This offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles traded Bryce Brown to the Buffalo Bills. However, the Bills already have both a dynamic back in C.J. Spiller as well as a goal-line plodder in Fred Jackson. So why did they trade for Brown? The Bills clearly are concerned about depth at the RB position, and Brown could have a big opportunity this year to finally break out in fantasy football.
Last year, Spiller was injured for much of the season and struggled to produce fantasy points for his owners. When he did do well in a game, Jackson often came in for him on goal line and red zone carries, vulturing away a total of nine rushing TDs in 2013. So where does Brown fit into the picture?
Spiller is a smaller but versatile back who can break for long runs and gain yards after the catch in the passing game. He will likely be the lead back going into the season, and Spiller will see the bulk of the carries and receptions in Buffalo. However, if Spiller were to miss any time due to injury, it’s plausible to think that the Bills would prefer to not repeat their mistakes from last year and rest him until he’s fully recovered.
On the other hand, Jackson is a bigger back who can power it into the end zone. Brown plays more similarly to Jackson, as the two are only an inch apart in height and a few pounds apart in weight. Also, at 33 years old, Jackson is slowing down a bit, and it figures that Brown would be a fitting replacement.
Brown has averaged a respectable 4.6 yards per carry so far in his career. While he had trouble with fumbling issues his rookie season, Brown did not fumble the ball at all in 2013. Moreover, he is fast for his size, running a 4.38 40-yard dash. He may get his chance to be a starting RB in the NFL sooner rather than later.
Both Spiller and Jackson’s contracts will be up after this season. It’s unlikely that Jackson will be re-signed due to his age, and Spiller’s chances of staying in Buffalo will hinge on his performance and durability this season. Brown has the talent to be a lead back, and he could get his opportunity if Buffalo decides to jettison Spiller and Jackson after the 2014 season.
For now, Brown is a later-round draft pick with upside. However, if either Spiller or Jackson misses time this year, Brown could step into a prominent role. In dynasty and keeper leagues, he could be worth drafting purely for the potential of landing a starting role in 2015.