Stevan Ridley will be doing a lot of this
Backup running backs don't have to have good years based on the injury of a starter. Some backups have good years regardless.
It's also hard to define what a good year for a backup is. Is starting a good year? Or is 500 yards from scrimmage and a couple touchdowns good? The answer is, it's a little bit of both. Some of these guys I think will start and possibly have 1,000 yard-seasons.
Others will have a great role on their team, and create situations that will help their team win.
Ben Tate looked good last year, and he looks great this year.
This preseason, Tate has a combined 20 carries for 147 yards and a touchdown. Derrick Ward is a 31-year-old backup who is technically ahead of Tate on the depth chart.
There's been some speculation that it would likely be a timeshare between Tate and Ward if Arian Foster went down. With the latest rumors that Arian Foster's hamstring could prevent him from starting in Week 1, Ben Tate looks more and more like a guy who could break out this year.
I'm going to outright say it: Bernard Scott will take Cedric Benson's starting job this year.
Bernard Scott has always looked good in the small amount of time he's seen the ball. He's had 61 career carries for 299 yards and a touchdown. That's a 4.9 yards per attempt average, whereas Cedric Benson's career average is 3.7
Benson is also a knucklehead, and Scott might inherit the job due to a suspension.
I could easily see Bernard Scott with a 1,000-yard season. The Bengals will run the ball a lot, and he'll be a big part of that, regardless. At the minimum I think we see 100 carries out of Scott this year, and hopefully that will be enough to bring the Bengals' front office to their senses.
Dexter McCluster has been seeing a lot of preseason action, and it's all looked good.
Hampered by a high ankle sprain for much of his first season, McCluster is a tiny, shifty and fast player. He's had a total of 26 touches in the preseason for 184 yards. Out of those, 12 were rushes and 14 were passes, with 61 yards rushing and 123 yards receiving.
He's been practicing with the running backs for all of training camp, and Todd Haley said he expects McCluster to play a lot of running back. It's a good system for the Chiefs as it keeps Thomas Jones fresh as a backup.
In the end, I'm predicting McCluster will have more total touches than Thomas Jones by the end of the year. I think he would also be the direct backup to Jamaal Charles as his style of play is very similar to Charles.
By drafting Delone Carter, the Colts clearly have little faith in former first-round pick Donald Brown.
Carter is a player who could see the field early and often as not only a situational player, but as the direct backup to the injury-prone Joseph Addai.
Carter rushed for over a 1,000 yards at Syracuse in both 2009 and 2010. His scouting report depicts him as a tough runner who finds the crease and can, at times, carry the team.
He projects as a power runner in a two-back system. Even if Addai stays healthy, there's a good chance he's going to get the majority of the goal-line carries. In the Colts' high-powered offense, that comes out to at least five or six touchdowns.
There's no doubt that the Colts want to run more this year. Carter is definitely a part of that equation.
People think Jacobs is on the back burner to Ahmad Bradshaw, and they would be wrong.
Jacobs carried the ball 147 carries for 823 yards and nine touchdowns. He's a wrecking machine at 6'4" and 264 pounds.
Jacobs will undoubtedly see the end zone this year as a the primary goal-line back. The Giants are a running team, and this will be another 120-plus carry season with 700 yards and six touchdowns.
Don't sleep on Jacobs in your fantasy draft. If Ahmad Bradshaw were to go down, you'd be seeing his name an awful lot rolling across the ticker.
Ridley, for all intents and purposes, is a more talented version of BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Bill Bellichick tends to rotate offensive players a lot, as they did with Danny Woodhead and Ellis last year. It doesn't really make sense to keep using BenJarvus Green-Ellis after drafting two running backs in the second and third round this year.
All the pieces are lining up for Ridley to be the Pats' primary short-yardage back. He's making a case for himself. In his first two preseason games, and the only ones he played in, he had a combined 30 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown.
When Ridley hits the field this year, know his name.
Daniel Thomas was all the buzz in the fantasy world before Week 1 of the preseason. Then he had three carries in which he failed to punch in a touchdown from one yard out.
The consensus seems to be that Daniel Thomas is overwhelmed.
The good news for Thomas is that it's not an indictment of his ability. There have been plenty of running backs that haven't figured it out as soon as they hit the NFL field, and most of them had the benefit of an offseason.
Once the season begins to role on, we'll see less and and less of Reggie Bush and more and more of Daniel Thomas. They drafted him to be an immediate impact, especially near the goal line. I wouldn't be surprised to see Thomas with eight or nine touchdowns this season (assuming Miami can actually get to the goal line).