Trade to Colts certain to upgrade Trent Richardson's fantasy value

Thursday September 19th, 2013

An increase in elite talent around Trent Richardson in Indianapolis should increase his fantasy value.
Zach Bolinger/Icon SMI

Jim Irsay has been known for Twitter bluster in the past. So when he started tweeting about a huge trade that was imminent, he was met mostly with sarcasm and derision. And then this happened.

Yeah, Irsay, the 'Bluster King' no more. But let's forget about him, and what this does for the Colts' playoff hopes this year to move on to a more important question: what's the fantasy fallout of all this?

There's no denying that Richardson finds himself in a better fantasy situation today than he was yesterday. He may not be the focal point of the offense like he was in Cleveland, but teaming up with Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton will do wonders for him. Also, teams will not be able to load the box or crash down with safeties in run support against him the way they could in Cleveland. In terms of what his skill-position teammates can do for him, this is a huge upgrade. According to Pro Football Focus, the Colts have been right in the middle of the pack in run blocking through two weeks this season, just a touch worse than the Browns.

Let's call that a wash.

Add it all up, and it's hard not to love this trade for Richardson. Cleveland was a sinking ship with an offense that couldn't move the ball at all. Miami and Baltimore may have good defenses, but there's a striking level of ineptitude on the Cleveland offense. He'll think he ended up in football heaven after getting a taste of life with another team. Rest-of-season forecast: 1,190 rushing yards, 257 receiving yards, nine touchdowns.

BURKE: Colts' rebuilding project laid the groundwork for Trent Richardson deal

Do not forget the other huge winner of this trade in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck just got a first-round running back handed to him. No disrespect to Ahmad Bradshaw, a fine runner and an excellent pass blocker, but Luck has to feel like he won the lottery. Our own Doug Farrar pointed out that Luck has been an excellent in play-action during his career, and Richardson will definitely bring a new element to Indy's play-action game. I don't think this vaults him up the rest-of-season rankings, but it will make a noticeable difference.

Ahmad Bradshaw's stock takes a huge hit as a result of this trade. It's a shame for his owners, too, given that he looked like he'd be an impact player for the rest of the season after 65 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. I would, however, hold onto him. Even with Richardson in town, he'll have a role in the offense that could make him valuable enough to consider using him as a bye-week starter. We're just going to have to play the waiting game to see what that role might be. There's also the slim chance the Colts turn around and trade him to a team in need of a running back. No matter how you slice it, though, this is terrible news for his owners.

Over in Cleveland, well, I suppose Browns fans will just have to hope even more than they already were that the Indians make the playoffs. From a real-life standpoint, I can actually see why they made this trade. They now have three picks in each of the first, third and fourth rounds of the 2014 draft. For a team that was clearly rebuilding, with or without Richardson, that's quite the bounty.

Expect Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey to take the reins in the backfield, at least against the Vikings this week. The team is reportedly bringing in Willis McGahee on Wednesday, and is expected to sign him. He's the back you want in all this. It sure isn't Denver, and the holes that helped him run for 4.4 yards per carry last year and 4.8 in 2011 won't be there in Cleveland. Still, he'll be a starting running back getting the majority of the work. Once the bye weeks hit, that can be quite valuable, even if the player in question is on the worst team in the league.

Finally, if the Vikings defense is available in your league this week, go grab them right now. It should feast on this offense.


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