Fantasy NFL

Any hope for Richardson?

By Thomas J. Harrigan, Fantasy Sports Writer

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Trent Richardson has fooled a lot of people in two years. The Cleveland Browns. The Indianapolis Colts. Fantasy owners. But not Jim Brown.

Before the Browns picked Richardson third overall in 2012, Brown, one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, called Richardson "ordinary."

Richardson has rushed for 3.3 yards per carry on 455 attempts in two seasons, so I'd say Brown was spot on.

But because the Colts traded a first-round pick for Richardson, he's still their starter. And because he's still their starter, he's still a player of interest for fantasy owners going into 2014.

Richardson is going 25th among running backs in fantasyfootballcalculator.com mock drafts (51.9 ADP), so there are people out there who still think the running back is going to contribute to fantasy teams this season.

I'd be OK with taking a flyer on Richardson because Donald Brown is gone and the Colts have a lot invested in Richardson's success, but 52nd overall is more than a flyer.

Richardson has frequently blamed his struggles on his lack of familiarity with the Colts offense that stemmed from joining the team in Week 3.

According to colts.com, Richardson said in May that he learned much more about the offense in a week of spring practices than he did all of last year.

But I don't think the 22-year-old fully knowing the offense will make a difference. It's not like Richardson was a wide receiver who needed to learn the timing of routes and develop chemistry with a quarterback.

I'm not saying there isn't more to playing running back than "get the ball and go." But even if Richardson's main issue was that he was handicapped by not knowing the offense, we should have at least seen his talent take over on some occasions regardless of the blocking scheme.

Instead, the running back had just one run of at least 20 yards and eight gains of at least 10 yards on 188 carries all season.

Meanwhile, Donald Brown rushed for 5.3 yards per carry, Ahmad Bradshaw gained 4.5 yards per carry, Vick Ballard had 4.8 yards per carry and Tashard Choice gained 4.0.

Ray Rice, another fantasy bust from 2013, rushed for just 3.1 yards per carry for the Baltimore Ravens, but backup Bernard Pierce also averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. In that situation, it was likely more a run-blocking issue than one with Rice.

On the Colts, everyone BUT Richardson ran well.

Also, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck is a notorious touchdown vulture, rushing for nine scores in his two seasons, so even though Richardson will be tied to a good offense he's not a lock to rush for 8-10 touchdowns.

If he continues to go at his current ADP, I'm not going to own Richardson in any leagues. And if Jim Brown plays fantasy football, I'm sure he won't either.

06/30 19:00:40 ET