The Trent Richardson Trade
T-Rich sent to Colts for a 1st rounder
The quick assessment of Trent Richardson’s value in the wake of the big trade between the Colts and Browns is most likely going to be very positive, and that’s understandable. After all, Cleveland is loaded with bad vibes. Meanwhile, the Colts have Andrew Luck and were a playoff team last year. Having said that, I wouldn’t be so quick to do the superior dance if I owned T-Rich in fantasy ... and I do. There is a lot to look at.
Let’s try the old Ben Franklin close here, by laying out all the positives and the negatives.
On the plus side....
- He’s now playing with a better quarterback and that’ll open things up for him in the passing game and perhaps the ground game too.
- You would think that his playing time on 3rd downs would go up and that may be the biggest thing in the end after the way they’ve limited him so far in Cleveland.
On the minus side....
- He’s playing behind a lesser offensive line. I don’t think there’s much debate here and it’s a very significant downgrade.
- He’s now playing on turf vs. natural grass. More games on turf is not a positive for a back with established knee concerns.
- His schedule just got harder. Add in games against all the NFC West teams.
- He doesn’t know his new scheme.
So, you can see, it’s not all a bed of roses if we look at the full picture. What we’ll need to hope for is that Luck is a huge factor, which he could be, and that becoming an actual every-down-back leads to big numbers. Richardson will be better than he's been through two weeks, but we were projecting that anyway--even if he had stayed with the Browns.
It wouldn’t be fair to just talk about Richardson here. After all, even if the news isn’t all good with T-Rich, it’s far worse for Ahmad Bradshaw and those who roster him. And, I think we can all stop picking up Kerwynn Williams for anything for more than some depth in dynasty formats.
On the Cleveland side, this is potentially devastating stuff. The loss of Richardson could allow teams to take Josh Gordon away on offense and that will make Brandon Weeden worth about as much as most folks originally predicted. Backup QB Brian Hoyer, who will start this week, won’t be any better. From a fantasy standpoint, it’s time to downgrade all the Cleveland receivers with the possible exception of tight end Jordan Cameron, who seems to be thriving under OC Norv Turner.
As for the backfield, and who to target now that T-Rich is gone, you had better be careful. On the surface I like Chris Ogbonnaya, but Bobby Rainey also has some intrigue. Then there’s Willis McGahee, who is coming in for a workout/physical tomorrow. At this point, any of the three could be worth something, but all three have the potential to fail as well. In the end, the most likely scenario is a fantasy unfriendly committee backfield.
There’s really no way to tell how this backfield shakes out. Rainey, Ogbonnaya and potentially McGahee are all flex fliers in deeper formats. The reason to even get involved with this situation is that Cleveland does block pretty well. It’s not out of the question that something or someone of value emerges here.
We’ll be watching the Browns closely this weekend at Minnesota and we’re looking forward to seeing Richardson and Colts taking on the 49ers.
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