Most fantasy owners know the big name running back tandems and important handcuffs. The ever-popular running back by committee has made primary backs almost obsolete. Still each season a few new names pop up to surprise even the savviest of fantasy veterans. Guys like Arian Foster, Justin Forsett, and Jason Snelling came out of the woodwork to make a name for themselves in 2009, and Forsett and Foster look to be starters this year.
Every season has it's share of busts and injuries which change the fantasy landscape and new names surface on top of the waiver wire. Here are some deep sleepers from around the league who could be this season's breakout fantasy surprises.
-- NFC South--
Kareem Huggins, TB ~ Huggins has officially supplanted Derrick Ward as the Bucs’ second-string running back. The kid has been on fire this preseason and could push Cadillac Williams for touches, and may be only an injury away from fantasy stardom. Huggins is explosive and may be the most likely among this list to make a name for himself, sooner rather than later.
Anthony Dixon, SF ~ The 49ers grabbed veteran Brian Westbrook this month to shore up the backfield after the unlikely retirement of Glen Coffee. However, rookie tailback Dixon is the one shining in camp, and given Westbrook's fragile nature, he will likely see the bulk of the work if Gore misses time.
Danny Ware, NYG ~ One thing seems to be a permanent fixture in the G-men's running game; injuries. With Andre Brown being cut, Ware gets his chance to step up, and he's looked good in preseason action. Brandon Jacobs is also hurt. Keep an eye on this kid as a late round flier.
Brandon Jackson, GB ~ Jackson has been getting plenty of action for the Packers with Ryan Grant hurting. Coach Mike McCarthy believes Jackson is capable of being "an every-down back" if Grant goes down. "He's a complete football player," said McCarthy. "If we had to play all three downs with him, I wouldn't even blink." He's a must handcuff to Grant, but he could provide more than security.
Rashad Jennings, JAX ~ Jennings beat out rookie Deji Karim for the team's #2 RB slot behind Maurice Jones-Drew. "He can do all the things we want a running back to do," said coach Del Rio, "from running the ball, blitz protection, catching the ball, knowing the entire offense inside and out." MJD usually stays pretty healthy, but Jennings is one injury away from glory.
Lance Ball, DEN ~ With Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter constant injury concerns, the back behind them could flourish at the twist of an ankle. While you would expect that to be veterans like Justin Fargas or Lendale White, Ball is the name to know.
Isaac Redman, PIT ~ While rookie Jonathan Dwyer was expected to push and back-up Rashard Mendenhall this season, it's been Redman who has made the most of his opportunities. At this point Redman has the inside track and is a serious TD vulture.
James Davis, CLE ~ Everyone in fantasyland is watching the Jerome Harrison/Montario Hardesty battle this summer, but let us not forget that Davis is still on the team and in the mix. Davis was slated to be the replacement for Jamal Lewis until he was injured at the start of 2009. Remember this is the guy who kept CJ Spiller on the bench at Clemson. The talent is still there.
The AFC East is littered with RBBC's; Jackson/Lynch/Spiller in Buffalo, Brown/Williams in Miami, Taylor/Maroney/Morris in New England, and Greene/Tomlinson for the Jets. No deep sleeper standouts here.