DeMarco Murray rushed for 253 yards in his first career start for the Dallas Cowboys.
In the National Football League, the running back position can see as many as 30 carries a game. This is exciting for fantasy owners because more rushing attempts typically equals more points (especially if you have an elite rusher like LeSean McCoy or Arian Foster).
The downside to this is that as a guy gets more and more carries, the probability of injury increases. This happens every year. And with it, comes the opportunity for another running back to shine. Players like DeMarco Murray, C.J. Spiller, and Ben Tate all took advantages of these sudden opportunities last season and rewarded every fantasy teams that made the bold decision to place them in the starting lineup.
With the NFL season opener only days away, here are three guys that could catch the football world by surprise.
The Green Bay Packers have one of the best, if not the best, offense in the National Football League, but there is always room for improvement. The area of focus this offseason has been the running game.
James Starks is a big powerful back at 6'2", 220 lbs, and could be the perfect ingredient for success. With two years of experience under his belt and Aaron Rodgers behind center, Starks is in the right scenario to have a breakout season.
C.J. Spiller is a running back that doesn't have the size to run over defenders like Steven Jackson does, but he does have the speed and quickness to get around them (some have compared Spiller's style to that of Chris Johnson).
Starting running back Fred Jackson is coming off a 2011 season that ended in injury. At 31 years of age, Jackson could come back and be the same explosive back he was prior to fracturing his fibula, but there's always the chance that he could struggle, which would open the door for the young, C.J. Spiller.
Donald Brown has had high expectation since the day he was drafted out of the University of Connecticut where he rushed for over 2,000 yards in his senior season. After last year's disaster of a season, the Colts No. 1 overall pick, Andrew Luck, will open the door for Brown in 2012.
Brown is a versatile back that can hit the holes as well as reel in the passes. On Andrew Luck's first career pass in this year's preseason, Brown made the catch and took it 63 yards for the score. Look for this to be a somewhat common occurrence in the 2012 NFL regular season.