Seekers of the deep Fantasy Football sleeper know that the New York Giants have a knack for identifying and stockpiling young RB talent. Recently, Ryan Grant found great success once he won his transfer to the Packers.
Meanwhile, the mystique was enough to get Tampa Bay to trade for Derrick Ward, although he has not achieved so much for his owners.
But now there's a new path to fantasy success in New York with the breakdown of Brandon Jacobs. He could bounce back, but it is more likely that Jacobs is essentially done in New York.
Ahmad Bradshaw is a capable bye week fill in but will probably not be given anything approaching full time duties.
The Giants currently have three RBs on their depth chart below the two main committee members. Each one is worth a look.
Andre Brown, Giants - Brown lost his rookie season to a ruptured Achilles tendon in training camp. This is an extremely difficult injury from which to recover. However, reports on his progress are cautiously optimistic. The silver lining for those who have Brown stashed away is we'll know fairly early if the Giants send him away with an injury settlement.
Don't look to the draft for a sign. Odds are high the Giants will draft another RB, just as they took Brown in the fourth round last year despite an already crowded backfield. He has a great work ethic and is quick to the hole. His position coach at NC State said, "he had the best 4-yard runs you'll ever see."
He can also turn those four yard rushes into the occasional 40 or 50 yard burst with his sub-4.5 speed in the 40 yard dash. In other words, he can do Jacobs' job if he's healthy enough to take it.
Gartrell Johnson, Giants - In this entire series on deep sleepers, Johnson is easily my favorite. I already had him on almost all my teams even before New York pilfered him off of San Diego's practice squad.
Have you ever seen those old Zorro movies where a big pile of federales think they have caught him, while Zorro sneaks out from under them and steals away unnoticed? Johnson runs like Zorro. He is so agile and hits with such violence that he doesn't really need an offensive line to open up holes for him. Good thing too, considering he isn't all that fast in the open field.
But as this video from DraftGuys.com points out, the speed of his first 10 yards is what gets Johnson the next 30 or 40 yards. Johnson also is effective in the passing game and according to Coach Tom Coughlin has picked up the Giants' offense pretty quickly.
So while Brown is capable of taking away Jacobs' job, I firmly believe Johnson is the fellow who will do it.
Danny Ware, Giants - We haven't seen as much of Ware as we would like, due to both elbow and concussion injuries that kept him out most of last year. The few times he did see the field he was effective, an ugly fumble in week 12 against Denver notwithstanding.
At 6'0" and 234 pounds, Ware is built to run up the middle, yet excels in the passing game, making him suitable as a backup to both Jacobs and Bradshaw. Ware has some minor off the field issues on his record and questions about his attitude, but those appear to be behind him.
One reason for optimism for Ware is that the Giants have rebuffed trade offers for him. The most prominent of these rumors was when a potential deal with Atlanta for DeAngelo Hall in 2008 fell through because New York wouldn't discuss Ware as part of the deal. When that deal didn't happen, the Falcons went out and got Michael Turner instead. Other teams see Ware as starter material but he still fits into the Giants' plans.
Even so, Ware would need an injury or two ahead of him to find fantasy relevance. Or, like Grant and Ward before him, a team could finally pay enough to make moving Ware worthwhile around draft time.
By Sean Haugh, analyst at Fantasy Football Maniaxs