Not since Marshawn Lynch was traded from the Bills to the Seahawks on October 5 2010 has an in-season trade for such a high-caliber player been completed. Trent Richardson is now an Indianapolis Colt and his fantasy owners are about to reap some serious benefits.
After making the 2012 playoffs with a meager set of running backs that included 2013 third-stringer Donald Brown and the now injured Vick Ballard, the Colts have acquired their best rushing option since Edgerrin James. Trent Richardson will make Indianapolis exponentially better, doing things that previous starter Ahmad Bradshaw and the aforementioned backs cannot, he’ll force defenses to prepare for more than just the Andrew Luck Show.
Without Richardson the Colts had to rely on their passing game. Bradshaw is on the wrong side of his prime, Brown never really got there and when it looked like Ballard was ready for a breakout season, he tore his ACL in practice. Luck may have the fastest group of receivers in the business to line up with Reggie Wayne. Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton will burn most cornerbacks down the field but without the threat of a running game, defenses don’t have much trouble focusing on the wideouts without the threat of a well-timed draw play. Richardson mends this issue for Indy, allowing them to rely on the running game when Luck or his receivers aren’t at their best. The threat of a top-notch rushing attack prevents opposing D’s from strictly focusing on the passing game, bringing in a new element to the Andrew Luck Show that he hasn’t been able to use since his time at Stanford with Stepfan Taylor.
As for the Cleveland Browns, the future looks bright but the present will be a big mess. The current regime didn’t draft Richardson so they didn’t have a problem sending him away for a first round pick. They better hope they don’t miss on the two 2014 first-rounders they’ll have or else there will be yet another decade of garbage football in Cleveland, the response to which from a Browns fan friend was, “wouldn’t be anything different than what I’m used to.” It’s very sad that Cleveland is completely used to their team being terrible and this move likely didn’t enact the surprised reaction that the rest of the nation experienced.
As for you fantasy owners looking for a new running back or a replacement for the now useless Ahmad Bradshaw, the Browns have brought in Willis McGahee and will sign him pending a passed physical. He’ll likely be the number one option but second-year back Bobby Rainey will be waiting on the sideline for his opportunity to shine. Unless you’re desperate or in a 16-team league you likely won’t be touching either of these guys but if you’re in a keeper league it can’t hurt to grab Rainey just in case he blows up. He did put up back to back 1,600-yard seasons at Western Kentucky University, including a school-record 1,695 as a senior. He spent most of last year on IR with the Ravens but will absolutely be getting a few carries this weekend as Cleveland moves forward without Trent Richardson.
Other running back pickups this week are James Starks, Bilal Powell, Bernard Pierce, Jacquizz Rodgers and if Quizz isn’t the first on Atlanta’s depth chart, Jason Snelling. Good luck in Week 3 everyone!