Andre Brown: Updated Fantasy Outlook & Analysis for Giants RB

Zach KruseSenior Analyst INovember 12, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 11:  Andre Brown #35 of the New York Giants runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 11, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With Ahmad Bradshaw's spotty injury history and a nose for the end zone, New York Giants running back Andre Brown has developed into a reliable fantasy football option. 

Brown, who started in place of Bradshaw (foot) Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, scored a touchdown for the fourth-straight game, diving in from two yards out late in the fourth quarter. The third-year running back now has seven touchdowns this season, good for second in the NFL

Overall, Brown played on 44 snaps Sunday, while Bradshaw got just 23, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. Bradshaw received more carries (10 to Brown's seven), but Brown rushed for more yards (65 to 57) and also caught five passes for 29 yards as the Giants went into catch-up mode late. 

Bradshaw also lost a fumble and later had to head to the locker room for X-rays, although not on his ailing foot. 

The Giants now head into a much-needed bye week, which does give Bradshaw time to get closer to 100 percent healthy. However, a bone bruise to his foot has kept Bradshaw on the injury report for almost two months, and a neck issue earlier in the season opened the door for Brown to break onto the fantasy stage.

A bulging disc in Bradshaw's neck gave Brown the start in Week 3, when he rushed 20 times for 117 yards and two scores in a win over the Carolina Panthers

Bradshaw hasn't missed a game since, but Brown's usage has stayed mostly consistent, and nearly all the goal line carries are going to the younger back. While Brown has scored once a week for four weeks, Bradshaw has just one touchdown during that stretch. 

Slowly but surely, Brown is starting to chip away at Bradshaw's role as the lead back. 

However, it's his ability to vulture away touchdowns, and Bradshaw's unpredictable playing status from week-to-week, that gives Brown the most fantasy value. 

Owners must still consider Brown (owned in 51 percent of ESPN leagues) a risky flex option most weeks, especially with Bradshaw getting two weeks to get his foot and neck issues healthy. But Brown is absolutely worth keeping around, as the likelihood that Bradshaw finishes out the 2012 season healthy remains low. 

If, or maybe when, Bradshaw goes down again, Brown will be a starting-caliber back. Down the stretch in fantasy, the ability to have a starting-caliber back on the bench is invaluable. Until then, expect a healthy dose of goal line carries and potential scores to fuel Brown's fantasy value.