Vincent Brown Injury: How Ankle Surgery Affects Chargers and Fantasy Owners

Brandon Galvin@bgny3Featured ColumnistAugust 19, 2012

San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown broke his ankle in the team's 28-20 win vs. the Dallas Cowboys and is expected to undergo surgery, which will keep him out of action for at least eight weeks.

U-T San Diego San Diego Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee has the scoop:

Vincent Brown has broken ankle. Expected to miss at least eight weeks. That means at least five games, probably.

— UTKevinAcee (@UTKevinAcee) August 19, 2012

Not many may know about the second-year wideout, but they certainly would have this coming season. Now, that is in doubt as his resurgence will be defined by his recovery. Brown is one of the top up-and-comer receivers in the game and would have served as the Chargers' secret weapon. 

Don't believe me? Check out what Acee reports from one of Brown's teammates. 

Vincent Brown will have surgery tomorrow on broken ankle. This is big ... Said one veteran: "He's our best receiver."

— UTKevinAcee (@UTKevinAcee) August 19, 2012

Keep in mind that Brown broke his ankle while scoring a touchdown to open the third quarter. Brown stands at 5'11" and 184 pounds, but plays much bigger than that. He isn't the biggest, but he knows how to get separation with his body and more importantly, use his athleticism to grab seemingly any ball in his radius. 

Though the Chargers signed veteran Robert Meachem and still employ veteran Malcom Floyd, Brown was expected to be the guy that truly filled the void left by Vincent Jackson, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.

Floyd and Meachem are both pig-play receivers, but neither are proven No. 1 guys. Meachem serves better as the No. 2 man and Floyd has struggled mightily in the past when going against No. 1 cornerbacks. He is known for making spectacular plays from time-to-time, but he's not the consistent threat Philip Rivers needs.

Yes, Rivers will be able to make do without Brown. He was able to do so when Vincent Jackson held out for nearly the entire season two years ago.

However, the biggest toll Brown's absence will take on the offense is how it affects aging future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates. Gates, still a premier tight end in the NFL, is known for shaking double and even triple teams. Yet with his chronic foot injury, he desperately needed somebody else on the field to take pressure away.

Opposing defenses won't view Meachem and Floyd too dangerously and will once again shift their focus to Gates. With Brown on the field, Gates would have seen fewer double teams and far more open space to work with in the middle of the field and even towards the top of the secondary, since Brown would have served as the top vertical threat for the Chargers' offense.

For fantasy owners, Brown was becoming a popular sleeper and late-round pick. With the injury, owners will be able to grab Brown even later as many fantasy players will cross him off their board. This is where the smart fantasy player must jump at the chance to grab him with a late-round pick.

Even if he misses half the season, we know that fantasy is often won and lost in the second half of the year. If you're looking for a WR that can come on and score massive points later this year for your playoff push, Vincent Brown will be that guy.

With Rivers slinging the rock, multi-touchdown performances could very well be the norm. Remember, when V-Jax returned two years ago after his holdout, he recorded 14 receptions for 248 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers' final four games. That included a five-catch, 112-yard, three-touchdown performance against the 49ers.

Brown may not be a household name, but aside from Rivers and Gates, this is the man the Chargers couldn't afford to lose to start their season of redemption. San Diego is desperately trying to make the playoffs after being bumped from the postseason for several years. These aren't the same Chargers we've grown accustomed to over the past decade.