NFL: New York Jets at St. Louis Rams

Running backs. They’re used, discarded, used again, and then we decide they’re too old, or too fat, or now too slow. It can be a thankless, fleeting gig, with only the truly elite allowed to do it by themselves in a featured role.

Now we have our latest meat: Daryl Richardson. Please rise to be processed.

Yesterday, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher finalized and verbalized a move which was perhaps the most blatantly obvious roster decision among all the still remaining battles. Richardson will be his starting running back, beating out Isaiah Pead and Zac Stacy.

Richardson won the job with minimal effort too, signifying that when games matter, his workload advantage over the other two chumps will be of some significance. He had 44 yards on six touches in the Rams’ preseason opener, and then added one more catch for 24 yards last week against the Packers before being yanked quickly. The starter had to be protected, and Richardson didn’t need any more work to obtain that title.

In an offense with an abundance of speed in the form of Chris Givens, and the trusted hands of Tavon Austin and Jared Cook who are ideal for the shallow thinking and throwing of Sam Bradford, Richardson has plenty of support. With defenses, in theory, unable to occupy the box with eight men while keeping up with that speed — and especially Cook’s slot ability — his ceiling is high.

And his price is low, for at least a few more hours. His ADP right now is 61.8, which is the same territory as others with high upside, but they’re still in time shares (Giovani Bernard, Shane Vereen), or they have a troubling injury history (Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Ivory).

The sample size we have from Richardson is clearly small after he spent the majority of his rookie season behind Steven Jackson (98 carries, and 24 catches). But let’s focus on his burst, of which there’s plenty.

On those minimal 122 touches, he still had six +20 yard plays, including runs of 53, 44, and 32 yards. With that kind of chunk yardage, a draft where you secure running backs in the first two rounds, and then come back for Richardson in the sixth as your RB3 and weekly flex is pretty inviting.

But alas, those bargain days are ending soon. Hype: it’ll consume us all eventually.

More notes, stray thoughts, and other such randomness

Pat White? Starter? (hahaha)

Optimism is a hell of a drug. We all know that Robert Griffin III will be ready for Week 1, or we think we know there’s no way he won’t be ready for Week 1. Count me among those believers, as barring a major setback — the kind that hasn’t happened yet over the past seven months — his progression and participation in 11-on-11 drills indicates he’ll be just fine, or as fine as one can possibly be after a thorough knee ripping.

But there is, of course, still the matter of getting formal clearance from Dr. Death James Andrews. And as we learned from sleuth Lisa Salters prior to the Redskins’ preseason win over Pittsburgh last night, Andrews is both the captain and crew of the good ship Griffin:

“Redskins owner Dan Snyder has told us that the decision about when Robert Griffin III will be cleared to play will be up to team orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. And it will be Andrews’s decision alone. And Robert Griffin knows that, because he told me so.”

Salters then added that Griffin was jovial while working out, and could be heard singing and dancing. No word on the song of choice, by I can only assume it was some sort of RG3 original, complete with incoherent sounds.

That all came before Kirk Cousins — the very capable backup who’s presence would make it easier to bench Griffin for a game, if that’s the (unlikely) chosen path — came up limping after a scramble to the sideline. Them Redskins quarterbacks, man, they gotta learn to avoid all contact with humans.

Cousins was tackled by Lawrence Timmons, with his right foot rolling awkwardly, and against its intended design. He exited in favor of Rex Grossman, and was later seen testing the foot on the sideline. After the game, Cousins was wearing a boot, though NFL.com reported that he doesn’t anticipate missing much time, if any. Albert Breer called the injury a mid foot sprain, adding that X-rays were negative.

Still, even a minor tumble and twist provides a wholly unnecessary reminder of how fragile the Redskins’ quarterback depth chart is without its anchor cleared for game activity. Since they played the Monday night game, Washington now has a short turnaround before Week 3 of the preseason, a game that’s treated as the regular-season dress rehearsal, with offensive and defensive starters remaining on the field well into the second half.

In a game that’s a make believe regular-season game, the Redskins could have a make believe regular-season starter, trotting out Rex Grossman (he of the career 55.2 completion percentage), and immediately behind him is Pat White, who hasn’t appeared in a meaningful game since 2009.

Cousins will be fine, because he needs to be fine.

Reporters do the damndest things

Hi, we cover this team and this guy. Please acknowledge that we exist.

Hating yourself = Darren McFadden

I get it, guys. Every starting running back who’s set to receive at least the majority of his offense’s workload has fantasy value. Every last one, which even includes Ryan Mathews and Darren McFadden, the league leaders in frail. At times throughout our adventures in draft prepping I’ve even advocated for drafting one or both of them, depending on the ever fluctuating ADP waves.

But I’ve only done that because they’ve been so horribly broken recently, and their situations are so poor that Mathews and McFadden have often lowered their price to a point that the risk associated with them is much more tolerable. They should only be drafted at the right price, and the right price isn’t in the middle of the third round.

Seriously, stop this madness. In his rundown of the current 10 most overdrafted players, Rotoworld’s Pat Daugherty notes that somehow, McFadden is being drafted ahead of Frank Gore, Le’Veon Bell, and Lamar Miller. End times.

Elsewhere in ADP sadness

In a rundown of his own J.J. Zachariason sadly observes that to the surprise of no one after his two touchdowns in Cleveland’s second preseason game, Browns tight end Jordan Cameron is quickly shedding his super sleeper status. He’s being drafted by your mother, your goldfish, and hamsters everywhere.

Save us, Giovani Bernard

Thankfully, our buy Gio is here to save us. Bernard was a multiple purpose threat out of the backfield during his two years at North Carolina, with 3,333 total yards from scrimmage at an average of 6.5 per touch, with 31 touchdowns.

We know he can run and do that quite well (6.7 yards per carry last year), but with a split of some level coming with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, his true value could lie in his receiving ability, of which there’s plenty. On 47 catches during his final collegiate season, Bernard had 490 yards. Sure, that number will be limited somewhat now by the presence of Green-Ellis, but combine those receiving abilities with Bernard’s rumbling (he already as a 20-yard catch in the preseason, with two rushing touchdowns), and you’re getting great value at his current ADP of 54.8.

That bargain shopping gets better in PPR leagues. For an even better idea of what exactly you’re getting with said value, Denny Carter projected Bernard’s rushing using three different YPC paces, and an even split of the 443 average rushes per year Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has called. At worst, the resulting projection was 885 rushing yards.

Even if we estimate conservatively and then give Bernard 250 receiving yards, that’s over 1,100 total yards from a running back being selected midway through the fourth round, and 27th overall at his position. Value defined.

Chris Givens objects

It’s nice that we’re kissing Bernard’s toes, but Chris Givens wants to know what’s up. In two preseason games, the Rams receiver has four catches, and on those catches he’s averaging 34.8 yards.

I know, small sample size that’s skewed by limited receptions, blah blah, yadda yadda. But that’s what we have right now as evidence that Givens has emerged from an originally muddled Rams wide receiver depth chart as the main yardage eater. And as Mike Braude from The Fake Football observed, he’s also a sweet bargain as the 46th overall receiver selected on average.

If you really can’t compute Givens’ limited preseason sample, try this one: if we combine his 2013 preseason with his 2012 regular season, Givens has seven +50 yard catches on just 46 receptions in total.

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