Yesterday afternoon the Cleveland Browns shocked the NFL and their fans while simultaneously causing euphoria among fantasy players rostering Trent Richardson when they traded the 2012 number three overall pick to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first round pick! The fantasy implications for this trade will cause ripples in the value of skill players across the board for all the players involved.
Trent Richardson sees his fantasy value soar into the top five running backs in fantasy. The difference is it’s no longer potential. He really upgraded! The Colts currently have the fifth ranked rushing attack in the NFL, and that was with a combination of Vic Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw and (the soon departed) Donald Brown. The Colts may have had trouble pass protecting, but the addition of Trent Richardson just backed off the defensive pressure.
Trent Richardson is a true three down workhorse back. He caught 51 passes last year when everyone knew he was the only running back that was going to touch the ball and teams could focus on stopping him. He is tough as nails, playing almost the entire season with injured ribs and he still gained 950 yards with 11 touchdowns. He will do even better in Indianapolis!
His presence on the team means no longer have the luxury of focusing each week’s defensive strategy on stopping Andrew Luck and his passing game. Which leads us to…Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck now has a power running game and make no mistake, the Colts will run Trent Richardson early and often. Defensive coordinators will have to game plan for one of the top young quarterbacks in the league and one of the best your running backs as well. Luck may not pass as often as many anticipated, but he should be much more effective. The beauty of this is even if another team gets up on the Colts defense, this offense has the firepower with Luck, Richardson, T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne and to score from anywhere on the field. Trent Richardson’s presence won’t harm anyone’s production, the offense was in place for a power run game, the Colts will just be better at it.
As for the weeping and bewildered fans of the Browns, and any fantasy owner who rosters a Cleveland player, it is hard to imagine a scenario where Josh Gordon or Jordan Cameron produce as expected. The absence of a threat in the run game will allow teams to bracket those receivers, ignore the run game and rush the quarterback.
For this week, Brian Hoyer doesn’t have the arm to take advantage of Josh Gordon’s deep threat skill set. Gordon won’t suck, but he is a WR3 in redraft leagues. Long term, teams will be able to pressure the quarterback not allowing time for Gordon to get into his routes. Norv Turner will adjust, but Gordon takes a small hit in fantasy value, though he should retain WR3 (instead of WR2) value for the season. For Jordan Cameron the absence of a threat in the run game may not be as devastating but until Brandon Weeden returns his yardage totals could decline.
Related Tags » 2013 dynasty rankings • 2013 fantasy football rankings • 2013 projections • 2013 redraft rankings • Andrew Luck • coby fleener • Jordan Cameron • josh gordon • reggie wayne • t y hilton • trent richardson
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