Andre Brown: Fantasy Analysis for Giants RB's Return from Injury

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystNovember 5, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Running back Andre Brown #35 of the New York Giants prior to a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The New York Giants and fantasy football owners have a lot in common in 2013.

The running back position has been an absolute disaster. Injuries have hit left and right, and the players who didn't get hurt were massive disappointments.

Well, the 2-6 Giants and fantasy owners alike are about to get a boost, in the form of one player's return to the field.

Running back Andre Brown, who has yet to play in 2013 after breaking his leg in the preseason, is expected to return to action this week against the Oakland Raiders.

The 26-year-old, who has returned to practice, hasn't yet been officially activated by the team, but Brown left little doubt as to his readiness, according to Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News:

That enthusiasm is shared by many fantasy owners, from folks with Jamaal Charles on a Week 10 bye to those with Ray Rice on a 10-week one.

With that said, enthusiasm where Week 10 is concerned has to be tempered.

For starters, we are talking about a running back coming off his second broken leg in as many years, who has never topped 400 rushing yards in a season. The Giants currently rank 30th in the NFL in rushing, at 69.9 yards per game.

Even Brown's own words when speaking with Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger threw a damper on his fantasy prospects this week when he said, "They threw me some special plays out there. They want to get me back in football shape. They want to kind of ease me into this thing. That’s what they plan on doing and we’ll go from there."

In other words, Brown isn't getting 20 touches against the Raiders.

Now, a long touchdown could still mean a big fantasy outing, or Brown could get hot and the Giants could decide to ride him. Neither of those possibilities is especially likely, though, and at this time of the year, many fantasy squads can't afford a gamble with odds this bad.

However, moving forward, there's more than a little to like here.

There's a reason why the Giants wanted Brown to be a big part of their offense in 2013. The fifth-year pro blossomed into a solid downhill runner in 2012, averaging 5.3 yards a carry and scoring eight touchdowns.

To call running backs Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs, who have carried the mail for Big Blue the past few weeks, plodders is an insult to Clydesdales. A healthy Brown should shoot to the top of the depth chart almost instantly.

Brown made two starts in 2012. Fantasy owners in both weeks were left beaming.

Andre Brown 2012 Starts
WeekOpponentTotal YardsTDFantasy Rank*
3Carolina Panthers1302RB2
10Cincinnati Bengals941RB10
* In PPR fantasy football leagues

It isn't realistic to expect that now, but given the hot mess that the running back position has been in fantasy football this year, most teams would do cartwheels for a dependable "flex" option.

For some fantasy squads, a decent second running back could mean the difference between missing the playoffs altogether and contending for a championship.

That sort of production is within the realm of reason, and it makes Andre Brown a very attractive waiver-wire target for fantasy owners in Week 10.

Just don't start him...yet.