Last year, for the first time in his pro career, Colts running back Donald Brown played a full 16-game season. He entered 2012 as the unrivaled starter for Indianapolis, and performed adequately enough in the opening weeks (4.0 YPC).
Perhaps you'd begun to consider him almost reliable, in a 15-carries-for-60-yards sort of way.
But on Wednesday, we learned that Brown is expected to miss the next 2-3 weeks, following surgery to repair torn knee cartilage. He had an appealing match-up on deck against the Jets, too, so this is unwelcome news for fantasy owners. New York's defense ranks next-to-last in the NFL at stopping the run (4.9 YPC, 172.0 rush YPG).
Rookie Vick Ballard steps into the starter's role for Indy, and he's a respectable short-term fantasy add — at least as appealing as the rest of the flavor-of-the-week RBs (Green, Starks, Blount, both Powells, LaRod). If Ballard gets the next three starts for the Colts, he'll have three friendly match-ups: New York, Cleveland, then Tennessee. Those defenses are all giving up more than 140.0 rushing yards per game.
Ballard's early numbers haven't been particularly impressive (21 carries, 42 yards), and some of you may know him only as the dude who did this. But he really has a terrific opportunity ahead. If you'd been planning to start Brown this week, then give Ballard a look. He's available in 85 percent of Yahoo! leagues.