Trent Richardson: Fantasy Football Mega-Star or Injury Prone Bust?

By Jim Heath
Trent Richardson Cleveland Browns
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson should easily be mentioned in the top two or three backs in this year’s Fantasy Football drafts. In Dynasty Drafts he should be the number one running back with very little dispute.

Seriously, this guy has all the upside of a fantasy machine. He gets the lion’s share of the carries, and physically he’s built like a proverbial brick “turd”house. He spent his collegiate days in an NFL style offense and was mentored by arguably one of the greatest coaches at Alabama in Nick Saban. On the surface, you have to be salivating if your fantasy team is on the clock and Richardson’s name is still on the board.

That unfortunately is not the case. Instead, if his name is available and you’re on the clock you find yourself to have a bit of a  . . . predicament. For all of the upside you can find in Richardson it is watered down by a growing number of red flags about his durability.

In Richardson’s rookie season, he showed flashes of the type of running back he can be in the NFL. Those glimpses of flash were compromised by the frustrations of Richardson fantasy owners because of forgettable play and missed games due to injury. Richardson then missed most of Cleveland’s OTAs and has a good chance of being held out of June minicamps due to a strained muscle in his lower leg.

With this in mind, how do you handle Richardson on draft day? Here’s something we cannot question – his toughness. Richardson played most of his rookie year enduring the pain of three broken ribs. As for the lower leg muscle strain, it sounds like more of a Cleveland precaution than an actual newsworthy injury report.

He should be good-to-go when the season begins; it’s just a matter of determining how legitimate that dreaded label of “injury prone” is in Richardson’s case. That qualifies Richardson as a huge upside with sizable risk in 2013 fantasy drafts.

Here’s the thing, though. What top three RBs haven’t been risks in the last several years of fantasy football? Take out the name Arian Foster and chances are you spent too high of a pick drafting a preseason top three RB prospect recently. This season has the same Boom vs. Bust value at that position.

Cleveland has no time-share at running back, the new regime has already indicated that Richardson will be their workhorse, and the rib injury of his rookie year is behind him. Add these factors up, assume they stay that way through the season, and Richardson could be the reason you’re dancing a jig when your team wins it all in December.

Of course, he could be the reason you’re cussing yourself in December as you plan for an early round pick in the 2014 fantasy drafts. Richardson is Boom vs. Bust – are you a risk taker?

Related Links

Fantasy Football Face-Off: Trent Richardson vs. Ray Rice

Forget Durability — Trent Richardson Is A Top-3 Fantasy Football Running Back

Fantasy Football 2013 Preview: Trent Richardson

Jim Heath is a Fantasy Football writer for Follow him on Twitter @jim_heath, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google


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