St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson has failed to live up to the early fantasy hype. Is he just in a slump or a complete bust?
The Rams drafted two running backs in the 2012 draft, Isaiah Pead and Richardson, to succeed longtime running back Steven Jackson. Pead was selected in the second round and Richardson was picked in the seventh. Richardson ended up being the No. 2 back and playing in all 16 games. He finished with 475 rushing yards on 98 attempts, or 4.85 yards per carry. Despite not scoring a touchdown in his first year, there were high hopes and expectations for the second-year running back.
Jackson left for the Atlanta Falcons, giving Richardson the green light to be the No. 1 back. Jackson had over 1,000 rushing yards in every season except his rookie year. Richardson wasn’t expected to have that kind of yardage his first year as the starter, but many presumed he would get close.
Despite being drafted as a No. 3 or flex play in most weeks, many owners are upset with Richardson’s production after four weeks in the 2013 season. In three full games (he only played one snap against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3), Richardson has 17 fantasy points, 37th among running backs based on ESPN standard scoring. He’s been outperformed by some backup running backs like Joique Bell and Fred Jackson.
His best game came in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals as he gained 96 combined yards. It’s been downhill from there. In Thursday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, Richardson struggled to get into the open field, yielding just 16 yards on 12 carries.
For the season, he has 2.7 yards per carry, 79th among all qualified running backs. Despite being a decent pass catcher with 11 catches for 86 yards, Richardson isn’t performing well enough to be on anyone’s fantasy team. He has still yet to score a touchdown.
He has a chance to bounce back in Week 5 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but I wouldn’t risk starting him. To answer my own question, Richardson is a bust. Until he proves he can break free from defenders, Richardson belongs on the bench and possibly even the free agent pool.