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There is no better position for suddenly creating fantasy stars than running back. Thanks to injury or promotion, a handful of running backs get a shot to start each year. They instantly become fantasy difference-makers who were sitting idly on your roster or the league waiver wire. These are what fantasy dreams are made of.

Last year, several vaulted into a starting role and became sleepers, such as Devonta Freeman, Danny Woodhead, DeAngelo Williams and David Johnson — players now in the upper tiers of fantasy running backs. After drafting your starting lineup, there’s no better investment than mining for the next surprise stud.

Consider these backs as the best positioned to become “The New Guy.”

• DeAndre Washington, Oakland Raiders: Still the clear backup to Latavius Murray, the rookie has scaled the depth chart and touts an impressive résumé from Texas Tech. The four-year back caught 124 passes in college and averaged 6.4 yards per carry last year. He’ll be a change of pace this year unless Murray misses time. The Raiders have a much easier schedule, and Murray must improve after falling to an average of 4.0 yards per carry in 2015. Washington will be involved and ready to assume the primary role if needed.

• Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals: He became the starter when Andre Ellington was injured in Week 1 and then lost the job to David Johnson when he broke his leg in Week 12. He re-signed for one year and will still have a support role each week. Should David Johnson be injured, Chris Johnson moves back to the same role in which he turned in four 100-yard efforts in 2015. The Cardinals’ high-powered offense ensures success for any back and even more for last year’s initial primary back.

• Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos: The two-year star for Utah slid in the draft because of a torn meniscus late last year. But he’s healthy and has a role as the third-down back. Booker caught 80 passes for the Utes and impressed in that role during the preseason. He’ll remain behind C.J. Anderson, who was banged up for the last two years while shouldering a part-time workload. If he starts slowly for a third consecutive season, Anderson will lose carries to the rookie. And if Anderson breaks down in a full-time role, Booker already has gained the confidence of the coaching staff to become the new starter.

• Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks: Entering his fourth season, Michael has a fresh attitude and a new dedication that have resulted in him reassuming the backup role to Thomas Rawls. Michael will have every-week value as well, because he is expected to provide a one-two punch with Rawls. Michael has lost weight to become quicker, and he continued to impress throughout the preseason. Should Rawls be slow to return after having ankle surgery, Michael will take advantage of the opportunity.

• Robert Turbin, Indianapolis Colts: The preseason was all about hyping undrafted rookie Josh Ferguson, but his outlook withered in training camp and preseason games. Turbin is the immediate backup for Frank Gore, 33. Gore always has been durable, but the realities of his age and declining effectiveness mean Turbin — or possibly Ferguson later in the season — might need to step in and carry the rushing effort for the Colts. Even with all of last season’s offensive problems, Gore managed 1,234 total yards and seven scores.

• Mike Davis, San Francisco 49ers: After missing most of his rookie season with a broken hand, Davis is back in the picture. The junior entry in the 2015 draft turned in a forgettable year. But he has had success in the preseason and is in line behind Carlos Hyde and Shaun Draughn. Hyde has yet to remain healthy for two seasons, and Draughn, 29, is a veteran on his fourth NFL team. Davis still needs to learn better pass blocking, but he has the most raw talent of any rusher should Hyde extend his consistent injury streak.

• Kenjon Barner, Philadelphia Eagles: Barner rose to be the primary backup after rookie Wendell Smallwood turned a promising start into an injury-marred preseason. Smallwood suffered a thigh muscle strain and has a concussion. Barner had limited use in Philadelphia last year and stands behind Ryan Mathews, who missed 13 games over the last two years with injuries. Darren Sproles, 33, will supply a third-down role but already saw a decline in 2015. There is very likely opportunity down the road with the Eagles that will be filled with Barner unless Smallwood can stay healthy and quickly learn the offense.

•Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs: There is plenty to like about Ware, who helped fill in for injured Jamaal Charles last year. Ware rushed for 5.6 yards per carry on his 72 runs and scored six touchdowns. He has assumed the clear No. 2 spot behind Charles, who won’t see any action in the preseason while recovering from his second anterior cruciate ligament tear. Charles, 29, is no lock to return to form or remain healthy this year. Charcandrick West also would figure in should Charles falter, but Ware would become the primary back in an offense that loves to run.

• Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans: The rookie is coming off a national championship and won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Award after breaking the Southeastern Conference single-season rushing record with 2,219 yards. He holds the national high school football record with 12,124 career rushing yards. He’ll figure in the backfield already but even more if DeMarco Murray gets injured, as he did in four of the last five years.

• DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers: There is no real shock here given that Williams exceeded all expectations when he turned in 1,274 total yards and 11 touchdowns in his first season with the Steelers. He again will replace Le’Veon Bell to start the year and gets three games instead of the two in 2015. When Bell left with torn knee ligaments in Week 8, Williams stepped back in with eight scores over the final eight games and topped 100 total yards six times. Bell looks healthy again, but that was true last year.

When you draft your backups, make sure to seed them with high-upside players such as these. Every season provides sudden player value when injuries shake up the depth chart, and running back is best for preparing for the inevitable. Better to have the next guy up already on your team than to risk a waiver wire fight.

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