There is no doubt that Trent Richardson getting traded to the Indianapolis Colts was a good thing for fantasy owners. After all, Richardson was a top-1o caliber back in 2012, despite playing on a terrible offense with no quarterback and little to no weapons in the passing game.
Now Richardson will get to play with a true franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck on an offense that includes talented pass-catchers Reggie Wayne and T.Y Hilton. The true threat of the passing attack will not only open up running lanes for Richardson but with Luck as his quarterback, I also expect the former Alabama standout to get much more involved catching passes out of the backfield, making him even more valuable in PPR formats.
When the Browns shocked the football world by trading the ultra talented running back to the playoff contending Colts, fantasy owners rejoiced, as they should. Yet, that still doesn’t mean fantasy owners shouldn’t exercise caution before inserting Richardson into their starting lineup’s this week.
By principle, I tend to be very conservative when it comes to fantasy football, who I start and who I sit. I am cautious about injuries and also particularly cautious about players on new teams. You just never really how a player is going to take to a new situation until you see him in it. There’s a new offensive system to learn, a different quarterback, a different coach and many other variables that are hard to predict.
Thus, I prefer to sit back and monitor things before I jump head in, which is precisely what I recommend doing this week with Richardson. Because he’s a running back, the transition should be easier than say a wide receiver. Yet, there still’s a learning curve as he tries to gel with his new offense and especially his new offensive line.
In addition to that, it’s hard to know how comfortable he will feel in the offense come Sunday and just how many touches the Colts are willing to give him. While, I believe Richardson is going to be involved in the offense on Sunday, I have no idea how big a role Ahmad Bradshaw, the Colts Week 2 starter at running back is going to play since the turnaround is so quick.
Certainly, over the long-term, Richardson is going to be the guy, this won’t become a time-share situation and this will be his backfield going forward. The Colts wanted Richardson bad enough to surrender their 2014 First-Round Pick to get him, so they’re going to feed him the rock.
I just worry that by Sunday he may not be acclimated enough to new system to take on the full workload. Furthermore, the match up is horrible as the Colts face a 49ers defense that’s chomping at the bit to get back on the field after an embarrassing night in Seattle last Sunday, when Marshawn Lynch ran all over them.
I really love this move for the rest of the season and believe it will solidify Richardson’s status as an RB1 but this week I see Richardson as a low-end RB2. If you are in need of a flex option or just don’t have many alternatives at running back this week, that’s understandable and if that’s the case play Richardson. Otherwise, give it a week to let him acclimate to being a Colt, then if all goes as planned put him in your lineup for the rest of the season and leave him there.