The MIA next to Brown’s name on fantasy cheat sheets could easily stand for Missing in Action. He has been a huge void for fantasy owners down the stretch as injuries have derailed two of the past three seasons making Ronnie Brown a wildcard heading into fantasy 2010 drafts. He was a top 10 producer before a Lisfranc injury ended his 2009 season in week 10. Brown had eight all-purpose touchdowns, 746 total yards, and an impressive 4.4 YPC in nine starts. But it is buyer beware this year as the Dolphins will employ a RBBC after Ricky Williams found the fountain of youth and was able to keep the medicinal mary jane under control.
Following Brown’s injury, Ricky went over 100 yards in three games and averaged 80yds/game over the final seven (includes two clunkers in final two weeks). The 33 year old back finished the 2009 season with a mind boggling 1,400 total yards and 13 TDs.
The contract status of both backs could have them playing elsewhere in 2011 depending on how they produce. Williams is in a contract year($4.35 million in 2010) and another 1000 yard will result in agent Drew Rosenhaus starting a free agent bidding war. Ronnie Brown will be 29 when this season begins. He is expected to sign a one-year tender and play out the final year of his rookie contract as the Dolphins won’t commit to him long term until he proves to be healthy.
Brown is fighting an uphill battle coming back from a foot injury. He has participated in OTA’s but claims he’s only about 80% healthy. He also could be in line for a league suspension if any other character issues arise following his March 2010 DUI arrest.
Ronnie Brown has the talent to be starter worthy in most fantasy leagues but has missed 16 games the past three seasons which drops him into Tier four and the 35th running back for fantasyknuckleheads.com. This seems a bit low but one can’t argue with the high injury risk and time share at running back.
FFtoolbox.com has Brown penciled in as the #23 running back in their Dynasty rankings but does note that he has top 10 talent when healthy (a big if considering he has been on the sidelines for the all important fantasy playoff weeks in 2 of last 3 seasons).
Fantasy Football Spin:
Head Coach Tony Sparano might be wise to keep a medical staff on the sidelines in 2010 as newly signed prima donna WR Brandon Marshall is recovering from his second hip injury in as many seasons and RB Ronnie Brown continues to battle back from a Lisfranc injury that prematurely ended his 2009. The Dolphins offense averaged 23pts/game last season and have the pieces in place to be an impressive fantasy unit if they can avoid spending half the season in the doctors office.
You can’t argue with Brown’s talent level when he’s on the field (had 5 TDs in one game in 2008) plus his versatility as a wildcat QB somewhat offsets his limited workload playing in a timeshare with Ricky Williams. Despite the talent, I’m apprehensive taking him as RB2 despite the RB1 upside. Perhaps he should turn to his backfield mate for some herbal medicine to speed the healing process, as Brown only has played a full season once in his 5 year career. The injury risk and situation in a RBBC make his ADP of 19th RB (42nd overall pick) seem inflated to us. I would be willing to roll the dice on Brown as my RB3 in the 6th round but another owner will likely be less risk adverse than I by taking Brown in the 4th/5th round of fantasy drafts making him a risk I wouldn’t take. You would be much better off taking any of these younger backs with less question marks (despite time shares) and similar ADP’s : Jonathan Stewart, Matt Forte or Felix Jones.