Andre Brown: Fantasy Owners Should Bench Giants RB Until Role Becomes Clear

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 20:  Andre Brown #35 of the New York Giants breaks away from Charles Godfrey #30 of the Carolina Panthers for a long gain during play at Bank of America Stadium on September 20, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

New York Giants running back Andre Brown has been one of the most popular pickups off the fantasy football waiver wire in recent weeks. While his performances have been a welcome surprise, owners should leave him on the bench in Week 4.

Ahmad Bradshaw has recovered from a neck injury and will return to the starting lineup against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to Kieran Darcy of ESPN. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin isn't willing to say how the playing time will be divided.

In the world of fantasy football, it doesn't get much worse than that. Although there's a possibility Brown has another good game, Bradshaw could get off to a quick start and the breakout star could be relegated to the bench for extended periods of time.

It's impossible to predict how things will play out. In situations like that, it's always smart to err on the side of caution because the potential downside outweighs the upside. One terrible score can doom an entire fantasy week.

Luckily, it shouldn't take more than one game to figure out how the Giants' coaching staff plans on handling the backfield situation. Brown and Bradshaw make for a nice power and quickness tandem, so there is no shortage of options.

Whatever happens against the Eagles, don't give up on Brown. The NC State product proved he's capable of handling the load, and Bradshaw has only played one full season in his career, so more opportunities are likely to arise before season's end.

Given how well Brown played when inserted in the lineup, there's even a chance he can take the starting role from Bradshaw at some point. So the upside is still there, but it all comes down to the opportunities he's given.

That said, putting him on the bench is the right short-term decision. Owners can't rely on a running back whose workload could end up being minimal. The position is too important, and there are too many other options.

Instead of taking a chance on Brown, go with a player whose playing time is more clear. Whether it's somebody on your bench or a popular waiver-wire target like Ryan Williams of the Arizona Cardinals, it's smart to play it safe.

By next week, Brown's role will be known and the decision about whether or not to play him should be pretty simple. Until then, the bench is where he belongs.