Fantasy Football 2013: Trent Richardson To Benefit From Norv Turner

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Trent Richardson was a very productive fantasy running back in 2012. He was a workhorse for the Cleveland Browns, carrying the ball 267 times for 950 yards and 11 scores. Richardson was also a terrific option in the passing game, hauling in 51 balls.

However, does he have the opportunity to catch more in 2013?

Ahh, so now that I’ve got your attention, let’s dive into some of the reasoning behind the excitement surrounding Richardson’s 2013 fantasy outlook. We already know how talented he is. A former third overall pick, Richardson can run with speed, violence and provides slickness catching the ball out of the backfield. We also know how much the Browns have been using him, but I can honestly see an uptick in production this season. Yes, it’s possible.

There’s a new offensive coordinator in town. Norv Turner will be calling the plays this season, which could body very well for Richardson fantasy owners. Turner has been known to heavily utilize the running backs in his passing game, which is something Richardson is more than capable of doing. Join me as we look back over Turner’s tenure as both an offensive coordinator and head coach to see his track record with pass-catching backs.

Year

Player

Team

Catches

Yards

TDs

1992 Emmitt Smith DAL 59 335 1
1993 Emmitt Smith DAL 57 414 1
2006 Frank Gore SF 61 485 1
2007 LaDanian Tomlinson SD 60 475 3
2008 LaDanian Tomlinson SD 52 426 1

*61 catches was career high for Gore

Of course, these are some of the best running backs to ever play the game, but coming into a new offense with really only one true offensive threat, why wouldn’t Turner look to get his running back the ball at will? Via RotoViz, Turner and the Chargers offense threw to their running backs 31 percent of the time, which ranked second-most in all of football. Imagine the type of production Richardson can put together if Turner transfers that offensive gameplan to Cleveland. There is no one behind Richardson that will serve as a better pass-catching option for Turner to feature. Second string back Montario Hardesty ‘s 16 career catches aren’t very enticing, and let’s be honest, T-Rich is an every down back anyway, so it will take an injury for Hardesty to get on the field. Turner may not have ever been regarded as a great NFL coach, but the guy isn’t an idiot. He knows that his team has the best chance to win when his stud running back has the ball in space. This may be a bit of stretch, but I truly believe that Richardson can lead the Browns in receptions this season. Why? Oh, I don’t know, let’s see. Maybe because he did it last season, catching one more pass then the second place guy, Josh Gordon. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, Brandon Weeden isn’t exactly the best quarterback. Having said that, I think when the Browns do drop back to pass, Weeden, a guy who typically checks off his initial reads, will check it down to Richardson early and often.   * 61 catches was career high for Gore

If you are drafting in a PPR format, I’d be perfectly fine with using a top-five pick on Richardson this season. As long as he stays healthy, a 60-catch season is very possible.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

 

 


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