Andre Brown: Fantasy Owners Should Keep Giants RB Despite Poor Week 4

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 20:  Andre Brown #35 of the New York Giants during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 20, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Ahmad Bradshaw returned to the New York Giants backfield in Week 4, meaning breakout star Andre Brown returned to backup duty. Even though Brown's production plummeted, fantasy owners shouldn't drop him from their rosters quite yet.

Brown became a popular target on fantasy waiver wires after gaining 184 yards and scoring three touchdowns in relief of an injured Bradshaw. It was thought he might even supplant Bradshaw as the starter given his strong showings.

It didn't happen. Bradshaw returned to the lineup against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night and received most of the touches. He gained 39 yards on 13 carries while Brown rushed for just 14 yards on five carries.

And with Eli Manning averaging 40 pass attempts per game, there isn't room for two running backs to serve as reliable fantasy options at the same time. The Giants starter will have value, but the backup likely won't.

For now, that means Bradshaw is the only guy worth starting, but that couldn't certainly change if his level of play doesn't improve in the coming weeks. That's why it's important to leave Brown stashed on fantasy benches instead of dropping him.

Bradshaw is averaging less than four yards per carry for the second straight season, which is the normal benchmark for an acceptable performance. On the other hand, Brown is averaging more than five yards per attempt and has three touchdowns in 38 carries.

Based on last week's game, it's clear the Giants remain committed to Bradshaw as the lead back—at least in the short term. If he doesn't show signs of improvement in the coming weeks, however, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Giants give Brown more playing time.

At that point, his value would once again skyrocket and owners shouldn't want to rely on beating everybody else to the free agent market to pick him up again. Most leagues provide enough bench space to hold onto a player like him.

While it's disappointing he wasn't able to capitalize on his terrific performances in the previous two weeks, don't completely give up on him yet, especially since everybody knows what he's capable of in an extended role.

Even though Brown isn't worth starting until he gets back atop the depth chart, his potential upside is too good to let him go right away. If the Giants emerge from their Week 11 bye without him making a move toward the starting spot, then it will be safe to cut him loose.

As for now, leave him on the bench and remain patient. He should reward you down the line.