Donald Brown: Buying or Selling Colts RB's Fantasy Value For the Rest of 2012

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystOctober 25, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 07: Donald Brown #31 of the Indianapolis Colts breaks a tackle attempt by Sam Shields #37 of the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Packers 30-27.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The rebuilding process for the Indianapolis Colts following their dreadful 2-14 season has gone better to this point than anyone had dared to hope. As the 3-3 Colts prepare for an AFC South battle with the Tennessee Titans, it appears that an important part of the offense may be nearing a return to action.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted Thursday that running back Donald Brown, who missed the last two games after having an arthroscopic procedure on his knee on October 10th, was upgraded to full participation in practice.

Injury report...DNP- P.Angerer D.Butler F.Moala R.Mathis FULL- J.Reitz D.Freeney M.Tevaseu A.Luck D.Brown C.Redding W.Justice A.Johnson

— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) October 25, 2012

The fourth-year pro, who has gained 239 yards on 60 carries so far this season, would appear to be on track to return to the field this week in Nashville. His return comes not a moment too soon for fantasy owners dealing with bye weeks and any number of injuries at the running back position.

Granted, this doesn't mean that Brown will immediately be set for a full workload against a Titans defense that ranks 25th in the National Football League against the run and has allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs so far this year.

The Colts are all but certain to ease Brown back into the swing of things, which should portend a carry share this week with rookie Vick Ballard. Ballard played well in last week's win over the Cleveland Browns, gaining over 100 total yards and earning the praise of interim head coach Bruce Arians according to the Associated Press via Fox News.

"When he came here I thought he had that in him, it was nice to see that come out," Arians said. "He's a good, solid back and I think that the future is bright for him and I just want to stack those weeks together now."

Ballard's strong Week 8 showing will likely earn him more carries moving forward, and a committee attack hurts the fantasy value of both backs.

However, as C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson of the Buffalo Bills showed only a week ago, it's possible for two backs to be viable fantasy options against the porous Tennessee run defense. Both Brown and Ballard are serviceable flex options in Week 8, with Ballard the better fantasy bet of the pair.

Moving forward, as Brown rounds back into shape you'll likely see the pendulum swing back in his direction, with the veteran becoming a flex option or lower-end RB2 in favorable matchups while Ballard won't be worth a start in the majority of leagues most weeks.

In any event, if you play in a fantasy football league where an impatient owner cut Donald Brown he's certainly worth an add. If there's one fantasy mantra I'm going to keep hammering home here at Bleacher Report it's this:

"You can never have too many running backs"