When I began to pen this column on Wednesday afternoon, I had included Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson, a consensus first-round pick in August drafts, among the starts list, just in case any T-Rich owners (like myself in a couple leagues) were frustrated with his lack of production to start the season. I wrote that he had a favorable match-up against the Minnesota Vikings this week, who are giving up the most points to running backs per game this year.
Then I went home Wednesday night, I found out Richardson had been traded to the Colts for the first-round draft pick. Like many of you, I was shocked, and as a Trent Richardson owner, I'm actually not too happy about this. While, long-term, Richardson's fantasy value should get slightly better because of the offensive talent around him -- in particular quarterback Andrew Luck -- in the short term, he's an incredibly risky play while he attempts to learn a new offense on the fly.
On Thursday, the Colts brass said they didn't get Richardson to be the team's "water boy" this Sunday, but even if T-Rich proves to be a quick study and gets 10-15 touches this week, his ceiling is pretty low facing a tough 49ers defense. As I mentioned, I have Richardson on a lot of my fantasy teams, and I'm sitting him on the pine this week and suggest you do as well if you have another option (I'm starting Knowshon Moreno over him in one league and Daryl Richardson in a PPR in another). If you don't, play him and hope he gets goal line work or catches a lot of passes in a PPR.
Hopefully, by next week, Richardson will be up to speed when the Colts play Jacksonville and can show off their shiny new toy. In the meantime, here are this weeks starts, sits and fliers.
Start 'em if you got 'em
QB Eli Manning. He's thrown a ton of interceptions so far this year, but he's also thrown for 400 yards each week. With the Giants' running game still pretty much non-existent against a Carolina team that has been stout against opposing ground games anyway, expect the younger Manning to air it out again, and get more TDs than INTs this week.
QB Colin Kaepernick. In case you were concerned after his dud in Seattle last week, he gets the QB-friendly Colts in San Francisco. The Colts aren't especially good against the run either, so he may be able to pick up a lot of yards on the ground as well, even with his ailing foot.
RB Knowshon Moreno. I've been reluctant to roll with Moreno, but picked him up in all my leagues where he was available this week. Monte Ball has been an absolute non-factor for the Broncos, while Moreno looks like the guy he was supposed to be when Denver invested a high draft pick in him. After scorching the Giants, he gets the Oakland Raiders this week. Start him in all formats.
RB Joique Bell. You saw what James Starks did to the Redskins last week, right? Reggie Bush is banged up and very well could sit this one out. Bell is a borderline RB1 if Bush doesn't play, and he's a very good RB2 and great flex option even if Bush does play.
WR Anquan Boldin. Last week I told you to play with caution against Seattle. This week go all-in with Vernon Davis nicked up and facing a vulnerable Colts secondary.
WR Stevie Johson. EJ Manuel's No. 1 target hauled in 8 for 111 and a game-winning score last week. Except Manuel to hone in on him again against the New York Jets.
WR Mike Wallace. Atlanta's defense is banged up, with their best pass rusher and my favorite Housewives husband Kroy Bierman done for the year and corner Asante Samuel nursing an injured thigh. Tannehill will have time to find his deep threat.
D/ST Minnesota. The Browns are starting Brian Hoyer at quarterback and Bobby Rainey at running back. Just find the defenses playing the Browns and Jags the rest of the year and you'll be in good shape.
Take a seat, son
QB Tom Brady. It's not that Brady is really struggling, it's that his receivers are, and he's without three of his best weapons in Gronkowski, Amendola and Vereen. Tampa Bay's defense hasn't been to shabby either, and could give him problems. If I have a capable No. 2 behind Brady like Andy Dalton, Sam Bradford or Carson Palmer, I'm rolling with them this week.
QB Jay Cutler. The Steelers have the look of a really bad team this year, but that has a lot more to do with their offense. They still aren't getting turnovers on defense, but are allowing the 2nd fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in standard Yahoo scoring.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew. He's expected to play in this one, and I just have this weird feeling that Seattle is primed for a letdown against the putrid Jags, but I still don't expect MJD to get going here.
RB James Starks. A hot pickup after the injury to Eddie Lacy, you can't comfortably roll with Starks against a tough Bengals front seven. If you invested heavily in Starks, I'm sorry, he'll be back to the pine when Lacy returns after the Pack's week 4 bye.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw. Solid in his first start as a Colt, Bradshaw isn't going to have the running room against San Francisco that he found last week and the Colts will likely try to work Trent Richardson into the mix. This could be ugly.
WR Antonio Brown. He apparently blew up at offensive coordinator Todd Haley for not getting him more targets, so we'll see if anyone was listening. I'd advise avoiding all Steelers on offense until further notice.
WR Golden Tate. If you were thinking of starting the popular off-season sleeper against the Jags, be wary that Jacksonville is giving up the 4th fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. That's probably because you can run on them so easily (4th most FPG to RBs) and you know Seattle is going to pound the rock with Lynch.
TE Kyle Rudolph. The Red Zone Tight End has all his value in scoring touchdowns. If he doesn't, he isn't particularly useful. For all their problems on offense, the Browns have been solid on defense, in particular against TEs.
Taking a flier
RB Jason Snelling. When Steven Jackson went down, Jacquizz Rodgers was the first back to get work. He averaged a meager 1.5 yards per carry. Jason Snelling got just two carries, but ran for 19 yards and a score, and grabbed all 4 of his targets for another 41 yards, an average of 10 yards per touch. Expect him to get a bulk of the work -- especially in the red zone -- with S-Jax sidelined.
WR Josh Gordon. The Browns No. 1 wideout has been stashed in about two-thirds of Yahoo leagues while he served a 2-game suspension. He's back this week and makes an intriguing WR3 play against Minnesota, even with Brian Hoyer at quarterback and no Trent Richardson. The Browns have to get the ball to someone, right?
D/ST Tampa Bay. For those of you streaming defenses, the Bucs are an intriguing option this week. I typically don't like picking defenses on the road, but the Patriots offensive problems combined with Tampa looking rock solid (15 fantasy points versus the juggernaut Saints offense last week), makes them a nice choice. The Bucs are the No. 5 scoring defense in Yahoo standard leagues and the Patriots are giving up the 9th most points to opposing fantasy defenses in the those formats.
- Pro Football
- Fantasy Sports
- Cleveland Browns
- Daryl Richardson
- Trent Richardson
- Tom Brady
- Reggie Bush
- New York Giants
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Jason Snelling
- Brian Hoyer
- Knowshon Moreno
- James Starks
- Eddie Lacy
- Denver Broncos
- Minnesota Vikings
- Oakland Raiders
- San Francisco 49ers
- New York Jets
- Steven Jackson