The Buffalo Bills led the NFL in rushing attempts last season, with 546 (34.1 per game), due in part to having Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel combined to start six games at quarterback. EJ Manuel also had 53 carries in the 10 games he played under center, and even if he is healthy for all 16 games the Bills are likely to run the ball plenty again this year.
C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson give Buffalo a solid running back duo, but that didn’t stop them from acquiring Bryce Brown from the Philadelphia Eagles after May’s draft. In 32 games over the last two seasons for Philadelphia, Brown had 190 carries for 878 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and six touchdowns along with 21 catches for 140 yards.
Brown finished 2013 solidly, with 126 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries in Week 16 and 17, and he had 347 yards and four touchdowns (on 43 carries) over a two-game stretch in 2012 when LeSean McCoy was out. So he has obviously been productive when given the opportunity, and Brown’s path to playing time in Buffalo is not as blocked as it may seem.
Spiller clearly has great potential, but his usage has been inconsistent and he may never develop into a quintessential workhorse back. Jackson had a resurgent season in 2013, with 890 rushing yards, 47 receptions and 10 total touchdowns (nine rushing), but he missed 12 games over the previous two seasons and is 33 years old. The Bills are not significantly committed to Spiller or Jackson after the coming season right now, so Brown has sneaky value in dynasty leagues.
Brown is only draftable in the deepest leagues, and his value is greatest as a handcuff to Spiller or Jackson for those are so inclined and have the roster space. But if Jackson or Spiller (or both) were to miss time to injury, Brown would become a worthy waiver wire pickup in 12 and 14-team leagues and he’d become a potential difference maker for a lot of fantasy owners.