by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer (3/12/14)Donald Brown saved the Colts' run game last year and became an example of a running back playing to some career-high standards whilst in a contract year. The payoff could have led to a starting job, but instead Brown finds himself in another running back mess with the Chargers.
The Chargers seemingly did this to secure depth at the position and to safeguard against not having a back in case Ryan Mathews and/or Danny Woodhead leave via free agency next offseason. They also picked up a back who can do anything Mathews or Woodhead does -- Brown is a good runner and receiver.
The feeling here is that Mathews will remain the primary rusher for the Chargers. The team went 6-0 in games he had at least 20 carries (8-2 in games where he had at least 16 carries), a stat the coaches will have a hard time ignoring. Brown could keep Mathews from 24-plus carry games like he had toward the end of last season but we'll still see Mathews dominate. Brown should also reduce Woodhead's touches, particularly after he faded down the stretch last season.
But even with this piecemeal workload from Mathews and Woodhead, it's tough to envision Brown getting enough work to be the same kind of helpful Fantasy rusher he was last year. I might take him with a mid-round pick.
Donald Brown heads west, joins Chargers
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com (3/11/14) With the Colts bringing Ahmad Bradshaw back, there was going to be an odd man out in the backfield, and that turned out to be Donald Brown. Brown has agreed to join the Chargers, according to NFL.com, though terms of the deal are not yet known.
Brown emerged as the team's primary back in the second half of last season, finishing with a career-best 5.3 yards per carry and six rushing touchdowns. Brown rushed for 537 yards on 102 carries and added 214 yards on 27 catches, the latter of which are both career-highs.
Brown will have to fight for playing time yet again, joining a crowded backfield that already features Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead.
Who will start for Colts at running back?
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (2/25/14) It remains unclear who will start at running back for the Colts, and the question could stay unanswered until Week 1, reports ESPN.com. Trent Richardson is coming back from a shoulder cleanup, Vick Ballard is returning from a torn ACL, and Donald Brown is headed to free agency.
General manager Ryan Grigson is in no rush to provide the answer.
“At any point in time you'll know how we do things with the Colts, it's the best players play,” he told the website. “Iron sharp as iron. We're going to try to have the most competition at each position group and whoever wins that spot is going to be the starter and it's who is going to get us to that next level, which is Super Bowl XLIX and that's the mindset. You're either all in or all out."
Report: Jets interested in Ben Tate, Donald Brown
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (2/23/14) Although their greatest needs are at wide receiver and tight end, the Jets are exploring free agent running backs Ben Tate (Texans) and Donald Brown (Colts), reports ESPN.com. The news could mean the Jets aren't totally satisfied with the backfield combo of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell.
GM: Chargers to discuss deal with Donald Butler
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com (1/15/14) Contract negotiations between the Chargers and inside linebacker Donald Butlerwill resume after the Super Bowl. That's the word from general manager Tom Telesco, per the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Brown, whose deal runs out in March, was moderately productive in 2013. He recorded 84 tackles, but managed just a half-sack and one interception. His sack total was the lowest of his career.
03/14/2014 15:17 Offseason extra: Reviewing the unpredictables
There were a ton of surprising Fantasy Football players in 2013. What made them tick? Dave Richard investigated 10 people who will cause some headaches come Draft Day 2014.
Is this the year Donald Brown is going to break out and be an asset to Fantasy owners? That's the question we've been asking for four seasons. Drafted in the first round in 2009 with lofty expectations, Brown has yet to total 1,000 yards in a single year and has a total of 11 touchdowns (all rushing) in 50 games on 449 carries. Not considered explosive and in a training camp battle with second-year back Vick Ballard, Brown is likely to disappoint again, so why waste a valuable pick on him? Unless things change in training camp, expect Brown to be available with a mid- to late-round pick, which isn't exactly awful since he does have some ability and might aim to play at his best since he's in a contract year. We just haven't seen that ability regularly over his career. (Updated 4/26/13)