: 2. Fred Jackson, 3. Tashard Choice, 4. Zach Brown
2013 Outlook: Spiller is coming off a career season that saw him rank among the top-10 players at his position based on fantasy points. He also averaged more fantasy points per touch than any other back in the top 10. He'll see the lion's share of the work under new coach Doug Marrone and is a surefire first-rounder. Jackson, 32, is coming off an injury-plagued campaign and has missed a combined 12 games over the last two years. He's more valuable as a handcuff for Spiller owners at this point in time.
Projected starter: 1. DeAngelo Williams
Backups: 2. Mike Tolbert, 3. Kenjon Barner, 4. Tauren Poole
2013 Outlook: The Panthers backfield will remain a mess this season, at least for fantasy owners. Williams restructured his contract and is the current favorite to start with Jonathan Stewart (ankle) on the PUP list, but at 30 he's no longer much of a fantasy contributor. Consider him a viable low-end flex starter in drafts. You also have to factor in the presence of Cam Newton, one of the league's best rushing quarterbacks, and fullback Mike Tolbert (7 TDs in 2012). In all, Stewart has the most value in drafts.
Projected starter: 1. Matt Forte
Backups: 2. Michael Bush, 3. Michael Ford, 4. Armando Allen
2013 Outlook: Forte is locked and loaded as the top back in Chicago, and the presence of new coach Marc Trestman should mean an increase in receptions for the veteran out of Tulane. With the tools to post 50-plus catches and well over 1,400 scrimmage yards, Forte should remain a high-end No. 2 fantasy runner with added value in PPR leagues. He could lose some short-yardage and goal-line work to Bush, who was non-existent last season and has little more than handcuff value for owners who land Forte.
Projected starter: 1. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Backups: 2. Giovani Bernard, 3. Rex Burkhead, 4. Dan Herron
2013 Outlook: Green-Ellis has been a serviceable runner for fantasy owners in each of the last two seasons, but his arrow is pointing down heading into the 2013 campaign. Not only have his touchdown totals dropped in each of the last three seasons (13 in 2010 to six in 2012), but the addition of rookie Giovani Bernard doesn't bode well for his future prospects. The Law Firm should still handle the early-down and goal-line work, but Bernard will tap into the third-down and passing-down work.
Projected starter: 1. Trent Richardson
Backups: 2. Brandon Jackson, 3. Miguel Maysonet, 4. Chris Ogbonnaya
2013 Outlook: One of the biggest stories to follow in the coming weeks is the health of Richardson. A top-10 fantasy running back as a rookie, he's expected to be out until training camp (or even August) with leg ailments. If he's cleared for work and at 100 percent, the Alabama product will be well worth a first-round pick as a No. 1 runner with major upside in the stat sheets. His immediate backup is Jackson, who has some handcuff value in deeper leagues but hasn't shown much at the NFL level.
Projected starter: 1. DeMarco Murray
Backups: 2. Lance Dunbar, 3. Joseph Randle, 4. Phillip Tanner
2013 Outlook: Murray has Texas-sized upside both on the field and in fantasy leagues, but his proneness to injuries at the pro level has been troublesome. He's missed a combined nine games - including six last year - due to various ailments. If he can avoid the trainer's room, Murray has high-end No. 2 fantasy back upside - but that's a big if. Dunbar looks like the favorite to back up Murray, but he's dealing with a sprained foot and is likely to be questionable for Week 1.
Projected starter: 1. Montee Ball
Backups: 2. Ronnie Hillman, 3. Knowshon Moreno, 4. Lance Ball
2013 Outlook: The Broncos backfield is crowded, but it appears this unit is going to a youth movement for the 2013 season. In fact, the addition of the rookie Ball and release of veteran Willis McGahee makes it imminent. Hillman could end up second on the depth chart and in a change-of-pace role, but that depends on what the team does with Moreno, who is coming back from yet another knee ailment. This is clearly a situation to monitor, but Ball is the runner to target in this offensive attack.
Projected starter: 1. Reggie Bush
Backups: 2. Joique Bell, 3. Mikel Leshoure, 4. Theo Riddick
2013 Outlook: Bush revitalized his value in Miami, and now he'll be in a position to post big reception and yardage totals with the Lions. Whether or not he can avoid injuries playing on turf - that was a problem in New Orleans - remains to be seen, but Bush is the clear fantasy back to target on this roster. Bell, now second on the depth chart, should spell the veteran and is now ahead of Leshoure on the team's depth chart. He's also the preferred handcuff for Bush in all fantasy leagues.
Green Bay Packers:
Projected starter: 1. Eddie Lacy
Backups: 2. Johnathan Franklin, 3. Alex Green, 4. James Starks
2013 Outlook: Lacy looks like the best bet to start in the backfield for coach Mike McCarthy, though fellow rookie Franklin had also drawn the praises of scouts and coaches. If Lacy earns the top spot on the depth chart to go along with goal-line work, he'll have middle-round value as a borderline No. 2 or 3 runner. Franklin, a deep sleeper candidate, would then warrant a late-round flier. As for Green and James Starks, well, their run of being on the fantasy radar appears to be all but over.
Projected starter: 1. Arian Foster
Backups: 2. Ben Tate, 3. Deji Karim, 4. Cierre Wood
2013 Outlook: The best running back in fantasy football over the last three years combined, Foster is a lock to be one of the first 10 players pick in drafts. Of course, that's all contingent on his return from a calf he injured during OTAs. Assuming he has no setbacks, there's no reason to believe Foster won't continue to post monster totals. Tate, who missed part of last season due to injuries, will also see work but not enough to be more than a handcuff for owners who land Foster.
Projected starter: 1. Ahmad Bradshaw
Backups: 2. Vick Ballard, 3. Donald Brown, 4 Kerwynn Williams
2013 Outlook: Bradshaw looks like the favorite to start for coach Chuck Pagano, though Ballard is also going to be in the backfield mix in some capacity. Still, the veteran out of Marshall figures to lead all backs in carries - that assumes he can avoid injuries, of course. Consider him a low-end No. 2 fantasy runner in the middle rounds of most 2013 drafts. As for Ballard, his stock took a major dive with the addition of Bradshaw. Instead of a potential sleeper, he's now worth more of a late-round look.
Projected starter: 1. Maurice Jones-Drew
Backups: 2. Justin Forsett, 3. Jordan Todman, 4. Denard Robinson
2013 Outlook: The Jaguars backfield is all about the status of fantasy enthusiast Jones-Drew, who missed most of last season with an injured foot that required a surgical procedure to correct. If he's back at 100 percent and in training camp on time, "Pocket Hercules" could be worth as much as a second-round pick as a No. 2 runner in what is a contract year. Forsett currently looks like the top handcuff, but he would likely share the workload with Robinson in the event of Jones-Drew's absence.
Kansas City Chiefs:
Projected starter: 1. Jamaal Charles
Backups: 2. Knile Davis, 3. Shaun Draughn, 4. Cyrus Gray
2013 Outlook: New coach Andy Reid had a reputation for not running the ball enough in Philadelphia, but his backs saw plenty of opportunities as receivers out of the backfield. That's good news for Charles, who should be in line to push the career-best 45 catches he had in 2010. He'll be one of the first 10 players drafted in both standard and PPR leagues. Davis, a rookie out of Arkansas, looks like the favorite to open the season as Charles' immediate backup. His value is limited to much deeper leagues.
Projected starter: 1. Lamar Miller
Backups: 2. Daniel Thomas, 3. Mike Gillislee, 4. Jonas Gray
2013 Outlook: One of the biggest sleepers in fantasy football, Miller is the favorite to start for the Dolphins and could be the next of many solid runners to out of "The U" in the last two decades. He averaged close to five yards per carry in limited time as a rookie and now has the advantage of playing the easiest schedule (based on fantasy points) among runners in 2013. Thomas will compete with Gillislee in training camp for the second spot on the depth chart. Both have flier value.
Projected starter: 1. Adrian Peterson
Backups: 2. Toby Gerhart, 3. Matt Asiata, 4. Joe Banyard
2013 Outlook: The Vikings ran the football 486 times last season - 348 of those attempts, or close to 72 percent, went to Peterson. That's almost miraculous when you consider he had a major knee reconstruction less than a year prior. He's likely to see a huge percentage of the carries once again in 2013 and won't last past the second overall pick in most drafts. Gerhart will once again be the main handcuff, but he isn't likely to even be drafted in most leagues due to Peterson's 2012 success.
New England Patriots:
Projected starter: 1. Stevan Ridley
Backups: 2. Shane Vereen, 3. LeGarrette Blount, 4. Brandon Bolden
2013 Outlook: Did you know that no team scored more rushing touchdowns (25) than the Patriots last season? This offense should continue to use the run to balance their attack, so 2012 sleeper Stevan Ridley should continue to see more than his share of work. He finished 11th in points among runners last season. With Danny Woodhead no longer in the mix, Vereen will move up the depth chart and into the sleeper discussion. Blount, acquired in the offseason, is a player to watch.
New Orleans Saints:
Projected starter: 1. Pierre Thomas
Backups: 2. Darren Sproles, 3. Mark Ingram, 4. Travaris Cadet
2013 Outlook: Ingram ran with the threes in minicamps, slotted behind both Thomas and Sproles. However the depth chart is structured, the roles will remain the same. Sproles, 30, is going to be used as a pass-catching offensive sparkplug who should continue to hold flex-starter appeal in standard formats and No. 2 running back value in PPR leagues. The real question mark is the Ingram and Thomas competition - the Saints want to run the ball more in 2013, so the eventual starter could be a draft bargain.
New York Giants:
Projected starter: 1. David Wilson
Backups: 2. Andre Brown, 3. Da'Rei Scott, 4. Michael Cox
2013 Outlook: The G-Men will field one of the biggest sleepers in fantasy football this season, as the offseason release of Ahmad Bradshaw will mean a bigger role for Wilson. A speedster who put up five yards per carry as a rookie, he could emerge into a viable No. 2 fantasy runner this season. Wilson will lose some short-yardage and goal-line work to Brown, who is worth a late-round look after what was a career year in 2012. Brown hasn't been durable at the NFL level, though, so there's some risk with him.
New York Jets:
Projected starter: 1. Chris Ivory
Backups: 2. Bilal Powell, 3. Kahlil Bell, 4. Mike Goodson
2013 Outlook: The Jets don't have a whole lot to like from a fantasy standpoint heading into 2013 - well, all except for Ivory. Buried on the depth chart in New Orleans for the last three seasons, he's now the favorite to lead Gang Green in backfield attempts. Boasting a career average of over five yards per carry with the Saints, Ivory could develop into one of the year's best sleeper/breakout candidates. Powell looks like the No. 2 back at this point, especially with Goodson suspended four games.
Projected starter: 1. Darren McFadden
Backups: 2. Rashad Jennings, 3. Jeremy Stewart, 4. Marcel Reece
2013 Outlook: McFadden is one of the biggest risk-reward running backs in fantasy football. He's loaded with talent and entering a contract year, but he's been unable to avoid the trainer's room. In fact, he has never played in more than 13 games. He's worth a look as a No. 2 back in drafts, but owners need to keep close tabs on the battle behind him. The Raiders added Jennings in the offseason, and the fullback Reece was McFadden's handcuff last season. Monitor this backfield during camp.
Projected starter: 1. LeSean McCoy
Backups: 2. Bryce Brown, 3. Chris Polk, 4. Matthew Tucker
2013 Outlook: New coach Chip Kelly loves to use his running backs on offense, which was apparent in the gangbusters numbers LaMichael James recorded while at Oregon. That's exciting for the fantasy prospects of McCoy, who is coming off a disappointing 2012 campaign but is now in a position to rebound. He'll be a first-round pick in most leagues. Brown remains the favorite to back up McCoy, making him worth a late-round look or handcuff for owners who land the former Pittsburgh standout.
Projected starter: 1. Isaac Redmanl
Backups: 2. Jonathan Dwyer, 3. La'Rod Stephens-Howling, 4. Felix Jones
2013 Outlook: If we learned anything last season, it's that rookies can make an immediate fantasy impact under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, Le'Veon Bell injured his foot during the preseason and will miss at least the first six weeks of his rookie year. That leaves Redman, Dwyer and Stephens-Howling to compete in a messy backfield committee. This is a situation to avoid in fantasy leagues, as there won't be much in terms of consistent production from any one player.
San Diego Chargers:
Projected starter: 1. Ryan Mathews
Backups: 2. Danny Woodhead, 3. Ronnie Brown, 4. Fozzy Whitaker
2013 Outlook: Mathews has been a massive disappointment both on the field and in fantasy land - he had more collarbone fractures than touchdowns last season - so it's tough to recommend him as much more than a potential flex starter in 2013. The addition of Woodhead makes it very unlikely that Mathews will see much work in passing situations or on third downs, which further puts a dent into his value. Woodhead, who ranked in the top 25 in fantasy points among backs in 2012, will have late-round value.
San Francisco 49ers:
Projected starter: 1. Frank Gore
Backups: 2. Kendall Hunter, 2. LaMichael James, 4. Anthony Dixon
2013 Outlook: Gore continues to produce at a high level, as he's rushed for over 1,200 yards with a combined 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Whether he can find success in his age-30 year remains to be seen, but he'll be tough to pass on in one of the first four rounds as a No. 2 fantasy runner. Hunter looks like the favorite to back him up, barring any setbacks in his return from an Achilles' ailment. James will also see some work, but neither runner is worth more than a flier.
Projected starter: 1. Marshawn Lynch
Backups: 2. Robert Turbin, 3. Christine Michael, 4. Spencer Ware
2013 Outlook: Lynch has resurrected his NFL career - and fantasy football value - in the Great Northwest. His fantasy point totals have increased in each of the last three years, and at the age of 27 he's still in the prime of his career. The Cal product is a lock to be one of the first eight players picked in drafts, both standard and PPR. Turbin still has the inside track on the second spot on the Seahawks' depth chart, but he'll face some competition in the form of Michael, a rookie out of Texas A&M.
St. Louis Rams:
Projected starter: 1. Daryl Richardson
Backups: 2. Isaiah Pead, 3. Zac Stacy, 4. Benny Cunningham
2013 Outlook: This is one of the biggest camp battles to watch, as Pead and Richardson will duke it out for the right to start for coach Jeff Fisher. Richardson, who showed some flashes of potential last season, could be the favorite with Pead suspended for Week 1. However, that doesn't mean he's a lock to retain a featured role. The Rams also added Stacy, a rookie out of Vanderbilt, who will no doubt also be allowed a chance to show off his skills in camp. The eventual winner will have real sleeper appeal.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Projected starter: 1. Doug Martin
Backups: 2. Mike James, 3. Peyton Hillis, 4. Brian Leonard
2013 Outlook: Martin, the second-leading runner based on fantasy points last season, is the lone captain of the Buccaneers' backfield ship heading into 2013. The "Muscle Hamster" won't see much in terms of competition for carries, as Blount was traded to New England in the offseason. James has received some buzz as a sixth-round pick out of Miami (FL) and looks like he'll be in the mix, but Hillis is also in the competition. Neither has much value in fantasy leagues outside of a serious Martin ailment.
Projected starter: 1. Chris Johnson
Backups: 2. Shonn Greene, 3. Darius Reynaud, 4. Jalen Parmele
2013 Outlook: The addition of Greene means a potential decrease in short-yardage and goal-line work for Johnson, but he's still going to be the featured back in Tennessee. CJ2K should also have a much better line in front of him with the additions of veteran Andy Levitre and rookie Chance Warmack, but it's tough to envision a scenario where he re-emerges into an elite fantasy runner. Consider him in the second or third round. As for Greene, he's gone from a starter to a backup and now has late-round value.
Projected starter: 1. Alfred Morris
Backups: 2. Roy Helu, 3. Evan Royster, 4. Chris Thompson
2013 Outlook: Morris registered a monster rookie campaign on the stat sheets with over 1,600 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Whether he can duplicate that level of success remains to be seen, but there has been a good trend of rookies who rush for over 1,400 playing well again the following season. As a result, Morris won't last past Round 2 in most leagues. Royster and Helu will battle for the second spot on the depth chart, but neither will be drafted or hold much value with Morris ahead of them on the depth chart.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!