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Fantasy Football Dark Horse Sleeper: Donald Brown

Donald Brown

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts‘ run game was non-existent in Week 1. Vick Ballard (remember him?) led the team with 13 carries for 63 yards. Ahmad Bradshaw was used as a change-of-pace back, collecting seven carries for 26 yards.

Ballard suffered a torn ACL, making Bradshaw the lead guy with Donald Brown seeing some action as well. Then, the big announcement was made: the Cleveland Browns traded their franchise running back Trent Richardson to the Colts for a 2014 first-round pick.

Since joining the Colts, Richardson is averaging 3.0 yards per carry. Among all qualified players including quarterbacks, Richardson ranks 40th according to ESPN.com. From a fantasy standpoint, he is the 32rd-ranked running back with just 46 fantasy points.

Over the last four weeks, Brown has become a bigger part in the Colts’ rushing game. He has 23 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown. With Bradshaw and Ballard done for the year, Brown’s role with continue to increase. Richardson hasn’t played like they expected, forcing the Colts to change to a running back-by-committee situation.

There are six running backs on a bye this week, pushing many fantasy owners to start Richardson this week. However, don’t be shocked if Brown out carries Richardson. The former Browns running back has yet to eclipse four yards per carry in any game this season.

Richardson was a candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, posting 950 yards and 11 touchdowns. This year, he’s falling victim to the sophomore slump. I would pick up Brown in deeper leagues or if you own Richardson. There’s no way the Colts will bench Richardson for Brown, but stranger things have happened in the NFL.

Bill Pivetz is a fantasy football writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Piv1127 and add him to your Google+ circles.