First Down: Wilson's probable demise cements Jennings as RB2

First Down: Wilson's probable demise cements Jennings as RB2

In an unfortunate twist of fate, David Wilson, who was just recently medically cleared, suffered a burner earlier this week. For most players an injury of that caliber is rather benign, but for a running back whose career hung in the balance last year after a nasty neck injury that required spinal fusion surgery, it held considerably more weight.

Shortly after the incident, Wilson was ushered off to the hospital for further evaluation. On Wednesday, he rosily tweeted “everything was fine,” making it seem, at least for a moment, the plagued running back had dodged a bullet.  That, however, doesn’t appear to be the case.

[Smack talk season is back at Yahoo Sports: Sign up and play free Fantasy Football!]

Official word is expected to come Monday, but a source reveled to the Newark Star-Ledger Thursday it will take “a miracle” for the once promising RB to return to the field.

The injury imp is so damn cruel. 

The sadness of the situation cannot be overstated. Despite fumbling and pass pro problems early on, Wilson routinely displayed enormous potential in his all-too brief career. His blend of open-field explosiveness, lateral agility and power were absolutely intoxicating. No wonder when he entered last year as the starter, many in the fantasy community were willing to sacrifice an appendage to acquire his services.  

Now, somberly, his playing days are likely over.

As it always is in Fantasyland, when one door closes another opens. If Wilson is indeed permanently shelved, Rashad Jennings and rookie bulldozer Andre Williams stand to benefit.

Discussed in great detail previously, the former is a highly misunderstood commodity. Only sporadically used in Jacksonville, he was gifted an opportunity to prove his mettle in Oakland last fall filling in for wet paper bag Darren McFadden. As the featured rusher in eight games, he totaled 4.36 yards per carry, 81.6 total yards per game and five touchdowns. Most impressively, his 62.2 yards after contact percentage ranked top-five among RBs. He isn’t extraordinary in any single category, but the veteran is very reliable and solid across the board. He’s excellent in pass protection, holds onto the football, can grind out tough yards between the tackles and owns tacky hands. In other words, he’s the prototype Tom Coughlin running back.

With Wilson likely toast and Williams and Peyton Hillis his only competition, Jennings is a near lock for 300 total touches. Running behind a Giants offensive line that, though it was raked over the coals by the media for its wretched pass protection, ranked No. 16 in run-blocking last year, he should finish well within the RB2 range. At his 57.8 mean ADP (Yahoo and FF Calculator), he’s worth reaching for in Round 4 of 12-team drafts. At this moment, I would take him ahead of presumed committee backs Doug Martin, C.J. Spiller and Reggie Bush. It’s hard to deny the anticipated volume.

As for Williams, he’s a goal-line gremlin to watch. If he executes flawlessly in that role in preseason play he could transform into a modern day Brandon Jacobs, the Football Frankenstein revisited. For those in antiquated TD-only formats, the Boston College product has plenty of profit potential. However, because he’s equipped with mannequin hands and isn’t nearly as adept in protections as Jennings, he won’t likely contribute more than 7-9 carriers per game limiting his value in standard or PPR leagues. 

Depressingly, Wilson’s end may be near, but for the Giants’ much improved ground game all hope, fantasy-wise, isn’t lost. 

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also, check out "The Noise' along with colleagues Andy Behrens and Brandon Funston for another season of 'Fantasy Football Live' Tuesday-Thursday at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network.