Which Positions Should I Carry Backups for in Fantasy Football?

In theory, it seems like a no-brainer to back up all of your fantasy football players.  But in real life, roster size limits can make backing up some positions a costly luxury.  Here are guidelines as how to back up your fantasy football team's starters:

If you play in a small league (10 or less teams), you can safely avoid carrying a back up QB.  There should be plenty of quality fill ins on your waiver wire.

In a 12-team league, you may want to carry an extra QB if the roster size allows you do do this without undercutting your depth at RB and WR.

In leagues with more than 12 teams the waiver wire can get thin at QB, so carry a back up unless roster sizes are so restrictive that doing so would hurt your RB and WR depth. 

If you have an elite QB, definitely consider going sans a backup.  If you have a mediocre QB or an injury prone one, you'll probably want to carry an extra (of course, with the above considerations in mind).

Running Backs
Carry as many as your roster rules allow.  These guys get hurt frequently.

Wide Receivers
Probably you'll want to carry as many as your league rules allow, but if bye weeks and injuries are forcing you to make tough decisions, you can drop your lowest end WR to make room if you already are not carrying backups at TE, D, and K.  Decent wide receivers are usually a little easier to find on the waiver wire than are running backs.

Tight Ends
You'll probably only want to carry a single TE unless yours encounters a short-term injury or bye week and you don't want to drop him. Most of the time you can find an adequate TE on the waiver wire unless you're in a large league or roster size limits are tight (no pun intended).

You'll almost never want to carry an extra kicker unless you have a terrific one and have to ride out a bye week.

You may want to carry an extra defense if you intend to rotate between the two to take advantage of good match ups or to avoid dropping a superlative one to waivers during a bye week.  However, in the former situation, it's often possible to carry only a single D/ST and rotate them for plus match ups by plucking attractive ones off waivers.

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