Injuries only hurt you if you aren’t prepared.
Fun fact of the day: Football players get hurt often. If you handcuff fantasy sleepers, your season won’t be ruined when the inevitable occurs. Here are a handful of halfbacks that’ll blow up if called upon.
4. Kevin Smith
Average Draft Round (via Yahoo! Sports): 13.3
If you select Jahvid Best, who’s currently going off the board late in the 11th round on average, you need to select Kevin Smith a round or two later because right now, he’s the starter.
Best is still concussed, so who knows if he’ll be back before the season starts. Because of that doubt, you should be comfortable believing that Smith will get more touches than he did in 2011. And when he did touch the ball last year, he took advantage of it.
He averaged 4.9 yards a pop and scored seven total touchdowns in the Detroit Lions’ last six games.
3. C.J. Spiller
Average Draft Round (via Yahoo! Sports): 12.9
Fred Jackson has never been a workhorse back. He has yet to carry the football at least 240 times in a season, so C.J. Spiller will get his looks whether Jackson gets injured or not.
Spiller rushed for 5.2 yards per carry and four touchdowns last season. He also caught 39 balls and two more touchdowns. If Jackson does go down, Spiller has the potential to be a top fantasy producer, especially in points per reception leagues.
2. Peyton Hillis
Average Draft Round (via Yahoo! Sports): 11.2
Peyton Hillis will likely take care of the Kansas City Chiefs' goal-line duties, so that’s why he’s being drafted higher than other handicaps. He’ll be a touchdown machine either way, but if Jamaal Charles goes down again, Hillis will have an opportunity to revert back to his 2010 Chuck Norris-like form.
He was injured last season, got a big head and, remember, he was on the Cleveland Browns. On a more stable franchise, Hillis will be a relevant fantasy option once again.
1. Ben Tate
Average Draft Round (via Yahoo! Sports): 13.2
It’s really a shame that Ben Tate is stuck behind Arian Foster. He’d easily be a first-round fantasy running back if he was a starter—and he could start on plenty of NFL teams.
In the four games that Foster got minimal-to-no playing time, Tate rushed for 398 yards and two touchdowns on 4.9 yards a pop. He nearly rushed for 1,000 yards last season even though he only started two games.
In the 13th round, Tate is phenomenal value.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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