Ahmad Bradshaw ruled out vs. Panthers, Brown to start
Hopefully you read my Top 10 Waiver Wire Pickups segment yesterday, because my top running back, Andre Brown, will be handling the bulk of the carries for the Giants in Bradshaw's absence. Brown came into the game Sunday against the Buccaneers after Bradshaw left with the same neck injury that will have him sidelined Thursday, and Brown played well, squeezing through tight holes and shrugging off arm tackles for solid yardage. Brown finished with 13 carries for 71 yards (5.5 per carry) and a touchdown. He also caught both passes thrown his way for 19 yards.
Rookie first round pick David Wilson, buried in Coughlin's doghouse, should be used as no more than a change of pace back. The young runner has some nice play-making ability, but a quick fumble in Week 1 and persistent pass protection struggles have him far behind Brown in the backfield pecking order.
Bradshaw's fantasy owners will be hoping Brown doesn't do too well against this Panthers' defense that gave up 95 yards to Bucs' rookie Doug Martin and over 100 yards to the Saints' Pierre Thomas. Bradshaw, who only managed 16 yards on five attempts (3.2 per) and no catches was out-shined by Brown once he entered the game. After finishing dead last in the league in rushing yards and yards per attempt in 2011 with Bradshaw leading the backfield, the Giants could give Brown a heavy role even once Bradshaw returns, should Brown impress on Thursday.
Brown is easily a top-30 running back option this week as the lead back for a high powered offense going up against a mediocre run defense. Brown even has a reasonable chance of putting up solid RB2 numbers.