Giants Backfield to Feed the Hot Hand

Giants backfield to feed the hot hand

9/27/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Sep 20, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; New York Giants running back Andre Brown (35) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Giants defeated the Panthers 36-7 at Bank of America Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIREGiants' offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has suggested that the workloads for running backs Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw will be determined by who has the hot hand. "It's just a matter of trying to get a feel of what plays certain guys run a little more effectively than others," Gilbride said. "You're always hoping somebody gets hot and you feed the hot hand." Gilbride also mentioned that Andre Brown, who got his first start against the Panthers last Thursday while Bradshaw sat due to injury, has "really changed the dynamic of our run game."

Well, you had to see this one coming. Though they were Super Bowl champions, the Giants were ranked dead last in rushing offense last season, and Ahmad Bradshaw has been fairly average so far this year. Granted, Andre Brown's breakout game came against a very poor Panthers' run defense, but he also significantly outperformed Bradshaw against the Bucs after a neck injury forced Bradshaw from the game.

Head coach Tom Coughlin has never been one to fall victim to big contracts or legacy - if you can play, Coughlin puts you in the game, and if you can't play, you'll ride the bench. As long as Brown continues to add that running dynamic to the Giants offense, he'll continue to get carries. If Bradshaw comes back from injury and struggles, Coughlin will have no problem giving the vast majority of the work to Brown. Bradshaw is a superior pass catching back, and should be the frontrunner for work on obvious passing downs, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Andre Brown take the early down role with Bradshaw spelling him on third downs. The situation could play out similar to when Brandon Jacobs was in town and running effectively.

From a fantasy perspective, Brown's breakout game against the Panthers was the worst thing that could have happened to Bradshaw owners. Brown becomes a must-own in standard leagues. Still owned in only 77% of Yahoo! leagues, I suggest checking his availability, just in case.

This week against the Eagles is a good time to bench both Brown and Bradshaw. Sit back and observe how they're being used. The Eagles have a strong run defense anyway, so just try to get a feel of how the workload is being divided and decide if you want to play either of those guys when they face a less dominating opponent.
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