It’s rare to see a significant trade in the NFL, let along so early in a season. But that’s just what happened on Wednesday, as the Cleveland Browns sent running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-round pick. What are the fantasy football implications of the deal?
Fantasy Impact: Indianapolis Colts
Richardon’s fantasy stock immediately rises with the move to Indianapolis. There will now be much better offensive talent surrounding him, most importantly a very good quarterback in Andrew Luck. Richardson’s usage may be limited some in Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers as he get acclimated to a new offense, but he should be a high-end RB1 from that point on as the Colts’ workhorse back and a dual threat (51 receptions in 2012).
Ahmad Bradshaw had 65 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown along with three catches for 19 yards in Week 2, and likely would have had similar weekly workloads with Vick Ballard (torn ACL) out for the season. But his fantasy value is now limited to being Richardson’s handcuff, after one more week of perhaps being usable as a flex option. Donald Brown is also in the Colts’ running back mix, but his minimal fantasy value is now virtually non-existent.
Fantasy Impact: Cleveland Browns
Immediately after news of the Richardson trade surfaced, the Browns were reported to be having free agent running back Willis McGahee in for a physical. McGahee was released by the Denver Broncos in June, but has not gotten much interest on the open market since then. It can be assumed the Browns will sign him if he checks out medically, and McGahee immediately would go to the top of the team’s running back depth chart. From a fantasy perspective, that would be enough to make him a viable low-end RB2 in 12 and 14-team leagues.
Bobby Rainey and Chris Ogbonnaya are the only other running backs on Cleveland’s active roster, but neither has much fantasy value if McGahee is brought aboard and stays healthy.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.