While the 2012 fantasy draft features great depth at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end, there is a distinct lack of elite players at the running back position.
That lack of depth will cause fantasy owners to reach for RBs that would normally go much later too early this year, and it’s your job to avoid those rushes and snag high-risk/high-reward players in the mid-rounds.
What Round Should I Take Donald Brown?
According to FFToolbox.com, Brown is the 27th-ranked running back in the fantasy rankings and has an average draft position of 82.63 overall. That means you can grab Brown in the seventh or eighth round.
Brown has the starting job already, and No. 1 running backs are a must for a fantasy owner no matter how cloudy the water is around the security of that job. With all points considered, taking Brown anywhere from the tail-end of the sixth round to the early eighth round will be a good move.
While Brown’s preseason numbers weren’t great (15 carries for 40 yards and one touchdown), he has earned the starting spot with the team by staying healthy and improving his game in every way possible.
Colts insider Phil Richards is reporting to the Indianapolis Star about the workload for the running back and who will take the majority of the touches, straight from head coach Chuck Pagano:
Brown will share snaps and carries this season, but coach Chuck Pagano has made it clear that Brown is No. 1. He will have every opportunity to do more than he did last season, and he certainly will start more than two games.
As a fantasy owner, anytime a coach gives a running back the nod of approval as the unquestioned starter, that needs to be the sign that this is a relatively safe pick in the seventh round. That’s rare.
While Brown has yet to carry the entire load of a team, the Colts and rookie QB Andrew Luck will lean on the young star in the run game and the short passing attack.
That’s great news for fantasy owners.
The starting job is Brown’s to lose, but around 250 rushing attempts, 40 receptions, 1,400 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns will have Brown pegged as one of the biggest steals in the 2012 fantasy drafts and Indianapolis' starter all season.
The Colts' bye week is very early this year (Week 4), so be sure to take that into consideration before selecting Brown as your backup. Never pick running backs with the same bye week until you already have two viable replacements.
Brown likely won’t start Week 1 for your fantasy team, so the early bye won’t be terrible if he is on your bench.
Players to Take Before Donald Brown
While Donald Brown has the starting job, a rookie quarterback and a mediocre team coupled with a lack of experience has many fans discounting the star.
Don’t forget about Brown in your fantasy draft, but all those points are valid and must be considered.
If you come across players like BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Willis McGahee and Frank Gore before you take Brown, you should snag one of the players instead and hope to get Brown the next round.
What round should you take Donald Brown?
Players to Take After Donald Brown
Even more important than knowing who to take before Brown is knowing which players will be selected after Brown. These are the players you want to pass on in favor of the Colts star.
As much as guys like Shonn Greene, Beanie Wells and Reggie Bush will get a hefty helping of work in 2012, the projected stats put Brown in a higher class than all of these backs.
Fantasy football is all about taking risks and trying to find that diamond in the tough. While Brown is better known than most sleepers, he has the potential to become an elite fantasy player at a thin position.
Even if you’re deep at running back on your team, draft Brown and wait until he inevitably explodes for a big game. At that point, just trade him.
Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NFL page to get your fill of all things football.