Firstly, there’s something I need to do before getting too deep into the first Sunday post of a new season…
FOOTBALL! FOOTBALL! FOOTBALL! FOOTBALL! FOOTBALL! FOOTBALL!
USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
Alright, carrying on then. Let’s begin in earnest by saying that the title of this post is a partial lie. The prediction below inherently isn’t a truth, and instead it’s a partial truth, or a possible truth. It’s a prediction based on observations and very educated guessing, but nonetheless it could result in me eating a healthy diet of crow. Pigeon may have to suffice, because recent events involving traffic incidents have convinced me that our agreement with the pigeons is no longer valid, and crow wasn’t available for purchase at the local mini mart last night.
Whether or not I’m eventually laughably wrong is of lesser concern. Well, it is to me at least, because I’m more than happy to be the village jester pelted with sharp objects for your entertainment. Each week we’ll do this exercise in the hours before kickoff so that together we’ll walk through and explore a difficult roster decision. This week, our subject is Trent Richardson, and while he’ll produce average, serviceable numbers, there will be very little sex appeal with his Week 1 output…
Trent Richardson will only be a low-end RB2
This is painful to admit, because in one of my leagues I’m in a situation where I don’t have another option I’m overly confident in, and am thus rolling with Richardson as my RB2. I suspect I’m one of many in that situation, and I’ll speak for the entire group and say that we all want your deepest sympathy regarding our obligation to start the top RB in last spring’s draft, and a rookie of the year candidate. Woe is us.
The problem here is of course Richardson’s knee. He’s playing, and that much has been confirmed. However, Pat Shurmur’s confident words this week in which he said that T-Rich wouldn’t start unless the intention was to use him in a full capacity scream of classic coach poker talk. Richardson will get his share of touches, and maybe even plenty of touches according to The Mort.
But exactly what his workload will be depends on your definition of “plenty,” which is a relative term for a rookie RB starting his first game following two knee surgeries since last January after he didn’t receive a single preseason carry. It’s likely that he’ll get “plenty” of carries considering those circumstances, as there’s little reason for the Browns to take a significant risk in Richardson’s first exposure to a meaningful game and more meaningful and intense contact when they expect him to be a key figure in the resurrection of their franchise. NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported that he’ll be managed, and spelled at times on first and second downs by Montario Hardesty, and Brandon Jackson will receive third down looks.
Richardson’s final numbers will probably look something like this: 12 carries for 64 yards, with three receptions for 22 yards. That’s still very productive in reality, but it’s also very average in fantasy as it’s about eight points, which is decent considering the circumstances. But as I wrote during my Week 1 fantasy preview, if you took Richardson in the early rounds and then were able to grab Kevin Smith later as insurance, you’re faced with a tough decision. Smith will likely get far more opportunities, and the Lions have a better matchup against the Rams, a team that had the league’s worst rushing defense last year.