Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells is off to a scorching start in 2011 as the lead back. He has 183 rushing yards on an average of 5.7 yards per carry and two touchdowns.
Unfortunately for both Arizona and fantasy owners alike, Wells tweaked his hamstring in practice this week. While he is expected to play on Sunday, he won't be 100 percent.
Wells has already proven throughout his young career that he does not play well at all when he's not at full health. He played much of 2010 with an injury and only averaged 3.4 yards per carry.
The hamstring injury he has now, combined with the pretty good run-defense of Seattle, makes Wells a risky fantasy play in Week 3. The injury is also something that could linger, making it crucial to add some insurance at the running back position.
Here are three replacement running backs you could look to add if you are a Beanie Wells owner.
Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles is officially out for the season with a torn ACL. This opens the door for the electric Dexter McCluster, especially in PPR leagues.
The Chiefs were struggling mightily even with Charles on the field in 2011, meaning they aren't likely to improve any time soon. This means they will usually be playing from behind, which should give McCluster a lot of snaps.
Thomas Jones is likely going to be the official starter, but is not an effective pass-catcher out of the backfield. McCluster is a WR/RB hybrid player who will line up in the backfield in passing situations.
McCluster is a guy you should not only start over Wells in Week 3, but should have value throughout the rest of the season as well. He is an emerging talent who should get better as the season progresses.
Cincinnati Bengals starting running back Cedric Benson is likely to miss weeks 4-6 due to a suspension. That would open the door for backup Bernard Scott to grab hold of the majority of carries.
The Bengals have a soft schedule in the weeks Benson is supposed to be out, giving Scott a great chance to have value in fantasy leagues; the Bills, Jaguars and Colts don't exactly possess great run-defenses.
Benson has 41 carries in the season's first two games, showing that the Bengals like to run the ball a lot. Scott has been a solid backup over the last few seasons and is a more than capable fill-in.
The best way to cover yourself in fantasy if one of your stars is hurt is to pick up his backup.
Chester Taylor is the current backup to Wells and should be added if you own Wells.
The veteran Taylor has mostly been a backup throughout his career, but has proven to be a legitimate NFL running back. He is also an all-purpose back who can do just about anything.
If Wells was to go down, Arizona would most likely turn to the passing game more, but Taylor is an effective pass-catcher and would still hold some value.