Michael Fabiano | Tags:
Ronnie Brown was the most valuable running back in fantasy football after the first six weeks of last season.
Then came Week 7, when Brown tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a loss to the New England Patriots. He had already amassed five receptions and 109 scrimmage yards in the contest before sustaining the ailment. That had put him on pace to record 89 receptions (one fewer than Westbrook’s 90, which led all running backs) and 2,265 scrimmage yards (would have been the 11th most all-time in a single season).
Instead, he finished the season on injured reserve.
Brown underwent a surgical procedure to repair the damage and has spent the offseason in a rehabilitation program geared towards strengthening the muscles around the knee. The Miami Herald reports that Brown’s recovery is “apparently going very well,” and new head coach Tony Sparano expects him to be ready for the start of training camp. While he hasn’t been involved in team drills, Brown has received more carries in the team’s recent OTA (Offseason Team Activities) workouts.
“Each one of these practices, he’s been able to do a little bit more and that’s good for us and good for Ronnie,” Sparano told the Herald.
That’s also good news for fantasy football owners, but to what extent remains to be seen.
Barring setbacks, Brown will remains atop the Dolphins’ depth chart and should be in the backfield in Week 1 when the team opens its season against the New York Jets. But based on the struggles of most backs in their first season back from a major knee injury, not to mention the presence of veteran Ricky Williams, Brown could be in for a slow start. In fact, a committee situation that includes Brown and Williams could be utilized in an effort to ease Brown into the offensive attack.
So where does Brown fit into the landscape of fantasy drafts?
Well, there’s no doubt that he can make some serious statistical noise based on last season’s success, and a Bill Parcells team is certain to lean on the run (especially with John Beck or Josh McCown under center). But because of questions about his knee and the potential for a committee situation with Williams, Brown will be seen as more of a second- to fourth-round selection as a No. 2 fantasy runner.