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

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

Value is a word I associate often with Fantasy Football drafts. Not only is it a smart way to draft, and a potentially safe conservative way to draft in a statistically volatile pastime, but it’s the American way. Think about it, we’re all thrifty shoppers. and the last thing we want to do is over pay for, well, anything; we want bargains that require minimal investment.

As you prepare for your annual league drafts, if value in the first round, and in some cases the second, is something you seek, look no further than Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson. This guy has the skill set to fulfill every characteristic fantasy experts brand super star running backs with.

He is the Browns’ workhorse, and will easily garnish the lion’s share of Cleveland carries, and then some. He catches the ball out of the backfield (targeted 70 times catching 51 balls in 2012), and he has a nose for the end zone (12 combined touchdowns in 2012).

Of course when you hear Richardson’s name in many circles the word “durability” comes up, and rightfully so, I guess. He did struggle to finish some games last year missing one of 16, however, I like to look at it from a different perspective. Personally, I think the guy is tough, and that really can’t be questioned; he played the majority of his rookie season with three broken ribs. If you’ve never had the pleasure of living with broken ribs, I highly recommending a pass if given the opportunity.

I think the kid didn’t want to let his team and his teammates down last season. He easily could have sat out games, which may have even been better for him and his individual stats. But he didn’t; he suited up every Sunday, battled through pain, and did more than an admirable job. We’re being too critical if we ding him for his heart and toughness.

It’s a new season and it’s a new Richardson. He is healthy and will be running with a proverbial chip on his shoulder. If you let the health issues of last season detour you in drafts, it could be a costly assumption.

Forget one injury and its impact on last season; instead, focus on Richardson’s upside. He spent his collegiate days in an NFL style offense, and was mentored by arguably one of the greatest coaches at AlabamaNick Saban. Now, he is a part of an offense led by Norv Turner, who has that “Midas Touch” as an OC when it comes to running backs (and quarterbacks).

I guess the bottom line is simple; he’s a tough, hard-working kid that has zero competition for carries, and he catches the ball out of the backfield — a lot. 1500 plus combined yards and double digits scores isn’t a stretch, in fact it should almost be an expectation.

Those, my friends, are top three type Fantasy Football stats, yet Richardson continues to be available at the bottom of the first and even the top of the second round in some mock drafts I have participated in. That’s what we in the business call value, serious value.

There is a risk when it comes to Richardson, just not as great as you may believe. Forget the injury, forget the stereo type and grab him if he’s available. He should be a top three guy drafted in all formats, and the number one pick off the board in Dynasty Leagues, but he’s not.

He’s still falling. Take advantage, you won’t be disappointed.

Related Links

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

Trent Richardson: Mega Star or Injury-Prone Bust?

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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