The Indianapolis Colts and Ahmad Bradshaw fantasy football owners everywhere will have to look to backup running back Donald Brown now that the news about Bradshaw’s neck injury could be worse than originally diagnosed.
According to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, the team is concerned that the veteran's neck could require season-ending surgery if it doesn’t heal properly on its own. Bradshaw suffered the injury against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3.
While Brown is likely going to be handed a larger workload, the Colts traded for second-year back Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns and will expect him to be the true No. 1 running back moving forward. The former first-round pick only amassed 60 yards on 20 carries last week, though, as he continues to get acclimated to the offense.
With Vick Ballard out for the season with a knee injury and Bradshaw sidelined indefinitely, Brown could see between 10 to 14 carries per game consistently as the change-of-pace back. He managed a team-high 65 yards on three carries in Week 4, and with a larger role those numbers should warrant earning more touches.
Brown may not be a difference-maker in 10-team leagues, but if you are in a deeper league with 14 or 16 teams, Brown becomes a waiver-wire steal that could have a big statistical season if Bradshaw is on the shelf for an extended period of time.
The Colts’ No. 2 running back is owned in just 0.8 percent of ESPN leagues and two percent of Yahoo! Sports leagues. Brown is firmly entrenched as the top handcuff for Richardson owners right now should anything happen to the starter, so that alone should see his ownership percentages spike in the coming days.
Picking up Brown now is a wise investment for fantasy owners despite a tougher schedule that will test the Colts. Games against the Seattle Seahawks (Week 5), Denver Broncos (Week 7) and Houston Texans (Week 9) could be tricky.
If Bradshaw comes back healthy in a few weeks (he had 186 yards and two touchdowns in three games), drop Brown and scour the waiver wire once again.