2013 Fantasy Football Week 15 Dark Horse Sleeper: Trent Richardson

By Dustin Manko
Trent Richardson
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Not even a full year after a very impressive rookie season, just typing that headline felt a little weird, as I’m sure reading it does to you. When Trent Richardson got traded to the Indianapolis Colts, many fantasy football prognosticators (including myself) thought he was about to take his game to a whole other level. He struggled to learn the offense and consequently played poorly, all of which I documented as he fell from being a sure fire starter, to flex player, all the way down to either riding your fantasy bench or getting dropped outright.

Even though he has been running hesitant and confused for the majority of time since the trade, it is not like Richardson’s talent level simply dried up. He still has the same speed, power, cutting ability and all the other traits that put him among the top of the 2012 rookie class. He also has a great matchup this weekend against the Houston Texans and could be a sneaky play at RB2 or flex for your fantasy playoff.

Houston’s season has been done for a few games now and while I never want to accuse any professional athletes of packing it in early on the season, I’m simply not seeing the same level of drive or passion on defensive snaps as I saw early in the year. They have allowed the 11th most points against to running backs in standard scoring leagues, and got dusted by Maurice Jones-Drew last week to the tune of 103 rushing yards and 20 receiving yards, while allowing another 35 combined yards to Jordan Todman.

While that was happening in week 14, Richardson suddenly challenged Donald Brown in snaps, playing only six fewer snaps than his counterpart. Richardson only managed 20 yards on six carries (3.33 YPC), but he was able to rack up 68 yards on five catches. Richardson was targeted only six times, so the fact that there was only one missed catch is encouraging, especially considering that most of that was done before the Cincinnati Bengals opened up a huge lead on the Colts, forcing them into more or less abandoning their running game. While he didn’t score on Sunday, he looked as good as I’ve seen in the blue and white yet.

I’ve been mentioning all season that matchups are a huge factor in lineup selection, and Richardson has one this weekend against a Houston squad with nothing left to play for. I certainly wouldn’t love starting him as my first running back this week, I like his chances of putting up decent numbers for an RB2 or flex player.  

As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.

Dustin Manko is an author at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DustinManko, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

Read more from Dustin here.

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