Brandon Jacobs had been easy to ignore until Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bears, but the veteran running back has come back to life as a legitimate fantasy player.
The New York Giants signed the 31-year-old player after David Wilson's Week 1 disaster performance when he fumbled and only managed 19 rushing yards. However, Jacobs was even worse on the field, totaling 11 yards on 11 carries in his first three games.
It is now clear that he simply needed a few weeks to get into playing shape and an opportunity to shine.
He finally got that chance in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles when Wilson was forced to leave the game with a neck injury. Jacobs had a solid performance with 37 rushing yards on 11 carries, which gave the team enough confidence to stick with him against the Bears in Week 6.
With Wilson still out, Jacobs exploded for 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 22 attempts, plus a reception for eight yards. He did nothing especially impressive. He just ran downhill through open holes and consistently picked up big chunks of yards.
This type of effort is likely to repeat, and it makes the running back a must-add in all fantasy leagues. Considering he is only owned in two percent of ESPN leagues, he is certain to be a big waiver target this week.
The big factor affecting Jacobs' value is the availability of Wilson. However, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the second-year player's injury, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News:
This is quite a range, but the Giants are likely to be cautious with a neck injury and keep him off the field if there is any doubt. This would make Jacobs the go-to guy in the backfield for the immediate future.
However, the veteran proved that he can help the Giants even if Wilson is healthy. He does a better job of running between the tackles and can be trusted as a goal-line back, giving him even more value in fantasy football.
Additionally, New York has a favorable schedule going forward to help the run game. There are four games against teams allowing at least 19 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, starting with the Minnesota Vikings next week.
Even if Wilson plays, Jacobs has a good chance to put up big numbers in these games and is worth a spot in your fantasy lineup. In a year light on quality running backs, you will not regret having him on your roster in these cases.
However, he could be even better as long as Wilson remains out. Jacobs can continue to get 20 carries per game and become worthy of a weekly fantasy start regardless of matchup.
After being hardly owned heading into the week, the running back has a chance to be a star for the rest of the season and should be added in every league.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.