By Adam Harris-
(CBS) The Indianapolis Colts made a big move for their franchise moving forward yesterday, acquiring running back Trent Richardson (wow that is weird to write). This was also a GIGANTIC fantasy move that benefits some fantasy owners, but hurts many others.
Below are a list of players the Trent Richardson trade helps and hurts. Lets go with the good news first.
Trent Richardson (RB-IND) – Still weird to write, Colts running back Trent Richardson is the player that benefits the most from this trade, thus all panicked Richardson owners can let out a collective sigh of relief. The Colts offense was 55 points better than the Browns last season, and were missing a threat at running back.
One of my concerns for Richardson entering this fantasy season was his high touchdown total of 12 and low yards per carry total of 3.6 from last season. Because of that, I had Richardson targeted for a 2012 LeSean McCoy-type season where his expectations stemmed from how much he got in the end zone the previous year. Now, Richardson will have more space to run.
Instead of seeing eight guys in the box, daring Brandon Weeden (QB-CLE) to throw, defenses will have to be aware of Richardson’s quarterback, 2012 Rookie of the Year, Andrew Luck (we will get to him later). Richardson’s yards per touch should increase while his touchdown total will remain virtually the same.
Advice: Smile. Be happy and for once in fantasy, take a soothing breath. You’ve earned it. Oh, and then play Richardson. This week he is most likely going to be inactive, but keep an eye on the news.
Willis McGahee (RB-Free Agent) – Assuming McGahee officially signs with the Browns today, he is a major fantasy beneficiary of this trade. McGahee was previously sitting on his couch, collecting zero fantasy points for anyone who owned him hoping he would get signed. The patience has paid off, not in a giant way, but in the form of a starting running back. That’s all struggling fantasy owners can ask for.
Advice: Pick up McGahee, especially in deep leagues, and monitor his production. DO NOT count on him as your automatic FLEX play the rest of the year, but if the matchup is right, play him.
OUCH…THIS HURTS FOR:
Andrew Luck (QB-IND) – At first, I assumed this move would benefit Colts QB Andrew Luck. I even wrote a paragraph for this article saying Luck would benefit from this balance that this trade would give the Colts.
After typing that, I realized that balance is a GREAT thing for a quarterback trying to win in the NFL, but it is a HORRIBLE thing for a fantasy quarterback. Luck is going to hand the ball off more often now than when his starting running backs were Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw. Simply put, Luck will not have as many opportunities to hit the end zone and rack up fantasy points.
The amount of pass attempts are going to decrease, so the amount of fantasy points will decrease. Luck was on his way to joining Drew Brees (NO), Aaron Rodgers (GB), Peyton Manning (DEN) and Tom Brady (NE) as being a top-tier fantasy quarterback in the next few years. He now has something that those QB’s don’t – a stud fantasy running back.
Usually, the running back wins these battles when it comes to fantasy production, and Trent Richardson is going to hinder Luck’s growth in the fantasy world.
Advice: Trading Luck would be a little bit dramatic, but it isn’t crazy. Many think the trade benefits Luck in the fantasy world. Use that to your advantage.
Colts WRs/TEs (Reggie Wayne, TY Hilton, Colby Fleener) – Naturally, if the quarterback’s numbers go down, the players that depend on their quarterback for their numbers will decrease. Richardson is now another threat in the red zone, and in fantasy football, sharing is NOT caring.
Advice: Obviously you continue to start these three weapons, but do so in a more cautionary light. Besides Reggie Wayne, they are not automatic starts now that this trade has been made.
Ahmad Bradshaw (RB-IND) – Just last week, Bradshaw was a nice FLEX play in all leagues. He was the number one option on the ground in Indy, and didn’t look to have any competition. Usually it is injury that causes me to write a negative thing about Bradshaw, but this time, a teammate causes the gloomy words. Bottom line, Ahmad Bradshaw is now securely stuck as the second-string back in Indy.
Advice: On a positive note, Bradshaw owners now own Trent Richardson’s handcuff. Use that to your advantage and trade Bradshaw to the current Richardson owner for a nice WR3.
Josh Gordon (WR-CLE) / Jordan Cameron (TE-CLE) – This paragraph is most frustrating to write for me personally because I have promoted these two as fantasy options all year. It was perfectly set up for Cameron to benefit in Week 1 and 2, while Gordon was out due to a suspension.
So far so good, heading into Week 3, as Cameron has 14 catches for 203 yards and a score. Now that Richardson is gone, the running game is completely gone and opposing secondaries can relax on the play-action, stay in their correct coverage and keep a secure blanket on the only two legitimate scoring options on the Browns. Josh Gordon couldn’t have come back at a worse time.
ADVICE: Do not panic and drop these players, but be aware that their production or potential production will drop. Brandon Weeden is out this week, and I’ve heard rumblings in Cleveland that Browns management hopes Weeden comes back from his “injury” in a backup role. Start these guys this week and hope for the best.
Brandon Weeden (QB) / Brian Hoyer (QB) – These two Browns QB’s certainly do not benefit from this trade. Neither should be owned at this point, unless you are in a two QB league or a 14 team and up league.
Follow Adam Harris on Twitter @AHarris670 and ask him Fantasy Football questions. Also, listen to the Friday Fantasy Nerd Herd Hour on Friday nights/Saturday mornings with Joe Ostrowski.