Fantasy owners shouldn't take Bryce Brown's breakout game on Monday Night Football lightly. The Philadelphia Eagles' immensely talented running back will back up his big prime-time showing by again posting big numbers in Week 13's Sunday night showdown with NFC East rival Dallas.
Although the Cowboys present a more difficult matchup than the Carolina Panthers' 25th-ranked rush defense, that won't stop Brown, who will get the starting nod for the second consecutive game in the absence of superstar LeSean McCoy.
He did fumble twice, but notching 178 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries in his first start since high school is pretty impressive any way you slice it.
It's difficult to say if Jim Rome was being sarcastic, funny, slightly cold or a combination of all three when he tweeted his reaction to Brown's explosion against the Panthers:
Winners never quit.And quitters never win.Except Bryce Brown.— Jim Rome (@jimrome) November 27, 2012
Brown was one of the most highly touted running backs entering college in recent memory, where he initially started out at the University of Tennessee. But after the very short-lived Lane Kiffin tenure, he transferred to Kansas State.
There, the running back found himself in trouble, with the NCAA investigating him for taking improper benefits (h/t ESPN).
That caused the former five-star recruit to leave his second university and enter the 2012 NFL Draft, simply because there weren't any other options.
The Eagles finally took a chance on Brown in the seventh round, and it has definitely paid dividends in the limited action he's had. A glimpse of his immense potential was on display in Philly.
Who will win Sunday night's critical NFC East matchup?
Considering how frequently the Eagles' pass-heavy play-calling has backfired—really in the past two seasons, likely costing the coaching staff their jobs—it wouldn't make much sense for offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to build a game plan around rookie QB Nick Foles.
Brown's performance last week gives the offense a similar amount of flexibility that McCoy brings to the table in terms of balance. It's up to Mornhinweg and head coach Andy Reid to devise a balanced play sheet.
The flow of the game dictates different situations—some that require on-the-fly adjustments. But if Philly comes out pounding the ball with Brown, the Cowboys will be on their heels early.
Silencing the home crowd early will be key for the Eagles to beat their bitter divisional foe on the road, particularly with a shaky first-year signal caller. Foles isn't going to tear up Dallas with his arm, if his previous two outings under center are any indication.
Despite holding the ball almost 10 minutes less than Carolina on Monday, the Eagles stuck with the run, which is what they should do once again.
That will definitely appease fantasy owners, as will the fact that Brown also had four receptions last week. He only gained 11 yards, but it shows that his role in the passing game may increase. With Foles likely under fire from Cowboys' premier pass rushers DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, he will be liable to check down, which should give Brown even more touches.
As a result, Brown should especially be valuable in PPR leagues, but his all-around combination of speed and power at 6'0", 223 pounds should result in another big performance under the national spotlight.
Brown has been running from that platform for a number of years, ultimately having a very disappointing college career. That will continue to change, including on Sunday night in Dallas.
Projected Numbers: 25 carries, 120 yards, TD; 6 receptions, 50 yards