Updated Fantasy Football Outlook for Vick Ballard After Donald Brown Injury

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystOctober 10, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 30:  Vick Ballard #33 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball while defended by Jeromy Miles #45 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 30, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Yet another injury has struck the running back position in the National Football League, and not only did this one come out of left field and send fantasy owners scrambling for a replacement, but it threw in the cruel twist of happening on the very last play of a game.

As Phillip Wilson of The Indianapolis Star reports, running back Donald Brown will miss the next two to three weeks after undergoing surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee.

The 25-year-old Brown, who has 239 rushing yards and a touchdown so far this season, suffered the injury on the Colts' last offensive play of last week's victory over the Green Bay Packers, when he successfully converted a two-point try.

That game wasn't kind to running backs in fantasy football at all.

Interim head coach Bruce Arians announced that rookie Vick Ballard will draw the start this week against the New York Jets, and fantasy teams in need of running back help should immediately move Ballard to the top of their Week 6 wish lists.

Granted, Ballard's two yards per carry average on 21 touches this season hardly inspires overwhelming confidence, but that's a preciously small sample size to draw conclusions from. The 217-pound bruiser is the type of running back that gets better as a game goes on, and he has a chance to wear down a defense.

Ballard ran for nearly 1,200 yards and averaged over six yards per carry last year at Mississippi State, and that's no small feat playing on a bad Mississippi State team in the SEC.

Apparently Arians and the coaching staff like what they've seen from Ballard enough to give him the nod over Delone Carter as the starter.

Ballard also has a bit of help from the scheduling gods for his first start in the NFL. The New York Jets are reeling as a team, having just been torn to pieces on the ground by running back Arian Foster and the Houston Texans.

From a fantasy perspective, the Jets have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this year.

I'm not saying that you should expect huge numbers from Ballard on Sunday, but with the bye weeks here and injuries continuing to take their toll in fantasy squads, teams with a hole in the backfield may want to loosen up their vocal chords and start singing the ballad of Ballard.