Fantasy Football 2013: Week 3 Running Backs Report

Trent Richardson should thrive in Indianapolis' offense
Trent Richardson should thrive in Indianapolis’ offense

As I watched Ray Rice go down with what I hope really is a day-to-day injury I couldn’t help but think who I could scour the waivers for. As I wrote yesterday┬áI could easily run out, search for Bernard Pierce, and call it a day. I don’t think I will do that, though. Especially with the emergence of rookie Marlon Brown in the passing game, and the Houston Texans defense coming to town not giving up much to anyone.

I’m not just looking for the backup of my number one guy’s team, and unless you have a guy named Ben Tate you shouldn’t be either. Yes Pierce is a quality back, but if you have the opportunity look at a guy like Jason Snelling in Atlanta. Every game that sees him get volume carries (I’m talking the 16-25 carry range) he averages about 4 yards per carry (his career average) and a touchdown. Steven Jackson has already been ruled out for this week. That, to me, indicates Snelling is going to be carrying the load in the run game. It also helps that he’s an excellent pass catcher, making him even more valuable in PPR formats.

Trent Richardson, the Cleveland Browns number one pick (3rd overall) in 2012, was shipped to the Indianapolis Colts this afternoon for a 2014 first-round pick. This opens up a world of opportunities for him. Not only does Andrew Luck now have legitimate threats in the backfield, he also has a runner capable of reaching the end zone and gaining tough yards to ice the game. With that, fantasy owners should take caution as Richardson will be moving to the less favorable artificial turf in Indy. He’s got a little bit of an injury history, but if he can stay on the field I see nothing but upside for him in this offense that wants to incorporate the run game more. In other words, hover the finger over the Ahmad Bradshaw drop button, don’t drop it just yet.

So where does that leave Cleveland? Well, there’s Bobby Rainey, the third year player out of Western Kentucky who should see increased action. Rumor has it they will also be looking to bring in Willis McGahee. The situation in Cleveland is fluid at best but if you’re in a pinch and need a guy for 15-20 opportunities Rainey is your man.

Buyer beware: if you decide to run out and grab James Starks after his stellar performance week two remember, this is the first time a Packer has gone for over 100-yards in a game in a very long time. Also of note, he did this against a Washington defense that is bordering on historically bad (a la New Orleans in 2012). We’ve all been there before, believing Starks is going to be that guy only to be let down because of injury or underperforming. What I would implore you do is monitor the teams weekly practice reports and see what role Jonathan Franklin could be geared for in this situation. While his camp was uninspiring, this seems like the opportunity he needs to showcase what he did at UCLA that made him worth a draft pick at all.

Lastly, in the patience department, if you currently have Alfred Morris I’m going to explain more why I advised you sell high on him now. Coming off that knee injury and playing zero preseason games I knew RGIII was going to take more than a few steps back. Has he played badly? No. But you knew something was going to suffer and it was his ability to run. Without said ability Alfred Morris, who capitalized on defenses having to stay on their heels and spy the quarterback, becomes the only guy with value as a rusher.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Morris is a fine back, but if you’re not in a dynasty league and don’t have the time to wait for Washington to sort out their issues I say put him out their on trading blocks and let someone kick the tires. You just never know what your ROI is on a guy like Morris. If someone bits and you like the offer, I see no problem making the deal.

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