Andre Brown is a solid fantasy football option for running back depth.
The New York Giants ball-carrier took full advantage of a limited role versus the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, with 21 yards on three attempts and one touchdown. His fifth score of the year leads Big Blue for rushing touchdowns and Brown is proving to be a reliable complement to Ahmad Bradshaw.
Sitting at 6-2, New York holds a strong lead atop the NFC East and is looking to repeat as division champs with a possible Super Bowl run. In a balanced offense that has enjoyed much success from a two-back system under Tom Coughlin, Brown can only expect to remain a sound contributor.
To that end, here's a breakdown of Brown's fantasy football potential moving onward.
Impact Thus Far
There was a short two week window—more like five days actually—where Brown was a trending fantasy football topic.
He gained 71 rushing yards and scored once on 13 carries against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2. Then on the Giants' short week Brown steamrolled the Carolina Panthers for 113 yards on 20 attempts and two touchdowns en route to another Big Blue victory.
Unfortunately, everything came to an immediate halt in Week 4 where Brown got just 14 yards on five carries versus the Philadelphia Eagles. After not receiving a carry against the Cleveland Browns, 34 total yards and one touchdown were produced in the big home win over the Washington Redskins.
In short, his role has been inconsistent which makes Brown a tough fantasy option on a weekly basis. Still, we have to remember how effective New York's offense is with a two-back set. Bradshaw did it with Brandon Jacobs and Brown is simply taking over that role in 2012.
Therefore, anticipate him being a part of Coughlin's game-plan.
Best Situations for Production
Because Brown is a bigger back than Bradshaw he is a more feasible option near the goal-line and any other short-yard situation. For as tough and punishing as Bradshaw can be, the number of hits he endures must be held to a minimum so stronger durability is offered in December.
To that end, when Big Blue finds itself inside the red zone or desperately needing a first down, Brown is capable of contributing more. He is much more athletic than given credit as a dual-threat, which enhances the appeal for screens and checkdowns on second and third-and-medium.
Brown also possesses solid ball-carrier vision and patience in the backfield to let the blocks develop. Considering that the Giants have arguably the most consistently dependable offensive line, the running game can always be expected to produce.
Eli Manning has been sacked only six times in eight games. So, the Giants aerial assault and dominant blocking schemes may add to Brown getting inflated numbers when rushing or receiving.
No defense can afford to blitz constantly or double-team a specific receiver, which opens up running lanes and creates space between the zones as a checkdown receiver.
What the Remaining Schedule Dictates
After facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9, the Giants don't get another standout defense for the remainder of 2012.
Only two divisional games are left—at the Washington Redskins, home versus the Philadelphia Eagles—and elsewhere Big Blue sees the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens.
The Eagles and Packers have been the most consistent against the run this season, although neither are near elite level like the San Francisco 49ers. All that plays into Brown's number of potential opportunities, because these teams all present strong passing offenses.
With the Giants not being so overly dominant against the pass, despite forcing turnovers, that will force New York to set/match pace. Well, more possessions and more offensive snaps tie into the law of averages for Brown.
Meaning: Odds increase in terms of more carries and receiving targets. No, he's not worthy of a No. 1 fantasy running back; however, Brown is a reliable No. 2 option when filling in for a bye week and in most cases, the flex spot.
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