It's hard not to fully embrace Wilson with Brown down. (USAT)
For much of the summer, yours truly tried to maintain realistic expectations amid the 'expert' community's lust for David Wilson. Concerns over ongoing pass protection incompetency, underwhelming production as a receiver and Andre Brown's projected goal-line gremlin role said exercise caution. He was essentially the Chris Johnson of the NFC, a boom/bust rusher who was destined to be a 20-point scorer one week, six the next. At his high-20s average draft position (26.3 ADP, RB18 entering the night), drafters were outstretching arms.
Then the injury imp reared its ugly head.
Just days after New York journalists and talking heads eviscerated Rex Ryan for playing Mark Sanchez in the second half of the Jets' disastrous preseason game against the crosstown Giants, a move that led to the quarterback injuring his shoulder, Tom Coughlin made an equally boneheaded decision. Brown, still inexplicably logging carries in the second quarter of the Giants' final tuneup against New England, fractured his left leg, effectively sidelining him for at least the next 6-8 weeks while ending any dispute of Wilson being a sure-fire RB2.
For the sophomore back, his time is officially now.
Third-stringer Michael Cox may wrest away a handful of touches per game, but it appears Wilson is slated for every-down duty. In an age dominated by timeshares, he could be a rare 325-350 touch workhorse. Though his blitz pickup and goal-line efficiency are still a work in progress, there's no doubt he will be relied upon heavily. The Giants have no other choice.
Given his incredible explosiveness (7.4 ypc in preseason play), break-tackle ability and unrivaled workload, it's safe to assume he will greatly exceed previous expectations. He's now in the Maurice Jones-Drew/Stevan Ridley/Matt Forte class of fantasy RBs. And that's a conservative estimate. If the Giants offensive line, which ranked fourth in run-blocking a season ago according to Pro Football Focus, wins most wars in the trenches, Wilson has reasonable odds of transforming into a top-five fantasy monster. Roughly 1,400-1,600 combined yards with 11-13 touchdowns are achievable.
Wilson has always possessed top-level talent. Now the unquestioned starter, the rising star is about to take a Giant leap for fan-kind.
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