Will Brandon Jacobs re-emerge as a reliable fantasy running back this season?
Jacobs says that he realizes he should have had surgery after he originally injured his knee in New York's 2009 opener against the Redskins.
I think I can safely speak for the fantasy owners who spent a first-round draft pick on Jacobs last season when I say: Now you say that?
Arthroscopic surgery and a few missed games -- heck, even half a season's worth of missed games -- would have been preferable to the anguish of watching Jacobs plow into the line for a paltry 3.7 yards per carry in 2009 (1.3 yards per carry fewer than the season before). As the season wore on, it became painfully apparent that Jacobs was a shadow of the back who ran for 1,089 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2008 -- such a shadow that a guy with two bum wheels (Ahmad Bradshaw) outpointed him down the stretch.
There's something to be said for Jacobs' perseverance and commitment to the team, although in the long run immediate surgery might have lifted the Giants' playoff chances. Many of Jacobs' fantasy owners suffered the same fate as New York, and missed out on the postseason.
The good news for 2010 is that Jacobs is healthy again after having the surgery in the offseason to repair the torn meniscus in his knee. Given also that the Giants still have one of the best offensive lines in football, we think Jacobs' 2009 season will prove to be an aberration.
The Giants apparently think so, too. They passed on Jahvid Best, Monterio Hardesty, Ben Tate, et al, in the draft -- only C.J. Spiller and Ryan Mathews were gone by the time their first pick came around -- so the team is clearly confident heading into 2010 with Jacobs and Bradshaw as their primary backs.
Bradshaw is the wild card here. He had surgery on both of his feet in the offseason and has pronounced himself pain-free heading into 2010. But with both backs healthy, Bradshaw is more suited to the No. 2 role than to the de facto No. 1 he became late last season.
Bottom line: Jacobs is in line to rebound from a poor 2009 season and become a fantasy factor once again.