Call them insurance policies, potential touchdown vultures, or just plain examples of looking to the future. Whatever you deem the process there are always owners that look to nab the backup to a top-flight fantasy performer.
While we hope the drafter that does this doesn't make the selection while holding a voodoo doll that bears a striking resemblance to the starter, we do understand the desire to take a clear #2 in the event things don't go quite as they appear they will in August.
With this in mind here are some the top "insurance policies" that owners will want to check out, either on draft day or once the waiver wire opens up.
Keith Toston, RB, Oklahoma State:
Kendall Hunter is a top-five national back while poor Mr. Toston is relegated to forgotten status...almost. We didn't forget about you Keith! We believe Toston is the kind of player that, if the need arose, could step right in for Hunter and provide big-time fantasy production.
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
LeGarrette Blount is poised for an excellent season, but let's face it, there's always something going on in the background: A nagging injury, a missed practice, some confusion. On the off-chance that Blount misses a game or two, James will be in line for a heavy workload.
Shane Vereen, RB, California
Here's an insurance policy and keeper league special rolled into one. Clearly Jahvid Best is the man in Berkeley, though his history indicates some difficulty staying healthy. And even if Best starts every game owners can be certain that Vereen will get his on occasion. And those in keeper leagues are likely well-aware that next year Jahvid Best may decide to give the next level a whirl.
Zach Brown, RB, Wisconsin
Texas Tech will always pass the ball, when Brett Favre says something he means it, and Wisconsin will always look to run the ball. Ok, skip the Favre thing.
By sheer coincidence Zach Brown moved ahead of John Clay on the depth chart as we were writing this. We still see big, bad John Clay serving as the workhorse in Madison. Lately though Zach Brown has made huge strides, and having the 1-2 combo of Clay and Brown on your roster is probably not a bad idea. Imagine that tackling John Clay for three quarters is like withstanding blows from George Foreman for 12 rounds. But then, every so often, Pernell Whitaker is tagged in for awhile. This is how Zach Brown will be used by the Badgers.
And should John Clay experience some injury problems then Brown will be more than ready to handle the load (or vice versa).
Jeff Brinson, RB, Iowa
If you own Jeff Brinson you may get to cash in on your policy early as Jewel Hampton's knee is still not 100 percent.
Harrison Jeffers, Texas Tech
All indication is that Baron Batch will be back at practice this week. However, it is still worth picking up Harrison Jeffers in case Batch can't go in week one against North Dakota.
Jamie Harper, Clemson
At some point Jamie Harper will be the lead back for the Tigers. However, that probably won't happen until C.J. Spiller graduates...or gets hurt.
Steven Sheffield, QB, Texas Tech
If you invest a first-round pick in Taylor Potts then doesn't it make sense to spend a late-round selection on newly appointed backup Steven Sheffield, just in case? Certainly Potts enters the 2009 campaign having earned considerable praise from Mike Leach. However sometimes, just once in a while, the Tech offensive line lets a defensive lineman through to the quarterback.
Jacob Bower/G.J. Kinne, QB's, Tulsa
It's likely that Tulsa coach Todd Graham will not name his quarterback before your draft. But when he does, and someone is fortunate enough to have chosen wisely and is the proud owner of the Golden Hurricane starter, you'll immediately want to place a waiver claim on the backup...just because.
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma, Garrett Gilbert, QB, Texas & John Brantley, QB, Florida
Like Vereen, Landry Jones, Garrett Gilbert and John Brantley are all good insurance policies and keeper league picks. Eventually these three will be given the keys to the car, and it could be this year should injuries strike Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow.