Four Downs: Donald Brown breaks out 

December, 20, 2010
Most fantasy owners expected a running back in the Jacksonville Jaguars-Indianapolis Colts Week 15 matchup to go off. It was supposed to be reliable Maurice Jones-Drew, who was rolling with six consecutive 100-yard performances. It was surprising indeed to see Donald Brown deliver the big-time outing, breaking off multiple long runs and scoring a touchdown in producing the best fantasy game of his young career.

[+] EnlargeDonald Brown
AP Photo/AJ MastDonald Brown took advantage of a Jaguars run D that was tied as the ninth easiest for opposing running backs in fantasy entering the week.
Brown has been an interesting case for fantasy patience this season. Because he plays with Peyton Manning in the high-powered Colts offense, fantasy owners view him differently than if he were on another squad. Heck, I admit I do, as I have with other Colts this season. I didn't need much convincing that tight end Jacob Tamme would be immediately relevant -- like top-10 tight end relevant -- when Dallas Clark was injured for the season. When I know Austin Collie will be in action, I buy in, even though he unfortunately seems to attract concussions. Blair White wouldn't be noticed if he were on the Detroit Lions. But with Brown, I had pretty much given up hope that the former UConn star would matter because he had done so little in the two months since Joseph Addai left the lineup. Javarris James figured to keep getting the goal-line touches, and he was the Colts running back to use -- and only if you were desperate.

On Sunday, Brown rushed for 129 yards on 14 carries and produced 18 fantasy points; the past three weeks combined, Brown had rushed 30 times for 66 yards and totaled 11 fantasy points, getting there only with helpful receiving work. Good for the Colts for sticking with Brown, and for the few fantasy owners who went against the grain and started him in Week 15. Brown was active in only 9 percent of ESPN standard leagues. Based on his recent performances, even that number was generous. I would have played James, fresh off scoring three touchdowns in Weeks 13 and 14. Of course, the Colts gave him only one stinkin' carry Sunday, opting for Dominic Rhodes as Brown's helper instead. Ah, fantasy football seldom makes sense.